How to deal with the unexpected during travel

I sometimes welcome the unexpected in travel because that’s the foundation for fond and lasting memories, even though you might not think so at the time. An overnight at a Buddhist temple north of Busan, South Korea, had us fumbling with chopsticks, in fear of an order to swig a slosh of wasted food, then(…)

Hemingway haunts: Michigan to Florida, Cuba to Spain

Sixty years ago, “The Old Man and the Sea” was published in Life magazine, and author Ernest Hemingway won a Pulitzer Prize for the work one year later. Now is the time to get better acquainted with the brilliant, troubled and iconic writer. New on HBO is the film “Hemingway and Gellhorn,” starring Clive Owen(…)

Les Paul, GuitarTown mold Waukesha’s music image

Waukesha’s love affair with Les Paul, whose work forever changed the sound of music, is about to deepen. The city soon unveils an outdoor public art project downtown, in response to Gibson Guitar Corp.’s selection of Waukesha as the world’s eighth GuitarTown. (The others are Nashville, Hollywood, London, Orlando, Miami, Cleveland and Austin, Texas.) Wisconsin(…)

Truly rural Fox Hills aims for good value

Vince Lombardi used to bring his coaches here for a little R&R in the 1960s. Hundreds of Chicago police officers more recently sought the same benefit, from the same place, during work retreats. The area’s longstanding reputation is a part of its charm, and challenge. Good golfing in a peaceful, rural setting was enough of(…)

Hot dog! Food trucks add sizzle to go-local menus

With the sunshine of spring comes a huge craving to fire up the grill and plop on the brats. Such simple, brown-and-sizzle pleasures turn extraordinary about 1,000 miles south. For breakfast: hot skewers of sausage doused with pancake/waffle batter, sprinkled with brown sugar and kissed with a syrup whose artisan flavors change with the season.(…)

Friendship Force boosts goodwill through travel

If tears flow at the end, as they are known to do, you can bet it’s a sign that the trip was successful. That’s because when the Friendship Force travels, the journey extends beyond tourist sites and souvenirs. Participants sometimes make meaningful connections as they are introduced to the lives of average people in other(…)

Bible stories as tourism in Israel

This week’s column, an introduction to Christian tourist sites in Israel, can be found here.

Walking the ‘Way of Grief’ in Jerusalem’s Old City

This week’s column, about seeing Jerusalem’s Old City for the first time, can be found here.

‘Discover Wisconsin’ longest-running tourism show

Question: What television show (with about twice as many episodes as “Seinfeld”) is the nation’s longest-running for its genre? Answer: “Discover Wisconsin,” which aired its 350th episode this month. No other tourism series has outlasted it. The show began 25 years ago and runs on 18 TV stations in the Midwest. A new coffee-table book,(…)

Cutting into the mustard at Middleton museum

Shortly after our host delivered a platter of shaved corned beef and rye bread, he returned with a word of advice: If you need mayo, leave now. Barry Levenson, founder of the National Mustard Museum, was smiling but not kidding. About 30 of us were at his Middleton museum on a recent Sunday afternoon, rating(…)

Rural ramble: St. Croix curds, cave, Vino in Valley

Former Gov. Anthony Earl in the 1980s dubbed Ellsworth, population 3,200, as Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin. The 102-year-old Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery produces 160 pounds of curds every day. “They’re fresh and ready at 11 a.m.,” says the creamery’s Beth Ingli, while busily distributing samples at this month’s annual Wisconsin Restaurant Association Expo in Milwaukee.(…)

New national park, arms/armor museum, inn

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(…)

Making magic: Houdini, other tricksters

Would you go out of your way to watch a guy escape from a straitjacket? How about if he was hanging upside-down outdoors, several stories higher than your neck could stretch? The peculiar antics of Harry Houdini, 1874-1926, easily drew curious crowds by the hundreds. We have long known of Houdini as an escape artist(…)

Springfield: politics through Abe’s eyes

The face of Lincoln shows up everywhere in Illinois – brass busts on office desks to bigger-than-life memorials in city parks – but there’s just one place to grasp the many layers of the 16th president’s life before and during a complex time of American history. Springfield – Lincoln’s home from 1837-61, and his final(…)

Valentine ideas, to enhance romance

Maybe you give or get roses by the dozen during this month of love, and that’s fine, but don’t dismiss other ways to freshen up affections. For example: Many recreational areas in the state arrange snowshoeing, hiking or cross-country skiing by candlelight during this time of year, and the state Department of Natural Resources compiles(…)

Chicago fans share their fave hidden gems

Spiritual sites, ethnic neighborhoods, down-home food, fine fabrics and Asian art are among your worthwhile reasons for stepping away from the Loop and Magnificent Mile. Here is what readers had to recommend about good but lesser-known reasons to visit Chicago. — “The one place I really enjoy seeing, besides the usual tourist things, is Pacific(…)

Chicago food: beyond dawgs, pizza, Bayless

Jazzed-up hot dogs, deep-dish pizza and any product with chef Rick Bayless’ thumbprint are among the foods that make Chicago famous. Add wiener schnitzel from the Berghoff, burgers from the Billy Goat Tavern, “da pork chop” from Ditka’s and pastas from Tony Mantuano’s Spiaggia. This is Chicago cuisine that – for the average tourist –(…)

Chicago travel: beyond the Magnificent Mile

For years, I’ve headed to Chicago for day trips or quick overnights – usually taking in the obvious sites and sticking to places tourists congregate. That changed in 2011, when two events (a business conference and a football game) lured me to the Windy City for seven nights, with ample time to explore what’s beyond(…)

Visit Indy without a Super Bowl game ticket

The next best thing to following your favorite NFL team to the 2012 Super Bowl is shadowing the pre-game action in Indianapolis, which hosts the event. Fans who visit up to one week before the Feb. 5 game will get far closer to the players and playing field than they would by buying a $2,600(…)