Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Milwaukee – stunning lake front, art museum, Leon’s frozen custard, Bavette burger in Third Ward, walkers point, FLwright’s affordable housing

The weather was so gorgeous today when we arrived after a short 90 minute drive from Chicago that we couldn’t bear to go indoors, which meant skipping one of Milwaukee’s main attractions- the stunning art museum designed by Santiago Calatrava that looks like a massive white bird landing on Lake Michigan’s shimmering blue waters. We did walk down from our cozy Irish hotel, the county Clare, to watch the huge outstretched white wings of the museum slowly, slowly, slowly close into the base of the museum at 5 p. M. And will try to be present when the wings open again at 10 a.m. What other building does that?

Open and shut Milwaukee Art Museum

Compared to Chicago, Milwaukee’s lake front is marvelously undeveloped with huge green lawns stretching out to the rocky shore, sometimes with sandy beach. We were amazed at how few people were around, again compared to Chicago. We walked various stretches of the lakefront to the north, near downtown and in the south neighborhood of Bay View where Three Brothers, the famous Serbian restaurant in an old wooden corner tavern endures in a now trendy residential. (I ate its specialty , a massive filo dough and cheese concoction, Burek, there years ago, following my old friend Johnny Apple’s orders.)

Lunch was tacos in the zocalo food truck courtyard in the hipster Walker’s Point neighborhood followed by an obligatory stop at Leon’s Frozen Custard, which was so creamy and delicious. Nearby, on Burnham Street, we found six FLwright houses all on the same block, surprising modest and small by design. Wright was experimenting with creating affordable housing. I wondered if they are affordable today. (VRBO offers an overnight in one for $231.) They’re on a busy street in a working class neighborhood. One has siding which I am guessing would appall Frank.

FLWright’s affordable housing (one with siding 😳

Dinner was at Bavette in the lively Third Ward area, which has massive old brick forever warehouses with interesting restaurants and shops. Who knew a hamburger could be so good and original – quality meat served rare with a slice of grilled eggplant and tomato, feta, tzatziki, something vaguely spicy. Dirck was happy with his Cuban sandwich.

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Wisconsin for future reference: Wandawega Adult Summer Camp, Sheboygan “Art Preserve”

I loved summer camp as a kid (I know, I know, not everyone went to summer camp and of those who did, not everyone enjoyed it – my own childhood household was divided, two kids liked; two kids disliked) so the idea of a nostalgic old-school summer camp for adults sounds fun (my husband may not agree).

I wonder if they have horseback riding, canoeing, Native American dancing (once called “Indian dancing”), macramé, Petoskey stone polishing and Birch bark decoupage? Not to mention s’mores, pancakes cooked on a Dutch oven and old cabins in the woods. Or jumping off the dock to skinny dip. Anyway, here’s two clips from Midwest Living that caught my eye for future reference!

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Door County covid-era travel tips!

Our six glorious days in Door County during the last week of July 2020 (the wretched pandemic year) were all the better thanks to great tips from our airbnb host on where to eat, bike, swim, hike – and stay reasonably staff during a pandemic. Here they are: (I’ve bolded the ones we visited. all good!)

Sand Bay Town Park and Beach
A wonderful bbq/picnic spot, secluded with cedars and great for swimming, shallow but sandy.
11154 N Sand Bay Ln, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Garret Bay
Going NORTH out of Ellison Bay, take LEFT off of HWY 42 onto Garret Bay Rd.  Follow on Garret Bay Rd till it curves to the right a bit and you see on your left the boat ramp and historical marker for the Fleetwing Shipwreck.  Pebble/rock swimming beach with a beautiful view.

Europe Lake
Europe Lake Boat/Kayak Ramp area also has a small spot for picnic/bbq.  We like to swim here when the Lake is too cold!  This is a great little lake to kayak on.
460 Europe Lake Road

Pebble Beach (Our favorite)
going SOUTH out of Sister Bay, (when you see Open Hearth Lodge on your left), take RIGHT off of HWY 42 onto South Bayshore Drive and merge to the RIGHT onto Pebble Beach Rd.  You will then follow this down to the small but lovely swimming beach.  Great for sunsets but probably less frequented during the morning.

Hotz Memorial Town Park The Europe Bay area of Newport State Park is another wonderful place for bbq/picnics and swimming.
Take HWY 42 NORTH of Ellison Bay, taking a RIGHT off the HWY onto Europe Bay Rd, follow the road until you reach the kayak launch and park.
349 Europe Bay Road

Washington Island
Worth the visit!  You can take your bicycles on the ferry. (There are two different ferry services)
Schoolhouse Beach is a wonderful pebble swimming beach with a deeper drop off.  We love to pick up lunch at the Island Cafe and Bread Company and head to this spot.  Sievers School of Fiber Arts is also worth a visit if you are interested in weaving, knitting or basketry arts.  They have a shop that sells supplies as well as a gallery with items for sale.

We also really love the Ellison Bay Potters! (our favorite too)
There are several wonderful pottery studios in Ellison Bay.  Start with Clay Bay on the highway and tour the others in the village area.  (Gills Rock Stoneware, Ellison Bay Pottery etc)

Sand Bay
(4.2 miles (one way) from the unit) Waters End Rd to Sand Bay Town Park & Beach.  Take a right out of our lane onto Hillcrest Rd, follow Hillcrest until Waters End Rd.  Take a right onto Waters End and stay on it until you reach Lake Michigan!  Just before you reach the lake, take a left onto Sand Bay Ln.  At the end of the lane on your right is Sand Bay Town Park and Beach–great for swimming and picnics/bbqs!

Beach Road
(5.1 miles (one way) from the unit) Bicycling down Beach Road is a wonderful mostly-shady ride.  Take a right out of our lane onto Hillcrest Rd.  At Waters End, take a left and go down a fairly steep hill till you reach HWY 42.  Cross the highway toward your right, onto Beach Rd.  Beach Road eventually connects to Porcupine Bay Rd and then HWY 42 again.  You could make a nice day trip out of this route by adding Ellison Bluff State Natural Area as a picnic spot towards the end and your turnaround (take a left onto Ellison Bluff Rd).  Ellison Bluff has a great lookout and nice wooded trails to stretch out on.  (We recommend returning on the same route to avoid having to cross and travel on the highway)

Eats and Drinks:



Although Heirloom is in Baileys Harbor, it is our other favorite place for breakfast. And we really love Skipstone, Analog and Kick Ash for nearby coffee alternatives…
Sunflour bakery in Sturgeon Bay has great bread but I think they’ll be closed by the time you get up here. Macready Bread Company in Egg Harbor is also wonderful (open till 4). And Seaquist Orchards just north of Sister Bay on HWY 42 has great apple cider donuts and lots of other goodies. (It’s kind of a large farmstand with preserves etc)


Fish Boils:(please call to check on their takeout/outside-seating options)

White Gull Inn in Fish Creek 920-868-3517
4225 Main St, Fish Creek, WI 54212

Viking Grill in Ellison Bay 920-854-2998
12029 WI-42, Ellison Bay, WI 54210

Rowleys Bay Resort in Ellison Bay 920-854-2385
1041 Co Rd Zz, Ellison Bay, WI 54210

Old Post Office Restaurant in Ephraim 920-854-4034 (our pick — it was great!)
10040 N Water St, Ephraim, WI 54211

Here is a list of some of our favorites on the peninsula.  (Although-if you find a special spot that’s not on our list, please let us know so we can try it too!)


Bluefront Cafe
Tuesday – Sunday 11-3 Take out and Curbside Only
a few outside tables first come first serve
order by phone or online
(920) 743-9218
86 W Maple St, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Lawlss Coffee
Everyday 7:00am-3:00pm,
limited seating inside and outside
(920) 257-3782
Online ordering available for pickup as well
108 S Madison Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Kick Coffee
Everyday 7:30am – 3:00pm
limited back patio, street and indoor seating
(920) 746-1122
148 N 3rd Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

‘Get Real’ Cafe
Wednesday – Saturday, 10am-2pm
limited indoor and outdoor seating
Curbside pickup available
116 S Madison Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235


Heirloom Cafe
Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 8:30am-2pm
Friday and Saturday 8:30-4
pickup only
inside ordering or call
no dine in
2434 County F, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Bearded Heart Coffee (yum)
order online only, no phone calls or order in person at counter
Friday-Sunday 7-5
Monday-Thursday 8-2
carry out only
limited outside seating
8093 WI-57, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Wednesday – Sunday 4pm – 10pm
inside dining available, reservations accepted
—Chives Food Trucks (located next to Chives)
Wednesday-Saturday 11am – 8pm
Sunday 11am – 3pm
8041 HWY 57, Bailey’s Harbor, WI 54202

Door County Brewing Co. Taproom & Music Hall
Check website for latest hours
(920) 412-7226
8099 WI-57, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Waseda Farms (brats! you pick-em raspberries, beautiful grounds!)
Farmstand/Grocery Store on Farm with trails open to the public, call to ask for updates!
Order ahead or order at curbside Everyday 10-5 (call or email them at sayard@wasedafarms.com)
They update their lists of produce/meat/specialty/local items here:
7281 Logerquist Rd, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202


Ephraim Coffee Lab
Curbside PIckup Thurs-Sun 8am-2pm
order online
3055 Church St, Ephraim, WI, 54211

Thursday – Monday 5pm – 9pm
day-of orders for pickup or outside dining
No Reservations for outside dining, first-come first-served
order online or call day-of
9996 Pioneer Lane, Ephraim, WI, 54211

Good Eggs
Open daily, 7am – 1pm
Pickup orders placed online only
9820 Brookside Ln, Ephraim, WI 54211


Open for patio pickup, 5pm – 9pm
order online
7829 WI-42, Egg Harbor, WI 54209

The Fireside Restaurant
Thursday – Monday  Lunch 11am – 3pm or Dinner 4pm – 8pm
Offering pickup
or patio seating only.
7755 WI-42, Egg Harbor, WI 54209


Skip Stone Coffee Roasters
Every day 7:30am-2:00pm
or for pickup order online http://skipstonecoffee.com/order
or call in (920) 421-4388
10678 South, N Bay Shore Dr Building 2, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Analog Coffee
Daily 6:30-8
Pickup Orders available
(920) 854-1155
10649 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Grasse’s Grill
Open Thursday-Monday 11am – 7pm
Walk up or Curbside TO GO
920-854-1125 or 920-854-3302

Door County Creamery
Open 11am-7pm Wednesday-Monday (closed Tuesday)
Pickup Only call or order online
Online Store also open
(920) 854-3388
10653 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Open Every Day 11am-2am
Inside/Outside dining/bar and takeout
10641 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Wild Tomato
Sister Bay location open for Dine-In, Patio or Take Out
Open Daily 11am-9pm
10677 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Thursday-Monday 4pm-8pm
Take Out
or Patio Dining (which is Take Out but they will bring a cocktail to your table!)
Limited Indoor Seating call for reservations
10627 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Door County Ice Cream Factory
Call ahead for hours
Curbside or Pickup Window
(920) 854-9693
11051 WI-42, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Ellison Bay

Kick Ash Coffee
Online Ordering or call for Pickup 8am-4pm
or inside 8am-4pm
(920) 854-9400
12001 Mink River Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210

Wickman House
Friday – Monday 4pm – 8pm
Limited Outdoor Dining 5pm – 9pm, no reservations, first come-first served
(or order a drink and walk the grounds while you wait)
Takeout Available
Order Online (day-of)
11976 Mink River Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210

Gills Rock

The Shoreline
Curbside Pickup: Wednesday& Thursday 4-9 Friday-Sunday 12-9pm
….their hours are changing frequently, please check for updates
12747 WI-42, Gills Rock, Wisconsin 54210

Charlie’s Smokehouse
(A retail smoked fish shop)
Daily 9-4
12731 WI-42, Ellison Bay, WI 54210


There is a map of LandTrust trails on the coffee table. Those are great spots as well as Peninsula Park (between Ephraim & Fish Creek) and Newport Park (between Ellison Bay & Gills Rock).
There is an easy to moderate trail on Cty NP (off of HWY 42 between Ellison Bay and Gills Rock) called Schoenbrunn Trail that winds out to the Mink River. It’s a sweet trail that may give some canopy coverage from the rain today.

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New restaurants to try in Madison, Wisconsin

We found some great dining options a year ago in Madison, including Forequarter, which is included in this story in this weekend’s  Minneapolis STribune, which suggests even more good places to eat!


Wisconsin’s capital and university town gets an A for its culinary delights.

The market wasn’t her only success. Piper also established L’Etoile in 1976 as one of the country’s great early farm-to-table restaurants. That it carries on today, even without her, proves that she wasn’t acting alone. Madison, a university town populated by global food-smart students and scholars, was ready to do some serious eating.

It has been eating well ever since, as one of the Midwest’s most adventurous culinary cities.

Madison is worth visiting for more than just food. It stretches between two lakes and makes for a fun weekend. Downtown’s anchoring State Street, running from the Capitol Square to the campus, is lined with art museums, coffee shops, bookstores and galleries. At dusk, people collect on the Memorial Union terrace, where bands play to the setting sun, brats get grilled and people paddle on Lake Mendota in rentable canoes and kayaks, past splashing swimmers.

A lot of the crowd is building up an appetite for dinner, and the best place for a taste of Madison’s most ambitious dining is Forequarter. Run by the Underground Food Collective, and headed by four-time James Beard nominee Jonny Hunter, the restaurant is zealous about local foraging and sourcing. That makes dinner, in the low-key dining room, a very model of purist locavore cooking (forequartermadison.com; 1-608-609-4717).

Start with the charcuterie plate and forget those luncheon meat platters that too many kitchens try to pass off now as serious carnivorous dining. The Forequarter plate is butchered at the Food Collective’s own Underground Butcher. A recent platter included Tuscan and Calabrian salamis, sobrassada, Prussian ham and coppa. Then dive into the veg-friendly menu, which changes daily, depending on what just sprouted. A shaved parsnip salad may come brightened by pink peppercorn vinaigrette and studded with cerignola olives; a plate of rainbow carrots may play off daikon tzatziki and hazelnut dukkah. Pan-seared lake trout might pair with roasted sweet potato and ginger broth. Hold out for dessert if it’s some version of the carrot layer cake ribboned with orange marmalade and pistachio.

If that feels too Noma-esque, book a table at Sardine. Sitting on Lake Monona, the airy converted warehouse of a dining room, fronted by a snaking bar, is one of Madison’s most handsome, and the menu follows glossy suit. Co-owner and chefs John Gadau and Phillip Hurley, Chicago transplants, know how to plate contemporary comfort food that skips a lot of borders, from French to Mediterranean. Their standout signature dishes range from a warm duck confit and frisee salad, roused by green beans, bacon lardon and a poached egg, to pan-roasted skate wing dressed with caper-almond brown butter. The kitchen’s namesake sardine burger — grass-fed angus beef dressed with a fig and caramelized onion jam — is a wonder itself (sardinemadison.com; 1-608-441-1600).

For straight-up comfort food, the pair’s homier Gates and Brovi serves a perfect chicken piccata (­gatesandbrovi.com; 1-608-819-8988). For pure tradition, though, Tornado, just off the Capitol Square, is everything a classic steakhouse should be (­tornadosteakhouse.com; 1-608-256-3570). The beamed dining room looks like Paul Bunyan’s North Woods cabin and the tenderloin comes with buttery hash-brown potatoes, fresh-baked breadsticks and a crisp iceberg lettuce wedge doused in French blue cheese dressing.

Just across the square, L’Etoile, now headed by James Beard winner Tory Miller, sits next to its more casual sister kitchen Graze (­letoile-restaurant.com, 1-608-251-0500; grazemadison.com; 1-608-251-2700). The most unexpected restaurant in Miller’s portfolio is his Spanish-themed Estrellon, where the tortilla espanola is worthy of any Latin mama and the paella Valenciana comes served in the traditional black pan and crowned with rich dabs of aioli (estrellonrestaurant.com; 1-608-251-2111).

Among Madison’s crowded run of other global restaurants is Italian restaurant Lombardino’s, its dining room packed with a winking collection of “La Dolce Vita” kitsch. The kitchen does right by a pan-Italian menu, from seasonal bruschettas to knockout pastas (lombardinos.com; 1-608-238-1922). The kitchen’s pizzas are fine, as well, but for a bona fide, beautifully blistered, straight-from-Naples version pulled out of a wood-fired brick oven, head to Pizza Brutta, on restaurant-jammed Monroe Street (pizzabrutta.com; 1-608-257-2120).

In a city dense with Asian students, there is an odd dearth of decent Asian restaurants. The exception is a growing constellation of Japanese eateries. Best among them is Muramoto at Hilldale mall, where the standard-issue sushi is augmented by a fantastic Asian slaw, calamari paired with ponzu mayonnaise, and a miso-marinated black cod (hilldale.muramoto.biz; 1-608-441-1090). The other strong option is Red, where the seasonal maki sometimes goes too baroque (consider the red paradise roll, a mélange of spicy salmon, asparagus, arugula, seared tuna, pineapple avocado salsa, fried garlic and pea shoots that reads more like a casserole than maki) but where the sushi itself is always first-rate (red-madison.com; 1-608-294-1234).

For a return to regional flavors, Quivey’s Grove, on the far west edge of Madison, is one of the town’s best surprises (­quiveysgrove.com; 1-608-273-4900). Its Stone House dining room, in a 19th-century farmhouse, features a menu rooted in largely Scandinavian and German culinary traditions, making for big meaty plates that get cooked with finesse. The Friday fish fry is an ode to a Midwestern classic. So are the fresh-baked pastries.

But for the best sweet stop in town, head back to Monroe Street, where Bloom Bake Shop features cupcakes, biscuits, doughnuts and cinnamon rolls (­bloombakeshop.com; 1-608-509-7669). The antidote to the oversized cupcakes churned out by the chains, Bloom’s delicate cupcakes are made with locally sourced ingredients, so a lemon and blueberry version comes baked with real fruit, folded in like a smoothie, and topped by the lightest lemon buttercream. It makes for a bright last taste of Madison.

Food and travel journalist Raphael Kadushin regularly writes for Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler and other publications.

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Mineral Point and Potosi, WI; Eagle Point Park in Dubuque

Potosi, WIIt was still too blazing hot to ride bikes or even hike on Memorial Day so we drove backroads from our lovely airbnb in Mount Horeb through southwest Wisconsin into Dubuque. We arrived in the pretty town of Mineral Point, WI just in time to catch the annual Memorial Day parade marching down High Street, which is lined with beautifully preserved old stone buildings.  Classic Americana.

Mineral Point looked different from when I last visited (about 9 years ago) in part because we went to Cornwall, England last summer — Mineral Point claims to be the most Cornish town in the U.S. — and because the town seems to have spruced up and is now full of more galleries, vintage shops and newcomers (a new shopkeeper said the latest residents include people from Palm Springs, CA and South Africa).  We ended up doing some shopping — at the new shopkeeper’s furniture/housegoods shop (The Board Shoppe) and at a Main Street store that sells “rescued home good from the early 1900s to the 1960s” (Retromantic Emporium).

We drove on to the Mississippi river town of  Potosi, WI (the shopkeeper suggested) which has a popular National Brewery Museum that we didn’t visit but a lot of bikers did. The rest of the town looked pretty worn. We drove  to a lowlying area/boat launch on the Mississippi that is famous for birding. It was very windy. Felt like we were almost in the river.  From there we drove along the Great River Road briefly until crossing over the bridge to Dubuque where we picnicked at Eagle Point State Park — high on a bluff overlooking Dam and Lock #11. Very dramatic scenery and we couldn’t remember if we’d been there before. We also marveled at the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired park shelters — lots of cool old stone and wood buildings.

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Sjolinds, Driftless Historium, Military Ridge State Trail biking, Grumpy troll, Blue Mounds, Stewart Lake, Marcine’s — in and around Mt. Horeb, WI

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Stone House airbnb Mt. Horeb

Playing catch up.  On Sunday, we met our friend Jane for breakfast at Sjolinds (“shoe” linds)  in downtown Mount Horeb – cheerful Scandinavia fare (tried the Scandinavian fruit soup, bit too gelatinous for me and certainly for Dirck). We got a sneak peak at the very impressive Driftless Historium, a new local history museum (that I’m writing a story about) and then attempted to ride bikes in 94 degree heat on the Military Ridge State Trail. The trail is packed dirt and stone but really lovely. But the heat kept us from going far. We went a few miles east, which was all downhill (we barely peddled) but, of course, uphill on the return; Then we went a few more miles west which was more level but less shady and closer to the highway.

Mount Horeb’s Grumpy Troll brewpub was packed with hot sweaty people like us — including several motorcyclists.  We ended up on the second floor, eating newly introduced nachos. Pleasant place. And cool temps! To really cool off, we went to the local swimming hole — Stewart Lake County Park — which reminded me a bit of Ithaca.  Small body of water, murky and warm on top, colder toward the bottom, lined with woods including the occasional white birch (my favorite). Across from the sandy beach, some kids took turns climbing up a sagging pine tree and jumping when they reached the top. Dangerous but looked like fun. We drove to nearby Blue Mounds and spotted people eating ice cream cones on the porch of the local convenience store so we joined them. (The one employee was very busy scooping cones and working the cash register.) Onto Blue Mound State Park where we climbed up a high old wooden observation tower (I got a splinter holding onto the railing) for a stupendous view of rolling green Wisconsin dairyland – with pristine red wood/stone foundation barns, century farms with white farmhouses, the occasional golden limestone house like the stunner we airbnbed in. As our friend Jane suggested, we drove from the park along Ryan Road (near Highway F) for more glorious views from high on a ridge. We also drove past  Campo Di Bella Winery which also offers farm-to-table meals and farm stays. Looks promising!

Dinner was classic townie – Marcine’s, a tavern in the small town of Mount Vernon, that Jane took us to. Fortunately we just missed the band (which could have been very loud) but sat at high top tables and drank beer and ate very good burgers. Place was packed.  Later, we finally could really enjoy the porch at our airbnb (cooler temps, fewer bugs), where we sat on a quiet night and chatted with our airbnb host Nina, a former professional juggler who does various jobs now (including helping out at the famous Bleu Mont Dairy in Blue Mounds).


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Farmers market, State street brats, chocolate ice cream at the memorial union, Forequarter—Madison/ also Mount Horeb and Blue Mounds, WI


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Stone House airbnb Mt. Horeb

Busy day. On a hot, sunny morning, the farmers market around the state capital building in downtown Madison was packed with people all walking the same direction in a slow circle past asparagus, morels, spinach, cheeses, lots of cheese and bread. We picked up some famous bandaged cheddar at the Bleu Mont Dairy stand and met our Airbnb host there. (She was selling cheeses.) also bought some very solid 8 grain bread at cress spring bakery.

Onto the first place I tried a brat (I think) while visiting my sister who went to U of Wisconsin – State Street Brats. We shared a table on the patio with a nice retired couple who moved from Brooklyn to Madison 30 years ago. After window shopping on State, we walked to the union and ate rapidly melting ice cream bones on the busy patio overlooking the lake. The place was packed with visitors also eating brats and ice cream and looking out at the boaters and sunbathers. Suddenly it is summer.


Onto the pretty rural town of Mount Horeb, 30 miles west of Madison where we are staying in a remarkable 1860 stone farmhouse tucked into a lush green valley with horses grazing and a pristine red barn with a cupola in the distance. The house is so hidden from the road that we had to call the owner from a nearby Apple orchard. Our gps said we were there. But there was no house in sight. Turns out we had to drive down an even narrower gravel road, park by the pasture in the woods and walk a few seconds and there was the lovely two story limestone house, with cool contemporary touches – a wood deck and overhang, a copper colored wrought iron railing. Inside the house is fanciful and bohemian, filled with artwork, old photos, big brass horse adornments. Our room on the second floor landing is all Beatles, with aYellow submarine mural covering one wall and photos of John, Paul,George and Ringo on the other. Our host is a former professional juggler who used to perform with her former husband all over, including on Caribbean cruise ships. Than you Airbnb.

In cheerful Mount Horeb, we visited a few shops, most notably the Pop Place, with soda pop from all over (yes, Vernors from Detroit) and Artisan Woods, a gallery with work by 70 wood artists (beautiful inlaid wood paintings, cutting boards, nightlights, wood purses and wood earrings. Nearby, in Blue Mounds, we cooled off in a chilly and very cool Cave of the Mounds. Not too claustrophobia inducing except for a few very narrow low passages where we had to walk single file. And no bats. And awe-inspiring stalagmites and stalactites.

Dinner was at the small and superb Forequarter, which is almost hidden in a quiet residential neighborhood east of the capital, unnamed on the storefront awning. We sat at the bar and promptly received free glasses of sparkling wine, in hour of our 28th anniversary (I don’t remember mentioning this when I made the reservation online but must have.) We had house made charcuterie, some amazing crispy fried mushrooms, herb and ricotta dumplings in a broth with greens, mushrooms and aspagus, rhubarb sorbet with “parsnip crumble” and a very moist and solid lemon marmalade layer cake with lemon frosting and pink peppercorns. (we took most of this home).

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where to stay along the Mississippi in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota

One of the worst nights we’ve had was staying aboard a boat that doubles as a hotel of sorts along the Mississippi River in Dubuque Iowa. It seemed like a good idea but the quarters were cramped and strange; the boat was docked beside not only a busy road but a railroad track so it was noisy; and we were the only people aboard. Given that this boat was among the recommendations listed for where to stay along the Mississippi in a 2009 issue of a Minneapolis based mag, I’m not sure how the other recommendations will be. But here they are just in case:

– Golden Lantern Inn, Red Wing, MN

– Tritsch House B&B, Alma, WI (this is a really nice little river town!)

– Alexander Mansion, Winona, Mn.- Wilson Schoolhouse Inn, LaCrosse, WI

– The Hancock House, Dubuque

– Mont Rest, Bellevue, Ia. (long been curious about this place)

– Tatanka Bluffs, Redwood Falls, MN

– Belle Rive, Lanesboro, MN

– Oakenwald Terrace. Chatfield, MN

– Woodland Trails. Hinckley, MN

– Inn at Sacred Clay Farm, Lanesboro, MN

– Solglimit, Duluth, MN

– Blue Heron, Ely, MN

– Loon Song Bed and Breakfast, Park Rapids, MN

– A.G. Tomson House. Duluth, MN

– Covington Inn, St. Paul, MN

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Note to self: when next in Milwaukee – try the Iron Horse hotel

Established 1882

A friend came home from a weekend jaunt to Milwaukee raving about the city in general and the Iron Horse Hotel in particular. (Nope that’s not it above – that’s the fantastic Milwaukee Art Museum) The Iron Horse a boutique hotel in a former 100-year-old warehouse at the crossroads of the city’s Fifth Ward and Latin Quarter.   With its urban chic decor and high marks from the travel industry, it looks like well worth a visit.  Last time I stayed in Milwaukee, about six years ago, I stayed at the old dowager of a hotel, the Pfister, which was a little bit frumpy but interesting and near the lively historic Third Ward district. I see online that there’s a $259 package at the Iron Horse  that includes tickets to the fantastic Milwaukee Art Museum, inside a whimsical building  designed by Santiago Calatrava, and the new Harley-Davidson Museum. One thing I didn’t realize about the museum, which resembles a bird, is that its “wings” open at 10 a.m. daily (when the museum is open), close and reopen at noon and close at 5 p.m. (8 pm on Thursdays). Now that I’d like to see! (Below is the new building he’s designed for NYC’s World Trade Center site – didn’t realize he’s doing that.)

Path Terminal

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milwaukee – serbian food, sausages, santiago calatrava

Friends are going to Milwaukee for a college visit to Marquette U. so here are a few suggestions of things to do/see/eat:

– Three Brothers – a Old World Serbian restaurant in a neighborhood just north of the airport. Yes Serbian food. Good. Try the burek, sort of akin to Greek spinach and cheese pie

– The Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Santiago Calatrava. The building alone – looking like bird landing on the lake – is worth a wander. There’s an exhibit on the building of the museum, marking its 10th anniversary. (more below)

– Usinger’s Sausages – okay, you don’t have to go to the original store downtown but it’s kind of a kick. there’s a stand selling them at the Milwaukee Airport.



Building a Masterpiece: Santiago Calatrava and the Milwaukee Art Museum

September 8, 2011–January 1, 2012

Feature image for the Calatrava exhibition It has been named the sexiest building in the world, featured in TV ads and shows and Hollywood movies, and it has transformed the city of Milwaukee. In September, the Milwaukee Art Museum celebrates the 10th anniversary of its iconic building, the Quadracci Pavilion, with the exhibition Building a Masterpiece: Santiago Calatrava and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Designed by internationally renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, the Quadracci Pavilion was the Spaniard’s first completed commission in the United States. In 2001, it was named Time Magazine’s “Best Design of 2001.”


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