Take Twelve: Halloween haunts, carnival to saloon

Time for another ghoulishly good time as the approach of Halloween brings out goblins and gore galore. Haunted houses aren’t the only option for scaring yourself silly this month. Consider this range of terrifying settings. Several are all-volunteer efforts whose proceeds help local charities. Haunted carnival – A former millwork factory in Merrill began earning(…)

Detroit auto tours: from Model T to modern-day robotics

Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile, but he gets credit for putting the world on wheels and Detroit on the map as a leader in car manufacturing. Much began in the long-ago industrial neighborhood of Milwaukee Junction, near the intersection of interstates 94 and 75, just north of downtown. Consider it the cradle of automotive(…)

German-born master chef takes over Black Forest, Three Lakes

As most U.S. teens were just learning to drive, 15-year-old Marcel Biro was a world away, navigating culinary school. The year: 1988. The place: East Germany. Within five years, the student was certified to teach others to cook and moonlighted at Michelin-starred restaurants. By age 24, he earned the title of master chef and already(…)

What’s new: arts venue, football show, red panda cub, more

As weather cools and beaches close, there is little reason to stay home and be bored. Check out these enticements for close-to-home travel. — Pablo Center at the Confluence, a major arts venue, has opened in downtown Eau Claire. It is near the meeting of Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. In the new structure are(…)

Archie’s Waeside in Iowa: citadel of American beef cookery

In a modest residential area – near farmland, railroad tracks and tall grain storage silos – is an almost-full parking lot at 5:30 p.m. on an average Thursday. When doors open at 5, sometimes the lineup of customers is as long as the driveway. Especially on weekends. To say that Archie’s Waeside has loyal patrons(…)

Two Take Tens: for Green Bay Packers fans

We are high above ground and just below the signature “G” that looms 40 feet tall and 60 feet wide. No point in Green Bay is loftier, and what feels simply gusty during summer would freeze the bone in January. That spells exhilaration, if you’re a Green Bay Packers fan, because little beats this sky-high(…)

Coming soon: Great River Road Trips

My nine-part series about Great River Road Trips is being turned into a mini e-book, and I will point you to details when it’s ready. Thanks for your interest!  

New books: Great Lakes biking, Chicago fun, Iowa food

On my desk is a growing stack of recently released books, and I crave time to delve into them. The arrival of summer should make that easier: Here is an introduction to what I consider the best. “The Great Lakes at Ten Miles an Hour: One Cyclist’s Journey along the Shores of the Inland Seas”(…)

New: Geneva Lake app, Shake Rag classes, APT shows

One of the prettiest waterfront walks in Wisconsin is the 21 miles around Geneva Lake, and now a new, free phone app helps explain what to expect and where as you hoof it. About 85 percent of houses surrounding the lake are summer homes, and more are mansions than simple cottages. All lakefront property owners(…)

Thrill for gearheads: Tesla rental at Mall of America

Summer is an easy season for fun and fantasy, but Minnesota’s Mall of America in Bloomington knows how to trump it up all year. This is where youngsters bring dolls to lunch at American Girl, walk among bigger-than-life superhero figures at Legoland and watch what they color come to life on screen at Crayola Experience.(…)