"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.
Sturtevant is a village of 6,970 and is a suburb of Racine, which we visited in 2015. This community is right on the Amtrak train route which makes it easy to get to if traveling here that way. The traffic is frequent as well, this video shows two trains within 5 minutes of each other.
Before we arrived in Sturtevant, we went to the community of Caledonia first. The reason for that was the original depot was moved there to Linwood Park, a historical building complex. Find it at 7430 5 Mile Road, Franksville, WI 53126. They are maintained by the Caledonia Historical Society. Hopefully we can visit sometime when they are open.
The new Sturtevant Station is beautiful and incorporates some elements of this design, just larger. It was dedicated on August 1, 2006.
The pedestrian overpass makes it easy to cross to the other side of the track to catch a train on the opposite side. We were in town to see the Canada Pacific Holiday Train which was a lot of fun!
Other points of interest in Sturtevant, the historic Klinkert Hotel building, now privately owned. A video about it was produced by Thom Peterson.
Across the street from the Klinkert is the Caboose Railroad Museum. On the site is a sign explaining the railroad’s role in more detail.
We enjoyed dinner at the Castlewood Restaurant next to this display, great food there! Open since July 2o, 1989, it is a mainstay here for a satisfying meal.
Even though our visit here was short, it was quite enjoyable with the holiday train’s visit as the centerpiece.
Many places in the Madison area are decorating their establishments with lights for their patrons to see them at night. It is a fundraiser idea that has been getting more popular over the years. The Henry Vilas Zoo jumped on the bandwagon this year with their first Zoo Lights event. We went on the first night while it was still warm outside.
This event was well attended for its first night, the weather helped too. Madison radio station Z104 was also there that night. Many animal lights too of course, very cute!
See all the displays in our video!
The Vilas staff and volunteers did an awesome job in their inaugural year of this great new event. We look forward to seeing what they will do next year!