Nov 10 2012
It’s been months since we dipped into the reader mailbag. Here is a sample of your feedback, questions and advice – all of which I greatly appreciate.
Before colleague Sandra Friend of Florida made her way to Wisconsin, she asked for advice about places to stay. “Chicago is too urban for us,” she decided, so her road trip veered toward Baraboo and the glacial formations at Devil’s Lake State Park, International Crane Foundation and the Aldo Leopold Shack and Legacy Center.
I didn’t think busy Wisconsin Dells, especially its mega resorts, would be a good match because Sandra’s writing specialties are nature, hiking, peace and quiet (see sandrafriend.com for the dozen-plus books and travel apps she has written).
Inn Serendipity Woods, a remote cabin rental not far from Baraboo, was my top recommendation. The owners also operate the eco-progressive Inn Serendipity, near Monroe. For more: innserendipity.com.
I encouraged an additional detour to Wildcat Mountain State Park and the Amish/organic farms of cool little Viroqua (viroquatourism.com).
James Dwyer of Moscow asked for help finding a three-day, summer camping/hiking/rafting tour of the Grand Canyon. My 10-mile hike into Havasupai Canyon, with Arizona Outback Adventures, remains an amazing and positive memory. See aoa-adventures.com.
Lloyd Arndt of Madison is a well-traveled retiree who recently returned from a Texas/Louisiana jaunt and next will visit Jamaica. This summer he also explored the Michigan shore of Lake Michigan, Ludington to Mackinac Island. “Now where do I go next?” he asks.
My suggestion: Quebec City, especially the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec, which is a wonderful way to get a taste of French heritage and food without leaving the continent. It is among my favorite Canadian destinations. See quebecregion.com.
Linda McGinty of Luverne, Minn., noticed my column about Canyon Road Inn, Turtle Lake, and says this bed and breakfast is her favorite. “We’ve stayed in the same room three times,” she writes. “No small jaunt, as we live six hours away. We just love the place.”
“The honor system makes this place unique,” writes Diana Cook of Madison, regarding my recent account of the Frederick Laue House, a B&B in Alma. “It was good to be reminded of the Lake Geneva walk, too. … It sounds like there are new features along the way. Will have to do that walk again someday. Another unique site” in Wisconsin.
The Geneva Lake shoreline walking path also intrigues Marie LoCicero of Pleasant Prairie, who writes “My girlfriends and I have many times considered making this walk but always had one question that still goes unanswered: Is there anywhere to go to the bathroom?”
At least one lakeshore guide says there are no public bathrooms between Lake Geneva and Williams Bay, but I was pleasantly surprised (relieved, actually) to see a portable toilet at Chapin Road and the lakeshore, roughly the halfway point of the seven-mile walk.
Marie also asks whether a bicycle trail links these communities. “Your great suggestion of leaving cars in both locations made me think of possibly doing this,” she adds. Although Lake Geneva has bike routes, none follow the lakeshore.
Lake Geneva Cruise Line is a seasonal alternative, but make a reservation for this type of transportation. Options (until weather turns too cold) include a Sunday brunch, “Feet, Seat and Eat.” See cruiselakegeneva.com.
Some readers generously share details about favorite restaurants.
Janet Anderson is a fan of J.B. Country Restaurant, 1898 Hwy. 21, Arkdale. The off-the-radar menu includes Polish food: pierogi, potato pancakes and sausages made on the premises. The rural restaurant is at the intersection with County Z, about 35 miles northwest of Wisconsin Dells, sharing space with a Citgo gas station. “Very good food and very uniquely done,” Janet writes. “We think you would enjoy it.”
“While visiting my sister-in-law in Chicago, I read your series on Chicago neighborhoods,” says Nancy Moskal, Edgerton. “She lives in an area with fabulous Italian merchants,” northwest of the Windy City, and favorites include The Original Nottoli and Son Italian Sausage Shop and Deli, 7652 W. Belmont St. (nottoli.com), and DiMaggio Ristorante and Cafe, 7326 W. Lawrence Ave. (dimaggiorestaurant.com).
After writing about Charlie’s Drive-in, Hortonville, Nancy and Janine Younkin of Fond du Lac mentioned other drive-in restaurants “worth checking out” – Ardy and Ed’s, 2413 S. Main St., Oshkosh (ardyandeds.com) and Gillys Frozen Custard in Fond du Lac, Sheboygan and Green Bay (gilles.com).
My pre-season ode to Green Bay and its love of football brought this feedback.
A new restaurant, Hagemeister Park, “is not on the site of the original Hagemeister Park,” says Bob Defnet of Green Bay. “The park was on the banks of the East River, about 1.5 miles east of the restaurant and now is known as Joannes Park.”
“The Packers Heritage Trail needs a lot of publicity,” writes Tom Murphy of Green Bay. It is “worth the effort for true Green Bay fans.”
Vince Lombardi’s downtown office, this longtime Packer historian adds, was on the northeast corner of South Washington and Crooks streets – but (contrary to another source) not in the basement. “Vince never would have allowed it,” Tom says. “It was on the first floor and used only until the office addition to the new City Stadium was completed two years later.”
“I loved touring the Hemingway home years ago when we lived in Florida,” writes Amy Beck of Wausau, who later adopted a six-toed cat from an animal shelter. Amy’s comment was in response to my column about Key West.
Mandy Evans, a Rice Lake native and Florida transplant, says her favorite Key West sports bar is Jack Flats, 509 Duval St., which shows every NFL game. Also popular with her, as a Packers fan, is JDL’s Big Ten Pub (jdlbigtenpub.com), 920 Caroline St., which she says is owned by a Wisconsinite, “so he always shows all of the Wisconsin games – NFL and college.”
Barb Garton of Eau Claire was intrigued with a photo that accompanied my column about the Friendship Force and its goodwill exchanges, domestic and abroad. “What’s the deal with the unicorn,” she inquires, saying it looked like an apparition.
Sandi Wysock said the picture was taken in Cesme, Turkey, a resort city on the Aegean Sea and part of the Turkish Riviera. “The wire sculpture that your reader spotted is indeed a unicorn,” she writes. “As far as we know, it doesn’t have any particular significance except to serve as a lovely piece of public art.” For more about upcoming Friendship Force adventures, see ffwis.org.