"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.
I have lived in Madison for 33 years, Al about 23, and we had never been to Smoky’s Club before. We figured it was about time! For those who don’t know, this is a supper club, only open for dinner. Wisconsin is famous for them all over the state, and we hope to spend more time exploring them. Find a supper club in your area here.
Smoky’s opened back in 1953 before there were many businesses on University Avenue. I hope they are there for their 100th anniversary in 2053. My Grandparents Norman and Barb Braton brought many people here during the 60’s-80’s. Leonard and Janet Schmock are the current owners and are grooming the next generation to continue the great service here.
When you enter, you forget it is 2017. It is the 60’s again and big band music plays softly in the background. No bright lights here, subdued lighting and a tension-free background leads to a relaxing dinner here.
Yes, that lamp above is a puffer fish.
We ate in the back dining room, inside was a picture of John F. Kennedy and candlelit tables with cloth napkins. The long table was soon filled with Badger football fans enjoying dinner after the game.
Our meal began with relishes, veggie while we wait for the meal.
And dinner itself! We ordered the sirloin steak with hash browns, another item Smoky’s is famous for. The steaks come a 500°F heated metal platter, you are warned not to touch it by your server. You also get a bread basket with your meal.
Dinner was delicious and we had no leftovers. Enjoy some pictures of the bar area, many twinkly lights and neat decor.
Get out of the water, SHARK!
We really enjoyed our dinner here and the relaxing ambiance. We recommend coming here for a great dinner, especially steak, as they are famous for them. Don’t pass up the hash browns either, Smoky’s is also famous for them as well.
I admit it, it had been years since we have been here. You get into habits of going to the same places and sometimes forget to go to the truly unique destinations.
We heard that Ella’s Deli is for sale. It started a ripple of panic through the city in May. Since the early 1960’s the restaurant has only had one owner, Ella Hirschfeld. She wants to retire and looking for someone to continue the legacy, not close the restaurant. Ella’s was originally on 425 State Street, I remember it in 1984 when I was attending college downtown. This location opened in 1976 and has provided generations of fun for thousands of children, now their grandchildren.
A family-friendly restaurant, there is a carousel ride that opens as soon as the snow stops flying, this year it was March 31. I stopped by there to see it, it’s spring when the carousel is open for rides!
The carousel is made by C.W. Parker, made in Leavensworth, Kansas in 1927. A real beauty! The control booth is pretty too. Ella’s was awarded by the National Carousel Association in 2001 for their work in restoring this beautiful piece of history.
Get a token inside to take a ride at the cashier station. The carousel is $1.50 per rider. If an adult is standing next to a child for safety, the adult rides for free.
The inside has so many things to look at, it’s easy to spend hours there. Learn more about the attractions here. A panorama of the dining room from the entrance.
We took a thorough tour after having lunch and this is the result, see video. A real visual treat!
The food was delicious too, we sat by the window with a carousel view.
Some of the displays, so unique! The rest of them can be seen in the video.
There is a refrigerated case of meats and cheese that you can take home too.
Ella’s is a friendly place we are glad we were here. Even if you are just visiting here for a day, Stopping here should be on your list. You don’t have to be a kid to have fun here!