Tagged in Wisconsin

November 26, 2018

Easy Weekend Trips from Chicago

There is something special about Wisconsin – from quiet lakefront cabins in the Northwoods to music festivals in Milwaukee there is something for anyone. Lucky for us Chicagoans Wisconsin is close and easy to visit for just a weekend. This year I’ve spent many weekends reacquainting myself with my home state and can’t wait to share my favorite weekend trips with you.

MINOCQUA

Minocqua is one of those places that is straight out of a postcard. This Northwoods lake town is full of charm, and I promise you will fall in love with the cute shops, friendly locals, and endless activities. The highlights of my visit were the fantastic food options, seeing the incredible landscape, and shopping for vintage treasures. Minocqua is about a five-hour drive from Chicago. The best times to visit are summer, fall, and winter depending on what you want to do. Winter is great for snowmobiling, fall is excellent for hiking and seeing the leaves change, and summer is great for boating, fishing, and hiking.

MILWAUKEE

Milwaukee is Chicago’s hip younger sister. Milwaukee has a burgeoning culinary scene, world-class breweries, charming neighborhoods, and an incredible lakefront. Best of all, it’s easy to get to – you can take a train or drive from Chicago (both take ~two hours). One of the things I love about Milwaukee is the festival scene. Summerfest is the most famous, but the city has festivals nearly every week in the summer.

LAKE GENEVA

Lake Geneva is a two-hour drive from Chicago and is one of my favorite places to visit in the summer. The lake is beautiful, and there are lovely options for dining and shopping. A couple of my favorite activities in Lake Geneva include walking the lake path (it goes around the entire lake), grilling brats from Lake Geneva country meats, and of course swimming and boating.

MADISON

Madison is best known for the University of Wisconsin, but there is plenty to do for nonstudents. The Farmer’s market in Madison is one of the best in the country and well worth the drive from Chicago to visit. The capital building and Lake Monona are also incredible. To get to Madison drive from Chicago (~two to three hours). My favorite times of year to visit are in the Summer and the Fall.

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September 29, 2017

Your Guide to Wisconsin’s best fall flavors

Fall Flavors

Taste the best of the season

When there’s a pleasant nip in the air, those of us who love traveling through Wisconsin know that it’s only natural to reach for more food. (Why wait for Thanksgiving?) Luckily, wherever you go throughout the state, small towns and cities are serving up some delicious eats and drinks that go above and beyond the classic pumpkin-flavored latte. Read on for where to find a taste of fall.

Beer and pie

If fall weather makes you want to cozy up to bar with pint and a few friends, look no further than the award-winning Capital Brewery in Middleton, WI. Take a tour and see how the delicious brews are made.

If beer isn’t your style but you’re in the area, Hubbard Avenue Diner is a must for a slice of their famous pie. It’s just down the street from Capital Brewery in downtown Middleton.

The art of great dining

West Bend is home to the beautiful Museum of Wisconsin Art. After checking out the exhibits, visit nearby downtown restaurants and discover a wide range of delicious dining options. A good bet for comfort food: Dublin’s. It serves up a delicious shepherd’s pie. Savor a thick cut of prime rib and a hearty stout at Riverside Brewery. The brewery’s beer is a work of art!

Cranberries and wine 

What’s fall in Wisconsin without cranberries? If you find yourself venturing into the Northwoods you’ll want to make a stop in Vilas County. This is cranberry country; you’ll find a big assortment of delicious wines, dips and candy, all made with this tart and tasty treat.

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October 13, 2014

Three Intriguing Museums

As the weather starts to cool, it’s a great time to explore history. These three museums offer fascinating collections that will take you back.

Oshkosh CourthouseOld Courthouse Museum

320 S. 5th Ave., West Bend, WI 53095
(262) 335-4678

This museum is worth visiting for its impressive historical architecture alone. Built in 1889, the Old Courthouse Museum is a superb example of Richardson Romanesque Revival architecture. It originally served as the county courthouse and it later housed other county offices. In the 1990s, community members, county officials and the Washington County Historical Society saved and renovated the building to its 1800s splendor. Today the museum features hands on and interactive activities and exhibits that tell the story of Washington County from the age of the glaciers to the industrial age.

Oshkosh Public Museum
Oshkosh Public Museum

Oshkosh Public Museum
1331 Algoma Blvd.,
Oshkosh, WI 54901
(920) 236-5799

Located in Oshkosh’s historic downtown, this museum is home to exhibits that showcase the rich history of the Oshkosh area, including the lumbering and logging industries that helped build Oshkosh into the city it is today. The museum features 10,000-square-feet of exhibit space and it regularly hosts world-class traveling exhibitions and events. The museum’s hands-on and interactive local history exhibits appeal to visitors of all ages. Several of the museum’s galleries are located in the historic Sawyer family home, a 1908 English Tudor Revival residence built in 1908.

Dinosaur ExhibitUW-Stevens Point Museum of Natural History

106 Albertson Learning Resources Center
UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI 54481
(715) 346-2858

Explore the richness of natural history at the UW-Stevens Point Museum of Natural History. The museum opened in 1968 to exhibit portions of UW-Stevens Point’s research and teaching collections and to acquire specimens related to its areas of research. Today the museum holds collections featuring 11 areas of natural history including anthropology, archaeology, botany, entomology (the study of insects), geology, herpetology (the study of amphibians and reptiles), ichthyology (the study of fish), mammalogy, ornithology, parasitology and paleontology. The museum focuses its collection efforts on the Upper Great Lakes and adjacent Great Plains.

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October 1, 2014

Wine Sipping in Wisconsin

Wine glass with fall background
MiddletonBarriques Wine Cave

Nestled in downtown Middleton, Barriques is a café and coffee shop with a twist. They also serve wine, beer and scotch, and host bi-weekly wine tastings on Friday evenings. Visit Barriques “Wall of 100” and take home one of their 100 different wines from around the world, all offered at under $10 a bottle.

Boulder JunctionMcGann’s Café and Wine Bar

Designed as a comfortable and relaxing place to land, McGann’s Café and Wine Bar in Boulder Junction is a great place to spend a happy hour (or two!). You’ll find more than two dozen wines on the menu here including Rieslings, Pinot Noirs, red and white Zins and delectable dessert wines.

Vilas CountyRiverstone Restaurant and Tavern

Riverstone Restaurant and Tavern boasts a spectacular view of the Eagle River, perfect for raising a toast to a fun vacation in Vilas County. Riverstone has been named “One of the Best Restaurants in the World for Wine Lovers” by Wine Spectator Magazine for the past nine years in a row. Their extensive wine list is moderately priced and varied enough to please any palate.

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April 30, 2014

State Bike Trails to Ride this Spring

Wisconsin is home to dozens of excellent state bike trails. Most of these trails are built atop railway beds, making them quite level. The surface makes this type of trail ideal for riders of every ability level. Here are four of Wisconsin’s best state bike trails.

West Bend Bike Trail

Eisenbahn State Trail – West Bend

The name of this 25-mile trail comes from the German word for railroad. The five-mile section of the trail that passes through West Bend is paved, making the Eisenbahn suitable for every type of bicycle. See the peaceful, rural countryside filling with green color as spring remakes the landscape. As the trail runs northward from West Bend, it passes just west of the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, a storybook landscape of ridges and rolling green hills.

Learn more about the Eisenbahn and other West Bend trails.

Wiouwash Trail

Wiouwash State Trail – Oshkosh

The Wiouwash State Trail is the perfect place for a spring ride. The trail runs north from Oshkosh for 22 miles, passing through wetlands, prairies, patches of forest and sprawling farmland. The southernmost trailhead is located in Oshkosh at Westwind Drive. This trailhead is linked to Oshkosh’s Riverwalk via a series of local trails. That means a bicyclist starting in downtown Oshkosh can head straight out into the country, traveling along bike paths the entire way.

Learn more about the Wiouwash State Trail.

Oneida Bike Trail

Bearskin State Trail – Oneida County

Pedal through the pines on the Bearskin State Trail. This 18-mile trail runs through classic white pine forests. The lakes and streams that the trail traverses are crossed by 13 train trestles. The trail surface is composed of compacted granite and is perfect for most types of bicycles. The trail was once the corridor through which trains hauled white pine logs out of Wisconsin’s northern forests. Today, it’s a haven for woodland birds and other wildlife.

Get a map of the Bearskin and other Oneida County trails.

Oneida Bike Trail

Great River State Trail – Onalaska

Following the course of the Mississippi River, the Great River State Trail offers views of the river as well as the towering bluffs. The trail passes over 18 different waterways and crosses the Black River on a 287-foot former railroad trestle. The trail begins in the friendly community of Onalaska and runs for 24 miles to the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge – a great place to hop off your bike and spend some time on the refuge’s wetland observation deck. This is one of the best rides in Wisconsin and arguably the Midwest.

Learn more about the Great River State Trail.

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