Riding the rails, literally, or through exhibits

I wonder if our lack of easy access to train travel has much to do with our desire to romanticize that particular era of transportation. Here are the few of the ways we pay homage to railroads, trains and our heritage. — In Minneapolis, an ice skating rink is a part of the newly restored(…)

Wis. Dells makes splash with waterpark wars

It’s been one big surge of development after another in the Wisconsin Dells, because of its indoor waterpark wars. About 1.1 million of the Dells’ 2.5 million visitors per year come from September through April, says Bonnie Sierlecki of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau. Since 1993, visitor spending has grown 305 percent during(…)

Architecture rich at Chicago Cultural Center

One of Chicago’s finest architectural gems provides visitors with a cheap way to sample the city’s history, art, music, dance, films and drama. The Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., has been nicknamed the “People’s Palace” because there is no admission for most exhibits and events. Mayor Richard Daly dedicated the building in 1991(…)

For New Year’s Eve: retreats to hoopla

I suspect that you may want more than bad champagne and squeaky paper horns to ring in the new year. Rest up, Wild One. Here are a few options. — Chandelier Ballroom, Hartford (Washington County) – This historic and grand ballroom is making a comeback. Spend New Year’s Eve here and a part of the(…)

New travel books for holiday gift giving

  Your days are numbered, fretful holiday shoppers. If you’re “to buy” list remains annoying, consider these travel book titles. “Moon Metro Chicago” edited by Grace Fujimoto (Avalon Travel Publishing, $16.95) – If you need help navigating the Windy City but don’t want to look like a dork, here’s help. This is a practical guidebook(…)

Brainstorms to hike tourism promotion dollars

Tourism industry leaders early next year will propose a new way to fund Wisconsin’s Department of Tourism, and it is based on a Missouri model that sets aside a percentage of tourism-generated tax revenue for tourism promotion. Bill Otto, who chairs the Governor’s Conference on Tourism, has called it a “sustainable tourism funding model that(…)

Four gifts geared toward girlfriend getaways

How about a little self-indulgence before getting lost between cookie sheets, holiday card lists, blinking lights and check-out lines? Consider pampering yourself, or a woman you love. — 

”Women of Wings” is the title of a sister-state cultural exchange program that will be May 15-24, 2003, to Chiba, Japan. Organized by Wisconsin-Chiba Inc., a nonprofit(…)

Local history museums protect our roots

Perhaps you think that your dearest possessions – a locket, a family picture, a love letter, a child’s toy – are of little value to anybody else. That’s not necessarily true. Hundreds of local historians in Wisconsin are passionate about rescuing and preserving pieces of the past for their museums, research centers, historical archives and(…)

Mall of America, at age 10, ready to expand

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Ten years after the opening of Mall of America, spokeswoman Monica Davis certainly knows her competition. It’s not your favorite neighborhood shopping center, and it’s not simply the only mall in the world that’s bigger (5.3 million square feet at West Edmonton Mall, Alberta, Canada). When execs think about competitors, they’re watching(…)

Chippewa Falls: wood chips to microchips

CHIPPEWA FALLS – Water, be it a pounding falls or sparkling river, seems to command respect here – regardless of the season. This is an old lumber town, birthplace of Seymour Cray’s supercomputers and home of the nation’s seventh oldest working brewery. At population 12,925 and about 10 miles north of Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls(…)