New: retreat, fun park, plays, bike trips


Here’s to the new, as in partnerships, transitions, decisions and distinctions in the world of close-to-home travel.

Wild Rice, the fine-dining restaurant near Bayfield, closed about one year ago (after a 16-year run) and is being replaced by Wild Rice Retreat, a haven for art and wellness classes and events.

The change of purpose for this beautifully roomy, light-filled space is described as a pilot program to create “the most vibrant, creative and beautiful destination retreat center in the Upper Midwest.”

One anchor is Silverwaves Jewelry; owner Lissa Flemming is a metalsmith and jewelry instructor. The jewelry studio will be equipped for classes in soldering, forging, beading and other techniques.

January metalsmithing workshops already are scheduled, in addition to open jewelry labs and multi-day jewelry retreat workshops. Yoga, a holiday market and wine bar hours are on the docket too.

Now open at Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells is the new Tom Foolery’s Adventure Park, developed in conjunction with former Disney feature film animators.

“Guests will be able to experience a world of wonder through the eyes of the Foolery Family – following Tom through magical portals and to other-worldly dimensions,” the company promises. An indoor roller coaster and zipline course have been added to the revamped area, which already includes miniature golf, go karts, bowling and arcade games.

Count the EAA Aviation Museum, Oshkosh, among the destinations that make the cut in the new book “Top 100 Military Sites in America” by historian L. Douglas Keeney (Globe Pequot Press, $19).

The book makes note of the museum’s Eagle Hangar, home to at least one dozen vintage military aircraft and other artifacts associated with military aviation, especially during World War II.

American Players Theatre, Spring Green, turns 40 in 2019 and has announced its outdoor amphitheater productions for that anniversary season.

In the lineup are “Twelfth Night” and “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare; “She Stoops to Conquer” by Oliver Goldsmith; “Fences” by August Wilson; and “The Book of Will” by Lauren Gunderson.

APT’s smaller, indoor Touchstone Theatre will present “The Man of Destiny” by George Bernard Shaw; “A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur” by Tennessee Williams; and “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen.

Dates and times will be announced in January, tickets will be available in March and play synopses are online now.

New destinations for Trek Travel, specializing in bicycling vacations, include Normandy, France; Japan; Sicily, Italy; the Canadian Rockies; Colombia; and a cross-country southern U.S. trip.

“Trek Travel combines access to undiscovered routes with intimate cultural experiences and an unparalleled level of hospitality,” the Madison-based company promises. The company, formed in 2002, arranges luxury tours for cyclists of all abilities. Participants use Trek bikes, which are made in Wisconsin.

Travel + Leisure magazine this year included Trek Travel in its World’s Best Tour Operator list, an elite grouping of 10 businesses.

Divergent Wisconsin businesses are coming together in unusual ways. Two examples:

The Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association is partnering with Carmex, the Badger-based maker of lip balm, to introduce a lip butter made with cranberries. Carmex SuperCran is billed as cranberry flavored, rich in antioxidants and made with Wisconsin-harvested berries.

The new product, introduced during a press conference in a cranberry marsh near Warrens, is being stocked at pharmaceutical stores and is the culmination of a two-year research project. Wisconsin is the nation’s leader in cranberry production. Franklin-based Carmex is family owned and began business in 1937.

In Middleton, Clasen’s European Bakery and Capital Brewery are collaborating on a line of soft pretzels and bread for sandwiches. Ingredients feature spent grain from beer brewing.

The bakery has so far developed recipes using a sourdough starter and grains from the brewery’s Wisconsin Amber and Supper Club beer, producing Amber White bread and Supper Club Wheat bread. Bakery owner Michelle Clasen calls it “a natural fit” and “just the beginning” of a new product line.

Scott Wiener, Capital Brewery president, likes the notion of repurposing the spent grain instead of simply discarding it. “In one month since meeting with Clasen’s, we’ve been able to go from concept to production,” he says. The breads are for sale at the bakery (in business since 1959), brewery (in its third decade) and area grocers.,

A historic brewery in Stillwater, Minn., has been transformed into a 40-room boutique hotel called Lora.

The original buildings were carved into limestone bluffs in 1886. Now the unique architecture is part of Provenance Hotels, headquartered in Oregon. The hotel has three food and beverage outlets: the restaurant Feller, coffee-juice bar MADE and craft cocktail bar The Long Goodbye.

Hotel furnishings are big on Minnesota-made products. That includes Faribault Mills blankets on the beds, and art from the She She collective.

Introductory rates start at $275 for an overnight.

New to the Chicago Riverwalk is the large-scale art installation called Black Tiberinus by Robert Burnier of Chicago. Look for it between Franklin and Lake streets.

The installation’s three geometric structures are made of steel, nylon mesh and rope. The suspended forms hang over the lawn where Wacker Drive turns from west to south.

Black Tiberinus remains on display through May 2019. The title is a reference to the Roman God of the River Tiber. Additional art installations are being planned for the 1.25-mile Riverwalk.