18th Annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train


sturtevant logo

This is the 18th year of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, an exciting fundraiser for area food banks along the route the train takes in the US and Canada.  It was only in Wisconsin for a couple of days and the timing of it’s stops are different each year.  We were lucky this year, we could go!

We chose the village of Sturtevant to see it.  This community is located just west of Racine and about 1 1/2 hours from Madison. After dinner we were directed into a parking lot in a shopping mall close to the depot.  The lot was filling up fast with an excited crowd waiting to see the train. Many people probably saw the train yearly.   This is the view from the lot.

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Food and money were collected here at the Racine County Food Bank truck on site.


KTI Country radio station in Milwaukee was there to cover the event with a live broadcast.

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We were well prepared for recording this event, Al recorded from the ground with our mini-video camera and I roamed the grounds with my new camera. I went up the stairs in the structure above the track to see it coming from above.

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I could soon see the headlight and hear the train horn. It was right on time, 5:25 PM!  The crowd cheered and whistled!

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It’s here!


Join in the fun! Enjoy our video! The train was at the station for 45 minutes and we enjoyed a 1/2 hour Christmas music show. Performers were Colin James and Kelly Prescott.

This event was incredibly fun and worth the journey to get there.  Thanks Canadian Pacific for bringing such joy and goodwill on the rails!

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Free Day at the Milwaukee Public Museum

2-4-16 First Thursday of the Month

Milwaukee Public Museum

What a great opportunity!  We found out that the Milwaukee Public Museum has a free day every month for ALL visitors. Kohls is the sponsor.  We jumped at this chance to go.  We found a historic clock just outside of the building.

Historic Tower Clock by Museum

After checking in at the front desk, we were on our way!  You can check your coat in for $1 or use a locker for 50 cents. We also got a free ticket to the Planetarium show at 11:30, there usually an extra charge for that.   I have not seen one of those shows since I was a kid.  It was great getting a refresher on the night sky and constellations.  Also some Hubble pictures were shown.  A great 25 minute show!

Planetarium show sign

We enjoyed a good lunch at the café  before heading back up to the first floor. The have a coffee stand too.

The Daily Grind coffee at museum

The museum has four floors, we just had time to see the ground, floors 1 and 2. It is a large museum so we hope to return to see the rest.  On the first floor were many great exhibits, a favorite being the “Streets of  Old Milwaukee” and “European Village”. It looks like Milwaukee around 1880-1910. To enhance your experience here, you can download an app to hear residents of old Milwaukee tell us about their occupations, etc. at the turn of the last century. You can only listen to the oratories through your headphones in your phone.

Streets of Old Milwaukee and European Village

You enter the Milwaukee exhibit through the streetcar and exit in the back.

Streets of Old Milwaukee Entrance

Let’s take a stroll through the street, you can occasionally hear horses hooves clopping.

Inside are prominent Wisconsin businesses, many still here.  Usinger’s, Schlitz and Roundy’s among them. The most charming part of this exhibit was the candy store. It was real and you could buy some “penny” candy here. The store is small so only a few people could be inside at a time.

Candy Store IMG_1518

You could also go up a staircase in one of the buildings and look down below at the street. You could see the candy store to the right. The front view showed an eye doctor business, complete with a sign with eyes that appear to be looking right at you!

Balcony view of candy store

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Eye sign at Public Museum

See the silhouette of the lady in the window? She moved in and out of view and appeared to be getting ready for a night out.

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Saw a photographer taking a portrait of a lady.

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Inside a general store.

General Store at Milwaukee

High fashion for ladies around 1900.

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When you reach the end of the street it transitions into the European Village, opening up to Pabst Square.

Pabst Square in European Village

European Village in Museum

Each house surrounding the square represents a different country in Europe. Here is the Czech house from Al’s heritage.

Czech house at museum

The Russian house, my sister-in-law’s heritage. She is a first-generation American.

Russian house at Museum

We spent an extended amount of time in these exhibits, they were fascinating!  Now we move on to the Jack Puelicher Butterfly Garden. This sunny room had many beautiful butterflies and warm temperatures that felt good on this winter day.

Butterfly wing at Museum

Butterfly at Museum

Let’s watch them them in action!

A butterfly display in a case.

Butterflies at museum

And this Muskrat exhibit is from 1890, like the clock outside. Very intricate detail!

Muskrat Habitat display at museum

It was time to go, we plan on returning as soon as we can to see what we missed. Meanwhile, enjoy this great view across the street from the museum.

Milwaukee skyline

And this one facing in the other direction.

Milwaukee Skyline 2

The Milwaukee Zoo


Milwaukee Zoo entry

Our last adventure of the year, today was a special day.  the Greater Milwaukee Foundation gave Wisconsin a free gift for the last week of the year, free admission and parking to the Milwaukee Zoo for all visitors.

We went in and saw many Christmas trees decorated by various groups.The room was filled with them!

Christmas trees IMG_0185

Now we went outside to see the exhibits, first were the penguins.  They were sure having fun with all the people around watching them.

Milwaukee Zoo beginning

Milwaukee Zoo Penguins

Our next stop was the Primate house after walking an elevated walkway.

Ptimate House at Milwaukee Zoo1

One of my favorite parts was the Mold-O-Rama machine to make you a gorilla souvenir for $20.  They are all original machines from the 1960’s. It is an injection mold machine. Let’s see it in action!

And here is my gorilla!

Gorilla IMG_0265

It was a quiet day and it sometimes was hard to see the occupants in this building since many were napping. Tom the Gorilla was enjoying a snack by the window, probably looking at us too.

Tom the Gorilla at Milwaukee Zoo

Their habitat looks very natural and the animals appeared relaxed.

Primate home at Milwaukee Zoo

Time go go back outside to see other exhibits, it was raining but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the many visitors or the animals. There was an ice carver who had already carved a bear and had just started another one.

Ice carver at Milwaukee zoo

This sea-lion was getting lunch.

Sea Lion at Milwaukee Zoo

A Grizzly Bear was making the rounds too. He appeared to like the rain.

Grizzly beat at Milwaukee Zoo

A Polar Bear too, probably wishing it were snowing instead of rain.

Polar bear at Milwaukee Zoo

These Caribou were enjoying their natural woodland setting.  They are not often seen outside of Alaska. Stately creatures!

Caribou at Milwaukee Zoo

Next we explored the Small Mammal building which also had some primates, also bats.

Small Mammal building at Milwaukee Zoo

Small Mammal house at Milwaukeee Zoo

We went next door to see the aquatic building with lots of fish from around the world.  Enjoy this video made by another visitor to the zoo.

This seemed to be a favorite stop for the many visitors that came. There is of course a large focus on Wisconsin fishing and we learned about how the famous “Friday Fish Fries” began in the dairy state.  Fish may not be the first thing to come to mind in the middle of the country, but we do have our freshwater seas, the Great Lakes providing plenty of good eating.

Friday Fish Fry history

The zoo also emphasizes how important “catch and release” is to sustaining and growing the fish population. My brother Lee Tauchen is a fishing guide and he practices this technique, he rarely eats his catches. He also creates beautiful lures he uses and sells.  He would love to take you out on a fishing trip, call him at (608) 444-2180 to set one up with him.

Catch and release

This display of small fish was mesmerizing to watch.

Small fish aquarioum at Milwaukee Zoo

We wanted to see the Aviary but it was closed for renovations.

We had a great visit to the Milwaukee Zoo and hope to return in summer when more is happening. Thanks Greater Milwaukee Foundation for the free week!

Clock at Milwaukee Zoo



MillerCoors Brewery Tour


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Welcome to Miller Valley!

Miller Valley IMG_0787

We realized how much of Milwaukee we still have not seen, and decided that taking the free tour of the MillerCoors Brewery was just the thing on a snowy winter day. In this picture you can see the large silver tankards where the beer is aged for three weeks.

The tour is for one hour, be prepared to take stairs and walk to several buildings.  Register at the front desk when you arrive. Good info to know before beginning the tour.

Tour Info IMG_0807

 A photographer was there to take our picture and had some props to make the picture even more memorable.  We would be offered a 5×7 and 2-4×6 print, a bottle opener and a can cozy at the end of the tour for $20.  We got it, such a fun memento of our visit.

Miller Visitor Center in Milwaukee

We were on the first tour at 10:30, and it turned out to only be the two of us. Leah was our guide, she gave us the VIP treatment!

Leah and us IMG_0819

The tour began with a 10-minute film in the theater describing the history of the brewery. After that we went to the first building where the beer is made.

Beer Processing at Miller IMG_0827

Here we could also see the conveyor belt rolling with filled cases of beer.

We went down to the lower floor of this building and saw it is also a vast warehouse for all the beer.  Would you believe all of this will be gone by the next day?  Most goes to Chicago with the rest points elsewhere. It is the size of 5 football fields placed side-by-side. Here are some stats.

Beer Distribution stats at Miller IMG_0855

Beer Warehouse IMG_0852

We went back out and crossed the street, going under the bridge where you could see beer going across on the conveyor.

Miller Bridge IMG_0865

It was time to see where the Fermenting Room.  Copper tankards were on the upper level and the silver-colored ones were below.

Fermenting room at Miller

Miller Fermenting Facts IMG_0883

After this we walked further up the street to our last stop, the Historic Caves building where the beer was chilled before refrigeration.

Brewery Panoramic View IMG_0899

There was also a historic marker on the building.

Historic Caves Entrance at Miller IMG_0901

Plank Road Historic Marker at Brewery

We went into the hushed darkness of the cave, gently lit on either side but still allowing for night vision.  It was beautiful, and there was a mural painted in the back.

Miller Cave IMG_0910

Miller Cave IMG_0915

Miller Cave Mural IMG_0912

In here were were also paid a visit by Frederick Miller himself, via a projection on the back of the cave.

Very cool!  The tour was now finished, we then went to the tasting room. Al did the tasting since I don’t drink beer.  Thanks Leah, we really had fun!

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Tasting Room back at Miller IMG_0936

While we were there we got our photo that we had taken at the start of the tour.  Our first silly selfie of the year.

Miller Tour Selfie text

We really had a good time here today. Since there is not a restaurant on site, we went .7 miles away to Saz’s State House for a great lunch.

Saz's State House in Milwaukee IMG_0975

It’s always Miller Time™ in Milwaukee!


Candy Cane Lane in West Allis

Candy Cane Lane Logo


Welcome to CCL IMG_0573

It was our last chance to see Candy Cane Lane, it ran only between Nov. 27-Dec. 27. It’s actually a rather area of highly decorated houses on 96th to 92nd Ave in West Allis, a suburb of Milwaukee.  This event is also a fundraiser for the MACC Fund.  We just saw a small area, as it was raining out.

Candy Cane Lane boundaries

You can tell the area by tree marked to look like candy canes.

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Let’s go see some of the houses! The rain made a pretty reflection of the Christmas lights on the street.

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This one was cute, the snowman was singing in synch to music.

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The view down the street, many cars after dark.

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Even Smurfs!

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And a biking Santa!

Biking Santa IMG_0527

Near this location were volunteer collecting money for the MACC Fund.

IMG_0528 Donation for MACC

We had a great time here and it will be back the day after Thanksgiving next year.

Thanks for visiting CCL IMG_0526

Ten Chimneys – Tour of the Estate of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne


Ten Chimneys Sign

At long last, we finally had the opportunity to take this tour in Genesee Depot.  Only children 12 and over are permitted to take the tour due to the estate’s fragility. This tour  normally is $35 a person, but was free May 29 & 30 because of a special event taking place. The Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF) gave a gift to visitors (and residents) to the Milwaukee area and free admission was granted to three venues in the Milwaukee Metro area. We have known about Ten Chimneys and we had to take advantage of this rare opportunity. Thanks GMF!

This is the former estate of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne,  actors who married and decided to live here during their off months (summers) of performing in movies and plays.  When they retired they lived here full-time. You wouldn’t think a tiny community in Wisconsin would attract stars of stage and screen, but it did in this case since Alfred grew up in Wisconsin.  Genesee Depot turned out to be the perfect setting for this peaceful home for the Lunts.  After restoration, it was opened to the public in 2003 for tours.We meet first in the Visitor Center to check in and we begin our tour promptly at 9.

Lunt-Fontanne Program Center Building at Ten Chimneys

Our tour docents are Annette and Myron Olson, who really brought to life the lives of the Lunts for us, and their personalities. You felt like you knew the Lunts after this tour! Here is a map of the estate (click to enlarge).

Docents Annette and Myron OlsenTen Chimneys Map

We began  by watching a short film introducing us to the Lunts, which you can see here.

The shuttle bus is arriving to take us on our tour, it lasts two hours and photography is only permitted of the outside, not inside. The tour is on a tight schedule and you can’t wander off by yourself to take pictures. You have to move fast!

We begin at the Main House, a marker is just outside of the driveway. We spent an hour here, there were many rooms to see!

Lunt Main House at Ten Chimneys

Ten Chimneys marker

We were amazed at the art and beauty here, preserved just as it was when the Lunts were alive. The kitchen was a delight, Alfred had taken a 6-week culinary course at Le Cordon Bleu in France and cooked for the both of them (Lynn didn’t cook). We saw their main dining room, their bedroom and guest rooms.  Annette and Myron really knew their stuff, you felt like they knew the Lunts personally!

After the main house we walked on the path to the Studio, also saw the Greenhouse from the outside. They also recently acquired chickens, Alfred also had them when they lived here. In fact, he grew most of their own food in the garden so they were getting produce as local as you can get!  We also visited his kitchen (and took our only sit-down break there) and we were told he even created his own recipes which were then compiled into a cookbook. We could get it in the gift shop too!

Greenhouse and Garden at Ten Chimneys



The Studio at Ten Chimneys


A couple of the out buildings near the Studio.

Out Buildings at Ten Chimneys


On the path to the Cottage  you could see the Poolhouse and pool, which is still filled each summer for special events. It has been a cool spring so it wasn’t filled yet.

Pool and Pool House at Ten Chimneys


 My favorite building, the Cottage. Painted in my favorite color red, it was just as delightful on the inside.

The Cottage frame at Ten Chimneys

The tour was coming to an end and we shuttled back to the visitor center to see the displays. We were on the first tour at 9 AM, they were taking groups of 12 out every 15 minutes, it was a “sold-out” event both days.  Since this was a big celebration, it came complete with cake to celebrate! A lady from the GMF was there serving it to the visitors, thank you!

Greater Milwaukee Foundation cake at Ten Chimneys

Now for the many beautiful displays, many interactive.  This is a re-creation of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in New York City, opened in 1948.

Lunt-Fontanne Theater Marquee at Ten Chimneys


The view right inside, a stage and audio players to hear excerpts from their many plays.

Visitor Center Stage Mock Stage at Ten Chimneys

There were also “Toy Theaters” depicting scenes from 5 of the Lunt’s plays and their single movie, The Guardsman . Alfred built them, his skills were immense. Very interesting!  Tinsel prints go back to the early 1800’s, and the Lunts did collect some as part of their art collection.

Toy Theater sign

There were 6 toy theaters displayed, all but one were working. The Guardsman was the only movie the Lunts performed in, released in 1931.

Four Toy Theaters at Ten Chimneys

Two Toy Theaters


Be sure to stop in the gift shop, we got a tour flip book and postcards. Many books were there too, including the cookbook assembled from Alfred’s recipes. Since I am a cook, you can be sure I bought this too 🙂

Alfred Lunt Cookbook


We recommend this tour to anyone who appreciates history and theater.  We really had a great time!

Hot Website Links

Ten Chimneys Foundation

Greater Milwaukee Foundation

Le Cordon Bleu in Paris

Lunt Fontanne Theater blog about the Lunts, more pictures. Favorites…Tinsel Prints


It’s Amore on Brady Street – Milwaukee


Brady Street is a street with character and spunk.  It was settled by mainly Italian immigrants over a century ago and their decendants still own many businesses on this colorful street.  The TV show “Around the Corner with John McGivern” inspired us to come here.  He was right, what a fun place in the heart of Wisconsin’s largest city. Watch it here too.

We arrived early on this beautiful spring morning with businesses starting to open.  Brady St. has parking meters. If you don’t mind walking a couple blocks, we parked on the side of the street by Cass Park to park free. Great park for kids to enjoy. We couldn’t resist posing under the big cat archway.

Cass Park arch Milwaukee

We continued our walk and saw another little park, redbuds in bloom.

Park at N. Marshall and E. Lyon St.

We see a banner on the light pole as we reach Brady Street.

Brady Street banner


The first business we saw was Glorioso’s Italian Market, a wonderful place with lots of great food, some imported from Italy. We even had lunch there too, yum! Bring a cooler in the summer, you may be bringing home some of their meat and cheeses.

Glorioso's Collage

Another great place we stopped at was Dryhootch Coffee House. They have a special mission, they donate part of their proceeds to help vets. Learn more about this specific store here.   Our barista made us delicious café au laits and made us welcome! Al fit right in, being a Navy vet himself.

Dryhootch Coffee House


Thumbs up to Dryhootch!

Thumbs up to Dryhootch!

Berry Me Frozen Yogurt is another popular place.

Berry Me  on Brady St. Milwaukee


We reach one end of the street, The Dogg Haus is ready to serve up Chicago specialties.

The Dogg Haus

After lunch at Glorioso’s, we went to see the part of Brady St. we missed.  The street being 9 blocks long, there was a lot to see. St. Hedwig – Three Holy Women Catholic Church has been a cornerstone of this community since 1886.

St. Hedwig Catholic Church Milwaukee

The Dragonfly is a unique store inside as well as out, a gargoyle sits atop the roof overlooking Brady Street.


The Dragonfly in Milwaukee


Well, we finally make it to the other end of Brady Street. We come upon a bridge overlooking the Milwaukee River. What a view! This is the right side.

IBridge near Brady St. Milwaukee Right side view


The left side..You can see a couple canoeing down the river.  This will take you all the way down to where we were last year, the Milwaukee Ale House.

Brady Street Bridge left side


Milwaukee Ale House

Near the bridge is McCormack-Mervis Brady Street park, ending our journey today.  We hope you enjoyed Brady Street, we plan on returning again. What a fun day!

McCormack-Mervis Brady Street Park


Brady Street Park Milwaukee