Side Trips and Weekend Getaways

My frequent travels to the north woods take me through some interesting places in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. 

When I was growing up, I couldn't wait to get to where we were going.  Now, I enjoy taking my time ( a sign of getting older?) and, more often than not, make the trip in two days or more.  I try to get off the main highway and do some exploring. 

It is said that time is precious.  It is not nearly so precious as the hundreds of places that are just waiting for you to visit.  As my favorite Uncle Tommy used to constantly tell us: "Take some time to look around you. It's amazing what you will see!"

R. Karl 

Lake Chetak

Turtles, Eagles and Bears... Oh My!

It was the first time on vacation that our car remained in the exact same spot for the entire week -- we never ventured out anywhere -- and that was good. Read more

Itasca State Park

More Than 10,000 Lakes...

It had a teepee, an Indian Chief and stones stretching across a small stream at the end of the lake, trickling away... My father told us that this was the very beginning of the Mississippi River... Read more

Ice Fishing in Oconomowoc

In Oconomowoc for a Weekend

Can you say Pasty?  I knew you could!  But more on what is thought to be a Cornish creation a bit later...  The purpose of the weekend was originally a plan to meet family members, one of whom... Read more

Spring Green

A Brewery, a Fish Fry and FLW

We headed north on an excursion to Spring Green in order to take a tour of Taliesin, the home and studio of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, tour Capital Brewery and have a fish fry at.... Read more

Enjoying some morning sunshine!

Klondike Days

The arrival of Klondike Days, as well excellent snow conditions on the trails were ample reason for the many sleds we saw in the parking lot at the resort... Read more

Warehouse at Buffalo Trace

On the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

We may only scratch the surface, but the story of bourbon is one which should serve as a call to head out to see, smell and taste for yourself, the ambrosia called: Bourbon Read more

Are We There Yet?

Cures for Cabin Fever and Are We There Yet? Syndrome

My father was a veritable nut about going places… and neither my sister not myself were all that gung-ho about traveling – especially by car, but air travel hadn’t really been “invented” yet... Read more

Are We There Yet?

Stevens Point & Nokomis

The day had dawned with a clear blue sky and crisp temperatures -- 27 degrees and a heavy frost -- and the trip to Stevens Point was only about an hour and a half... with almost no traffic. ... Read more

Turtle in Mercer, WI

Loon Capital of the World

After a visit to one of the bait shops, we were told that there was a small lake in town where we could easily launch our boat.  We headed over, got the boat in and took a sort of tourist cruise around the 273-acre lake for awhile... Read more

S.S. Badger coming into Manitowoc

The S.S. Badger

The Badger offers the largest cross-lake passenger service on the Great Lakes and an authentic steamship experience. The four-hour, 60-mile cruise takes people, autos, and much more across Lake Michigan between Ludington and Manitowoc... Read more

Wisconsin Dells Ducks

Cars, Trains and Ducks!

"Why don't we go just for fun and spend the night - we can go have dinner at that little place where they have a blue gill fish fry?" Well, she had said the magic words and suddenly we were... Read more

Lakeside Park on Lake Winnebago

Journey to the Far End of the Lake

The lake itself - Lake Winnebago - at 137,700 acres is the largest freshwater inland lake in the United States, yet only averages about 15 feet in depth... Read more

Inside Frank Lloyd Wright's Monona Terrace

Madison Getaway

I was notably impressed with what I saw and experienced in a very short period of time. In fact, my plan is to return and sample additional bits of an incredibly refreshing and fun city. Read more

Fireside Theater

The Fireside Dinner/Theater

The Fifties were my years and every song performed that evening, from television commercials to theme songs to chart-toppers, were ones to which I knew the lyrics...  Read more

Inside the U-505

U-505 Submarine at the Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago

A chill went through me as I gazed upon the four bow torpedo tubes and one of the infamous and secret T5 acoustic torpedoes displayed hanging in front of the sub; I tried to imagine... Read more

Blues under the big tent

Berghoff & Blues Festival

Here in the mid-west, there are few things better than great music, great beer, and great weather… other than great fishing of course. Read more

Mars Resort on Lake Como

Mars Resort in Lake Geneva

Sometimes, a short excursion is better than no excursion at all.  And so, at the end of a very long week, Heidi and I decided to head a short distance north to one of our favorite dinner venues... Read more


Wisconsin Cranberry Harvest

There is much to learn about the berry that, until 1930, when Ocean Spray introduced us to its Cranberry Juice Cocktail, became little more than an extra sauce that was served at Thanksgiving.Read more

Manitowoc, WI

Wisconsin's Maritime Capitol

There is a city on the edge of one of the greatest of the Great Lakes – Michigan – by the name of Manitowoc, to which I have wanted to journey. The Indians called it mune-owk, and it means...Read more

Hayward Fishing Museum

National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame (Hayward, WI)

The place was brimming with record fish of all varieties. But there was so much more to see. One of my favorite displays included an outboard motor that was...Read more

The Chicago Skyline

Lake Michigan & the Chicago River

It was a warm July day and we decided to walk the short distance to Navy Pier where we took in the sights of children playing in the fountain and the hundreds... Read more

Heidel House

Heidel House Resort at Green Lake

...boy, do I have a place to recommend to you. It is only about 165 miles north of the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois and it has just become one of my favorite destinations. Read more


Leinenkugel's Brewery in Chippewa Falls

Every year – actually twice per summer – I pass the sign for Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin but never have had a reason or the time to stop. After all, I am on my way to go fishing. This year however, was different... Read more

Little Norway

Little Norway near Mt. Horeb, WI

Not more than a mile or so from Cave of the Mounds is a little place secluded back in the hills called Little Norway. My Norse blood started to pump a little harder when we pulled into the parking lot... Read more

Green County Courthouse

Huber Brewery & Green Co, WI

I learned that this particular brewing company is the second oldest in the country. Located in Monroe, Wisconsin, the Huber Brewing Company is only about 2½ hours – at the most – from the suburbs of Chicago... Read more

The Zephyr

Stillwater, Minnesota

I had heard about the town of Stillwater, MN but had never visited it.  I did a little research, and when I literally stumbled upon something called the dinner train (The Minnesota Zephyr), my mind was made up... Read more