Monthly Archives: May 2015

May 28, 2015

Museums reveal secrets

Oshkosh Public Museum - Apostles Clock

Photo provided from: Oshkosh Public Museum

These museums aren’t world famous, and that’s part of their charm. Their collections are truly a surprise – including amazing items pulled from attics and trunks of local residents. The museums are a fun way to learn about vacation destinations and offer information on the people who came before. Parents: bring your kids – it’s never too early to inspire a love of history and these museums are a great place for young people to learn about Wisconsin’s early days.

One of the best parts of these museums is how easy it is to visit the collections. No long lines, expensive tickets or parking fees at these institutions. All you need is the desire to spend a few pleasant moments learning about the past.

Land O’ Lakes

NorthWaters Museum – fish tales
Do Land O’ Lakes fishing guides ever run out of great stories? Nope. Even when a Land O’ Lakes guide retires, his stories live on. This museum celebrates the rich fishing tradition of Land O’ Lakes by preserving and sharing the fascinating history of local guides. These guides include Elmer Caskey, who became an adopted member of the Lac Vieux Desert Chippewa Indian tribe.

His clients included Dwight and the infamous murderers Leopold and Loeb. Learn about Harry Moderha, who lives in a log cabin with a family of skunks. These guide stories arrived as a special exhibition but are becoming part of the museum’s permanent collection. A new exhibition will detail what the Land O’ Lakes educational system was like a century ago, when the area’s economy was transitioning from logging to outdoors tourism.
Learn more


Oshkosh Public Museum – Apostles Clock
For more than 70 years, the Oshkosh Public Museum has housed a superb example of Wisconsin folk art. The eight-foot tall Apostles Clock, completed in 1895, features a brilliant display of lights, music and master clockworks. Each hour, figurines that represent Jesus and the twelve Apostles emerge as music plays from the clock’s Regina music box. The clock plays 50 different tunes, from hymns to jigs to Christmas carols. The clock is one of the few monumental clocks in existence today. The clock is just one of the impressive exhibits you’ll find in the Oshkosh Public Museum.
Learn more.

Black River Falls

Jackson County Museum – dental office
We all enjoy visits to the dentist a lot more when they are over. With that in mind, be glad that one of the exhibits in the Jackson County Museum details days in the dentist chair long, long ago. A preserved dental office is just one of the unusual and intriguing displays you’ll find in the Jackson County Historical Society collections. Discover: a Victorian-era bedroom, a large trivet collection, flood artifacts, a square grand piano, logging artifacts and a funeral display.
Learn more

Vilas County

Vilas County Museum – Eliason snowmobile
While the snowmobiles that carve the trails today are faster than some cars – and sometimes, more expensive – there was a day when snowmobiles were little more than a wooden sled and a small boat motor. Revisit those days in the Vilas County Museum, which features an original 1924 Carl Eliason machine – the world’s first snowmobile. The museum, founded in 1959, features a collection of historic exhibits and artifacts that date to the 1800s.
Learn more.


May 13, 2015

Wisconsin’s Watery Wilderness

Kayak in WisconsinWisconsin is one of the best places on earth to enjoy time on the water. While a certain neighboring state calls itself the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Wisconsin has 15,000 lakes, not to mention scores of streams, rivers, flowages and estuaries. It’s the perfect place to go for a paddle into the wild. Whether you’re a seasoned canoeist, or haven’t held a paddle since summer camp, you’ll find wild and wonderful waters in Wisconsin that will provide unforgettable memories.

Here are some of the best places to float your boat.

Land O’ Lakes
Amazing Clarity
The name says it all. Located in Vilas County, just south of the Upper Michigan border, Land O’ Lakes is truly lake country. This beautiful and wild region features 40 lakes, including the famous Cisco Chain of 15 interconnected lakes. A great place to start your paddling adventure in Land O’ Lakes is Black Oak Lake, a lake known as “clearest lake in Wisconsin.” Black Oak Lake covers 564 acres and has a maximum depth of 85 feet. It’s a perfect lake to spend time with family or to cast a line. Or, simply marvel at how far you can see into the depths of these clean and clear northern Wisconsin waters.
Need something to Paddle? Land O’ Lakes Recreation Co. has rentals available.
Learn more.

Boulder Junction
194 lakes
Boulder Junction is a place rich in paddling options. This picturesque Vilas County destination is home to 194 lakes and several rivers excellent for paddlers. Canoeists and kayakers seeking mirror-like water to paddle will find no-motor lakes to explore, as well as secluded and wild lakes and waterways in the Northern Highland-American State Forest. See canoe route maps here.
Learn more about Boulder Junction paddling.

Paddle Hodag Country
For more than a century, people have been spotting the Hodag around the Rhinelander area. Is this a hoax or might there be some truth to the legend? It’s something to ponder as you paddle the Willow Flowage. This 6,400-acre complex of lakes, sloughs and islands provides amazing paddling – it’s as wild as the Boundary Waters, yet incredibly accessible. Also be sure to check out the Wisconsin River, Tomahawk River and Pelican River – these rivers and Rhinelander’s abundant lakes provide routes suitable for paddlers of all levels. Just be sure to keep an eye out for that Hodag when you’re paddling along the shore.
Learn more.

Rusk County
The Flambeau and more
Rusk County is famous for the Flambeau flowage for good reason – it’s called the “Great Northwoods Highway” and that’s exactly what it was, long before European Settlers began building homes in this area. After all these centuries, much of the landscape around this river is largely unchanged.
But the Flambeau is just the start of great paddling in Rusk County. The Chippewa River, Jump River and Thornapple River are all provide some of the finest paddling in the Northwoods.
Learn more.