Updated: Dec 24, 2020
If 2021 is to be anything like 2020, it will be a trending year of road trips! With a new vaccine hitting the market, we all tentatively peek our heads out from lockdown, cautiously optimistic about wandering again in the new year.
It’s okay if you’re not ready to fly again yet. Road trips make epic vacations! They’re a fantastic way to see these good old United States. Flying from one place to another, you miss out on the charms of Main Street, U.S.A. You miss out on the changing scenery, from desert to mountain, from mountain to prairie, from sea to shining sea. There is local flavor to be found at each pit stop, at each overnight.
Recently, the kids and I took a little road trip to visit friends. We wanted to avoid an overnight in a hotel, so it was about a 10-hour drive day. We needed lots of stops to stretch our legs. There were plenty of rest stops, to be sure. But we also wanted to seek out unique spots along the way, to make the otherwise seemingly countless drive hours a little more entertaining.
Metropolis …. Metropolis …. Where have you heard of Metropolis? If you know your graphic novel history, you’ll remember it is where reporter Clark Kent worked and lived, while using his free time to fight crime under his alter-ego (or is it the other way around?) Superman.
While the actual town of Metropolis, Illinois pre-dates the writing of the Superman graphic novels, the town was very happy to add this fun dynamic to its streets. With the erecting of a 15-foot Man of Steel statue in the town square, circa 1972-ish, Metropolis, IL soon became known as Superman's hometown.
The kids buzzed with excitement when I pulled off the freeway and told them I had a surprise for them. They had no idea what was coming, but their heads craned and swiveled in anticipation. Their stunned silence when the statue appeared made me guffaw in a most unladylike way, and it was so worth the 5-minute detour!
And so, the obligatory photo shoot ensued. We got out, stretched our legs, and pushed out our chests in our best superhero poses. We strolled over to the Superman Museum and gift shop, seeking out a little Metropolis travel sticker for our Thule.
We stopped for coffee and cupcakes in a charming little coffee shop and bakery. Feel-good ran through our veins as we wandered this good ole sleepy American small town, with its added superhero whimsy.
While the town's original plan to build a $50 million dollar Superman theme park has yet to come to fruition, it's still a "super" fun Southern Illinois pit stop. If you have more time, consider a couple of nights here. There's an excellent campground right on the river at the nearby Fort Massac State Park -- I'm told the campsites are huge! Explore Fort Massac history, perhaps visit the Harrah's Casino (100 E. Front Street -- currently closed due to COVID), or check out the Lois Lane Statue (Market St & W 8th St.) or giant kryptonite boulder (E 3rd St. & Ferry St.).
If you don't have time for an overnight, then just focus on the Superman Statue and the Super Museum. Stretch your legs, get some epic pics, and enjoy!
Embrace the road trip in 2021, friends. Make the journey a central part of your adventure -- those countless drive hours are sure to fly by as you anticipate your next unique leg-stretch along the way!
Heading out on the road?
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