WHERE: We had planned on leaving later in the afternoon for the conference in Tennessee, but instead left fairly early in the morning which gave us some time to explore.

We got off the interstate at the town of Arcola, known for its proximity to Amish country. As I said before, we lived in Amish country, went to childbirth classes with the Amish and often drove by their neat (as in literally neat) farms.

But I hadn’t been to Arcola.

WHAT: We headed for the visitor’s center and learned that it is the broom corn capital and are, right this moment (Labor Day Weekend) having the Broom Corn Festival. (Although I am not there right this minute.) The lady at the center was very talkative and informative.  She told us about an interesting restaurant in town where “Pa” cooks and “Ma” serves and you don’t always get your food too quickly because they’re arguing – but when you do get it, it’s very good. Alas, that restaurant was closed. We did wander around Main Street for awhile and they had some nice shops – with classy, not tacky stuff.

KID FACTOR: Arcola is the birthplace of Johnny Gruelle who created Raggedy and Ann and Andy. The town has a museum and also a gathering of collectors worldwide who come to celebrate the dolls and their designer.

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