Travel stats, film fests, BOW, Harley draws


Research posted by the U.S. Travel Association, a nonprofit that advocates travel to and throughout the United States, reveal our antsy nature and wanderlust. Among the conclusions:

Six in 10 Americans say they desperately need a vacation. Although 97 percent say having a trip planned makes them happier, about one-third did not use all of their vacation time in 2020.

When a coronavirus vaccine is accessible, 53 percent of us want to use paid time off for a vacation away from home. Most will wait until at least April; four in 10 intend to wait for vaccine distribution.

Our first trip most likely will be to visit friends or relatives, and we’ll travel by car.

These pandemic times have been unkind to the travel industry, which lost at least $500 billion in 2020, a decline of 42 percent from 2019.

For me, it’s best to take one little getaway – real or virtual – at a time. I gravitate to destinations that acknowledge Covid-19 on their website and explain what measures are taken to help customers feel safe.

If a destination acts as though the virus doesn’t exist, I look elsewhere for places to do business and find plenty of interesting options. Here are a few.

Wisconsin’s BOW – Becoming an Outdoors Woman – programs happen all year and have been adjusted to accommodate smaller groups in workshops, many of which are outdoors.

“We’re learning how to work within the confines of Covid-19 precautions while offering fun, hands-on classes, and getting good at it,” states an announcement for the next offering: BOW in Snow, Feb. 5-7 at Treehaven Field Station, Tomahawk.

The 18 workshop topics include birding, ice fishing, wreath making, archery, deer hunting, cross-country skiing, sewing with fur, firearm safety, gun cleaning, winter survival and land navigation. Maximum capacity is 30 participants, who will split into smaller groups for their three chosen sessions. Lodging is in modern dorm rooms, which each contain a bathroom. Solo travelers get a single room.

Cost is $399 for two nights of lodging, six meals and workshops (plus an additional fee if workshop materials are required).

Other upcoming BOW programs include fly fishing school, June 4-5, Waupaca; Northern Highland State Forest camping, canoeing and exploring, June 24-27, Woodruff; Isle Royale National Park exploration and sea kayaking, July 16-21, Upper Michigan; multi-class outdoor fair, Aug. 14, Stevens Point; and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore sea cave kayaking, Sept. 1-12, Bayfield.

BOW programs happen all year throughout North America, but it all began 23 years ago at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Think summer, tooling along with a breeze in your face. Although the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee is temporarily closed, virtual gallery talks continue to take us for one interesting ride after another.

Curator David Kreidler goes into detail about “Off-Road Harley-Davidson” at 7 p.m. Feb. 25.  The talk coincides with a special exhibit about the history of motorcycles designed for rough roads, the riders and their adventures.

“Early riders had to be prepared for all sorts of terrain: sand, clay or dirt,” notes a museum press release. “Today, it’s called off-road or adventure touring; back then it was just called riding.”

Reserve your spot for the gallery talk under “events and programs” at

The annual Door County Short Film Fest goes virtual on Feb. 12-21.

A $20 full-access pass covers 10 days of online streaming of feature films and 30 short films from around the world.

Four feature films were created in Wisconsin: “Love on Holiday” (about an annual songwriting festival in Sturgeon Bay), “A Christmas Sunset” (a drama about friends reuniting after a death), “The Al Johnson’s Story: 70 Years of Pancakes, Goats and Swedes” (a documentary about the longtime Sister Bay restaurant) and “Small Town Wisconsin” (about a father-son road trip to Milwaukee that goes comically and tragically wrong).

Buy a ticket at For film fest details, go to

The annual Beloit Film Festival, Feb. 19-28, will have virtual and drive-in components.

In addition to ticketed screenings and chats with filmmakers online, three films will be shown in a free, drive-in setting at an Ironworks Campus parking lot downtown.

A singalong and showing of “The Wizard of Oz,” the 1939 classic, happens at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20. The 1936 comedy “Modern Times” with Charlie Chaplin is the featured silent film, to be shown at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26. “Sixteen Candles,” a coming-of-age film shot primarily in and near Chicago, is the attraction at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27.

Also expect a curated lineup of at least 100 independent films from around the world. That includes the Wisconsin-Illinois Showcase of regional filmmakers.

Tickets are $10. Look for schedule details online Feb. 9.

You can go anywhere in a virtual world, and that includes the 15th annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience, online this year. The event begins with a free admission, live telecast at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 21. Expect guided wine tastings and cooking demos, just in time for Passover.

The event usually is held in multiple locations: New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and London.

Live vicariously or pay $250 for the official event tasting kit, which includes recipe cards, a tasting guide and 100 ml samples of 25 features wines (enough for two or three pours per sample). Order by Feb. 12 to ensure delivery in time for the event. You must be at least 21 to participate.