Wright again: Taliesin, UNESCO, sacred spaces

Editor’s note: Taliesin and seven other Frank Lloyd Wright sites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site today (July 7, 2019). — “Sacred space.” That is what I scrawled in a notebook and typed as a tweet shortly after spring’s arrival. The phrase most often is associated with a house of worship, but not on(…)

EAA drones, park beer gardens, Robie reopens

My “in” box holds an abundance of ideas to help you figure out how to make this summer extraordinary. — Daily air shows are a highlight of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture convention in Oshkosh. Aerobatic precision is crucial, regardless of the type of aircraft that takes flight. That includes at least 100 LED-lit(…)

Elephants: As population dwindles, Milwaukee zoo’s quarters enlarge

Elephants are the world’s largest mammals, and it is harder to see one in person because the species is dwindling, in captivity and the wild. Ringling Bros. retired its elephant performers to a 200-acre Florida sanctuary in 2016, one year before the Wisconsin-born company’s final circus. Winkie and Penny, the last elephants at Henry Vilas(…)

Offbeat bars: Le Tigre, John Bryant’s, Cleo’s, more

Inside a plain-jane strip mall, between a hardware store and compact ethnic grocery, is a cat house of sorts. One with low lights, cash-only transactions and a cozy sense of cool. Le Tigre Lounge, a little cocktail spot that is big on personality, began business way before the advent of brewpubs, wine bars and big-screen(…)

Saint Kate: Visual, performing arts hotel in Milwaukee

The artists’ canvas? A room with four walls instead of taut cloth propped onto an easel. The new gallery? A blend of spoken word, artsy postcards (free to take), photography, film clips and more. The concierge? He also plays violin. And at least two cocktail servers double as modern dance performers. This month’s opening of(…)

Ellsworth: cheese curd king

In Wisconsin is a high level of enthusiasm for squeaky-fresh cheese curds, a mild and young variety of cheese. We love stringy-hot, breaded curds to begin a meal or snack on with beer. Many Badger State cheese factories sell curds by the bag, but former Gov. Tony Earl put Ellsworth at the top of the(…)

Food trends: CBD oil, dietary adaptations, speedy service all matter

What a long way we’ve come since two guys in California – Roy Allen and Frank Wright – sold root beer in glass mugs for a nickel and called the business A&W. That was 100 years ago. Soon tray boys provided curbside service, and the culinary theater began, albeit from behind car windshields. Speed of(…)

Take Ten: Excellent anniversaries

Birthdays and anniversaries that end in a zero tend to generate more attention than average in our personal lives. The start of a new decade seems to represent the beginning of new possibilities. For a travel destination, the start of a new decade represents the pride of longevity and perhaps a relief to have survived(…)

Greece: What makes Greek food authentic

Last of three parts. We all make presumptions based on our limited exposure to people whose culture, heritage or religion seem foreign to us. That applies to assumptions about food and drink too. Here are 10 shattered misconceptions about Greece: Parthenon Gyros (parthenongyros.com) in Madison is, hands down, my favorite choice for close-to-home gyros because(…)

Greece: Ancient athletics at Olympia, Marathon

Second of three parts. Our Athens taxi driver isn’t much for small talk as we head from port to city centre on a spring weekday. Language differences present a challenge, until I ask: Do you know Giannis, the basketball player? That gets the cabbie’s attention. He grins and offers a quizzical, of-all-the-questions-to-ask look. “Very nice(…)

Greece: Seeking the holy in Meteora

First of three parts. It’s one way up and one way down – around and around – when traveling the stone forest of Meteora, about 225 miles northwest of Athens in the Pindos Mountains of Greece. The unearthly terrain is enough to draw a traveler’s full attention, but there is more: Eastern Orthodox monastic communities(…)

Tasty gain: Major Milwaukee food hall coming

Jackie and Sara Woods’ doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches pop up here and there in the Milwaukee area. It’s been that way around eight months. “I like to keep life simple,” Jackie says. Facebook followers (@DonutMonsterMKE) know when to find them at Hawthorne Coffee Roasters on Howell Avenue, Central Standard Craft Distillery on Clybourn Street, and(…)

21c: Where art museum, lodging merge

My mind and body are weary from rising at 3:15 a.m. to catch the first flight out of Madison, but the aerial hops are quick, and I am thankful my hotel room is ready by 11 a.m. On goes the television remote, force of habit. The default channel is not a harsh news outlet or(…)

‘Power of Poison’ for good, evil – now, then

Watch the movie “Alice in Wonderland” sometime and pay attention to the crazed guy at that tea party. The edgy one who’s rude, hyper and wears a high-top hat. Author Lewis Carroll called his peculiar character “The Hatter” when “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” was released as a novel in 1865, and that morphed into “Mad(…)

Newsy ‘Driftless’ film, lavender, food/hiking

Boosting the profile of outdoor recreation is a priority for Sara Meaney, Wisconsin’s new secretary-designee for tourism. The timing is good because of new and major awards that shine a global spotlight onto the state’s Driftless Area, whose dynamic hills, valleys and rock formations exist because the area is unglaciated. The area is a nature(…)

Savor this: pound cake, kringle, hootch, bitters

This month’s Midwest Foodservice Expo showed off what’s new and best in the world of Wisconsin food and drink. The annual event, for Wisconsin Restaurant Association members and others in hospitality or foodservice work, is chockful of professional development and exhibitors with something to sell. Much is insider talk, but here’s a bit of what(…)

Take Ten: World of Guinness

The coming and going of St. Patrick’s Day is reason enough to hoist a Guinness, the Irish-made stout that has been around at least 260 years. A proper serving of the creamy, chocolate-hued brew requires two pours because it is so frothy thick. Veteran bartenders will fill a glass halfway, then wait two minutes for(…)

Wisconsin’s at-risk tourism gems

When asked to recommend a pretty and close-to-home lakeside vacation spot, Heidel House almost always made my short list. It’s been a personal favorite for decades, regardless of time of year. The 20-acre resort on the northeastern shore of Green Lake, the deepest natural inland lake in Wisconsin, was built as a private estate in(…)

Bitters in, bottoms up at boot camp

A class with cocktails: That’s how Taylore Ransom and Erik Rozolis of Janesville spent a recent Saturday afternoon in Madison. For them and about 30 others, at least one hour of lessons in history, science, folklore and mixology ended with hands-on lab work and a kit to continue it at home. Ransom added cherry bark(…)

Three for tea: urban to rural

On the dreariest of winter days, fog obscures otherwise gorgeous views from the 23rd floor of The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Three of us linger nearly two hours anyway. High tea at the Victorian-era hotel is a matter of refined, silver-service elegance. We begin with a flute of champagne. Then tea butler Juan Rodriguez(…)

Travel snafus? Be proactive, perceptive, pleasant

Delays and detours pop up during the navigation of any life, regardless of where you roam. It doesn’t matter whether you travel far or even leave home. Don’t underestimate the value of common sense, empathy and an even temperament. All go a long way toward making progress – or at least building resilience – when(…)

Take eight: Hot for chocolate

A little luxury during winter is hot chocolate, made all the sweeter when served in a setting that goes beyond the disappearing act of powdered cocoa in steamed milk or boiling water. Hot cocoa is an especially decadent treat at these destinations, so consider a road trip to stretch out your time with a special(…)

Touring Atlanta: fiery history, civil rights lessons

On Gena Williams’ resume is work as a Delta flight attendant, and clerk for Julian Bond when he was a state senator in Georgia. When we meet in downtown Atlanta, three months before the Super Bowl, her title is tour guide for ATL-Cruzers and her demeanor is like a chatty girlfriend. One who’s eager to(…)