Wisconsin

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(…)