Upper Michigan snowmobile museum dwells on history

The last time I talked to Charlie Vallier, he was hoping for a snowstorm. The longtime snowmobile collector knows it’s good for his hobby and the economy where he lives, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Vallier is chairman of the nonprofit Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum in Naubinway. No Lake Michigan shoreline community is(…)

Native American cuisine: potential exists for sophisticated offerings

In my “in” box is no shortage of annual predictions that involve food trends. Native American ingredients, recipes and culinary traditions never seem to make the cut. Very perplexing. Do you know of a restaurant that specializes in Native American cuisine? What is that kind of food, beyond fry bread, wild rice and maybe venison?(…)

In stitches: Popularity of quilting extends to Millennials too

Quilts cocoon us during winter’s harshest nights, but warmth is only one way to define their value. Homespun quilts cloak us with deep memories of people who matter. Maybe snippets of fabric come from your dad’s well-worn shirts. Maybe your favorite aunt hand-stitched for a gazillion hours. Maybe the design is the creative work of(…)

‘Holy Rover’ finds value in spiritual pilgrimage, near and far away

With the new year comes motivation to begin anew, perhaps with hope for significant change that starts with a public resolution or private vow. Maybe the path seems clear and easy to measure: Stop smoking. Lose weight. Exercise more. Eat better. But sometimes we feel compelled to address a restlessness, discontent, ambition, anxiety or sadness(…)

Take Ten: delectable diversions in dining

A meal is worth remembering because of the good company, exquisite taste, price, quantity, artistic flair or unexpected offerings. Splendid settings turn the ordinary into something special. So do smart people who use food to catch and keep our attention in surprising ways. At year’s end, I recollect the source of some of my most(…)

Take Ten: the year’s lovely lodging

I rest my head on dozens of beds besides my own every year and check out many other properties without staying overnight. What catches my attention is the unusual, but that doesn’t necessarily mean uber expensive or exotic. Among my 2017 favorites: Ace Hotel, New Orleans: Count this shabby-chic hotel as an edgy draw, especially(…)

Nassau: sites beyond the Straw Market

Some changes happen on purpose, and some are by accident. That was my takeaway when recently revisiting Nassau, 27 years after getting acquainted during a short cruise to the Bahamas. In 1990, a cruise (on the Mardi Gras, Carnival’s first ship) meant seasickness in a budget room with no porthole and too much rum punch(…)

Chicago exhibit takes “SNL” fans behind the scenes

Matt Foley. The Church Lady. Wayne and Garth. Wild and Crazy Guys. Debbie Downer. Mary Katherine Gallagher. Longtime fans of “Saturday Night Live” know these bizarre but endearing characters, whose home – Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center – draws a television audience of millions each week. No show has earned more (240) Emmy Award nominations.(…)

Downtown Dough: thousands of cookie cutters

Smart cookies. Patrick and Patricia Niles, owners of Downtown Dough in Cedarburg, have a good recipe for separating what they do from other kitchen boutiques, especially during this time of year. The retailers began business in West Bend almost 20 years ago, selling cookie dough for school fundraisers and other purposes. Now they get international(…)

The Maker Movement: DIYers to God and inbetween

The word “maker” applies to everybody from bakers to welders, sculptors to knitters, DIYers to God. They toil or tinker all year, but the holiday shopping and party season is a prime time to notice them. The Maker Movement is harder to define, but it involves a special kind of group determination, product quality, camaraderie(…)