"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
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.
The bright light in the window is the actual Tip Top sign in the Groundhog Day movie.
We sat in the same spot where Phil enjoyed that large breakfast in the movie.
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.
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!
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!
That was an incredible tour (and cold!) We headed to the Public House for lunch and toasted our sodas to World Peace.
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.
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!
Richard Henzel was there too, we chatted a bit and took a selfie too. Very nice man and a great conversationalist.
We had a perfect Groundhog Day in Woodstock, one we wish we could repeat.
Monona is a city nestled within the city of Madison, this is a map of the borders.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!