For New Year’s Eve: retreats to hoopla

I suspect that you may want more than bad champagne and squeaky paper horns to ring in the new year. Rest up, Wild One. Here are a few options. — Chandelier Ballroom, Hartford (Washington County) – This historic and grand ballroom is making a comeback. Spend New Year’s Eve here and a part of the(…)

New travel books for holiday gift giving

  Your days are numbered, fretful holiday shoppers. If you’re “to buy” list remains annoying, consider these travel book titles. “Moon Metro Chicago” edited by Grace Fujimoto (Avalon Travel Publishing, $16.95) – If you need help navigating the Windy City but don’t want to look like a dork, here’s help. This is a practical guidebook(…)

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(…)

Four gifts geared toward girlfriend getaways

How about a little self-indulgence before getting lost between cookie sheets, holiday card lists, blinking lights and check-out lines? Consider pampering yourself, or a woman you love. — 

”Women of Wings” is the title of a sister-state cultural exchange program that will be May 15-24, 2003, to Chiba, Japan. Organized by Wisconsin-Chiba Inc., a nonprofit(…)

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(…)

Mall of America, at age 10, ready to expand

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Ten years after the opening of Mall of America, spokeswoman Monica Davis certainly knows her competition. It’s not your favorite neighborhood shopping center, and it’s not simply the only mall in the world that’s bigger (5.3 million square feet at West Edmonton Mall, Alberta, Canada). When execs think about competitors, they’re watching(…)

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(…)

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(…)

Halloween: haunted houses, caves, woods

If your county is like many in Wisconsin, you expect it to get pretty scary during this time of year. The business of producing Halloween haunts can involve an odd range of people: Jaycees, firefighters, campground operators, Optimists, disc jockeys, farmers, high school students, professional stagehands and actors. There are haunted barns and hayrides all(…)

Inside Breitbach’s, Iowa’s oldest restaurant

I took the long way to the Twin Cities this month, first heading to Dubuque and then hugging the Mississippi River while meandering north. Around lunchtime, I was in Balltown, Iowa. Population is 73, or 37, depending upon the source. The town’s tourist lure is Breitbach’s Country Dining (319-552-2220), which is the state’s oldest restaurant.(…)

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(…)

Wisconsin, Midwest travel advice lives here

Plan to vacation in the Midwest? Trips to this peaceful part of the U.S. – especially affordable, offbeat spots in rural areas – is our specialty. So search our site (top right), learn more about us and enjoy your holiday! Tweet