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Yerkes Observatory in William’s Bay-Our Last Tour


5-21-18  Closed-Oct. 1st, 2018

Watch tour we took below.

We had just recently heard the news that Yerkes Observatory will be closing on October 1st of this year and knew we had to hurry back to take another tour before they ended.  The news had just been announced a week or two earlier.

My first visit was actually in 6th grade in February 1977. Here is a picture I took then.

We went together for the first time in 2012. Richard Dreiser has been giving almost all of the tours since 1980, 38 years!  Six years later, he said he remembered us and was happy to see us again.  He is really nice and we will miss him. He is writing a book though about Yerkes so we look forward to getting that when it’s published.

It wasn’t really crowded since the news only just came out about the closure a week or so earlier. We heard that the tour groups in September were quite large. We could look around the hallway shortly before the tour started.

The back of the hallway was cordoned off, it wasn’t in 2012. Let’s see what is back there.

Richard began by showing some beautiful photos taken by the Yerkes telescope and others in the hallway adjacent to the lobby.

After discussing these photos, we then moved out to the lobby. It is quite beautiful, decorated with terracotta accents, marble floor and a skylight in the ceiling. The light fixtures are original too. The building was officially opened in 1897.

Al Kutil

Under the skylight.

Richard pointed out the many features in the decorative artwork of the building in the lobby area.  Faces, angels, and owls abound!

We then moved outside, where Richard pointed out the many distinguishing features in the artwork on the columns and above the door. Art is everywhere at this building, something you don’t see anymore.

Then, we went back in and concluded the tour at the big telescope. We could not go up on the platform on this visit.

Yerkes had been visited by many scientists, including Albert Einstein in this group photo taken in the 20’s.

We all got a special treat that most people don’t get to see, the dome rotating (see video at 48:33).  He went to the console on the right side of the dome and made the adjustments.

 

 

Laurie Kutil 2012

Our tour came to a conclusion 10 minutes later, Richard spent the remaining time answering questions. Went back down the stairs.

Saw the library and stopped in the gift shop.

Our visit concluded here. We are sad this valuable resource is no longer a part of the University in Chicago.  However, it may reopen again at later date under new ownership. I will update this post if this happens. We hope Richard will be hired to continue his excellent tours. Meanwhile, enjoy the video of the original tour.

2017 Adventures – Happy New Year 2018!


Happy New Year to all of our friends and family who enjoy reading about our adventures. It was a great year and plans are already in the works for the new year.  We will celebrate our 5th year of Adventures in Travel in February, yaay!

We apologize for not publishing much over the last couple of months, life has kept us quite busy over the fall months and Christmas season.  A highlight of the Christmas season was the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train coming through Columbus. Al got a great video over 1000 people have already viewed. See it here!

Another highlight of the season was a house with a 40 minute synchronized music and light show. See it here!

We will be spending the winter catching up on trips that took place after Labor Day.  Also updating older posts that need it. Our “Westward Ho! South Dakota and Wyoming” trip was amazing!  Go back to begin reading about our trip here.  Made some new friends along the way, as well as with enjoying time with long-time friends.

We hope you had a great year too,  see you on the road! Happy New Year from Al and Laurie!

 

 

 

Columbus Redbud Days – Welcome Spring!


5-13-17

It’s the time of year Columbus has been waiting for, Redbud Days.  This annual celebration celebrates the Redbud tree, prominently displayed all over the city. Read more about the history here.   Many of the redbuds are descended from one especially hardy tree that lived over 60 years, it was on 537 West James street. It lived from the 1940’s until it had to be cut down in 2001. It’s unique genetic makeup was preserved and the tree’s “children” are all over Columbus, 48 on city property alone.

We began the day by visiting some of the great garage sales around town. Found some great buys and had fun!  Many people had redbuds in their yard, some quite large.

Back downtown for all the fun!  Every year, a new Redbud Prince and Princess are chosen in a competition by children entering the contest. The ceremony was at the Columbus Senior Center.

Each child is interviewed and a panel of Judges choose the winners.  See the ceremony here.

The kids were wonderful and all are fine representatives of Columbus. They will all go far.

Redbud Royal Court 2017

Plenty going on outside also.  The Badger Antique Auto Club had a Car Show, sponsored by Carol Valley C.P.A.  S.C.P.

Behind the car show Columbus businesses displayed their wares.

Cooley Prop and Weld, LLC

Mid-State Equipment

I smell something good!   It must be the Kiwanis Brat Fry, time for lunch!

, kids were participating in the Chalk Walk outside. Pretty good drawings!

Welcome spring at Columbus Redbud Days!

The Heidel House Resort and Spa in Green Lake


9-20-17

The journey to escape stress and tension begins in the friendly community of Green Lake, home of the Heidel House Resort and Spa. This place has a long and rich history, first known as the Kelly Estate in 1890. I took the picture above at Horners Landing in Ripon. This is the deepest natural lake in Wisconsin,  measured at 237 feet deep, 2 miles across and 7 miles long.  We did one scuba dive from this site on 7-22-98, almost 20 years ago. It was time to go back and see more of Green Lake than the bottom.

The reputation of this resort as THE PLACE to be in Wisconsin for a great get-away has spread far and wide and we wanted to see it for ourselves.  The beauty of the resort in early fall with the leaves beginning to change color made us feel welcome immediately.

Photos by Laurie Kutil

After a busy morning exploring the Green Lake area, we were hungry for lunch! We went into the Main Lodge building and enjoyed a great view of the lake in their Sunroom restaurant. See the menus here, this restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, you can get breakfast for lunch if you want!

Photo by Laurie Kutil

There is a self-service cart outside of the restaurant for coffee on-the-go.

Photo by Laurie Kutil

The sunny dining room with a view of the beach and dock. It was a good day to be out on a boat, though a little bit windy.

Photos by Laurie Kutil

Lunch is served!  Our wait staff lady Amber was great answering our questions about the resort and was very attentive, as were all the staff there.  I ordered the Heidel Burger and Al the Fire and Ice Salad. Delicious!

Photos by Laurie Kutil

The resort has three other restaurants, the Boathouse Pub   located below the Sunroom. It is open at 2 PM M-F,  11 AM on the weekend.  There is plenty of seating to enjoy the fresh air off the lake on their large patio.

Photo by Laurie Kutil

Lastly, the Pump House Parlor, open limited hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday, cash only.

Also the Grey Rock for fine dining and live music Wednesday through Saturday.

The lodge has many comfortable seating areas.

Photo by Al Kutil

Get a souvenir of your visit at the gift shop.

Photo by Laurie Kutil

Did you know you can also have timeshare ownership also?  This is the Hilltop building where you can own a piece of the Heidel House resort for an extended stay. Check for availability.

Photo by Laurie Kutil

There are many options for accommodations for your stay of any length. Enjoy the Lac Verde Lodge with both and indoor and outdoor pool.

Photo by Al Kutil

You can also stay in the main lodge.  Also the Stable House near the lodge.

Photo by Laurie Kutil

The Heidel House is also a great place for weddings, from rehearsal dinner to reception.  The Carriage Tent to protect your party from the elements is available from May-October.

See map of the grounds to see all accommodations available. We didn’t have a chance to see all of them but we plan on returning next year.

A closer look down by the lakefront. This is the walking path outside.

There are a great many mature trees here, providing shade on a hot summer day. This Indian Bean Tree has a large canopy and looks to be at least 100 years old.

Photo by Al Kutil

Photo by Laurie Kutil

Relax on the private beach outside of the main lodge. You can also take a cruise on the yacht Escapade during the summer and fall.

Photo by Laurie Kutil

 Lakeside view from dock.

The Heidel House is a great place to visit any time of the year. Next summer we plan on a cruise on their Escapade boat. Get away from it all at the Heidel House Resort and Spa!

 

 

 

 

Hot Springs-The Veteran’s Town


4-25 and 26, 2017

Hot Springs, South Dakota is a city of 3,711 and is the county seat of Fall River County. We stayed there three nights with some friends, not downtown but in one of the nearby hills where their homestead is located.  The countryside is beautiful, cattle ranches are a prevalent feature here. It was snowing in this picture.

Our friends took us on the grand tour, we saw everything on our list and more. We began with visiting  John Robertson Memorial Park Cemetery. He was a prominent horticulturist and farmer in Fall River County.

 

After visiting here we learned why this is called the Veteran’s town.   Our next stop was the South Dakota Veterans Home, a large beautiful building dedicated to caring for the many vets in Hot Springs.  There is a large medical staff dedicated to the care of the residents here.

The Joe Kern Building-Soldiers Home

I  have not seen a community honor vets as much as this one does. Inside the nursing home building near the entrance is a statue of a soldier. Inside the base is a time capsule, opening year is 2065.

Hot Spring’s downtown buildings are mostly made of sandstone, locally quarried at Evans Quarry. Read more about the stone’s use here. You saw some of these buildings at the Veterans Home also.

Here is the depot mentioned in the sign. The Soldiers Home is above.

This is the smallest union depot in the country. Here is the other signage on the depot.

Behind the depot is a train car.

Next to the depot is a small wood jail building serving the territory in 1885. It is the oldest surviving wooden jail in South Dakota.

The brown sign to the left of the door. Calamity Jane spent a night here too!

Enjoy a drive through downtown, nearly every building is constructed of pink sandstone.

The Fall River flows though the city, providing a soothing ambiance and view.  There is even a waterfall along the Fall River Freedom Trail.

Kidney Spring has water deemed healthful for the kidneys.  It flows freely from a spigot. A plaque gives a breakdown on the water analysis.

A retaining wall was built by the WPA in 1939. The view of it from the other side.

A great place to view downtown is at a lookout point on Hammond Avenue. It is a steep hill and about 1/2 way up. A great view of the Battle Mountain Sanitorium on the hill across the way.

The mountains visible from downtown is called the Seven Sisters Range.

Hot Springs has many murals and are adding more. Here is one on the side of Evan’s Plunge. We plan on a visit there in 2018.

On American Legion Post 71 building downtown.

On another building.

Minnekhata Avenue of about a century ago. Painted by Del Iron Cloud.

There are more historical markers scattered throughout the city. This one is at the edge of town at a wayside on the Mammoth Highway, this is the front.

The back.

 Another one is the Leslie Jensen Scenic Drive marker.

This small sign is attached below, telling us when he passed away.

Downtown is a Lions Club Memorial circle with a planter. 

Closeup of the plaque on the monument.

This marker is near their former Carnegie Library building. A new and larger library with more parking was built and opened in 2007. Here is a list of all the Carnegie libraries in South Dakota.

If you look to your left, there is a steep hill leading to the Fall River Pioneer Museum. We could not go in since it was not open for the season yet.

On the northern edge of town is the Mammoth Site, where hundreds of Mammoth skeletons were discovered in 1974 while preparing the land for a housing development.  The area was then protected and a very active dig still today. You can get a tour here and they offer programs for children and adults  alike. There is a marker close to the driveway.

All this exploring can make one hungry. We enjoyed lunch at the China Buffet, a favorite downtown of the locals.  For dinner we went to where our friend works, Taco John’s. Their food was yummy too!

The Hot Springs area has many beautiful parks for recreation, even a picnic!

We also took a closer look at the Fall River, namesake of the county Hot Springs resides in.  We went to Keith Memorial Cascade Falls. It was so beautiful there, I imagine even more so later in the spring and summer. A marker is also located there.

There is a walkway leading down to a view of the falls, also a small chapel you can go in.

Stained glass windows inside.

Donations gratefully accepted for park upkeep.

 We also visited the J.H. Keith Memorial Park.  Lots of picnic room and great scenery!

Currant trees were in bloom, as well as crab apple.

There is much to see in Hot Springs, we plan on returning Summer 2018 for more sightseeing.

 

 

 

 

 

South Dakota Badlands – A Geological Wonder!


4-28-17

After visiting Wall Drug, our next stop was the Badlands of South Dakota.  We arrived at 12:23.

Even though the sky was still overcast, the hills were still breathtaking! There are many areas where you can pull over for an up-close view. We did just that several times. It’s a 24 mile drive to the other side.

Enjoy some of our favorite views.

Everyone sure looks small from the top of the parking lot!

This is certainly the most scenic road we have ever been on, next to the Iron Mountain Road. This is 1:26 PM and the clouds are beginning to thin, letting in more sunshine.

We found a sign talking about the journey to Wounded Knee, where we stopped on April 24.

At 1:44 PM we see this sign. Getting close to the end. We get back on I-90.

By 2 PM we arrived at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center on the other side.

We stopped inside for a few minutes. Lots of gifts to choose from in the gift shop. You can even eat at the Cedar Pass Restaurant inside.  We enjoyed chatting with the staff there about our visit to South Dakota and that we look forward to returning next year.

Two more points of interest we saw after leaving the Badlands.  The Prairie Homestead Visitor Center was the first place. A historical marker was here also.

Our last stop in this area was the Badlands Ranch Store, also the site of a LARGE prairie dog town. We arrived here by  2:25 PM. Open since 1967, it has been a tourist destination for generations. We could not go in since it wasn’t open yet.  The store is open during the busy season, from mid-May through mid-September. They sell unsalted peanuts so you can feed them.

One of the little critters greeted me, I didn’t have any peanuts unfortunately.

And the BEST part, take a selfie with their big groundhog, we did! Same pose too!

A great way to cap off our visit to the Badlands. The views are incredible and there is so much to see and do here.

Wall Drug in South Dakota


April 28, 2017

Wall Drug Store is one place you must see if you visit South Dakota. My dad came here a log time ago and said we needed this unique place on our itinerary. We stopped here on our way to the Badlands to see what the buzz was about.

This place is big so allow yourself plenty of time. We spent about 90 minutes here, a whole day is really needed to see everything. It is not just one store but MANY stores. We explored the main store on the left. That alone was big enough. Another new store was going up.

We entered the main building, it looks like an old west scene, complete with characters to take selfies with.

Even Zoltar the fortune teller.

There is even a chapel inside the store, very beautiful! Quite an interesting story of its history too.

Just before leaving we stopped in the ice cream shop for a treat. As always, ice water is free.

Also the gift shop, what do you choose?

You could easily make a day of this place, we had a hard time leaving but the journey continues. Be sure to bring your camera!