Reader mailbag: many updates on camps, resorts

sunset-pinesRecent reader mail contains all sorts of news and reflections. Let’s get right into it.

Several were in contact about the July 27 death of Dale Petkovsek, the owner of Sunset Pines Resort. Dale died within one month after I wrote about his property, whose design makes the needs of physically disabled travelers the top priority. Dale, a quadriplegic, took a fatal fall when his electric ramp at home malfunctioned or was disengaged.

“Dale truly was a generous spirit,” writes Teresa Jolivette, formerly of Willard.

The resort remains in operation:, 715-937-5109. The phone number for Dale’s nearby tavern is disconnected.

“We all went to Dale’s North Mound Tavern when we were craving less-healthy food,” writes Ruth Pond of the Milwaukee area. “It was great, and so was your article. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.”

Ruth also mentioned her fond memories of the nearby Christine Center, a spiritual retreat.

“People of all faiths have attended meditation practice weekends, Dances of Universal Peace and even art seminars,” she writes. Facilities include “a lovely new dormitory and conference center. Much money has been spent there, and business is thriving.”

For more about the nondenominational Christine Center, W8303 Mann Rd., Willard:, 715-267-7507.

Brian Schuetz of Easter Seals Wisconsin reminds us that the nonprofit Camp Wawbeek, Wisconsin Dells, is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

“It is the oldest and longest running Easter Seals camp in the nation and has been providing life-changing experiences for children and adults with disabilities” since “the depth of the Great Depression,” he reports.

More than 1,000 campers attend the 400-acre facility at 1450 Hwy. 13 each year. A new dining hall was dedicated this summer.

For more:, 608-254-8319.

Owners of Camp David, the modest rental property that sits amidst million-dollar developments at Waupaca’s Chain o’ Lakes, express appreciation for my article about the longtime family getaway.

“The Chain O’ Lakes was a miracle spot for my dad,” writes Nora Sebora of Stevens Point. The late Circuit Judge David Sebora, who battled polio, “did not appear to be crippled while in a boat or swimming.

“Although he had the means to change his residence, he thought we were there to communicate with nature and to read. He was not about disrupting the land. He would be very sad at how our shoreline has changed, and the many violations that have taken place so people could have that million dollar look.”

“You captured the essence of our history very well,” says brother Dave Sebora of Waupaca. “As fall arrives I always get a bit melancholy as I close the place for winter. Your article is yet another memory that I will take with me from this summer.”

“It certainly brought back memories of a different era,” writes sister Sheila Sebora Lutiger, Hudson. “For my dad … the water was a great equalizer. He was a powerful swimmer and knew his way around boats. Today we would call this social inclusion through recreation.

“During one philosophical moment, reflecting on his polio, he said, ‘The problem is not so much about how to physically get from point A to point B, but how to fit in.’

What began there as Camp Cleghorn turned into an expanded community with the passage of time.

“My father spent 81 summers on the Chain. He knew every sandbar, fishing hole, back current,” Sheila says. “He taught us, to swim, sail, canoe and water ski. Looking at the landscape these days, it would be hard to imagine this as the Northwoods.”

She notes that her family has a Hayward cabin. “It is in our blood,” she reasons. “My husband’s family had a small place on Big St. Germaine Lake, Vilas County. His uncle spent 83 summers there, sharing the Northwoods with his cousins.”

For more about the private rental property, go to

“I plan on skiing in my 17th Birkebeiner in 2014 and hope to once again visit” Telemark Resort’s “darkened parlor,” where Big Band music played long ago, and headliners included Duke Ellington to Frank Sinatra, writes Barry Kolsrud of Iowa City, Iowa.

Sorry to report that the longtime Cable resort is closed and in foreclosure. Looks like intervention by “Hotel Impossible” TV show producers was not enough to keep the perennially challenged destination financially viable.

My impressions of Marquette, Mich., struck a chord with a couple of you.

“Marquette does winter well,” observes Sue Manson of Kenosha, who also says “the David Manson with whom you spoke at Blackrocks Brewery is a cousin of sorts to Kenosha’s mayor, Keith Bosman.”

Omar Durfee of Fond du Lac got acquainted with area while he was a visiting professor of sociology at Northern Michigan University.

“I saw enough of the area to fall completely in love with the place,” he writes. “I would walk the trails around Little Presque Isle with a colleague and his dog, regardless of the season. I was introduced to and fell in love with the sport of hockey.”

Kathy Brand of Kenosha wonders about the timeliness of bus services that make stops at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport and Greyhound bus station.

“Several years ago, I made plans to take the bus from Kenosha to Mitchell Field,” she writes. “The bus had mechanical problems in Kenosha, and passengers were told to wait for the next bus, about two hours later. I would have missed my plane connection, so I walked back home and called a friend to take me to the airport.”

Readers, what is your experience with these types of connections?

Last: A Brown County reader offers to be my travel assistant. “I still work full time, so I don’t know how much I would be able to go right now,” she writes. “But when I retire, I should be able to go a lot more. Let me know if you need volunteers.”

Sorry to say that much of my work is done solo and anonymously. It’s a good but lean life and – truly – not as glamorous as it might appear. My research involves lots of odd itineraries, long work hours and spontaneous decisions, some of which have annoyed my occasional traveling companions.