"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 :)
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.
This was the first time Al and I went to the Knickerbocker Ice Festival in Lake Mills. We started the fun at Rock Lake by taking a look at Icehenge, a take-off of Stonehenge. We made the mistake of not stopping by right after they finished it in late January, the warm weather over the last 5 days took its toll. Read more about it here.
The Fisheree was going on too, somebody was drilling a hole in the ice nearby to fish in. We found a cute fishing shack downtown promoting the Fisheree.
After visiting Icehenge we went downtown to the square (actually a triangle) to see all the activity going on there. We could hear the sound of multiple chainsaws as the ice sculptors were making their creations. Lets watch them!
We enjoyed a great lunch at Cafe On the Park, under new ownership as of 2015. They are open 6-2 daily. Al had a prime rib sandwich and I had a breaded chicken sandwich. Delicious!
The park sure was busy by 12:30!
There was a big ice skating party going on in the park, small children were being pushed in chairs.
There was also target practice with tennis balls for safety. Also to aid the kids to throw snowballs with greater accuracy 🙂
Some other kids were building a wood castle, complete with flags.
It was now 1:00, and it looks like most of the ice sculptures were getting finished. My personal favorite 3 carvings.
The Lewis carving even had little wine bottles, cute!
The Eskimo was especially fun, since this one was interactive and we could take a fun selfie with it.
Other ice sculptures of note.
We had a wonderful time at this festival and got further reinforcement that Wisconsinites love festivals in any setting the whole year around.