New national park, arms/armor museum, inn

New guidebook also shares local lore, profiles.

Newly published is “The Wisconsin Passage: an Adventure in the Handmade, Homegrown and Historical Offerings of Wisconsin from the Mississippi River to Lake Superior,” a 208-page, paperback guide to 13 counties in the state’s mysterious northwest corner.

“The book is the culmination of a dream that began 12 years ago when a group of northwest Wisconsin people, like Spooner weaver Alene Peterson, realized that the cottage industries of working crafters, artists, growers were key to a sustainable ‘creative economy’ in this region,” writes Harriet Rice of Webster, the project’s media coordinator.

The guide examines Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Dunn, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix, Sawyer and Washburn counties. It contains no commercial advertising.

The nonprofit Northwest Heritage Passage – an arts organization – is the publisher, and that’s where to order a copy for $18.95, plus shipping.

Open in Bayfield County is the new Legendary Waters Resort and Casino, 37600 Onigamling Dr., Red Cliff, and country musician Neal McCoy performs March 10 in the resort’s 400-seat ballroom.

All 47 guestrooms at Wisconsin’s newest Native American destination overlook the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. So does the casino, which is unusual because it has windows with a national park view. Both resort and casino are operated by the Lake Superior Chippewa’s Red Cliff Band.

Room rates start at $59 on weekdays, $79 on weekends; they increase in May. For more: 800-226-8478.

The tribe opens Frog Bay Tribal National Park, an 89-acre forest with hiking trails, in August.

New management at Lake Lawn Resort, 2400 E. Geneva St., Delavan, is trying to attract attention with an “Escape for Spring Break” promotion. A two-night stay starts at $249, which includes $50 in food/beverage credits, $10 in arcade game tokens, a gift bag for children and complimentary rec activities (mini golf to supervised fun for kids).

The 275-acre resort faces Delavan Lake, covers two miles of shoreline and opened in 1878. The spring getaway offer is available for March 16 to April 15 visits.

The resort is 12 miles northwest of Lake Geneva. For more: 800-338-5253.

In search of an alternative to the Friday fish fry? The Dorf Haus, 8931 Hwy. Y, Roxbury, serves roast turtle on Fridays during the Lenten season. The reptile is marinated overnight in carrots and onions, roasted four hours with a secret blend of six herbs/spices and arrives with mashed potatoes, turtle gravy, coleslaw and fritters (a restaurant specialty).

Dorf Haus founder Vern Maier, inspired by his neighbor (St. Norbert’s Catholic Church), started the tradition 26 years ago. The 52-year-old restaurant, in a community of under 2,000 people between Madison and Sauk City, is best known for its year-round Bavarian décor and cuisine.

The turtle dinner costs $14.95, and the novelty ends April 6. Reservations are advised. For more: 608-643-3980.

One iconic piece of apparel earns an entire exhibit this summer at the Harley-Davidson Museum, 400 W. Canal St., Milwaukee. “Worn to be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket,” June 16 to Sept. 3, explains the evolution from durable protection for pilots and bikers to fashion statement for celebrities and rebellious teens.

“The leather jacket symbolizes different things for each person who wears it,” notes Bill Davidson, museum vice president. His show hits the road for a nationwide tour after the stint in Milwaukee.

Expect to see leather jackets worn by Elvis, Taylor Lautner (Jacob in “The Twilight Saga”) and other stars. For more: 877-436-8738.

Daredevils are the right match for Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park, 8365 N. 76th St., Milwaukee, where dirt jumpers, BMX riders and other weekend warriors on two wheels dodge obstacles, perform 360-degree flips and maneuver nasty jumps and ruts during winter.

The most ardent of these thrill seekers buy a $299 season pass. Everybody signs a waiver and consent form. Helmets and working bike brakes are mandatory. Daily admission is $20 on weekdays, $26 on weekends.

The park, a former Menards store, was featured in a recent New York Times article. For more: 414-355-7433.

The new Castlerock Museum, 402 S. Second St., Alma, is being touted as the Midwest’s most complete collection of arms and armor. It opens in spring and aims to take visitors through 2,000 years of history: Dark Ages, Renaissance and more.

At the core of this self-guided attraction is the personal collection of Reserve Circuit Judge Gary Schlosstein, whose first acquisition was a Civil War musket that cost $10 when he as a boy. Today he owns hundred of items, including pieces obtained through Sothebys and other notable foreign auction houses.

For more: 608-685-4231.

Also soon to open in this Mississippi River town of 1,000 residents: Blue Door Inn, 331 S. Main St., where modern amenities greet overnight guests in a 1850s stone house that is built into a bluff that overlooks the river.

The inn provides suite, apartment and full house (five bedrooms, five baths) rental options; rates start at $90 per night. For more: 608-685-4067.

Columbus turns back the clock to 1864 this year, to replay the city’s involvement in the Civil War. The big draw will be the June 16-17 Horse and Carriage Festival, whose anchor is old-time equestrian competitions.

Add a parade, fashion show, battle re-enactment, cotillion, living history actors, historic building tours and talks/debates by historians. Wisconsin’s governor during this era, James Lewis, was a Columbus native.

Although the festival began 13 years ago, the all-town Civil War emphasis is new. Admission is free. For more: 920-623-3699.