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Groundhog Day 2017 in Woodstock-25th Anniversary


2-2-17

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.

taqeuria-la-placita-in-woodstock

The bright light in the window is the actual Tip Top sign in the Groundhog Day movie.

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We sat in the same spot where Phil enjoyed that large breakfast in the movie.

Inside Tip Top


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.

Groundhog Day songs in Woodstock

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!

Groundhog Cookies and Coloring Contest picture

groundhog-poster-winner-sonny-marsalla-2017

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!

Bob Hudgins Location Manager of Groundhog Day

Woodstock Groundhog Day Movie Site Walking Tour

That was an incredible tour (and cold!)  We headed to the Public House for lunch and toasted our sodas to World Peace.i-always-drink-to-world-peace-plaque-at-public-house-in-woodstock

Bar in Groundhog Day movie in Woodstock

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.

Read Beween the Lynes bookstore in Woodstock

iead Between the Lynes staff

Read Between the Lynes Groundhog Day display

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!

Woodstock Public Library

Groundhog Display in Woodstock Library sign

Groundhog Garbage can top

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Gobbler's Knob woodstock

 

Richard Henzel was there too, we chatted a bit and took a selfie too. Very nice man and a great conversationalist.

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We had a perfect Groundhog Day in Woodstock, one we wish we could repeat.

groundhog-day-2017

Hazel Green- Point of the Beginning


9-5-15

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

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Downtown Hazel Green is currently torn up on half of Main St. so pardon the dust 🙂  On the still paved part are several businesses.

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 the their Gangster Burger was indeed delicious! Al and I split it 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 1800’s.

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 has 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 were to put on a performance of “Jack and the Beanstalk”.  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!

Woodstock Illinois – “True To It’s Past, Confident of It’s Future”


Woodstock, IL is in McHenry County in northern Illinois with a population of nearly 25,000 as of 2010.  It was chosen as the county seat in 1843 and was originally called Centerville, due to being in the center of the county. In 1845 the town name was changed to Woodstock after resident Joel Johnson’s hometown of Woodstock, Vermont. It became a city in 1873, and a rail line soon arrived. It is still in use today, Metra trains come through also, taking passengers to Chicago 37 miles away.

Metra Train Station in Woodstock

Prior to 1992, Woodstock was not considered to be a destination for visitors.  The movie Groundhog Day changed all of that. Since the movie’s release in 1993, people have been streaming in from all over the country (and world!) to see the city that the movie made famous. Al and I came into town to celebrate Groundhog Day in 2015 and 2017 and had the time of our lives!  All the sites in the movie are marked with a plaque for a self-guided Walking Tour any time you come to visit.  The city was re-vitalized by the movie and the money spent in town by visitors has allowed for many improvements and beautification projects to make the city a welcoming place for all.  We stay at the Super 8 when we come to visit. Book early if you are coming for Groundhog Day, we reserved our room in early November. Or you can even stay at the Royal Victorian Manor, featured in the Groundhog Day movie as the Cherry Street Inn.

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Royal Victorian Manor - Cherry Street Inn  in Woodstock

There is more to Woodstock then the groundhog though.  They have preserved their beautiful historic Square and most storefronts are occupied with boutiques and restaurants.  On our most recent visit in 2017, many buildings are now outlined in LED light and the trees in the inner square have white lights on them. Very beautiful!

Woodstock Opera House at night

Woodstock Inner Square at night

Woodstock created a pdf map listing the historic buildings on or near the Square.  Here are some of them. Let’s begin at the Opera House and go counter-clockwise.

Pennsylvania Hotel - Woodstock Opera House

For great Groundhog Day souveniers and other gifts, stop at Read Between the Lynes.  They had everything!

Read Beween the Lynes bookstore in Woodstock

Read Between the Lynes Groundhog Day display

Across the street on our left is  the Phoenix Block.

Phoenix Block on Woodstock Square

At the end of this corner on 113 S. Benton is the majestic Church Block building (1899),  named after Malachi Church, a county sheriff.  In the corner is now a four-face city clock and the business Ethereal Confections Craft Chocolate and Dessert Bar.  Also Material Things.

Church Block building in Woodstock IL

Night view.

Church Block at night

We round the corner to the BMO Harris building, housed in the Primm Block. The tan building is the Murphy Block.

BMO Harris on Primm Block in Woodstock

At the end of  Benton Street (across from Ned’s Corner) are these businesses.

Benton Street on Woodstock Square

Cass Street is next on the square.

Cass Street on Woodstock Square

On this street is the former Tip Top Cafe’ in the Groundhog Day movie. Now Taqueria La Placita, we enjoyed a great dinner there 2-1-17.

Tip Top Cafe in Woodstock

At the top of Cass St. we see the Old Courthouse and Jailhouse buildings, all occupied.The Old Courthouse and Jail in Woodstock

 We enjoyed lunch at the Public House of Woodstock here, site of the Groundhog Day movie bar scene where they drink to world peace.

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Bar in Groundhog Day movie in Woodstock

Across the street is the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Jaci’s Cookies, where we got a couple scones and a Groundhog cookie! They closed on 9-30-16.

Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Jaci's Cookies

We are back at the top again where we started. We saw other interesting buildings, these are on Main St. just off the Square. This is the Waverly house building, built in 1900. Next to it is the store Rare Rubbish, with a vintage Elgin Watch neon sign with clock. Cool! We saw the sign at night in 2017, one side still works!

Waverly Building in Woodstock

Ray Wolf Jewelers sign in Woodstock

Elgin Watch neon sign at night

Across the street is the Woodstock Theater, on this site around 100 years.

Alpine Theater - Woodstock Theater frame

Night view.

Woodstock Theatre marquee at night

Behind the square on 227 N. Throop St. is Afterglow Creative Services, a video production and photography agency.

Afterglow Creative Services in Woodstock

Stop by the Woodstock Public Library to learn more about Woodstock and it’s proud history.

Woodstock Public Library

Go bowling at Wayne’s Lanes.

Wayne's Lanes in Woodsstock

On our way out of town, we saw the Purple Heart Memorial.

purple-heart-memorial-in-woodstock

This wraps up our tour of Woodstock. Check these resources for more information about this city and McHenry County.  A great place to visit any time of the year.  We always feel welcome here, as we do when we visit my home state.  We also found this great historical marker just outside of Woodstock at a small wayside.

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welcome-to-illinois-marker-in-hebron

 

Hot Website Links

Visit McHenry County

McHenry County Historical Society

City of Woodstock, IL

Groundhog Days Website 

Chamber of Commerce

Woodstock Farmers Market

Metra

Tripadvisor – Best of Woodstock