Monthly Archives: January 2016

January 29, 2016

Your guide to Wisconsin’s Best Antique Finds


Wisconsin AntiquesMaybe you’ve never attended a one-room school heated by a wood-burning stove. Maybe you’ve never milked a cow by the light of an oil lantern. Or maybe, you’ve never ridden through a wild forest aboard a coal-fired train.

Here’s your chance.
A road trip to Wisconsin’s antique stores will take you on a fascinating journey back in time. Scattered in beautiful communities across Wisconsin, these shops are ever-changing museums that tell the story of a great state that quickly transitioned from a wild backcountry into a center of agriculture, business and recreation. You’ll find surprising historical treasures and unlike a traditional museum, anything you see can become part of your life, a prop in the next chapter of your story.

If you’ve never been antiquing before, be careful: this can be very addictive hobby. Before you know it, you may be shopping for a vehicle with more cargo space! But antiquing is also one of the most rewarding ways to experience a getaway in Wisconsin.

Maybe you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for on one of these trips, maybe you’ll come home with a treasure you didn’t know you needed. And maybe, you’ll come home with nothing more than some great memories with some time on the road with a friend or loved one.

There’s only one way to find out. So hit the road, visit some of these shops and enjoy yourself. Keep an eye out for these special Wisconsin items. Happy hunting!

Dairy history

What to look for: decorative glass milk bottles at long-gone Wisconsin dairies like the Eagle River Creamery in Vilas County. You might start your dairy antique hunt in Eagle River, where you can fuel your adventure with some hand-scooped Wisconsin ice cream. Also, keep an eye out for other classic dairy finds, like milking stools, oil-fired barn lanterns, crockery butter churns and galvanized milk cans. They make fantastic decorative pieces and who knows, maybe some day you’ll decide to get a cow!

Vintage art

What to look for: postcards and photos from iconic northern Wisconsin destinations like Boulder Junction, Land O’ Lakes and Sayner-Star Lake. Go ahead and buy a few of these items; they are inexpensive and then you can have a lot of fun recreating the scenes later with your camera. It can be surprising to see how much things haven’t changed in the Northwoods. There’s a reason this area has been so beloved by travelers, for so long.

Sports memorabilia

What to look for: vintage sports memorabilia. There’s more than a little Packers memorabilia in Wisconsin antique stores, which is good news for fans of the green and gold. There’s also plenty of Wisconsin Badgers finds and some fun and unique items connected to Wisconsin’s high school mascots. For example, there’s only one high school in the world with the Hodag as a mascot – keep an eye out for this elusive, toothy monster around Rhinelander. Look for his image on vintage banners, apparel and glassware in Rhinelander-area shops.

Beer, cheese and sausage

What to look for: signs, glassware and other memorabilia from now-defunct breweries like The West Bend Brewery. Pro tip: look in West Bend area shops so you can take a shopping break at the Riverside Brewery, which is alive and well. Also look for other items related to iconic Wisconsin food items, like farmhouse sausage grinders, vintage grilling tools, and century-old cheese boxes.


January 28, 2016

Sayner-Star Lake nightlife

You won’t find any loud, flashy nightclubs in Sayner-Star Lake, but you can still find some impressive nightlife and great drinks!

Start your evening with a trip to Plum Lake to see the Plum Ski-ters Water Ski Show. These amazingly talented aquatic acrobats perform Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the summer with free shows at 6:15pm and 7:00pm.

After you’ve been thoroughly wowed by the Ski-ters, head over to the Sayner Pub, grab a stool and order an “Old School Old Fashioned.” You choose your favorite whiskey or brandy, they add in the orange and cherry, sugar and bitters, then hand muddle it the “old fashioned way.” It’s the perfect nightcap on an evening of entertainment in Sayner-Star Lake.

Find more great restaurants throughout the state with our Food & Drink Finder. Then take our “What Is Your Wisconsin Food Personality?” quiz and discover if you really are what you eat, plus a chance to win $1,000 in cash prizes!


January 27, 2016

The Great Cheese Curd Debate

In Wisconsin, we spend time debating the really important things in life. Like, which is better:  white cheese curds or orange cheese curds?

Frankly, in our opinion, any cheese curd that’s deep fried is a winner, but there are a few interesting facts to know in this great debate.

  • Assuming all the cheese is cheddar, the only real difference between the white and orange versions is added coloring. The taste is effectively the same.
  • Some curds are made with Colby, Monterey Jack or Mozzarella though, in which case the taste would definitely vary along with the color.
  • Coloring was originally added in London because it was believed that people preferred the artificial orange color of cheddar cheese.
  • Most varieties of curds found in eastern Canada, Nova Scotia and even Vermont and New York State are naturally uncolored.

Hungry yet? Check out these great stops for cheese curds across the Badger State.

  • Land O’ Lakes: Red Man Supper Club, Brews Pub
  • Rusk County: Backwoods Resort
  • Sayner-Star Lake: Hintz’s North Star Lodge, Sayner Pub, Vinchi’s Hillside Inn
  • Rhinelander: Cross Country Bar & Grill, BucketHeads Sports Bar & Grill, Pat’s Tavern, Hodag Steakhouse
  • Boulder Junction: Gooch’s A-One Bar & Grill, The Guide’s Inn, Boulder Beer Bar, Zastrow’s Lynx Lake Supper Club, Headwaters Restaurant & Tavern

January 22, 2016

Where to find the freshest curds

The love of dairy is woven into the very fabric of our beings here in Wisconsin, so it’s only natural that cheese curds be considered a delicacy. Nothing beats that rewarding, squeaky bite of goodness that comes from a fresh curd. So where can you find the freshest of the fresh? Look no further than the local farmer’s market. Here are some great ones to check out.

  • West Bend – The Downtown West Bend Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from late May more curds!through late October, 7:30am to 11:00am and was voted one of the top 10 markets in the world by Vogue Magazine in 2014! Check out Noble View Creamery, Weyauwega Cheese and Cesar’s Cheese for fresh and squeaky curds.
  • Rusk County – The Rusk County Farmers’ Market in Ladysmith is held every Wednesday from noon to 4:00pm and Saturdays from 8:30am to noon, June through October. The Bruce Community Farmers Market also runs June through October, Fridays from 2:00pm to 6:00pm.
  • Middleton – Find the Downtown Middleton Farmers Market Tuesdays from 2:30pm to 6:00pm and a second market, the Greenway Station Farmers Market Thursdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm. Both run May through early October.
  • Stevens Point Area – The Stevens Point Farmers Market is held May through October, Monday through Saturday, 7:00am to 2:30pm (or whenever vendors sell out) and is the longest running farmers market in the state of Wisconsin, in business since 1847!

January 21, 2016

Wisconsin Restaurants Worth the Trip

“Foodie” vacations are on the rise. These travelers are seeing places to enjoy a carefully crafted cocktail and a great meal. Wisconsin, with its vibrant summer harvests and multitude of food-conscious restaurants, tops many lists. While vacations are rarely built around a single beverage or entree, here are a few that might just be worth the trip.

Boulder Junction classics — Headwaters and The Outdoorsman
Eat in Boulder JunctionKnown for trails, lakes and its well-earned moniker, “Musky Capital of the World®,” Boulder Junction is also among the best places to sample foods and drinks in the Northwoods.

Opened in the 1930s, Headwaters Restaurant has been serving up traditional American fare with a twist for decades.  Take in the sights and sounds of the woods while enjoying your meal on the wraparound deck or warm your feet next to one of Headwaters’ fireplaces.

The Outdoorsman’s chefs/owners Amy and Steve Wheeler bring more than 30 years of combined hospitality experience to your table. Regulars agree that the Outdoorsman’s steaks and burgers are among the best they’ve ever had. Be sure to start off your meal with the invigorating summer Butternut Squash Soup—local food aficionados have been after the recipe for years! The chefs procure many of their ingredients locally.

Historic dining in Star Lake – Hintz’s North Star Lodge

To dine at Hintz’s North Star Lodge is to taste another era. This historic restaurant in beautiful Sayner-Star Lake offers one of the best dining experiences in the Northwoods. The lodge was first constructed in 1894 and it has provided generations of travelers with outstanding food, beverages and relaxation. Today owner Bill Hintz is an expert chef who offers delectable menu items such as stuffed walleye, roasted duck and black Angus ribeye. Relax at the full, antique bar before enjoying a meal in the Waldheim Room.

Middleton’s best little Italian Ristorante — Vin Santo
Middleton’s fine dining scene is one of its major draws, with Vin Santo delivering arguably the best Italian in the area since 1998.

Named after “The Wine of the Saints,” Vin Santo’s cozy, comfortable atmosphere and expansive wine list makes for the perfect night out. But it’s the food that sets Vin Santo a cut above the rest. Knowledgeable staff, led by its local owners, selects ingredients from area producers and offers five specials a night.

Fresh bread, a dish of seasoned olive oil, and glasses of hearty, flavorful Tuscan red wines will start off your perfect dinner. The secret, as in all Italian cooking, is in the sauces, which Vin Santo’s chefs prepare each morning. The Conchiglia al Diavolillo, with its blend of gulf shrimp, chicken breast and hearty Italian sausage simmered in a garlic-butter sauce, remains a perennial favorite.