wisconsin

Supper club food: new at Kohl Center, former Shorecrest Hotel

Wisconsin supper club food is the star in new settings that are casual, stylish and distinctive as winter nears. Factor in an expansion of projects that call attention to supper clubs, and what we have is a food movement or renaissance that shows no sign of fading. Ron Faiola of Milwaukee, whose “Wisconsin Supper Clubs:(…)

Janesville agritourism farmer designs, cuts corn mazes

What started monumental change at the Tom and Cheryl Skelly farm in 1989? Four rows of sweet corn. The crop was more than enough for the family to eat, so they sold the excess for $1 per dozen. Then came 9-year-old son Scott’s plea to carve a path within the rustling stalks, an odd idea(…)

Rustic Roads crisscross Wisconsin for scenic autumn drives

When asked to recommend a scenic Wisconsin drive for USA Today a few years ago, I deliberately veered away from the Mississippi River’s Great River Road and other grand but obvious choices. I favored a five-mile stretch of dirt and gravel that sashays around little lakes and post-glacier forestation, north of Rib Lake in Taylor(…)

Take Ten: pretty places to hike in Wisconsin

Editor’s note: Wisconsin-native Kevin Revolinski is the author of 60 Hikes Madison, Best Hikes Near Milwaukee, Paddling Wisconsin, Best Tent Camping Wisconsin and Wisconsin’s Best Beer Guide. His blog is Revtravel.com. By KEVIN REVOLINSKI You don’t have to go as far as the Appalachian Trail for a fine walk in the woods. Wisconsin’s state park(…)

New cookbook, film show off Wisconsin supper club diversity

Supper club fever has persisted ever since Ron Faiola of Milwaukee introduced “Wisconsin Supper Clubs: an Old Fashioned Experience” as a film in 2011 and book in 2013. Filmmaker Holly De Ruyter, an Oneida native, released her “Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club” to raves at this year’s Wisconsin Film Festival. For(…)

And our photo contest winner is: Only in Wisconsin

Beautiful natural settings, culturally unique attractions and comical snapshots all were in the mix of “Only in Wisconsin” photo entries that you shared with me recently. Yes, we have winners, but these were not easy decisions. Good photography is a mix of skill, awareness, planning and luck. The instructions for this exercise: Submit an image(…)

Take Ten: beautiful, challenging places to canoe in Wisconsin

Guest columnist Lynne Diebel of Stoughton is the author of numerous books about the outdoors, and the most recent is Crossing the Driftless (University of Wisconsin Press, $20). The book is both a traveler’s tale and an exploration of the land the glaciers missed, an ancient landscape of bluffs, ridgetops and steep valleys that long(…)

National pie champs have rural roots

Twenty years ago, Caroline Imig’s world started crashing. Her husband was killed in a farm equipment accident, leaving her as a single mother with five children. She tried to sell 350 acres and a herd of 120 cows, only to have a land contract buyer abandon the property without her knowledge. “They left me in(…)

Where the locals go in Madison during winter

Dreams of a white Christmas usually come true for us in Wisconsin, but there’s a quick skid of difference between picturesque wintry weather and an avalanche of discontent. A new exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison, gently reminds us that the modern-day pleasures and pitfalls of winter are gentle when compared to what our(…)

Food on the farm: Restaurant ingredients truly local

Lots of chefs develop farm-to-table menus to showcase local ingredients, but these restaurants go one step further. Each is on a Wisconsin farm and open all year. North Star Homestead Farms, 11077N Fullington Rd., Hayward: A trio of women – Ann Berlage with daughters Laura and Kara – operate a café, market and creamery on(…)

Pizza farms: Drive in, dine out, stay til sunset

Pizza.com declares 93 percent of Americans ate pizza in the last month, and each of us averages 46 slices per year. Dustin Booth and Emily Fradenburgh are among a growing number of rural Wisconsinites who smelled opportunity because of conclusions like these. They live on Polk County farmland with a former sawmill that his parents(…)

Dream Dance chef wins pork recipe contest

Meat lovers crave thick and juicy steaks, right? Let’s say “part right,” because pork during the past two years has been the food-service industry’s fastest-growing protein. That means cutting-edge restaurant chefs are giving pork entrées more than a perfunctory nod on their menus. The Wisconsin Pork Producers Association helps this along with the annual Taste(…)

Dells Bells: Low-cost weddings inside Vegas-style chapel

Between the Showboat Saloon and Old River Mini Golf, downtown in Wisconsin Dells, Katie Chandler and Evert Reeve officially began a new chapter of life this month. “There is no institution more sacred than the home you are about to make,” Scott Joles observed, inside the cheerful yellow sanctuary that is Dells Bells Wedding Chapel.(…)

Artistry on ice: castles, sculptures, windswept lakeshore caves

Single-digit temps. Double-digit winds. Looks like our January thaw is history, but the frosty season which remains is a beauty, thanks in no small part to ice. Ice? The glaze that makes roads and sidewalks perilous adds a warm sparkle to Wisconsin during this time of year. The state is a shimmering showcase of frozen(…)

Wisconsin wines: Fast-growing industry ready for global exposure?

Seems like everybody makes predictions during this time of year. We assign odds to football championships and celebrity romances. We speculate which quirks and changes will turn into trends or cultural shifts. Those who guess right become experts and visionaries. Those who guess wrong risk their credibility. So it pays to have a clear crystal(…)

Coming soon: new Kenosha baseball team, oldtime bikes at Old World Wisconsin

When hopes for a new year include outings, the destinations need not be exotic to be fulfilling. Here are ways to put a fun and enriching spin on the first six months of 2014. January: I’m plunging into winter with three Wisconsin authors whose newest books are tributes to rural living and published by Wisconsin(…)

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(…)

Nashville: For the love of country, and beyond

This week’s column, observations about Nashville, can be found here. Who else, besides Hatch Show Prints, works with old-time wood type? Read about Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers.

Charlie’s Drive-in: It’s Elvis, tattoos, classic cars

Rachel Mann-Rosenfeldt takes a big step on the day before we meet. She adds a tattoo to her left leg – not a teensy rose or wimpy butterfly, but a sketch that covers much of her outer calf. It is not Rachel’s first tattoo, but this time the indelible ink freezes time in a most(…)

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(…)

‘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.(…)