Reader mail: Memorials, cheese, gay rights

Time to dip into the mailbag for a few fine observations from our readers.

Regarding U.S. 51 tourism development:

“You did not mention the $600,000 Wisconsin Korean War Veterans Memorial, situated on an island in Plover’s Lake Pacawa and reachable by a memorial causeway,” writes Cliff Borden, a retired Army colonel who lives in Madison. “The memorial, dedicated in 1994, is visited by thousands of veterans and other tourists year around.

“Please see that the Wisconsin Korean War Veterans Memorial is added to the list of major attractions along U.S. 51.  Korea is no longer the ‘Forgotten War’!”  

This memorial indeed is a part of the new U.S. 51 tourism promotion in Wisconsin. We did not have enough room to mention all of the dozens of attractions that have been designated along the route.

Cliff says the annual commemoration at this memorial begins at 10:30 a.m. June 4 with a free outdoor concert. Take the County B exit off of highways 51/39 and follow the signs. (B is between the exits for highways 10 and 54)

For more:

“We loved the article you wrote about the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island,” writes Lu Ann Williams of Madison, whom we featured in winter 2005. “It has inspired us to make that our next destination with our girls.”

Lu Ann and husband Gary plan an educational getaway for their two granddaughters every year. It is cleverly introduced on Christmas, as a mystery trip.

“I think I can make the invitation pretty intriguing. … an island … in the middle of one of the Great Lakes … no cars on this island … we’ll get there by boat,” Lu Ann schemed, before the holiday. “Gary and I have stayed at the Grand Hotel, and really love it.  I’m sure the girls will think we’re going camping or something.  I’ll let the grandeur of the hotel be a surprise.”

The hotel is open seasonally and reopens April 21. For more:, 800-334-7263.

“Wow … we have been inundated by regulars and strangers who have hand-carried in the picture of us and a story on The Packer Deli,” write Beverly and Steve Weckstein, who are Wisconsin natives now living and working in Scottsdale, Ariz. “We have copies from Kenosha, Wausau and Eau Claire.  Most of the stories were mailed by mothers, aunts, grandmas, etc. to family here, saying ‘what a good place for you to go.’

“Thank you for including us.  It was heartwarming to see how happy people were to find a ‘Wisconsin home in Arizona.’ And, of course, a treat for us.”

So there’s no good reason for people from Wisconsin to get homesick in this part of Arizona. The deli, and its wonderful selection of Packer merchandise, is inside of Mabel Murphy’s bar, 7018 E. Main St., Scottsdale. Yes, it is associated with the Mabel Murphy’s in Oshkosh. For more:, 480-941-8225.

Regarding post-hurricane Cancun and the Riviera Maya:

“We just returned from a week there,” writes Larry Landsness of Madison. “Through Funjet, we stayed at the El Dorado Seaside Suites, between Playa and Tulum.  It is very similar to El Dorado Royale but smaller.  

“All of the special features including the beach beds, gourmet meals, inclusive room service and special attention to the guests made it a very enjoyable week.
“I was talking with a woman on our return flight whose daughter had gotten married at El Dorado Royale a few days earlier.  They had a group of 37 people there, many of them on our flight.  It sounded like a beautiful experience.”


Regarding gay tourism marketing efforts:

“Have you heard of the proposed boycotts of South Dakota over their abortion ban? Do you honestly think that gays will flock to Wisconsin if discrimination is written into our constitution? I don’t think so,” writes Jeff Sigetich of Wausau.

“You can spend all you want on promotion, but gays will not go out of their way to visit a redneck state. We would be as likely to visit the kooks in Kansas. What may entice us would be a full-fledged effort to defeat the referendum. I’m sure the LaFollettes are doing 10,000 rpms in their graves!

Jeff was referring to the upcoming referendum that will decide whether same-sex marriage becomes banned in Wisconsin.

“I/we are deeply offended and ashamed of our Legislature’s action. Words can barely express it,” he writes. “The rest of the civilized world is correcting this injustice while the christian (I refuse to capitalize) Talibahn exerts its will.

“America needs to wake up. What group is next? All non-christians? Then all non-fundamentalists? The most serious threat to freedom is not terrorists – it’s fundamentalism of any stripe.”

Well said, Jeff. I consider gay rights to be the biggest civil rights fight of this generation.

“I went to Galena, Ill., about two decades ago and stopped at the chamber office to get a simple attractions street map,” writes Duane Pfister of Merrill. “I was told I’d have to pay for one — $2, as I recall.

“I returned to southwest Wisconsin, where tourists were still welcomed. You can keep Galena. There’s even a lot of history in Wisconsin, where people are welcomed and even invited.”

Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience, Duane. There is a lot of free info about Galena being dispersed for free today. For more:, 877-464-2536.

Regarding the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die“:

“Your column, pertaining to the best places in Wisconsin (to see before you die), must include Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin, House on the Rock (is there anything like it, anywhere in the world?), Milwaukee Art Museum (soaring magnificence) and Lambeau Field (one has to claim it, especially in Wisconsin!).”

For more:, 877-588-7900;, 608-935-3639;, 414-224-3200;, 920-569-7500.

Chris Freedman of Madison shares the makings for a delicious fall excursion, to buy apples in Gays Mills. “We always make a point to stop at the Arena or Mt. Sterling cheese factory, for more packages of cheese curds than we should,” she writes. After a picnic, she’ll head along the Great River Road (Hwy. 35) to Prairie du Chien, “parking the car near the Villa Louis and walking along the Mississippi River.”

For more:, 866-452-7967. (Note: Mt. Sterling Cheese Co-op is at Hwys. 27 and 171, near Gays Mills, but Arena is on Hwy. 14, eight miles east of Spring Green.)