Take Twelve: Holiday light shows

TweetElectrifying: That’s one way to describe this time of year. With the arrival of December and dusk comes stupendous light shows to celebrate this season of wonder and generosity. Count these among the most elaborate in Wisconsin. Celebration of Lights, Oshkosh: Menominee Park, on Lake Winnebago, turns into a wonderland of winter. The anchor is(…)

Ultimate Eats: Savoring food as culture

TweetFood is an easy, on-target introduction to a location’s cultural roots, and a new book latches onto must-try dishes when traveling the world. “Ultimate Eats: The World’s Top 500 Food Experiences … Ranked” (Lonely Planet Food, $30) explains pintxos in San Sebastian (Basque-style tapas in Spain) to stinky tofu in Taipei (follow your nose at(…)

New: retreat, fun park, plays, bike trips

TweetHere’s to the new, as in partnerships, transitions, decisions and distinctions in the world of close-to-home travel. — Wild Rice, the fine-dining restaurant near Bayfield, closed about one year ago (after a 16-year run) and is being replaced by Wild Rice Retreat, a haven for art and wellness classes and events. The change of purpose(…)

Safe travels: what to know before you go

TweetI register with the U.S. State Department before international travel to an area whose safety status is unknown to me. The free STEP – Smart Traveler Enrollment Program – automatically transmits pertinent advisories and alerts that mesh with my itinerary. That’s in addition to an online map of the world that shows risky areas for(…)

Reader mail: supper clubs, Itasca, custard

TweetIt’s been months since we dipped into the reader mailbag. Time to sift and winnow. — The Goldmoor Inn, near Galena, Ill., has gained loyal fans because of a reader incentive offered three years ago. I asked for your short essays on behalf of someone who deserves a peaceful getaway and got 50-some replies. The(…)

Chicago Detours: Get to know the neighborhoods

TweetOne way to get to know a city is through its attractions – the monuments, museums, biggest and best local marks of distinction. We seek out the “talkers” and will wait in long lines to take selfies to prove we were there. That’s fine, fun and logical for a first-time visit, but then what happens?(…)

Take Twelve: Halloween haunts, carnival to saloon

TweetTime 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

TweetHenry 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

TweetAs 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

TweetAs 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(…)