2006: Our roundup of good, unusual lodging

It is time to stow away another stack of notebooks and prepare to explore a new year, but not without reviewing a few highlights from 2006. This week, the topic is notable lodging. Next week, it’s a recap of exceptional meals. If “Roads Traveled” already has mentioned a great place to sleep or eat, you(…)

Planetariums, observatories: Eyes on skies

Life is full of mystery, and we need only look skyward for evidence. Some stars rise and set. Others orbit. We are only beginning to understand our place in the universe, but people have long paid attention, with awe and wonder. Christians believe the Three Wise Men used the brilliant Star of Bethlehem to find(…)

Primo places for Packer fans to visit

It is easy to relive the glory days of football in Green Bay, even without involving Lambeau Field. “Packer City Antiques sells the best collection of past and present Packer memorabilia I’ve seen,” writes Mike Schaller of Janesville. “It is a must-see for true Packer fans.” “I strongly recommend Fuzzy’s #63 Bar & Grill,” writes(…)

Quality Candy: Sweet family biz since 1916

There is time to shop before I meet Margaret Gile, so I eye up her merchandise and decide which extra calories should be transported home. It is not an easy decision, but an unexpected reward comes when I finally make a purchase. It is a single, exquisite piece of fairy food, also known as angel(…)

Orlando option: Stay and play downtown

Like hundreds of other Wisconsin fans, we will head to Orlando this month, to cheer on our beloved Badgers during the Capital One (aka Citrus) Bowl on Jan. 1. Unlike the typical visitor to this part of Florida, we’ll likely return north without spending much time – if any – on a Walt Disney World(…)

Appleton steakhouse also Lombardi museum

A remarkable tribute to one of the country’s most beloved coaches thrives quietly in downtown Appleton, and his son will visit in early December. Vince Lombardi’s Steakhouse, inside of the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, is a classy museum as well as a fining dining spot that has earned Wine Spectator awards. Covering walls and display(…)

Visitors take flight, literally, at EAA museum

I am flying along Hawaii’s Na Pali Coast, admiring a string of glorious but severe cliffs on the small island of Kauai, when the unthinkable happens. My perspective tilts 180 degrees, so the aqua coastline seems like sky. I lurch left, then forward, groping at whatever I can to win back equilibrium. Amazingly, the path(…)

Airport restaurants worth a special landing

I’m old enough to remember when some people went to airports just to watch the planes land and take off. Heightened security and hefty parking fees have made this harder to do, especially at the busiest departure points. It’s one reason why The Jet Room, off U.S. 51 in Madison, is a delight. The bright(…)

Stefano veers from Italian to Duke of Devon

First came the brats and potato salad. Now there are bangers and mash, too, an unusual extension of ethnic richness in a community long regarded as one-dimensional. The chef whose tremendous Italian food helped sauce up Sheboygan’s culinary reputation in the 1990s recently helped bring an authentic taste of England to the city’s waterfront. “Authentic,”(…)

New tours, exhibit additions, lodging ideas

One of the more frustrating parts of my job is routinely ignoring dozens of honorable story ideas and press releases because there is not enough time or space in the newspaper to accommodate everything. Here are a few examples.
 
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The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, in one year has acquired three major paintings by masters(…)

Shopping destinations for girlfriend getaways

The deer hunting gun season begins next month, so that makes it a time of pilgrimage for spouses as well as hunters. Here are a half-dozen packages that are being billed as girl getaways, be it shopping now or skiing when winter arrives.
 
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A degree from PowerShop University costs $35 in Appleton on Nov. 11, when(…)

County Clare, Milwaukee, reaches 10th year

The connections between Wisconsin and Ireland are strong, and nobody knows that better than Rip O’Dwanny, who says he has crossed the Atlantic Ocean 108 times since January 1998.
 
He grew up two blocks from one of the four Irish guesthouses that he
owns: Milwaukee’s classy and 29-room County Clare, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.(…)

Hotel Pattee, Perry, big on small-town pride

Small town. Big idea. Rural setting. Multicultural pride. Perry, population 7,500, has long been in the middle of Iowa’s “corn-hog belt.” The drive there, one-half hour northwest of Des Moines, feels like a trip to the middle of nowhere. Locals will remind you that small towns rule in this state. They are not overshadowed by(…)

Quad Cities: four levels for riverfront activity

Eagle watching is the lure in winter. Music – sultry jazz to woeful blues – brings crowds in warmer weather. The Mississippi River, which runs east-west only here, earns attention all year. Next month, the Quad Cities of Moline and Rock Island, Ill., Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, will attract hundreds of wanderers and nature lovers(…)

Iowa abbeys offer caskets, caramels, hotel

When you hit the road for a fall colors tour this year, consider heading to the other side of the Mississippi River, for a slice of heaven as well as leaves of warm hues. How do you define heaven? The drive, especially along the Great River Road, may be enough on its own. The route(…)

Reader mail: Great but lesser-known lodging

Time to dip into the reader mailbag. Thanks very much for taking the time to be in contact. — Kellie Williams writes to rave about “a lovely weekend” spent at Village Green Lodge, Ephraim.  “The innkeepers were so hospitable, food was great, and the rooms were well-kept, with a country décor,” she says. It is(…)

Lena class lends Slinky as a travel mascot

I have a new traveling companion for the school year, and you can call him Slinky. We just got back from Ohio and soon will head to Iowa. Before winter, we’ll explore Chile and Patagonia, around the time that summer is about to arrive in South America. My new buddy’s adventures will be followed by(…)

No-limit learning propels Discovery World

When the door to the digital theater opens, the first surprise is that the room is full of natural light. Seats face a sheet of windows, revealing Lake Michigan, Milwaukee’s lakefront festival grounds and the new Lakeshore State Park (Wisconsin’s first state park in an urban setting). Then the wide swath of sky and water(…)

NW gems: Stout’s Island, Tagalong Resort

We are waiting on a quiet dock for a pontoon to ferry us away, and when the boat arrives, the driver makes a polite inquiry. “Do you have reservations?” he asks. The trip is free and will be brief. The destination is the Island of Happy Days, near Birchwood and north of Rice Lake. If(…)

9/11 artifacts fill NYC Ground Zero Museum

Dented eyeglasses. Crosses of hope cut from scraps of steel. One computer keyboard, crushed and melted. An ordinary clock, hands frozen at 10:02. Gary Marlon Suson doesn’t need to see the new movie “World Trade Center” to be reminded of the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001. He is surrounded by evidence of the disaster whenever(…)

Plenty is cookin’ in Cleveland for Badger fans

My friends, we have a dilemma: There are too many things to do in Cleveland during Labor Day weekend.

That is the way my e-mail to two dozen people began this month, in response to questions about what we’ll do to pass the time during a group outing. We are heading to Ohio to watch Wisconsin(…)

Wisconsin Dells is capable of amusing adults

The Wisconsin Dells is an outrageously excessive wonderland for kids, but it’s possible for adults to stay amused, too, while never entering a waterpark. How so? Let’s count four ways. — The area’s newest attraction, Broadway in the Dells, just opened with an intense and energetic musical revue by a dozen performers. They were hired(…)

Yurt, dining gems in northwest Wisconsin

It’s been six days away from home and 1,000 more miles on the odometer. Northwest Wisconsin is full of good reasons to dawdle. Like a fine cheese or decadent dessert, we’ll parcel it out in small servings. When wandering this part of Wisconsin, here are a few places worth noting. — Four out of five(…)