Mackinac Island in Michigan

6-21 and 22-2016  (May 1971)

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Facts

Mackinac Island is located in the Straits of Mackinac, between Lakes Michigan and Huron. The size is small, only 3.8 square miles.  Don’t let the size fool you, it played an important part in the War of 1812 and Americans lost their lives defending it.  In present times it is a great vacation spot that remembers its past. The name in Ojibwe means “Big Turtle”.  About 500 residents live here year-round, almost everyone you see during the busy summer season is a visitor from somewhere else.  Many workers here at the many businesses are also just there for the summer.

It was not my first time here, it was Al’s though.  My family took a trip here with my grandparents in 1971.  Since we could not all go, I recreated the picture later. It was great to be back 45 years later!

Tauchens in front of Arnold Building 1971 and 2016

Two things Mackinac are best known for are fudge and it’s abundant lilacs.  Island visitors are in fact nicknamed “fudgies” by the locals.  The island has a 10 day Lilac Festival every June to celebrate the abundant flower. We were lucky to see some left even in late June.

Lilacs on Mackinac Island

No motor vehicles are allowed here(except a few emergency).  Horse-drawn wagons, bicycle and walking are how you get around here.  Be prepared for many hills, some steep. The flattest route is around the perimeter of the island.  If you have your own bicycle, bring it. It will save you money if it will be your prime mode of transportation. No worries if you don’t have a bike, there is a great selection at Mackinac Cycle across from the Arnold ferry dock.

Mackinac Cycle

If your time on the island is short or you just want to take it slow,  take the  Mackinac Island Carriage Tour.  It takes almost 2 hours, and is narrated. The kiosk is across  the street from here. Here is the route. The stops are short, you get about 7 minutes at Arch Rock so have your camera ready!

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours

Carriage Tour route

You can even ride a Taxi, but you have to arrange the ride in advance here through the dispatch. You can’t “hail” a taxi like you can on the mainland. Cash only.

Horse Taxi on Mackinac

Here I am in Marquette Park, then and now.  It was fun!  Never thought I would get this chance to re-create this silly picture.

Laurie 1971 and 2016 Marquette Park

Let’s explore Marquette Park, as long as we are here.  Pick up island info at the visitors center across the street.

Visitors Center

In the park there is a statue of Father Jacques Marquette. On it are 3 plaques. The statue was erected in 1909.  Before this was a park, it was a large vegetable garden.  See about most historical island features here.

Father Jacques Marquette

Marquette Statue plaques

Behind and above the park is Fort Mackinac, we hope to visit it next time.

Fort Mackinac on island

A beautiful day to soak up the sun amidst the lilacs!

Harbor view on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island Rock Most Historic spot


Be a part of the action! Take a cruise on Sail Mackinac!  If you have sailing knowledge, they encourage you to assist the crew if you desire to.

Also in the park is a Missionary Bark Chapel replica, an early small church on the island.  You can go inside and see this diorama.

Missionary Bark Chapel on Mackinac Island

Missionary Bark Chapel inside at Mackinac Island

From here you can see the McGulpin House, one the oldest house on the island, built around 1780.   The house is on the corner of Market  and Fort Street.

McGulpin House

Market Street on Mackinac Island

Across the street from the park is Mackinac Island State Harbor.  Quite the view! You can see the Arnold Transit Co. dock and Round Island in the background.

Mackinac Island State Harbor

On the left of this view is a Statue of Liberty replica.  It was recently restored.

Statue of Liberty on Mackinac Island

Statue of Liberty plaque on Mackinac Island

The harbor looks especially beautiful at night, view is from Arnold ferry boat dock.

Mackinac Island Harbor Lights 6-22-16

Above Marquette Park is the East Bluff, with a great view of the harbor below. We went up there early Wednesday morning.  The early ferries were bring supplies to the island before the first passengers.

West Bluff view of harbor on Mackinac

You could also find a couple historical markers up here on the other end of the road by the bluff.  The first one is for Lewis Cass who distinguished himself with great service to this country. He also was Governor of Michigan Territory.  Cassville, Wisconsin was named after him.

Lewis Cass marker on MackinacCass Cliff monument on Mackinac

Also up here is Anne’s Tablet, a local author who loved the island. The view is wonderful, especially in the morning when the island is waking up.

Anne's tablet site

Anne's Tablet on Mackinac

Annes Tablet monuments

Annes Tablet history

And this is the former Indian Dormitory building, now the Mackinac Art Museum.

Indian Dormitory now Mackinac Art MuseumIndian Dormitory Marker


Beautiful Main Street, where many hotels and great shopping (and fudge) can be found.

Main Street Flower basket

Speaking of fudge, let’s stop by May’s Candy Shop and see how the experts make it. They were the only shop open during the sugar-rationing days of WWII that made fudge. They made only one batch a day and sold only one pound per customer. They even have a trademarked quote, “Famous Mackinac Fudge”®  Let’s watch them make a half-batch of peanut butter fudge!

May's Candy Shop on Mackinac Island

There are MANY places to stay overnight on Mackinac Island, not just the Grand Hotel (staying there would be lots of fun too!   🙂

Grand Hotel view from Arnold Ferry 6-21-16

  Many people say they can’t afford to spend the night on Mackinac Island, but that may be they are not keeping alert for price specials that happen often.  The hotel Facebook pages are often where specials are posted.  We chose to spend our night at the Murray Hotel, right across from the Arnold Ferry docks on Main Street.   Their service is impeccable and hotel beautiful and in the heart of downtown. We were in room 318, a quiet interior room we would choose again.  Check-in is officially at 3,  but this room was available at 1:15 when we arrived!  A porter was at our door with our luggage when we got there.  We highly recommend the Murray!  We also enjoyed their pizza buffet for dinner.

Murray Hotel and logo

Murray Hotel room logo

Murray Hotel Pizza Buffet

Next to the Arnold dock is the Chippewa Hotel and Pink Pony Bar and Grill.  It’s lights reflected  on the water were real pretty that night.

Pink Pony Bar and Grill at Chippewa Hotel on Mac Island Collage

Their sister hotel is the Lilac Tree Suites and Spa.  A beautiful hotel by day, the purple lights outside really set it off at night.

Lilac Tree Suites and Spa on Mackinac Island

On the ground floor is the Little Luxuries gift shop. I found the perfect souvenier, this cute necklace created at  it captured my love for Mackinac Island so perfectly!

Little Luxuries Mackinac Island necklace

The island has many interesting rock formations, we saw the best known ones. Arch Rock is a favorite! You can see another lookout above right see the lake.

Arch Rock lookout

Arch Rock view

View from Arch Rock

On the same side of the island is Dwightwood Springs.  Don’t drink the water.


Dwightwood Springs Sign

Sugar Loaf Rock has a commanding presence above the landscape.

Sugar Loaf Rock and location

Devil’s Kitchen is off the perimeter road on the island (I-85).

Devil's Kitchen and location

Over 80% of Mackinac Island is a State Park , boundaries are clearly marked by signs. Neighboring Round Island Lighthouse lights the way for freighters and other boats to pass safely in the Straits.

Round Island Light House marker

 Once day a year, tours are given of the light house.  A great view of the lighthouse is at Windmere Point,  owned by the Windmere Hotel.

Windmere Hotel on Mackinac Island

View of water from Windmere Point on Mackinac Island

The red object on the waterfront is a retired buoy from the Race to Mackinac from Chicago.  This year is the 108th year of the race, beginning on July 23. See details here about the race, sponsored by the Chicago Yacht Club.  It is the longest freshwater sailboat race in the country.

Rack to Mackinac retired buoy

 We went to the waterfront at sunset to see the lighthouse, and a rainbow!

Round Island Light and rainbow

And the whole scene, with Round Island in the middle of both light stations.

Round Island and rainbow at sunset

The Mackinac Bridge gleamed like gold, what a beautiful evening that was.

Gold Mackinac Bridge

To learn more about the history on Mackinac Island, the Public Library is a great place to visit.

Mackinac Island Public Library

We did some more important historic sites on the island.   On Codette Ave. on the way to the Grand Hotel is the beautiful Little Stone Church.

Little Stone Church marker

Stone Church on Mackinac

British Landing is where the British came ashore in 1812 to take possession of the island.  A cannon is there facing the water and a historical marker.  At this juncture is also a sign telling how far other landmarks are.

British Landing on Mackinac Island

British Landing MarkerBritish Landing sign

You can grab a bite to eat at the Cannonball while you are here.

Cannonball food on Mackinac Island

From here we took a right to see the Battlefield, airport and cemeteries.

Battlefield on mackinac Island

Battlefield marker

A historic golf course is up the road from here.

Wawashkamo Golf Course on Battleground

We also went by the cemeteries, airport and aforementioned Sugar Loaf Rock on this route.

Mackinac island Airport

All this exploring works up an appetite!  We enjoyed dinner at our hotel that first night. The next morning we had breakfast at the Pancake House, delicious pancakes and all the trimmings too!

Rubya's Pancake House

Lunch was at the Grand Hotel, quite an amazing meal with a great view!

Grand Hotel dining room looking eastGrand Hotel view from our dining room table

Grand Hotel Luncheon


With only about 27 hours available, we couldn’t see everything, but we did our best!  We hope to come back in 2017 to get to what we missed and see even more.   Thanks for helping us make some great memories! our parting shot was people talking and laughing at the Pink Pony.  It was time to board the Ottawa back to Mackinaw City at 5:00 to explore on Thursday.  It was difficult to leave, we plan to come back.

Pink Pony and Harbor on Mackinac

Oyyowa Ferry back to Mackinaw City

For a funny and informative video of Mackinac Island, enjoy this episode of Matt’s Rad Show on YouTube.  It helped me in my research and made me laugh too.


The Grand Hotel – America’s Summer Place!


Grand Hotel Two-sided marker

Grand Hotel view from Arnold Ferry 6-21-16

The Grand Hotel ™ has been the centerpiece of grace and elegance on Mackinac Island since 1887.  It is also known as “America’s Summer Place”  and it is easy to see why if you sit out on the world’s longest porch and overlook the whole island below.  This is the view of the hotel from the Arnold Ferry as you approach the island.  The view from the lawn is even more impressive.

Grand Hotel from lawn on Mackinac Island

Don’t forget to drop by at night.

Grand Hotel at Night

The entry to the hotel (under the small pointed roof in the center of the hotel).

Grand Hotel outside info desk

No visit to the island is complete without coming here.   You can also come dine in the main dining room or any of their other restaurants.  See list here of their many dining choices. If you wish only to take the self-guided tour, it is $10.  Every day, a schedule of events is posted for hotel guests.

Grand Hotel Schedule 6-22-16

No expense is spared in decor or any aspect of amenities to cater to the guests’ every need or desire.  Even transportation, the Grand Hotel has it’s own horse and carriage to take guests to ferry docks or pick them up from there.

Grand Hotel carriage

We looked forward to enjoying the hotel’s famous luncheon from 12-2 PM then taking the tour of the hotel and grounds.  We arrived at about 12:20 and were seated in the main dining room by the window with a view of their famous porch, thanks! The view was breathtaking, especially when the freighter Presque Isle from Duluth, MN chugged by.

Grand Hotel view from our dining room table

Presque Isle Freighter from Duluth, MN going by Grand Hotel

The views were just as impressive inside the dining room, and the food was almost too pretty to eat.  You could hear a guitar being played in the background during the meal. Let’s listen in!

A further look at the dining room, the decor even looks like summer.  This is the entry into the dining room, looking West.

Grand Hotel Main Dining Room Front

The view looking East.

Grand Hotel dining room looking east

This view is toward the back of the dining room. I noticed the ceiling is the same shade of blue as the porch roof.   There are many mirrors in the dining room, making it look even larger. The plates have a beautiful flower on them.

Grand Hotel Dining Room interior

Grand Hotel Luncheon

We began our tour after lunch, there is much to see here!  We began in the main lobby where we came in. You can also get a map of the hotel so you don’t get lost.


Grand brochure page 2

Maps Provided by the Grand Hotel


In the small display case on our left is an original dinner plate the Grand Hotel used in the 1880’s.

Original Grand Hotel Plate

A view looking toward the West Wing of the hotel from the lobby.

Grand Hotel Lobby

Just ahead of the center of the lobby is the Grand Ballroom that you can book for your own event.

Grand Hotel Ballroom

On the left is the relaxing Audubon Wine Bar.  The lighting inside is very creative.  Boot lamps and grapes, they look so perfect for this room!

Audubon Wine Bar at Grand Hotel

Inside Audubon Bar at Grand Hotel

Boot Lamp and Grape Light fixture at Grand Hotel

We continued our tour upstairs at the Cupola Bar.  The windows wrapping around 3/4 of the room offer a panoramic view of the island below, as well as the Straits, Round Island, and the swimming pool below.

View of Round Island from Grand Hotel Cupola Bar Collage

Grand Hotel swimming pool

View from Cupola Bar at Grand Hotel

It is quite possibly the highest and most interesting views of the island.  Dare I say it, “stairway to the stars” leading up to it.

Stairs to Cupola Bar at Grand Hotel

Cupola Bar at Grrand Hotel

The chandelier is beautiful too.

Cupola Bar Chandelier at Grand Hotel

After admiring the view,  we continued downstairs on the ground floor.   The hotel check-in desk is to the right of the stairs.   On the left are the boutique shops.

Stairs leading to shopping level of Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel Check in

Grand Hotel lower level shops

 The Grand Hotel is also well known for being the main filming site of the movie, “Somewhere in Time” starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. The hotel pays tribute to this  each year by having a Somewhere in Time weekend,  in 2016 it is October 28 to 30.  For those who can’t make it, there are some artifacts from the movie on display on the ground floor.

The Bowler hat Christopher Reeve wore.

Somewhere in Time Bowler Hat

A collage of pictures taken during filming.

Somewhere in Time Collage at Grand Hotel

A portrait of Elise as seen in the movie.

Portrait of Elise at Grand Hotel

Our tour concluded outside, where we read the historical marker outside and took our picture by a red English phone booth near the golf course. Great photo-op!

British Phone booth at Grand Hotel

Horse and buggy topiary adorn the Great Lawn.

Grand Hotel Topiary

We hope you enjoyed seeing our visit to the Grand Hotel.  Catch a summer breeze on the longest porch in the world and enjoy the view!

Grand Hotel Sand Art

Grand Hotel Porch View

The 2nd Annual Tree Lighting at the Edgewater Hotel


The Edgewater 2015

With the rebuilding of the Edgewater Hotel came new traditions for people to celebrate the seasons here. In 2014 the Edgewater re-opened after an extensive 2-year expansion and remodeling.   This year we were able to attend their 2nd Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and festivities beforehand.  No ice skating since we had two days of warm rain that week and the ice all melted. Here is that day’s schedule.

Edgewater Tree Lighting Day Schedule

Upon our arrival just before 5:00 PM we saw the conclusion of the mini-concert on the winding staircase. Let’s listen in!

Stairway Choir at Edgewater 7993

Part 2 of the concert took place in the adjoining Ballroom, made to look like Santa’s Village. There were now hand bells joining the chorus. They played a lot of great music for 1/2 hour.

Santa Village at Edgewater

Carol of the Bells

Handbell and Choir

The concert was fantastic! It was now time to head outside to await Santa and Mrs. Claus to arrive and light the trees outside.  It was cold and windy that night.  The outside of the hotel was festive with lighted garlands and LIGHTED ice sculptures to make it a wonderland!

Christmas at Edgewater

The crowd has swelled to fill the Plaza, Christmas music fills the air. The three trees sit dark, waiting for Santa and Mrs. Claus to arrive.

Crowd waits for Santa at Edgewater

We hear jingle bells, they have arrived in a horse and carriage! They were moving fast toward the trees, posing with some of the children along the way.

Clauses Arrival at Edgewater

The moment we anticipated all day was here, lets watch!

Edgewater Christmas Trees

NOW we can begin the Christmas Season in earnest.  Just as swiftly, the Clauses departed in their carriage and waved goodbye to the crowd. No doubt they were needed to light more trees elsewhere.

Clauses Departure from Edgwwater

At this point bagpipers came in to close out the ceremony. The crowd was dispersing at this point, it was cold!  We concluded out visit with dinner at their Boathouse restaurant, fish fry basket was delicious!

The Boathouse sign lit summer

Fish Fry at Boathouse at Edgewater

Ken Wheaton and Mike McCloskey were playing some great music while we ate dinner. We heard Ken before, especially last year at Spring Green’s Beatlefest.

Ken Wheaton and Mike McClosky at Edgewater

It was a wonderful evening here, we hope to come back again for their 3rd tree lighting in 2016!

Edgewater in November

Halloween 2015 in Madison


Halloween Facebook Cover

We usually aren’t night people, but sometimes the most fun happens at night. On Halloween for example. This year we went to the Edgewater Hotel for their Halloween Badger Tailgate Party held in the big tent in the Plaza.

Photo by The Edgewater

Photo above by The Edgewater

The Edgewater 2015

Edgewater special event tent

The Ryan McGrath Band played a lot of great music too.  Here is a good example of their performance.

Ryan McGrath Band at Edgewater

There was great food too, We enjoyed Duck Jambalaya and Pork Spare Ribs. We picked up our food in The Icehouse near the tent. Al is sure enjoying the ribs! There was a beanbag game going on too.

Tailgate Party at Edgewater

After a great afternoon at the Edgewater we went to the Westmorland neighborhood on Meyer Ave. Here are the boundaries of this beautiful neighborhood.  It isn’t far from the Glenwood Children’s Park.

Haunted House Banner

This was the 22nd year of this popular and free haunted house.  The parents of a friend of ours do this just because they love celebrating Halloween. There are also a great many children around, and to hear them saying “trick or treat” all around was something I have not heard a lot of since the 1980’s. They kept the spirit of Halloween alive here. Lets go through the “haunted house” on this exclusive tour I recorded when we went there.  There are no people jumping out at you in the dark,  just many creepy decorations and black and red lights.  One section of the video also has a flashing strobe light, making sure those sensitive to strobes are informed. Lets go, if you dare!

We managed to make it through alive, and we had a great time. The house has a Facebook page if you want to see when you can go next year.   This was a great old-fashioned Halloween that brought back memories of celebrating it as a child.

Thank You for Coming to the Haunted House


Minneapolis – The Foshay – First Skyscraper in Minnesota!


The big moment we have been waiting for, our ascent to the 30th floor Observation Deck of The Foshay  in Minneapolis.  It was now 1:40 PM. It has only been open 8 years so we chose a good time to visit. The building once dominated the Minneapolis skyline, but now it is surrounded by other taller skyscapers. Not all views are blocked however. It was constructed in 1929 and named after the founder, Wilbur Foshay.

Foshay Tower - W Minneapolis Hotel

See some local news coverage about the tower.

We went in to get our tickets at the desk, such cool lighting inside.

Foshay Tower entrance

Foshay lobby

Foshay Lobby 2

The clerk gave us a special key card to get us to the 30th floor.  We’re here!

30th Floor at Foshay

There is more than the observation deck here, we also enjoyed the museum on this floor before going out.

Museum at Foshay

The original program for the dedication of the building.

Dedication program of Foshay

The other side of the museum. Here you can see the stairs to the deck and in the far left corner is a video alcove.

Foshay Museum 2nd Half

We learned John Phillips Sousa was comissioned to write a special a special march to be played during the tower dedication in 1929.  That was the only time this was performed for many decades. The reason being Mr. Foshay’s check to him in payment for writing and playing the music bounced. Sousa forbade the piece from being performed again until payment was made.  Sousa’s estate was finally paid in the 1990’s by the citizens of Minneapolis raising the money.  Now you can hear it too.

Foshay March Sousa info

Now that we saw the museum, time to go out on the deck!


The deck as you can see is open air and you are well enclosed. I could see places where we had been while exploring the city today.  We could see the Basilica of St. Mary. Also a train behind it.


Also Target Field, where the Minnesota Twins play baseball. I could see right inside the stands!

Minnesota Twins Stadium

Other views. There were free viewing scopes at each corner (except West)



The building right across from us.



A rooftop garden at the Hilton Garden Inn right across from us.

Hilton Garden Inn in Minneapolis

You could see St. Paul, the air was quite clear. We were going there to explore on Sunday.


We completed our tour here, it was now 3 PM and we had a great time! Plan on taking a minimum of an hour here to see everything.

Minneapolis – City By Nature

9-18, 19, 20-2015

Day 1- 9/18

We arrived in Minneapolis in pouring rain around 6 PM after leaving home about 12 hours earlier.  On the way we saw Pickwick Mill and Pepin while traveling the Great River Road.  Tired and hungry,  we stopped for dinner at Saguaro ( Arizona/Mexican cuisine). Turns out it is one of he best Mexican restaurants in Minneapolis.  We have to agree! The staff were friendly and we enjoyed our experience there.

Saguaro restaurant in Minneapolis

Saguaro inside

Our dinners, we both chose the Taco Platter, but you could do a lot of mixing and matching. A great way to end our day and relax after a long day on the road.

Saguaro Dinner 9-18-15


Day 2 – 9/19

The rain was gone and we were ready for adventure!  We took care of some family business first. My maternal Grandmother and her sister grew up here and we went to the Lyndale neighborhood where they lived.  Saw my former great-grandparent’s house, now rented by two tenants. It was good to see it again after 15 years.

Great Grandma's house 2015

We also went to the other side of their block where my teen grandma picked up some groceries for the family. I don’t know what it was called then but now it’s Kyle’s Market, open 9 to 9 daily.

Kyle's Market in Minneapolis

We also paid respects to my great-grandparents and great-aunt at Lakewood Cemetery along the shores of Lake Calhoun.  We also discovered the Pillsbury family is buried here, we could see the tall monument from my family’s grave site.  More on Pillsbury later.

Pillsbury family monument in Minneapolis

On our way to our next place we saw a vintage White Castle Hamburger building, now Xcentric Goods.

Xcentric Goods antiques in Minneapolis

We soon arrived Minnehaha Park, a popular park for over a century.  It’s also the center point of the founding of Minneapolis.  On location is the Princess Depot that used to bring people to the park on a train. Now, it’s a museum open seasonally.

Minnehaha Depot in Minneapolis

Minnehaha Depot Marker and picture

The first settler of Minneapolis, Colonel John H. Stevens  is memorialized here with his former home turned into a museum. Also a statue in front of the house.

John H. Steven's House in Minneapolis


We happened to be there when the groundskeepers were making their rounds (you can see them behind the statue). Even though the museum was not really open for visitors at 7:45 AM, they did for us since they are just nice people 🙂 Lets go in! There is a plaque just outside of the door.

John H. Stevens House plaque




That was fun, thanks for the great tour!  Now we proceeded to the other great attraction of this park, Minnehaha Falls.  As we got closer, you could hear the rush of water. The sunrise was illuminating the mist the falls created, beautiful!


An interesting fact, President Johnson visited the falls in 1964, they marked where he stood in concrete and you can stand there too.

President Johnson's Visit at Minnehaha Falls


There were stairs going down to the bottom of the falls, offering this view.


The park also has a large pavilion for events.


It was now almost 9, time for our next attraction.  We were treated to a great skyline view on the way!

Minneapolis Skyline view

The Basilica of St. Mary was our next stop, very beautiful!

Basillica of St. Mary in MinneapolisIMG_3279

We crossed the street to Walker’s Art Center and Sculpture Park to take our picture with the trademark Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture.  We were not the only ones taking selfies here  🙂 here is ours.

Greetings From Minneapolis!

The frame around the picture tells you what was coming up next.  It was time for lunch and we had it in the historic Band Box Diner.  There is only one in the whole city, and world!    We are lucky to have been able to eat there at all.  In March 2015 the 30-year old grill stopped working and they didn’t have enough money to  buy a new one. Not to worry though,  the customers banded together and raised the funds to buy a NEW GRILL!  We are so happy they did, this landmark restaurant is too good to close!

Band Box selfie

Bandbox inside

After lunch, time for our biggest attraction for today, Foshay Tower.  The W Minneapolis Hotel is also in this building.  It has the only sky deck in the Twin Cities for visitors to enjoy, the view is from 30 stories up.  For adults not staying there, it’s $8 to go to the sky deck. What a wonderful view! You could see St. Paul, also the Minnesota Twin’s Target Field inside the stands.


St. Paul from Foshay Tower


Our last stop for the day was St. Anthony Falls and Heritage Trail. Here is our location.

Mill Ruins Park and St. Anthony Falls  Heritage Trail

By then it was 3:30 and we had until 5, when we went to have dinner with some relatives.  A beautiful afternoon with many people there enjoying the day.

St. Anthony Falls and bridge

On the other side of the bridge you could see the remnants of the former flour-milling era.

Pillsbury and Gold Medal Flour factories

Pillsbury and Gold Medal Flour factories

Along the trail are also free viewing scopes that kids really enjoy looking in.

Sight seeing scopes for viewing

The trail goes by Mill Ruins Park, which is still undergoing development but the first phase is what you see here.

Mill Ruins Park sign

It is also a popular wedding venue, you could see the wedding party taking photos below.

Mill Ruins Park wedding

Mill Ruins Park 2

You could also see Mill City Museum from the trail, not enough time to stop there unfortunately. You could see people up there!

Mill City Museum in Minneapolis

A Segway Tour just went by us, they made a turn and went under our part of the trail on the Stone Arch Bridge.

Segway Tour on St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail

It was time to be on our way. We hear music from a street musician playing on his guitar as we head back.

Guitar Player at Mill Ruins Park

One thing we noticed about this friendly city, photo shoots!  We saw three today, there may have been more we didn’t know about.  We had a great day, on Sunday we were going to see some of St. Paul before going back to Madison.

Photoshoots in Minneapolis



Hazel Green- Point of the Beginning

9-5-15 and many other visits

Hazel Green sign

Hazel Green is a village of 1,256 in Grant and Lafayette counties that is important to Wisconsin’s development as a state. Formerly called Hard Scrabble, Hazel Green has a rich history described here. It is the oldest community in Wisconsin, settlement began in 1825.  The community was one of the many with residents engaged in zinc and lead mining.  It was also along the stagecoach route leading to the Mississippi River. It is close to Dubuque and the Great River Road and the many communities and attractions along it.

We learned more at the historical marker at the southern edge of town, within sight of the Illinois border.  There were also two signs describing the former mining industry here.

Point of Beginning marker and signs in Hazel Green

The Point of the Beginning Marker in Hazel Green

Public Land Survey sign in Hazel Green

Lead Fever Sign in Hazel Green

Hazel Green has several unique businesses, especially this cute vintage gas station at Symon’s Service Center. It wasn’t open but it appears to be a display and not functional.

Symon's Auto Center in Hazel Green

The Ambrosia Inn has a “Silo Suite”, a converted silo you can stay in.

Ambrosia Inn in Hazel Green


20th Main Hair Studio, Gangster’s Bar and Grill-Home of the Gangster Burger, and Wigwam Bar.

2oth and Main Hair Studio- Gangsters Bar and Grill and Wigwam in Hazel Green

We did have lunch at Gangsters and their Gangster Burger was indeed delicious! Al and I split it was that big. We even enjoyed strawberry shortcake!  To them, good food is just as important as good service. Very friendly staff too, be sure to stop in if you are in town.

Gangsters Bar and Grill Collage

The other half of Main St.

Main Street in Hazel Green

The Wisconsin House Stagecoach Inn, serving the community since the 1800s.

Wisconsin House in Hazel Green

Across the street is the Empire House, now an apartment building.  In the community’s early days, it served as a Town Hall, where the first town meeting was held.

The Empire House in Hazel Green

Our main reason for coming here today was to go to the Hazel Green Opera House, where the Fever River Puppeteers perform puppet shows.

They put on performances generally from March-December here and in Benton, their home base.  We had a great time, even without our own children to share it with.

Hazel Green Opera House

Opera House Stage from balcony

Jack and the Beanstalk Cast of Puppets

Our visit concluded, we headed out of town toward Potosi. We also saw some metal sculptures of dinosaurs and a flying saucer in a farmer’s field. You can’t go over the fence but you can take pictures from behind it.

Metal Sculptures in Hazel Green

Flying Saucer in Hazel Green

Fly into Hazel Green for a good time in a friendly community, and be sure to eat a Gangster burger too!