Groundhog Day 2017 in Woodstock-25th Anniversary


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Our last visit to Woodstock was for Groundhog Day in 2015, we looked forward to another great celebration! We arrived the night before, a beautiful clear evening with no snow on the ground. Two years ago we had a big snowstorm on Feb 1.  After an easy ride down, we stopped for dinner at the Tip Top Cafe’, actually Taqueria La Placita Taco house.

taqeuria-la-placita-in-woodstock

The bright light in the window is the actual Tip Top sign in the Groundhog Day movie.

tip-top-cafe-sign

We sat in the same spot where Phil enjoyed that large breakfast in the movie.

Inside Tip Top


Groundhog Day morning we headed to the Square (Gobbler’s Knob) to see the prognostication.  The place was packed!  We were entertained by Corky Siegel and Die Musikmeisters before the prediction.  He predicted 6 more weeks of winter. We also sang Groundhog carols.

Groundhog Day songs in Woodstock

We were armed with a go pro-like camera mounted on a bike helmet to get over people’s heads and I took photos with my new Canon Rebel T6i camera. Watch it below!

Afterwards we headed to the Moose Lodge for the Groundhog Breakfast and entertainment.  It was packed too, a sell-out crowd!  We got treated to choral performances by the Woodstock High School Choir.  Richard Henzel also reprised his clock radio voice from the movie.He also did it at the Prognostication, he does both voices now since his co-star has not returned in a long time.

I made a batch of groundhog cookies to contribute to the celebration and a cd for the Inner Square committee of GH Day 2006 when WGN came to cover the event.  Watch it all below. The Groundhog picture is from the winner of the Woodstock Independent GH day poster contest. Cute!

Groundhog Cookies and Coloring Contest picture

groundhog-poster-winner-sonny-marsalla-2017

After a wonderful breakfast, we joined the crowd for a Bob Hudgin’s-lead Groundhog Day Movie Walking Tour. Joining him was Rick Bellairs, our friend and one of the Inner Square Committee members. This tour was bittersweet as the Bob was going to retire from giving this tour after this year.  Bob was in charge of organizing all of the places where the movie was going to be filmed. He had many anecdotes and told us about a couple of sites not on the guide. That was the tree the boy fell out of and the tunnel seen during the police chase after stealing the groundhog. He had been leading it since 2005 and it was time for someone else to pick up the mantle. Maybe Rick was his understudy too 🙂  I also recorded a video of this historic tour to share with all of you.  Thanks Bob for keeping the movie alive 25 years later!

Bob Hudgins Location Manager of Groundhog Day

Woodstock Groundhog Day Movie Site Walking Tour

That was an incredible tour (and cold!)  We headed to the Public House for lunch and toasted our sodas to World Peace.i-always-drink-to-world-peace-plaque-at-public-house-in-woodstock

Bar in Groundhog Day movie in Woodstock

We got some souvenirs at this delightful bookstore on the square, Read Between the Lynes.  Their helpful staff can help you find the perfect gift or treat for yourself.

Read Beween the Lynes bookstore in Woodstock

iead Between the Lynes staff

Read Between the Lynes Groundhog Day display

Our last stop was the Woodstock Public Library to see artifacts from the movie on display, my cookies were served there to the whole community, sweet!

Woodstock Public Library

Groundhog Display in Woodstock Library sign

Groundhog Garbage can top

tip-top-cafe-in-woodstock

Gobbler's Knob woodstock

 

Richard Henzel was there too, we chatted a bit and took a selfie too. Very nice man and a great conversationalist.

richard-henzel-and-i-20170202_131700

We had a perfect Groundhog Day in Woodstock, one we wish we could repeat.

groundhog-day-2017

Monona-City of Pride, and it Shows


 

Monona sign

Monona is a city nestled within the city of Madison, this is a map of the borders.

monona-boundaries

Strange as it may seem, Monona often flies under the radar as a separate entity because it is embedded in Madison.  It was time though to separate it from Madison and treat it like the city it is. They put out a publication each year, you can read it online here.

To the surprise of many, Monona was founded by disgruntled residents of Blooming Grove.  The site where the residents had their meetings to form Monona still exists, now the business called Monona Motors.

Monona Motors

In the yard is a commemorative plaque on a rock and a two-sided marker. The building used to be called Ernie’s Trading Post.

Ernie's Trading Post plaque

monona-history

mononas-birthplace-sign

ernies-trading-post-picture

The “main street” of Monona is Monona Drive, starting at the exit off of the West Beltline.  You are greeted by three sails, representing the community on the shores of Lake Monona. Also two monuments of both sides of the road.

monona-sails

monona-drive-just-off-of-west-beltline

If you take a left at the light on Broadway and keep going, you will reach South Towne Mall. In the 1920’s, this was the site of Royal Airport,  the Madison area’s first airport before Truax was built. Charles Lindberg landed here twice in 1927 and 1928 in his plane, “Spirit of St. Louis”. There is a historical marker at the edge of the Kohl’s parking lot.

 

charles-lindberg-marker

royal-airport-hangar-charles-lindberg-pic

royal-airport-aerial-pic

A great many Monona businesses are located along this corridor and nearby, let take a look at some of them!  On the Monona East Side Business Alliance website, you can search for businesses here.

One of my favorite businesses in Monona is Any and All Media, a production company that can turn VCR tapes into DVD’s and much more!  It is located on 6420 Bridge Road.  I had a reel-to-reel tape from 1978 they made into an MP3 for me, thanks! We highly recommend them for all your transfer needs.  They also can shoot video of YOUR event for you. Prices are competitive.

any-and-all-media-in-monona

Next door is the Bridge Lounge.

bridge-lounge-in-monona-crop

Continuing up Monona Drive..

Tully’s II Food and Spirits is on our left, just past the stoplights.  It’s a popular restaurant with an attractive stone exterior. Al and I had eaten there to celebrate our engagement in 1998 when it was a different restaurant called Leske’s Supper Club. We should go back!

tullys-ii-food-and-spirits-in-monona

Also paid a visit to Roselawn Memorial Park on Femrite Drive to see the beautiful Tower of Memories.

roselawn-memorial-park-sign

roselawn-tower-of-memories-collage-monona

Also on Femrite Drive is the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.  Located behind the big hill and can’t be seen from Monona Drive, it is a hidden treasure in the city.

aldo-leopold-nature-center-sign

aldo-leopold-nature-center-building

 Further down Femrite is Treasure Mart.

the-treasure-mart-in-monona

 On Monona is another place for antiques and collectibles, Monona Antique and Mini Mall.

Monona Antique Mini Mall

We have also enjoyed bowling at Village Lanes too.

village-lanes-in-monona

Village Lanes inside

al-bowling

In the past we have enjoyed getting a haircut at The Ultimate Veritas Spa and Salon.  They did my makeup for our wedding since I am unskilled in this area.

the-ultimate-veritas-in-monona

On this site was once a homestead before it was developed.  Behind the Ultimate is a little stone/brick house. It no longer has an outlet to the street.  It may be part of the business’s property parcel now.

brick-house-behind-the-ultimate

Fraboni’s is a big draw for Italian food.

frabonis-in-monona

A short distance from here on Monona Drive and Owen is Angelos.

angelos-pizzaria-in-monona

On our left is Ken’s Meats and Deli.

kens-meat-and-deli-in-monona

Next is Schwenn’s Service gas station (ethanol free).  They pump your gas, no extra charge. They also can service your vehicle and their goal is to make you a loyal customer.

 

schwenns-service-in-monona

Another favorite gas and service station of ours on Cottage Grove Road is Wayne’s Automotive, no ethanol there either! Family owned since 1980, they offer both self-service and full service at one pump.

Wayne's Automotive

Across the street from here is Chief’s Tavern and VFW Post 7591. Great Fish Fry here on Friday nights!

chiefs-in-monona

vfw-post-7591-monona

vfw-post-7591-menu

The Silver Eagle Bar and Grill is also a great place to eat in Monona. You get a free birthday mug too. Great food and fun atmosphere, especially during Packer games!

Silver Eagle Bar and Grill in Monona

birthday-mug

Are you tired of throwing away broken appliances? Kiefer’s Shaver and Appliance may be able to fix it for you, keeping it out of the landfill.

Kiefer's Shaver and Appliance in Monona

We soon see the Monona Golf Course.

monona-golf-course

Monona Golf Course pond

Also the Nathaniel Dean House. We enjoyed a tour here in 2014 and 2015. This is a new photo of the building, it now has this great sign in front of it, dedicated on October 9, 2016. Great things at happening at the Dean House! Learn more at the Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society website.  They welcome new members too!

 

nathanial-dean-house-in-monona-2017

It has a two-sided marker sign too, seen edge-on in the photo above.

Dean House sign

nathaniel-dean-sign-other-side

Monona is serious about preserving it’s history. The Monona Landmarks Commission has compiled a list of Monona historic sites and we still have many left to see.

monona-historic-sites

Monona has many beautiful parks, quite a few of them are lakeside.

One of them is Stonebridge Park to see the historic Springhaven Pagoda.  It is over a century old and may be undergoing restoration soon.

Stonebridge park

The plaque.

springhaven-pagoda-plaque

And the pagoda. Let’s hope this park becomes a major gathering place again, especially for making lemonade on a hot summer day.

Springhaven Pagoda in Park

We have also been to  Schluter Park, also lakeside. It has a beach and gazebo too.

Schluter park in Monona

Schluter Park in Monona

Frost Woods Beach is beautiful too.

Frost Woods Beach sign

Frost Woods Beach in Monona

Next we turn right off of Monona Drive onto Nichols Drive. We first see the Monona City Hall.

monona-city-hall-and-wvmo-radio

It is also home to  WVMO, the Voice of Monona on 98.7 FM.  It is a LP (low power) radio station that went on the air in August 2015 that also streams. Give them a listen!

On the left is the Monona Public Library, showing off a futuristic look befitting the 21st century.

Monona Public Library

Monona Public Library close up

At the end of Nichols is Winnequah Park, peaceful in the winter.

winnequah-park-in-monona

On the right is the Monona Community Center with plenty of activities and events. The Senior Center is also here.

Monona Community Center

Monona Transit can take you to many points in Monona and Madison.

As you can tell, there is plenty going on in Monona. We hope to explore this beautiful community more this year. Glad we are so close by!

Monona Water Tower

Oconomowoc-Life Comes Naturally Here


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Oconomowoc water tower

Oconomowoc is in Waukesha County,a city of 15,712. The program “Around the Corner With John McGivern” paid them a visit in 2014 too.

The name is from the Potawatomi Indian language, original spelling is “Coo-no-mo-wauk” meaning “waterfall”.  The city is located on Lac la Belle. We were here to celebrate Christmas and were at a house on the shore of this lake on the other side.  The view from there, you could see an island in the lake with a house on it!

lac-la-belle-in-oconomowoc

At the edge of town is The Inn at Pine Terrace. More on it from the Oconomowoc Area Historical Society in this video produced in 2013.

The Inn at Pine Terrace in Oconomowoc

The Inn at Pine Terrace in Oconomowoc

Inn at Pine Terrace history marker

Back downtown to see what we could in a couple of hours or so.  The view of downtown across from Lac la Belle. I can imagine it in summer filled with boats and people fishing. Oconomowoc view from Lac la Belle.

From the other side.  The clock tower is part of the historic City Hall building, built in 1886. The clock is accurate too!

Downtown Oconomowoc

A closer view.

oconomowoc-city-hall-wm

 Veterans Memorial Park is quite a tribute to local men and women who have served in our military.

veterans-memorial-park-in-oconomowoc

We especially enjoyed seeing the train depot, now a restaurant called Maxim’s Family Restaurant and Bakery.  The track is still active and we saw a train go through earlier in the day, it doesn’t stop.

Oconowoc former train depot Maxim's Family Restaurant and Bakery

Maxim’s Family Restaurant & Bakery in Oconomowoc

There is also a restored rail car, open in the summer and outdoor patio space.

Train Car at Maxim's

Our last stop was at the City Beach, lots of festivals take place here, as well as performances in the bandshell.

City Beach bandshell in Oconomowoc

rhodee-memorial-bandshell

Concession stand.

Concessions at City Beach

Next time we hope to see more in nicer weather.  Make tracks to Oconomowoc!

Bird tracks in Oconomowoc