"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 :)
Here is our summary of all the places we have been in 2019. I also wish to apologize for so few blog posts being written. Unfortunately, this also ties in with the fact we did not get to many places last year. We, especially Al, has had many more commitments on my days off that we could not go any place. I have spent the last 6 months trying to catch up on making the videos that will be going into as-yet unwritten posts. You can view these on our YouTube channel.
We still did have fun though, we did get back to some of the festivals we have not been to in a long time. That included Bald Eagle Days in Prairie du Sac in January. We are returning this year too.
We also returned to Woodstock for Groundhog Day on Feb 2nd. This is one of our Favorite festivals and the fact that the movie was filmed here makes it even better!
We also made it to Middleton’s Mustard Festival in August. Thanks again for all of you that saved your mustard bottles, they made a fabulous hat that I proudly wore!
In September we made our first visit to Weiner and Kraut Day in Waterloo in 7 years. The highlight of the festival is the Weiner Dog parade. See it here.
We also went to a festival new to us, the Sorghum Festival in Fall River, also in September. Sorgum is processed as an alternative sweetener that tastes like molasses.
We also got video of processing the sorghum to make the syrup. Similar to making maple syrup.
Education also took a front seat this year for both of us. In November/December Al went to Kick’s Unlimited for Karate. We have become friends with the many instructors there and I shared with them my old videos that I got of them over 10 years ago. I also got new video as well. Al tested for his Gold Belt on December 2nd and earned it! I learned a lot about the many forms done by all of the skill levels from white to black belt.
I took a class introducing me to resin art at Meant to Bead, my favorite beading store, located in Sun Prairie. Thanks Erin for teaching me a new skill, I have many resin projects in mind for 2020!
I made these pendants with extras to make later.
The weather was excellent this holiday season and we took advantage of all of the fun Holiday events that took place those three weeks. We enjoyed our 4th visit to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. See video here.
We also enjoyed Sun Prairie’s fire truck parade, Baraboo’s Lighted Parade, Holiday fantasy in Lights in Madison. We also made it back to the Rotary Lights in Janesville, or first visit there since 2015. A great Holiday season!
One favorite highlight of 2019 is our continued partnership with the Fever River Puppeteers in Hazel Green. I have made a video of each of their shows since September 2018 to help preserve them. Chuck and Sandye Voight would love to see you! I look forward to our visits there!
This year looks quite exciting, as we are planning to spend a week in Door County in mid-July. This will be our first trip there since 2011 and we plan on seeing everything we can!
Happy New Year to everyone. Please share our blog and subscribe, thanks!
We are always looking for a new way to celebrate our country’s birthday. This year, we went to The Mining and Rollo Jamison Museums to celebrate! This place has been on our bucket list for several years so we took this opportunity to go!
We arrived just before the museum opened. We did the mine tour first before it got more crowded. Join us on the tour, led by a young man named Garrison. It was sure fun! It was also much cooler inside the mine than outside and it felt good!
After the tour, we rode the mine train, join us!
There was just as much excitement going on inside of the museum building. The Music and Schoolroom had many working music machines of the late 19th and early 20th Century.
We heard a Regina music box, cylinder music boxes, mini-organs and such. Even a player piano. Hear and see them below!
Al and I were in Verona, gathering photos for a blog post. We took a look at the businesses and buildings in town and discovered this. The Matts House in Verona, Wisconsin was vacant at that time and deemed an eyesore. It was one of the last historic buildings in town, built in the 1840’s. The only other building that is historic that is left is the Cahoots Bar, a former Stagecoach stop.
In my photo, you could see a sign that the house was for free to anyone who could get rid of it. Thank goodness, nobody took up the offer.
We were shocked to see this and hoped somebody would save the house before possible demolition.
Two years pass. Building Rehabilitation Specialist Troy Rost persuaded the city alders to sell him the house for $1. Troy also restored the Stamm House in Middleton as well. He promised to have the house ready for occupation within two years. Read the article about this development here. Also here.
October 19, 2017
The renovation was well underway at this point, we stopped by to take an interim picture of the house.
We attended a meeting in Verona that day called “What’s Up at the Matts House?” Here is a video of the meeting you can also watch. It outlines the history of the house and showed some renovation photos. Troy Rost himself was the presenter.
The building renovation is finished on schedule. Now, the next task is to find a tenant. The Purple Goose women’s boutique store jumped at the chance to move to this beautiful historical building. This was their building in 2017.
On October 13 of 2018, they reopened in their new building to an enthusiastic crowd. I was able to see it for myself on October 22nd. Very impressive!
This beautiful door is possibly from one of the previous businesses here, they kept it and it looks beautiful!
To the right of the register, step through the doorway for some beauty time at Makeup by Francesca. I am not skilled at all with makeup application. I will come here if I need her help! Francesca Clemente will bring out your best features to look your best, whatever the occasion!
Everyone interested in seeing the Matts House is welcome during business hours at The Purple Goose. The citizens of Verona are grateful this beautiful building was saved for all to enjoy. Thank you, Troy Rost, for taking charge and turning this dream into reality!
We had just recently heard the news that Yerkes Observatory will be closing on October 1st of this year and knew we had to hurry back to take another tour before they ended. The news had just been announced a week or two earlier.
My first visit was actually in 6th grade in February 1977. Here is a picture I took then.
We went together for the first time in 2012. Richard Dreiser has been giving almost all of the tours since 1980, 38 years! Six years later, he said he remembered us and was happy to see us again. He is really nice and we will miss him. He is writing a book though about Yerkes so we look forward to getting that when it’s published.
It wasn’t really crowded since the news only just came out about the closure a week or so earlier. We heard that the tour groups in September were quite large. We could look around the hallway shortly before the tour started.
The back of the hallway was cordoned off, it wasn’t in 2012. Let’s see what is back there.
Richard began by showing some beautiful photos taken by the Yerkes telescope and others in the hallway adjacent to the lobby.
After discussing these photos, we then moved out to the lobby. It is quite beautiful, decorated with terracotta accents, marble floor and a skylight in the ceiling. The light fixtures are original too. The building was officially opened in 1897.
Under the skylight.
Richard pointed out the many features in the decorative artwork of the building in the lobby area. Faces, angels, and owls abound!
We then moved outside, where Richard pointed out the many distinguishing features in the artwork on the columns and above the door. Art is everywhere at this building, something you don’t see anymore.
Then, we went back in and concluded the tour at the big telescope. We could not go up on the platform on this visit.
Yerkes had been visited by many scientists, including Albert Einstein in this group photo taken in the 20’s.
We all got a special treat that most people don’t get to see, the dome rotating (see video at 48:33). He went to the console on the right side of the dome and made the adjustments.
Laurie Kutil 2012
Our tour came to a conclusion 10 minutes later, Richard spent the remaining time answering questions. Went back down the stairs.
Saw the library and stopped in the gift shop.
Our visit concluded here. We are sad this valuable resource is no longer a part of the University in Chicago. However, it may reopen again at later date under new ownership. I will update this post if this happens. We hope Richard will be hired to continue his excellent tours. Meanwhile, enjoy the video of the original tour.