Wisconsin

Notable bowling lanes, museums, history

At the corner of West Lincoln and South 20th streets are two Milwaukee landmarks, one sprawling and dignified, the other tiny and irreverent. Both attest to Wisconsin’s identity. Forest Home Cemetery is the resting place of the sausage maker Usinger and beer brewer Pabst, actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontane, a handful of governors, numerous(…)

Boutique hotels personalize service

Traveling in style is getting easier to do when close to home, thanks to the slow but steady opening of boutique hotels that provide much more than a predictable place to stay. You no longer need to book a room at a W Hotel in a major metro area to experience the personalized service and(…)

Italian fare authentic at Tenuta’s, Kenosha

A gallon of virgin olive oil was one of the oddest holiday gifts that I’ve ever given, and it was bought on a whim while shopping in Kenosha a few years ago. The city’s downtown lakefront has improved remarkably since I worked for the Kenosha News in the 1980s. The shoreline has gone from an(…)

Say mush: Dog sledding blankets Wisconsin

A new blanket of snow is heaven when you’re a skier, a snowmobiler, a skater or a sledder. Sledder? Make that a musher. Dog sledding – as a hobby and as a business, through the racing of dog teams or the offering of dog sled rides – is gaining visibility in Wisconsin, sometimes in the(…)

Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame: the archives

A $7,500 pair of shoes caught the eye of Tom Murphy last April, and he got them – for free. That kind of thing is pretty special, but not unprecedented, in his line of work. Tom is chief archivist for the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame, and the shoes were donated by Judy Russell(…)

Sheboygan area expands its culinary reach

The Sheboygan County that I know, having grown up there, is the culinary hub for hardrolls, brats and the world’s best burgers. We have dozens of torte recipes, most of which contain Cool Whip. We have good fish fries at reasonable prices. We are picky about our potato salad; we use butter – liberally and(…)

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(…)

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(…)

Harley’s centennial: It’s time to rock, ride

OK, so maybe you’re a little wacked out – excited or nervous – about all those bikers taking over Wisconsin later this month, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Harley-Davidson. As the promo goes, get ready to rock, roll and rumble. About 250,000 Harley enthusiasts from around the world, in all their thundering glory, are(…)

Barn styles define ethnic heritage, history

If you consider the farm barn to be an ordinary and ho-hum part of Wisconsin’s landscape, Ruth Olson has this to say: It is a significant symbol of your historical, economic, ethnic and occupational identity. Building techniques may showcase precision, as in the tightly constructed log barns that were a mark of their Finnish creators.(…)

Lumber town Laona’s Camp Five Museum

Tiny Laona, an unincorporated community in Forest County, has a great recipe for soup that has served its residents well for many years. The annual Community Soup began 84 years ago on nearby Silver Lake beach. Families showed up with whatever was growing in their garden, and added it or meat to a soup pot.(…)

EAA, AirVenture devoted to planes, flight

Head to Dayton, Ohio, this weekend and you’ll encounter the end of that city’s 17-day Wright flight celebration. Events include an air show with three of North America’s best-known military precision flying teams: the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds and Canadian Snowbirds. The Wright brothers used to live in Dayton, so the city calls itself “the true(…)

Visit state parks, other great natural retreats

It is easy to recommend a natural high for this weekend, as the annual Wisconsin State Parks Open House Day is Sunday. That means free admission to all state trails, parks, forests and other recreational areas. People also can fish any Wisconsin waterway without a license this weekend. It is customary for special activities to(…)

Oconomowoc: 39 lakes within half-hour drive

I’ve driven the 77 miles between Madison and Milwaukee at least a couple of hundred times, usually while preoccupied and rarely at a leisurely speed. So it’s been easy to ignore Oconomowoc, one of the state’s few five-syllable cities and probably the only one with five Os. In the shadow of Wisconsin’s two largest metro(…)

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(…)

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(…)

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(…)

Food shows turn eating into an experience

Seems like food isn’t just to be eaten anymore. It is to be experienced. Two major food events in Wisconsin this fall emphasize specialty foods, gourmet cooking techniques and advice about how to match wine with food. The second annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience will be Oct. 25-27 in Sheboygan County, at the Shops(…)