"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 :)
Token Creek is an unincorporated community that is part of the village of Windsor. The town of Burke also has some sections here as well. We are going explore Token Creek, past and present.
We had the pleasure of celebrating July 4th here in 2017, so much fun! They distill July 4th to the basics, honoring all veterans , joining family and community together for a day of fun. A favorite tradition is holding hands and singing along to Lee Greenwood’s famous song, God Bless the USA. They call it the “Circle of Freedom”. See it here.
Token Creek also has many businesses on Portage Road and Highway 19. A popular restaurant is on the corner of Hwy 19 and Portage Rd is the Paddle Inn. We need to eat there sometime.
Turn right at the corner and you find several more.
Gentle Breezes Hot Air Balloons has been giving you a ride to remember since 1990. Before that there was a different balloon company here called Token Creek Balloons, different ownership. At one time, the water tower near our home was painted with their logo. It now is blue and says “DeForest”.
Next is the parks, Token Creek cares about the wildlife in the are and makes sure they have a place here too. Token Creek itself is still a work in progress. Across 19 from Portage road is a sign about that.
Continue down the road and you will get to the Token Creek Conservancy, where the old grist mill used to be.
At this pond behind the sign, only the disabled are allowed to fish here. Just beyond this sign is the Token Creek marker you see at the top of the page.
A little past here is more of the park and the cemetery where the Veteran’s Remembrance Ceremony was held on July 4th. First the bridge over the creek.
The mill used to be in this area, now a beautiful park. To the left of the parking lot is the cemetery.
Keep walking streight ahead through the parking lot and you will soon come upon a bridge over the creek. Also a plaque on a rock to the right of the bridge.
Here you will find the other marker in Token Creek, near the park entrance.
You can camp here too.
Enjoy the pine forest with many mature trees.
I enjoyed my visits to Token Creek. To learn more about the community in the 19th and 20th centuries, I have a copy of this book, Token Creek by Mae Bork. The book is now out of print, but I found a copy here if you are interested.
In our 6 days in South Dakota we saw a lot of interesting things between our main destinations. We encountered historical markers we had to stop and read. The rest stops alone were worth taking a few minutes to see. We will be showing you places not covered in our other posts since the visits were short. We covered the state from end-to-end horizontally.
On our journey we explored three rest stops along I-90 in South Dakota.
We will begin with the first rest stop on the state border just after leaving Minnesota. This is the Valley Springs Rest Area. See a map of the other rest areas we visited, all impressive!
We are informed of what highway we are on.
The rest stops in SD are clean and attractive, also many contain a picture display of major attractions in the state. You can see it at the corner of the building.
At this rest stop there are several markers, the first is Minnehaha County, where we were. Let’s read it.
Also called the Presho Rest Area, located in the middle of the state. This was the 3rd rest stop. This rest stop commemorates when the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed this area. There is a LARGE Sacagawea statue on a hill overlooking the Missouri River, great view from the hill! You can see the community of Chamberlain below.
We wished we could have stopped in De Smet to see one of Laura Ingalls Wilder‘s former homes, but we didn’t have the time on this trip.
A seemingly infinite regression of power lines going to the horizon.
Did you ever hear that song, “Eat at Joe’s”? Well, you actually can in South Dakota.
Here is the song if you don’t know it.
It’s official name is Joe’s Cafe in Alexandria. You can’t miss the friendly Sinclair dino at the driveway, great place for a selfie!
Here’s Joe’s, I heard it is a popular place!
We discovered this beautiful place on our way out on day 1, the Snake Creek Recreation Area. We got video driving through it too, our first experience of the changing terrain from the eastern edge of the state. It is just west of Platte.
I think I might have visited here once MANY years ago, I don’t know for sure when. In fact, I had forgotten you could visit here. It was time to come back and see things in early spring. If you bike here, there is a cute fish-shaped bike rack.
Take a look at my visit here, you can see the fish swimming too.
Here is a map of the grounds, there are many signs placed throughout explaining the different areas of the fish hatchery. Let’s go for a walk! Spring is awakening here. The water never freezes though, they keep it warm over the winter. They have a sign describing winter activities here.
View of the area.
And the raceway below, in the morning the staff clean the water and feed the fish.
Walking a little further, we come to a peaceful pond, reflecting the trees.
We also find a marker on a large rock across from a bench by the creek, dedicated to Tom Palmer. A great place to sit and relax.
This is the Spiral Building, only staff can enter it.
As I walk back to the entry, I read the many signs talking about the history of this fish hatchery.
I had a great visit here, I plan on returning. I learned a lot about the crucial service this and all fish hatcheries provide.
Enjoy the ride to Shawano, plenty to see on the way!
Shawano is located in Shawano County, Barn Quilt Capitol of Wisconsin. The city has a population of 9,305 and has plenty to offer.
Stop by the Chamber of Commerce on Hwy. 22, close to the barn sign above. Read the visitor guide here and/or have them send you one before you come to visit! We got a lot of great info here. The goldfish in the tank at the Chamber has a story of his own. It was originally put into the tank as food but it decided it wasn’t going to be food. Cute fish, also quite large at about 3 inches long!
Since it is hard to see all the barn quilts in one trip, we picked up the book “The Barn Quilts of Shawano County Wisconsin”. It costs $15 and a great memento of our visit. Buy the book here.
Even more behind the scenes story here.
Our first meal in town was lunch at The Launching Pad Bar and Grill, a casual restaurant across from the municipal airport (see video). Under new ownership-2019.
We also noticed that fudge is popular here, just like on Mackinac island. We got some at Old Glory Candy just off Main St. Lots of old-fashioned favorites here, friendly staff too!
Visit the Veteran’s Memorial on the Courthouse grounds.
Shawano has some beautiful parks to visit as well. Launch your boat or fish at Huckleberry Harbor, on the banks of the Wolf River. See this and other parks on this map you can print. There is a windmill there too. It was repainted in 2015, great job!
Spirit of Shawano Park at the intersection of Main and Green Bay Street greet people with metal sculptures representing various industry in the area.
Another great place is Sturgeon Park. This is the epicenter of Sturgeon spawing in Shawano. They usually spawn in May.
Record-size Sturgeon have been caught here. This Stella, caught in 2012.
The water pouring over the dam, intensified by frequent rains.
On Sundays there is also a great Farmers Market here, we stopped by and found a great variety of items for sale. It’s at Franklin Park.
The market’s first year was 2007 and has been a great success in the community. Learn more about it below.
We took a stroll through the market too, take a look!
Pay a visit to Heritage Park and Sunset Island too. It was not open since the season had ended, but you could still walk the grounds. The Shawano County Historical Society produced a video of the historic village. Hopefully we can make it back in 2017 and be here when it’s open!
We may have been too late to explore this place in further detail, but we were right on time for the Shawano Octoberfest. Lots of music and fall crafts to be had here!
Shawano is also home to Sundrop™ soft drink, we also enjoyed a self-guided tour at Sundrop University™, the factory in town. This vending machine is downtown if you need your Sundrop fix!
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum has an important mission, to educate the public about the ships that sailed the Great Lakes over the centuries. Also to honor the sailors that have given their lives while serving aboard their ships when the weather turned deadly.
Our first connection to this museum occurred on February 24th when we went to the Mad City Model Railroad Show and Sale in Madison. There was an Edmund Fitzgerald model there and the museum was mentioned also.
We got there just before they opened so we looked around awhile. There is a historic marker for the lighthouse. To see everything, allow yourself 3 hours.
You can even stay overnight here!
The museum opened and we took the optional lighthouse tour too. Our guide Kate was wonderful and was enthusiastic in her delivery. the view was amazing at the top. You could also see the mouth of the St. Mary River from here if it is clear enough.
Visibility was real good that day, this is the view from Google Maps of what you are seeing here.
A fishing trawler was also visible.
The light itself, impressive!
She even took a selfie with us afterwards, thanks!
The video also has some of the other exhibits we saw.
We did the lighthouse tour first, so now it was time to explore the other exhibits. The first building was the Coast Guard Surf Boat House.
In here is a rescue surfboat on display, this model has enabled rescuers to save many lives.
Next door in this building are Edmund Fitzgerald exhibits. The song “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” specifically mentions Whitefish Bay so it was still surreal that we were there. There was a model of the ship made of Legos® (video) on display.
In this building is also a wood cut-out to take a picture with.
And now for the last building with many more shipwreck exhibits, and artifacts from the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Edmund Fitzgerald large display, there was also a video playing showing all of the 29 crew members who died in the deadly November 10, 1975 storm.
The real ship bell. You could not help but to feel sadness thinking of this brave crew and their sacrifice.
There were many other ships represented too along the wall on the right side of the room.
After exploring the exhibits here we went down to the shore. You accessed it on a boardwalk and stairs down. It was sandy with stones worn smooth by the water.
There were also dedications to the Edmund Fitzgerald shore side too, we could almost imagine the storm that sealed their fate. This one listed the 29 crew members.
On the shore were three more for three of the crew men, resembling gravestones.
The summer shoreline is quiet and peaceful, the piles of driftwood showed the results of when conditions get rough.
We took a solemn self-portrait here among the driftwood, remember all the sailors who passed on. We are glad we came here during our one day in the U.P. of Michigan.
Across the street is Luck’s Antique Mall, where we got an early start on Christmas shopping. Stop here to find a unique gift or antique for that special someone. It used to be a Ford garage 100 years ago.
If you cross the street at the bridge and walk far enough, you will see a HUGE eagle mural on the back. Artist Randy Koenecke did a great job showing off the village mascot, the American eagle. The mural was painted in 2014.
Visit the Tripp Memorial Museum to learn more about the Sauk Prairie (Sauk City and Prairie du Sac) area.
Buy or rent or watch the latest movies at the Bonham Theater and Video in the Bonham building. You can also get video games here. The building might date back to the 1920’s. It has an interesting historic feature in the lower left corner above the blue door, a cornerstone that says “air-conditioned”. Neat!
Be sure to take a peek on the eagle-watching platform overlooking the river.
Two shops are in the building to the right of the tackle shop. DMarie Knit and Fiber has great knitted gifts yarn to make your own. Also needlepoint supplies. Prairie Pet Styles next door to get your pet groomed.