Beat the heat with these Wisconsin destinations that have something new or novel to offer summertime travelers.
Actor’s Craft, Kenosha: Find your inner Bogart at acting camps and classes with a certified coach whose technique is used by professional actors, including Academy Award winners. Topics range from one-night scene studies to five-day immersions in acting. The location depends on the class. actorscraftwisconsin.com, 262-705-0194
American Players Theatre, Spring Green: Picnicking, then trekking up a short but steep hill on APT’s 110-acre campus is a summer tradition for fans of the outdoor amphitheater. The flagship stage was removed and rebuilt for this 38th season of productions, in part to improve acoustics and sight lines. In the lineup at 5950 Golf Course Rd. this year: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “A Flea in Her Ear,” “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “Three Sisters” and “Pericles, Prince of Tyre.” The indoor Touchstone Theatre, at the hill’s base, adds smaller-audience performances. americanplayers.org, 608-588-2361
Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan: Look for characters and settings from beloved children’s books in this two-acre garden, which opened in 2010. Now monthly, three-course dinners on the patio terrace feature area chefs: Rob Hurrie of Black Pig on July 12, Diane Trester of Wild Carrot Cuisine on Aug. 9 and Marc Ehler of BoMallies on Sept. 13. A ticket is $75, reservations are necessary and gatherings begin at 5:30 p.m. at 1415 Campus Dr. bookwormgardens.org, 920-287-7895
Braise, Milwaukee: Chef-owner Dave Swanson is a James Beard Award nominee and coined the phrase Restaurant Supported Agriculture. Now he’s arranging a series of three-course dinners for up to 30 at farms that provide Braise restaurant with key ingredients. Dates with tickets left are July 29 at Hometown Sausage Kitchen, East Troy; Aug. 12 and Sept. 16 at Farm 45, Jackson; Sept. 23 at Willoway Farm, Fredonia; Sept. 30 at Shared Seasons, Fredonia; Oct. 7, pig roast and potluck at Willow Way ($50); Oct. 14 at Brightonwoods Orchard, Burlington ($115) ; and Oct. 21 at Yuppie Hill Poultry, Burlington. Tickets are $100, unless otherwise noted. braiselocalfood.com, 414-212-8843
Catgut Paddle, La Crosse: Plenty race by foot and bike in Wisconsin, and now a new event challenges paddling speed and technique on the Mississippi and Black rivers. A 14-mile canoe and kayak race is the marquee event, but that’s not all. Add a four-mile lap around Hiawatha Island, jousting and yoga on paddleboards, a beginning class on paddling and a couple of guided paddles for groups. The city-sponsored events happen at Veterans Freedom Park, 108 Clinton St. catgutpaddle.com, 608-789-7533
Harley Davidson Museum, Milwaukee: The edgy motorcycle museum and pilgrimage point for “hog” fans introduces “The Race of Gentlemen,” a special exhibit about the “vehicles, artistry, passion and personalities” that are a part of annual vintage hot rod and motorcycle races along the Jersey Shore – a throwback to bygone days. Artifacts include a 1923 Ford T Roadster and 1946 Harley Knucklehead. The show fills The Garage gallery at 500 W. Canal St. until Sept. 4. harley-davidson.com/museum, 877-436-8738
Hmong Wausau Festival, July 29-30, Wausau: Hmong refugees began fleeing Vietnam and Laos 40 years ago, and Wisconsin’s Hmong population is the nation’s third largest (after California and Minnesota). The nonprofit Hmong American Center is organizing a mix of sports, music, history and cultural events at Eastbay Sports Complex, 602 Kent St. Vendors will sell Hmong foods and handicrafts. Competitions involve prize money: $4,000 for soccer, $1,000 for dance, $800 for singing – and $1,000 for Mr. Hmong Royalty. visitwausau.com, 888-948-4748; hmongamericancenter.org, 715-842-8390
Museum of Quilting and Fiber Arts, Cedarburg: Learn to dye fabrics, yarn and other fibers at one- to five-day summer camps for children or adults. Use natural dyes – twigs, bark, leaves, other plants – or concentrate on technique, such as tie dye. These classes are in addition to occasional quilting and weaving workshops at the museum, N50 W5050 Portland Rd. Price depends upon topic. wiquiltmuseum.com, 262-546-0300
Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend: Four summer exhibits show off the world of fashion from different perspectives: “The Roddis Collection: American Style and Spirit,” garments, letters and artifacts found in a Marshfield attic in 1972; “Florence Eiseman: Designing Childhood for the American Century,” about a Milwaukee woman’s high-end clothing line; “Daniel Arnold: A Paparazzo for Strangers,” works from a street photographer in New York City; and “Contemporary Threads: Wisconsin Fashion,” the works of 10 designers with Wisconsin connections, in place until Aug. 20. The other three shows are up until Sept. 17 at 205 Veterans Ave. wisconsinart.org, 262-247-2266
Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center, Warrens: A museum and shop devoted to all things cranberry recently was given the 1,500-piece cranberry glass collection of longtime cranberry growers Clinton and Ellen Potter. Some of the glass will be on display, but most will be offered for sale to raise funds for the non-profit museum. Sales will help strengthen the mission of the museum, at 204 Main St., to spread the good word about Wisconsin’s cranberry heritage and production. discovercranberries.com, 608-378-4878
Itching for an out-of-state road trip? Consider this.
The pork tenderloin sandwich is to Iowa what brats on a bun are to Wisconsin. Now the Hawkeye State, which leads the nation in pork production, has an Iowa Pork Tenderloin Trail to help visitors sniff out the very best. A map at iowapork.org (search “pork tenderloin trail”) pinpoints 15 restaurants – including pubs and cafes, a supper club and a drive-in.
Count these as perennial winners. The Iowa Pork Producers Association awards “best breaded pork tenderloin” honors to a different restaurant every year.
Go to traveliowa.com for additional ideas about what else to do with your time in Iowa.