Mill City Museum examines flour power

A new museum in Minneapolis is all about flour and power, potential and resilience, reputation and ruins. The Mill City Museum, 704 S. Second St., on the banks of the Mississippi River downtown, has been open less than two months. It is a candid, airy and fascinating testimonial to what used to be the world’s(…)

Grand Excursion: big Mississippi River party

Thanks to Millard Fillmore, expect a huge surge of activity on the Mississippi River next summer. One of the 13th president’s biggest parties, with the Rock Island Railroad Company, occurred there almost 150 years ago. Now more than 50 riverfront communities are preparing for a high-profile re-enactment. There will be hundreds of events to attract(…)

Fall Art Tour: artistic inspiration in rural areas

In 1979, Jura Silverman became smitten with the picturesque nature of Spring Green, so the paper and printer maker moved her art studio, from Chicago. She has not regretted the decision. Jura was the first artist to set up shop there, and now her business – a former cheese warehouse, built in the early 1900s(…)

River museum, parks appeal in Dubuque

Dreary, steep and old. That was my first impression of Dubuque, back in the 1970s, after visiting a friend who landed there because of her first job out of college. The Mississippi River’s presence was largely industrial. Character and charm were lacking. My friend was glad for our visit; no one else had made the(…)

Culinary travel hot trend with vast potential

Let’s assume that you are hungry for something different this month. Wisconsin and its neighboring cities have an abundance of food expos, fancy wine dinners, ethnic culinary getaways, cooking seminars, demonstrations and product samplings. Culinary tourism is becoming more deliberate in both rural and urban settings. People who love to travel must eat, and now(…)

Reader mail: Alaska, ferries, birding, apples

One of these days, I’ll get “Roads Traveled” online, so reader mail can be published in its entirety. Until then, here’s a delightful dip into the mailbag. — “There is a single birding festival coming up that features field trips which investigate enormous numbers of migrating birds and their habitats in three states: Wisconsin, Minnesota(…)

Separating Geneva, Aurora, St. Charles, Ill.

What’s the difference between Geneva, Aurora and St. Charles, Ill.? One way to yank the chain of these good Flatlanders is to suggest that Wisconsin people see them as pretty much all the same place – western suburbs to maneuver through, or bypass, when en route to Chicago. Advocates for each city fight hard to(…)

Coming soon: high-speed ferry, light rail

Taking an order for 43 brats was one of the highlights of working at The World’s Largest Brat Fest on Labor Day in Madison (130,869 brats sold and 40-plus charities helped; go to www.bratfest.com or call 608-236-2021 to learn more). Fielding questions about what to see in Barcelona and Paris rank right up there, too.(…)

For bird lovers: tours, talks, exhibits, festivals

Bird lovers have all kinds of events to attend in Wisconsin during the next month. There are exhibits, tours, field trips, workshops, talks by bird experts and just plain great spots to see birds during migration. Instead of squawking more about it generically, here are the specifics. — For 28 years, there has been a(…)

Indoor, outdoor art shows: raining dogs, cats

In these dog days of summer, the route to relief from the humidity seemed clear. I took a break from the sun and headed to the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan. That’s where an exhibit called “Dog Show” is in place until Oct. 19. Playful photos, emotion-filled oil paintings, drawings, sculptures and embroidery(…)