Baseball season opens door to exciting travels

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, March 28, 2009

For Cleveland Indians baseball fans this summer’s schedule offers up a inter league special. The north coast of Ohio boys’ of summer travel to Chicago’s Wrigley Field for the first time and play the beloved Cubs June 19, 20 and 21.

It’s going to be daytime baseball at its best. You cannot beat the festive ballpark atmosphere complete with its ivy covered walls and pre and post-game activities in the eclectic neighborhood termed Wrigleyville that surrounds the field.

My drive to the Windy City is going to be routed via Kentucky, southern Indiana and then Illinois.

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Intermediate stops will be at the Mary Todd Lincoln house in Louisville, Ky. then over to Hodgenville, Ky. for a visit to Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace and boyhood home

From here the plan is to travel north across the mighty Ohio and overnight in Spencer County, Ind. another location rich in early Lincoln history. Abraham Lincoln spent 14 of his most formative years-from age 7 to 21 — in Southern Indiana.

Today this region of Indiana offers Lincoln attractions that include his boyhood home and some of the most extensive collections of his life and times found anywhere in the world.

Energy permitting, I hope to take in a live evening performance at the Lincoln Amphitheater.

In honor of his 200th birthday they are débuting a new story about young Abe this summer.

Then it’s off the Illinois the self proclaimed and heavily promoted “Land of Lincoln.

Right now my touring stops here are going to be in Springfield and New Salem

But who knows I may get sidetracked and pull off in some interesting towns or city along the way.

Springfield has the largest concentration of Lincoln related sites in Illinois and is in a central location which makes it a natural for a three or four day hub.

As the state capital, Springfield also has a number of sites that relate to state government as well as a world renowned Frank Lloyd Wright House.

On a self guided walking tour I plan on viewing over 30 outdoor interpretive exhibits placed throughout the downtown area to experience Springfield as Abraham Lincoln knew it.

Other sites on my list include Lincoln’s tomb, law office, presidential library and home that he owned with Mary Todd.

Located about 20 miles northwest of Springfield in the town of New Salem, an attraction offers a reconstruction of the village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood.

It appears that I’ll need a couple of hours to stroll the sites here then it’s time to head towards the Windy City and a weekend of daytime baseball.

The featherheads (this term is courtesy Bob Uecker in the classic film Major League) then head east for midweek games in Pittsburgh against the Pirates.

I’m not sure if this the first time the Tribe will play at PNC Park but it will be my first visit.

After enjoying the Steel City I’ll follow the Indians back to Cleveland where they’ll renew their rivalry with the Cincinnati Reds in a weekend series of June 26, 27 and 28.

It’s going to be a long yet interesting road trip.

One that is filled with plenty of history, art, culture, ethnic dining and of course baseball.

Happy travels.