Red Wing museum gains $1.5 million pottery collection

Red Wing, a Mississippi River city on the Minnesota side, has been home to a pottery museum for years – but now it’s billed as home to the nation’s largest pottery collection. The donation of a Nebraska couple’s private stash, 5,000 pieces worth around $1.5 million, motivated the all-volunteer Red Wing Pottery Foundation to successfully(…)

In Kenosha, this car show is a homecoming

A 1977 Gremlin van soon will be moved into the Kenosha History Center, and the timing is deliberate. The van (an American Motors Corp. prototype that never went into production) and Jeeps from five decades will be in place in time for Kenosha Homecoming: Great Cars on a Great Lake, July 22-26. The homecoming, an(…)

Pizza farms: Drive in, dine out, stay til sunset declares 93 percent of Americans ate pizza in the last month, and each of us averages 46 slices per year. Dustin Booth and Emily Fradenburgh are among a growing number of rural Wisconsinites who smelled opportunity because of conclusions like these. They live on Polk County farmland with a former sawmill that his parents(…)

Great American road trips: where to find them

I have a weakness for old postcards that show how summer vacations and destinations have changed. We remain ever-eager wanderers, but our expectations sure have evolved. Consider the messages on a fat stack of 1940s postcards that I found at a garage sale: “Continuous flow of hot water to spigot.” “State Health Board approved water.”(…)

Frank Lloyd Wright sites likely to gain UNESCO status

Savvy international travelers pay attention to UNESCO World Heritage Sites because on this list are the planet’s most awesomely significant destinations. What makes the cut? Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. China’s Great Wall. Cuba’s Old Havana. Egypt’s Giza Pyramids. India’s Taj Mahal. Peru’s Machu Picchu. Add the Banks of the Seine in Paris, Acropolis in Athens,(…)

New cooking contest for Native American cuisine

Wild rice and cranberry dishes show up on many restaurant menus, especially in autumn, but rare is the restaurant that regularly serves fry bread or venison in Wisconsin. I dine at many types of ethnic and specialty restaurants but have yet to see one devoted to Native American cuisine. Is this a gaping hole in(…)

Lodging where music is taken seriously

It’s pretty easy to find lodging and live music under the same roof, especially on weekends or in metro areas, but rare is the business whose music is a higher priority than overnight accommodations. My four examples start close to home. Read more at Travel2Connect.

June Dairy Month: a prime time to mark 4-H centennial

My first bank deposit was winnings from county fair entries in the 1960s. I was a kid who accumulated many more pink ribbons than blue, but that never – for long – dulled my enthusiasm to keep trying. As I recall, even a plate of pathetic brownies was worth a quarter in prize money back(…)

Chicago’s Eataly: easy immersion into all things Italian

On the last day of our first trip to Italy, in 2008, my priority was a two-hour bus ride from Milan to Turin and the birthplace of Slow Food International, whose worldwide efforts protect food heritage. That visit was a couple of weeks before the area’s Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto – the massive,(…)

Upper Mississippi jewels: good food, wine, retreats

I am always learning something new about roads that I’ve already traveled. Sometimes it’s just a matter of doing a little homework or sharing the miles with curious friends who are on the lookout for something new. Here are favorite discoveries from a recent road trip that looped the Upper Mississippi River for at least(…)

St. Louis cakes, Viking chess, MoM zip lines, cruises with dolls, more

My “in” box and notepads are fat with snippets of ideas for Midwest travelers who want to venture someplace new. – It’s easy to find the hot spots in St. Louis this summer: Just look for the two-tiered, four-foot-tall birthday cakes that are made out of fiberglass and sit in front of the city’s most(…)

Indy’s International Orangutan Center protects, learns from endangered species

Two friends move 1,000 miles together, then another 500 after meeting three decades ago. That is the mark of a special relationship, made extraordinary because of who is involved: a longtime expert on primate behavior and a middle-aged orangutan. The ongoing partnership between Rob Shumaker and 36-year-old Azy soon helps introduce a remarkable place that(…)