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Huh … Farm Aid never makes it to Wisconsin

Back in 1995, friends and I hopped on a plane to Louisville for the 10th annual Farm Aid concert, a sold-out event that brought 47,000 farm advocates and music fans to Cardinal Stadium. It was a fun getaway with an amazing lineup. And as the daughter of a dairy farmer, it was satisfying to know(…)

Sheboygan County: Pro golf to Parnell Tower

My assumption is that almost everybody – from Fairbanks to Miami, at least – will know what a brat fry is by this time next week. Spectators at the PGA Championship, and the event’s worldwide commentators, will devour Sheboygan County from Aug. 9-15. My question is whether they’ll stumble across anything beyond the obvious. This(…)

Real-life vacation strategies, challenges

Interesting things are happening as I wait for spring and contemplate ways to favorably alter reality. — My guy and his buddies went to Mississippi recently, for a little golfing near Biloxi, and I found them reasonable vacation components online. Cost was about $560 per person for air from Milwaukee, four nights of lodging and(…)

Vacation condo growth spurts

Was it all that long ago when a respectable vacation getaway meant a modest lake cottage – heat and indoor plumbing optional? Or a patch of land big enough to put up a tent, or park a trailer, so you could watch the stars and tend a campfire? Times indeed are changing, not just in(…)

Shop online when planning next vacation

The Internet has become an amazing tool for deciding where to go on a vacation, then comparing prices for various elements of travel. When a trip is being taken close to home, the state Department of Tourism’s site (www.travelwisconsin.com) has long been an excellent starting point. It’s surely not the only helpful online resource, though.(…)

Aspiring innkeepers learn realities of B&B life

The next time you head to South Carolina, consider bringing your horse. The ink just recently dried on Jerry and Linda Gray’s purchase of the Schell Haus, a six-room bed-and-breakfast on 25 acres in Pickens, across from Table Rock State Park, in the northwest part of the state. What does that have to do with(…)

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(…)

Reader mailbag: where to hike, bike, canoe

This weekend I am reacquainting myself with one of the more well-known and  historically rich urban walks in the country, Boston’s Freedom Trail. It is a 3-mile route that has Boston Commons and Bunker Hill as its bookends.

The trail was established in 1958 and is easy to follow (just look for a red line on(…)

Reader mail: trip memories, history lessons

Experiences from around the globe are a part of this installment of reader mail. Here are snippets. Please keep your stories and observations about travel coming; it’s great to hear from you! — Harold Kuschel of La Crosse writes fondly of the time he spent in Japan as a cryptographic technician with the U.S. Air(…)

Japan foreign exchange full of goodwill

CHIBA, Japan – For Hiroshi Ebihara, it was “an honor and once-in-a-lifetime experience” to show his country to Americans.

For me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime way to see the heart of Tokyo, and to experience the way of life of an average family who had never before had houseguests.

One or more home stays are a typical(…)

Pressures, challenge of historic preservation

Money, space, sentiment and progress all have a role – from bit player to star – in our quest to preserve, hide or discard the past. It is easy to appreciate and favor the architectural beauty of a well-preserved building that has historical value, unless you must reach into your own pocketbook to maintain it.(…)

A traveler’s tales of turbulence, anxiety

One of my more unusual travel challenges this month will be to figure out how to safely transport a case of Berghoff and Capital Brewery beer – two of Wisconsin’s finest labels – to Japan. Should I lug it around O’Hare as a carry-on? Invest in bubble wrap, say a prayer and send it as(…)

Reader mail: Stay, go in light of SARS, war?

I love reader mail, regardless of whether adventures occur close to home or halfway around the world. Among your comments and observations: — Will you stay home or travel? That question was asked shortly before the United States began war with Iraq, and before the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) resulted in U.S.(…)

Kiwi, Quebec culture: U.S. could learn from it

It was about 8 a.m. in Auckland, New Zealand, as we shuffled into the Hyatt Regency downtown, sleepy and jet-lagged after a 12-hour flight from Los Angeles.

        We hoped to check into our room early but were ready to settle for just having a place to stash the luggage. The registration clerk offered his apologies.

        “I see(…)

Stay or go? Japan plans remain in place

One of my toughest deadlines lately had nothing to do with writing. Less than two days into the war with Iraq, 12 women in Wisconsin each had to decide how much we wanted to participate in a sister-state cultural exchange to Chiba, Japan. The 10-day trip will happen in May. Until last week, we could(…)

Expect shorter trips, last-minute decisions

WISCONSIN DELLS – I hear that you want to stay closer to home, and that’s understandable, but a lot of people hope you don’t barricade yourself until war talk ends. Their livelihood, and the state’s economic health, depends on your decision to leave home once in a while. About 1,000 tourism industry leaders were here(…)

Reader mailbag: what to do during winter

Janey Kimpton knows there is beauty in rural Wisconsin – and in Rural, a picturesque village on Highway 22, a couple of miles from King and four miles south of Waupaca. “The Crystal River winds through the little town, which has bed and breakfasts, craft shops and mid-1800 buildings,” writes Janey, who lives in Warrens(…)

Tourism rep: vacation, getaway not the same

Minnesota wants to replenish what the rest of the world takes away. That is a marketing theme for the state, the heart of one effort to drive tourists north and westward – from Wisconsin – as impending war and a weak economy hover menacingly. “Send ’em over here,” says Jim Keller of Itasca State Park,(…)

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(…)

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(…)

Reader mailbag: best supper clubs in state

Location, location, location … for some of you, it seems to matter as much as the quality of food when recommending a supper club. Readers from Holmen (LaCrosse County) to Bristol (Kenosha County) mentioned places from Appleton to Wausau when we recently asked for advice about supper clubs. This is a collection that I want(…)

Lessons learned while driving 3,000 miles

People who love to travel might not care that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, unless it’s after sunset and there are no motel vacancies in sight. This fall, I put more than 3,000 miles on the odometer by taking a hunch on a few unknown side roads. I winded around(…)