Fun things to do in Wisconsin

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Wisconsin

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    Door County: The "Thumb" of Wisconsin

    by deecat Updated Jul 14, 2008

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    Our Honeymoon in 1963 was our 1st visit to Door County.

    Photo: Dee on honeymoon in 1963 in Door County

    Door County is really a long peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan. Jean Nicolet, a French explorer, discovered Door County in 1634; what a discovery it was!

    Door Peninsula claims more miles of shoreline than any other county in America. It also has more state parks & lighthouses than any other county in America!

    Its coastlines are dotted with about 40 islands, great for boaters looking for a scenic spot to drop anchor. Of the 10 lighthouses that guard the islands & harbors of the county, only 1 of them, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, is open to the public. Built in 1868, it is located in the great Peninsula State Park.

    Door County is famous for its cherry orchards. There are many roadside shops that sell cherry pies, cherry jams, & dried cherries. I've tried all 3; they are delicious.

    Door County is also famous for its Fish Boils. Many places have Fish Boils on Friday evenings; some places offer them three or four times a week during high season (May through October).

    Even if you do not care for fish, you should experience a fish boil in Door County!
    They use freshly caught Lake Michigan whitefish caught by the local fishermen. They cook the fish outside over an open fire (been doing it for over 100 years..brought here by the Scandinavian settlers). They cut the fish into chunks & along with small red potatoes, they put them into a huge boiling water pot. They only use Salt to flavor the pot. Fish oils rise to the surface of the boiling pot. When the fish is done, a small bit of kerosene is tossed on the flames under the pot so that the burst of flames causes the boilover. Actually, the fish oils spill over the side of the pot. It is quite a spectacular event.

    There are many quaint Inns & B&B's as well as hotels; many activities such as golfing,fishing, boating, hiking, shopping, & eating.

    Door County is beautiful all four seasons of the year. Give it a try.

    Dee at Lake Michigan in Door County, WI
    Related to:
    • Fishing
    • Golf
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Eagle River Wisconsin: Great Family Vacations

    by deecat Updated May 22, 2005

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    Allan & I went several times to the Eagle River area with Allan's mother, Allan's sister, Jayne, her husband, Ron, & their five daughters.

    We stayed in one cabin with his mother, & Jayne's family stayed in another. It's a perfect area for families because of the multitude of small lakes for "pan fish" such as perch, which we would then fry up for a marvelous fish fry dinner.

    It's a rustic area where you can enjoy fresh air, peaceful northern atmosphere (not too peaceful with five little girls!), & magnificent pine trees.

    Eagle River is a vacation destination year around. In the Fall, people travel there to see the dramatic show that the trees put on before they shed their leaves. Hunters visit Eagle River to hunt deer. Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, & snowshoeing are the winter activities.

    Where is Eagle River located? It is located right in the middle of the world's largest inland chain of freshwater lakes. Because of this, Eagle River offers visitors, especially families, a wide-range of recreation opportunities. While we were there, we golfed, did canoeing, boating, lots of fishing, swimming, hiking, biking, and we visited the Nicolet National Forest.

    The lakes in Eagle River area are sparkling clean. We spent many an afternoon swimming in the lake where we could see to the bottom, even far out. We all loved to fish, so that, too, was a daily activity.

    We women loved to go into the town of Eagle River to shop. I remember one time that a great Woman's Store was having a fabulous sale, and we "cleaned up"! Also, there are two ice cream shops with delicious ice cream cones; thus, we partook.

    The photo is from 1968. I was babysitting three of Jayne's girls while everyone else was out fishing. The blond is Karen, the darker-haired one is Beth, and the one I'm holding is Amy.

    If you have the opportunity, visit one of the family resorts which dot the lakes around Eagle River, Wisconsin.

    Dee & Three Nieces in Eagle River, Wisconsin
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Fishing
    • Golf

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    Rolling Hills, Lovely Lake of Quaint Lake Geneva

    by deecat Updated May 22, 2005

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    Lake Geneva is only about half an hour from our home, but the atmosphere and the environment make it seem light-years away.

    This small town has a small beach called Library Beach because the library is on the beach, many specialty shops, fine galleries, superior golf courses, many outstanding resorts, restaurants with delicious foods, stunning landscapes, an architectual Lake Geneva tour, Big Foot State Park, and the Potawatomi Trail!

    It's a good place to go for an afternoon jaunt or for a week's "getaway" in one of the many spa resorts.
    It's interesting to note that the city is called Lake Geneva . Whereas, the lake is called Geneva Lake!

    Just perusing the town with its "yesteryear" homes and buildings, its one-of-a-kind shops, and its sparkling, enticing Lake is enough to refresh the most jaded of us.

    I suggest that you take a lake tour to see and hear about the historic mansions that line Lake Geneva. You'll hear fascinating stories about the famous and not so famous people who live or lived in these elegant places.

    John Brink (government surveyor) named the town and lake after his home in Geneva, New York.
    Prior to the Civil War, Lake Geneva was on the reverse route to the Great Lake ports for slaves escaping from Southern Illinois & Eastern Kentucky. Later it became a resort community for wealthy Chicago families; thus, it was called Newport (RI) of the West. All of this history was learned on the Lake Tour!

    Come see for yourself what a great place Lake Geneva, WI really is.

    Geneva Lake
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Golf
    • Water Sports

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    What an Architectual Gem: Milwaukee Art Museum!

    by deecat Updated May 22, 2005

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    A visit to Milwaukee must include a visit to the Milwaukee Museum of Art (MAM)...even if you don't like museums or you don't like art. Why? Because this museum is, as Conde Nast Traveler called it, "a Wonder of the World."

    Why all the fuss? Well, the new (2001) Quadracci Pavilion, which was designed by Santiago Calatrava, is dramatic architecture at its best. The Calatrava addition has received worldwide acclaim as art itself.

    Until you see it for yourself, you cannot believe the impact it has.

    First of all, its location is unique and quite beautiful...right on Lake Michigan. When you first see it, you think that it is a huge sail boat. With its expansive "wings" rising from the water's edge, it seems to float. The day we were there, the morning was foggy, and the white "wings" blended into the mist; Lake Michigan could not even be seen. By noon, the mist had "burned" off, and photography was possible. Another incredible feature of MAM is the stunning landscaping which surrounds it.

    By the time you recover from the architecture and the landscaping, you are ready for the wonderful collection of art inside. There are permanent collections and changing exhibitions throughout each season.

    We were interested in the:

    New Georgia O'Keeffe Gallery", the "Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School", and the "Tom Uttech's (a Wisconsin artist) "Magnetic North". We were not disappointed.

    Underground parking garage entry off of Michigan Street or Lincoln Memorial Drive.
    It is possible to park nearby at the street metered parking. That is what we did.

    Admission is free for members.
    $8.00 for adults.
    $6.00 for seniors.
    $4.00 for students.
    Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

    Milwaukee Art Museum
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

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    Milwaukee Art Museum, Part II

    by deecat Updated May 22, 2005

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    If you think the outside of the Quadracci Pavilion is dramatic, wait until you walk inside what Time Magazine named as the"Best Design of 2001". It features the glass-walled Windhover Hall that is enclosed by the Burke Brise Soleil ("a sunscreen that can be raised or lowered creating an unique moving sculpture.")

    There is a Pedestrian Bridge and a wonderful Bridge Lobby.

    Keep in mind, all of this is in brilliant WHITE. White is everywhere! There is also a long reception hall, a South Terrace, and a West and East Galleria. In addition, there are Special Exhibiton Galleries, an Auditorium, and a fantastic Museum Store (a store that is really worth visiting!)

    On the lower level, there is a Restaurant, a Rotunda, Public Lockers, Coat Check, and a Meeting Room.

    The Original Section of the Museum contains:

    Minimalism Art
    New Realism Art
    Pop Art
    Abstract Expressionism
    Antiquities
    18th-Century English and Italian Art
    European Modern Art
    German Expressionist Prints
    Photography Gallery
    20th Century Design

    The above list is ONLY PARTIAL!
    It's certainly an impressive collection and one worth visiting.

    SEE TRAVELOGUE for more interior views of the Santiago Calatrava-designed building

    Inside the Quadracci Pavilion at MAM
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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    Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee

    by deecat Updated May 22, 2005

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    The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist is the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee and an historic landmark which was dedicated in 1853.

    It has been the seat of the Archdiocese for 150 years and has been designated a Milwaukee landmark of historical places. Its design is an austere German style built of Milwaukee brick.

    Since 1847, the exterior appearance has varied very little except for the tower which was constructed in 1893 and the expansion of the east end of the building after a fire partially destroyed the church in 1935.

    In 2002, the Cathedral was rededicated after much interior and exterior renovation. The tower is admired by many artists and architects who have drawn or recreated it because they feel that it is one of the most wonderful pieces of architecture in Milwaukee.

    Through the years, updates have been made such as the addition of the Patrick Cudahy Memorial church organ and tower chimes in 1923, new electrical clock in 1942, the three original bells were equipped with an electrical system in 1965, and in 2001, the majority of the old high school was removed to make way for new gates.

    The Cathedral is open for self-guided tours on Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Sunday from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm.

    Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

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    General Store Museum & Visitor's Center, Cedarburg

    by deecat Updated May 22, 2005

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    There are really two places to visit when you first arrive in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

    1. Cedarburg Cultural Center
    W62 N564 Washington Avenue
    Cedarburg, Wisconsin 53012
    262-375-3676

    This Center features permanent and temporary exhibitions exploring the history of the community. It also explores the heritage and contemporary culture. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm AND Sunday from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm.
    Admission is FREE

    2. General Store Museum & Visitor's Center
    (See phone and address below)

    This center is located in an 1860s restored wood frame building as shown in the photograph. The center houses an outstanding collection of antique advertising art, packaging, and depression era pieces. Its items are displayed to recreate a typical general store. It is quite delightful. The Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors' Center are also located within the museum.
    Admission is FREE, but donations are appreciated.
    By appointment, group guided tours can be arranged.

    General Store Museum & Visitor's Center
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    The Cedar Creek Winery

    by deecat Updated May 22, 2005

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    In the old Woolen Mill (restored), you will find the relatively new group of shops called Cedar Creek Settlement. The first and most important of these is THE CEDAR CREEK WINERY. This old Woolen Mill dates from 1860 and was once the largest mill west of the Alleghenies.

    It was powered by the rushing water of Cedar Creek and channeled down the mill race through an open-flume water wheel. This water wheel generated electricity and ran the "mill's 21 looms and knitting machines, which converted heavy Wisconsin wool into yarns, blankets, flannels--even socks for the old Chicago White Sox!"

    The Winery has a shop room and a tasting room; both overlook the Cedar Creek waterfall.
    Winery tours start in the mill's underground cellars and end in the tasting room where you are able to sample the wines.

    The wines range in price from $7.50 up to $15.00 per bottle. They have White, Red, and Seasonal Wines. My two favorites are the Riesling (semi-sweet, floral) and the Cedar Creek Spice (red with cinnamon, cloves, and all spice to be served heated in winter). Allan prefers the Cabernet.

    The Winery is a great place to purchase wine, cheese, wine glasses, etc.
    It's also a good place to learn more of the history of Cedarburg and winemaking.

    Monday-Saturday: 10am to5pm
    Sundays: 11am to 5pm

    Cedar Creek Settlement & Winery
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Wine Tasting

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    Von Stiehl's Winery

    by dlandt Written Mar 31, 2004

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    Off all the wineries we tried, this one stood out from the rest. They make crisp, classic vintages that satisy, and have a sideline of fruit wines. The prices are reasonable, and appropriate for the quality, even for their award winning batches. Using the brand name "Ducks Unlimited", this winery is something you should stop for. Its in the small, somewhat picturesque and old town of Algoma on the Lake Michigan coast. A charming tasting room completes the experience and leaves you with a warm feeling.

    Inside Von Stiehl's
    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting

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    The Lake Circle Tour

    by dlandt Updated Dec 21, 2005

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    You can buy guidebooks and maps for this. An inexpensive way to see a lot of nice small towns and a lot of great scenery is to follow this tour around Lake Michigan. The tour is a series of roads and highways that hug the lakeshore as closely as possible. Since a lot of the lakeshore is privately owned they can't keep you right on the edge the whole way, but they come close. Its a nice, relaxing drive that, in theory, you could follow the whole circumference of the lake. I chose to see only a part of it. The picture shows a sample of the sign.

    This page deals only with the Lake Michigan Circle Tour. There is, however, a tour for each of the Great Lakes, perhaps excluding Lake Champlain. Illinois has the River Road Tour, which parallels the Mississippi.

    Circle Tour Sign
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip

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    Enjoy the wildlife but be careful

    by joiwatani Updated Jan 3, 2009

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    Here's a list of the things we have done in Wisconsin:
    1. We went fishing and caught at least five tiny perks.
    2. We went out and gathered wild flowers near the lake.
    3. We gathered wild ferns and cooked them. We actually ate them!
    4. We baked wheat bread.
    5. We gathered wild berries and made blueberry cupcakes.
    6. I planted a peony on the right side of the porch of the log cabin.
    7. I Dipped naked in the lake.
    8. I saw these animals: two loons, deers and an eagle!
    9. Opa saw a bear and a fox.
    10. We went canoeing.

    The old family log cabin of the Cramer's. Lake Quimette The waterlilies My daughters at the dock Lying at the dock
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

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    "Visit the past....."

    by RobMorgan Updated Jul 3, 2003

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    Go visit this old Indian cavern. The entrance is throught the gift shop which is full of unique gifts & information. A guide takes you into the cavern, so you get all the history & stories.
    We were the only ones there that morning.

    Gift shop could do with a coffee shop to warm you up after being down the cavern as it`s a little chilly down there.

    ENTRANCE TO SHOP & CAVERN.

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    The Milwaukee City Hall

    by traveldave Updated Aug 9, 2012

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    When completed in 1895, the 15-story, 353-foot (108-meter) Milwaukee City Hall was the tallest habitable building in the United States, and was the second-tallest structure in the country, surpassed only by the Washington Monument. It had been a municipal icon until the Calatrava wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum was completed in 2001 and became an unofficial symbol of Milwaukee. However, the city hall's image is still displayed on such city properties as street signs, city vehicles, stationery, and official documents.

    The Milwaukee City Hall was designed by architect Henry Koch in the German Renaissance Revival style of architecture. His design, in a nod to the large German population in Milwaukee, was inspired by the Hamburg Rathaus (city hall) in Germany. The base is made of black granite topped with 20 feet (six meters) of Berea sandstone. Saint Louis pressed brick makes up the rest of the building. The upper part of the bell tower was rebuilt after a fire in 1929.

    The 11-ton (9,979-kilogram) bell in the bell tower used to be rung frequently. However, because it was believed that its vibrations weakened the tower, the bell was silent from 1925 to 2000. Nowadays, it is rung at 8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.

    The Milwaukee City Hall has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.

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    ISLAND CRUISE, Lake Superior.

    by RobMorgan Written Jul 1, 2003

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    Take an island cruise around the Apostle Islands.
    Even though it was hot onland, you should take a sweater & long pants as it was very chilly out on Lake Superior (guess what I wore, yes, shorts & vest !!!).
    Also, very important, when you book your ticket, make sure you ask for an "upper deck" ticket, as they are limited, otherwise you will be on the lower, enclosed deck.
    We had an argument with the girl selling the tickets that they should tell people as they buy them, although there is a sign behind them, but difficult to see.
    Also, the Captain( I think was Captain Mike on our cruise) gives very, very good information all the time, covering history, ecology, customs, seamanship, etc.

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    VISITOR CENTRE, Near Ashland, N. Wisconsin.

    by RobMorgan Written Jul 1, 2003

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    You MUST visit the Visitor Centre, they have a wealth of information, really helpful staff & a lovely little gift shop. If you are looking for lodging, there is a great "touch screen" computer with a phone attached, so you can call & book from there.
    There is also a great interactive place there, showing details of history, ecology, pioneers, native americans, etc.
    Climb to the top of the visitor centre for a great view of the surrounding area.
    Don`t forget to sign the visitor book.........we were very suprised not to find any British names there, well, just one, & that was last year !!!

    Visitor Centre.

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