"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 :)
Each year I eagerly look forward to Olbrich Botanical Garden‘s hottest new art display taking place at night. They really outdid themselves this time. Here is a map of all the art installations, more than ever this year!
For the first time, there are displays inside of the Boltz Conservatory. This display cycles through all the colors, just like the lights lining the inside of the conservatory.
Next I went outside to see those displays, the tree outside was raining light!
There is now a bar outside so you can enjoy an adult beverage while enjoying GLEAM.
There was a surprise around every corner, I especially liked the columns on either side of the entrance to the Rose Garden, there were roses rotating around inside.
Loved the rainbow brick path.
Projected onto the path in the grand circle were messages, and butterflies flew through them.
New this year were lighted panels with a description of the displays. This one was really neat.
The star shower light made for a ghostly appearance of anyone standing under it.
This one was a little hard to take a picture, video is better.
This one was pretty too.
I am finishing my journey through the gardens, looking completely different from in the day. As a member, it is $11 to come to GLEAM, 14 if you are not. You can become a member at Olbrich at this time for a discount and save on future events, coupon is on GLEAM guide. I look forward to next year!
Willy Street as it is known by the locals, is one of Madison’s most unique and fun neighborhoods.
This street has special meaning to me, since it is where my husband Al was living when we met in 1997. He lived here with his older brother, who is no longer with us, he passed in Sept. 2005. We sure miss him and he embodied the spirit of Willy St.
Joe and Al in May 2005, photo taken here.
They host a variety of festivals throughout the summer that we have enjoyed many times.
Central Park Sessions – August and September. Check for dates. It benefits 7 non-profits doing great work throughout the city of Madison.
Our favorite way to end the summer! Here is their parade from 2016.
We will start our tour at the top of the street, art is also a major fixture of this street and close by. The large metal tree in the median across from this sign called the Communitree. Created by metal artist Erica Koivunen and her husband, Blacksmith Aaron Howard, this tree fits right in this unique neighborhood.
A new smaller tree is now in the Willy Street Park, installed in 2016 called “Enlightened Self-Interest.
There is is a lot to cover about this fascinating street, the culture here is quite diverse and people welcoming and friendly. In many yards and windows I saw this sign, proving this. Also this sign on a fence.
They also care for our four-footed friends.
Willy Street supports a large array of small business and strongly objects to major chains there. The ironic thing, many of these businesses I profiled here now have multiple locations because they have been highly successful!
An example is the story of the Willy Street Park is legendary. A fast food chain wanted to put a restaurant there, but the residents of Willy St. protested this and as a result, the Willy Street Park was born. It is maintained by a group of volunteers, it is a beautiful place to rest and reflect year-round.
Artwork adorns the street on the sides of many buildings, neatly encapsulating the character of this neighborhood.
This isn’t on Willy but nearby on Paterson, still considered part of the street culture. Also imagined by metal artist Erica Koivunen and her husband, Blacksmith Aaron Howard. They are called, “Dream Keepers”.
Found on a sidewalk.
Also visit the Williamson Street Art Center. They offer art classes to the public. They have done murals all over southern Wisconsin for over 20 years.
This establishment was a favorite place for Al’s brother Joe to visit. Not just a bar, they also have great music groups come in to play as well. At night, the neon comes on in the glass-block windows is a beacon on the street.
The view is just as pretty inside.
We were there on Feb. 16 to play Jeopardy! with the crowd and this nice man told us about the first owner and it was his idea for all the neon lights. His name was Richard “Dick” Storey and he was a big UW supporter. He passed away 12-29-12.
Across the street from Mickey’s. Get hydroponic growing supplies here and home brewing equipment here. They closed in Madison in February of 2018. There are still four locations in Chicago, Bolingbrook, and Roselle, IL. Also Waukesha, WI.
If you would rather buy your alcohol, Star Liquor has a great selection. It closed 4-4-18.
This concludes our visit to this charming and friendly street in Madison. We hope you had as much fun as we have!
Gresham is a small close-knit Village of 586 located just northwest of Shawano. On our way home from our visit to Shawano we decided to have a quick lunch here. On the city limits we saw the Miles of Art sign, the event going on this weekend. See the MAP of where art is on display in Shawano County.
Delightful view downtown, their maroon clock sets the scene.
Lunchtime! We heard about this delightful place called Pa’s Ice Cream Shoppe and wanted to try it.
Their menu, how do you choose?
That dipped ice cream cone was amazing. Good thing it was a cool day!
After lunch we looked at some of the other businesses nearby. Shanti’s Art Studio near the clock is across from the ice cream shoppe.
With Halloween on the way, an old building becomes a haunted house called Panic Chambers Hotel. Looks scary!
This is the first time for this event, a new fundraiser for the gardens also. This was a rare time the gardens were open at NIGHT. Along a marked route are a series of lighted art displays, some with spotlights on them and some lit internally. Beautiful! Here is the map of the tour.
This is the first sculpture we saw, hanging from the tree above us.
Atop the archway entering the gardens was a big dragonfly that cycled through three color combinations. It was called “Alighting”
Enjoy the rest of the exhibits as we follow the path…
This was the first time for this event and hopefully not the last! We also decided to join Olbrich during our visit the next day as the GLEAM guide booklet had a $20 off a yearly membership. You also get free admission and discounts to other gardens all across the country. Enjoy GLEAM before it ends on October 30, 2015.
Olbrich has fun events the whole year around, as well as classes. We enjoyed going to their Blooming Butterflies event in July and the Holiday Express during the Christmas season.
Lodi is a friendly city of 3,000 nestled in a valley about 1/2 hour north of Madison. The name Lodi itself means “Peaceful Valley” so the name is apt. Lodi is also a Tree City as of 2013. What an honor! The Lodi Valley began to be settled as early as 1844, almost 100 years later incorporated as a city. It was named after Lodi, Italy. Susie the Duck is what really put Lodi on the map. Read the history of Susie here on this sign that used to be posted downtown by Spring Creek in 2006, for some reason it’s no longer there.
This is the famous masonry basket. On an October 2010 visit saw a couple of Susie’s kin in the basket.
The rubber ducks you see floating down Spring Creek only happen on Susie the Duck Day, every 3rd Saturday in August. I have been to several of these festivals and had a really great time. Spring Creek flows through the center of downtown, emptying out into the Wisconsin River. Back in the early days of Lodi, Spring Creek once powered a flour mill, now beautiful Veterans Memorial Park. The scene near the bridge has changed a little, this tree on the right is no longer there.
The duck drop is done from this bridge. This is Emmy Fink, host of the program Discover Wisconsin. They came to Lodi to cover Susie the Duck Day in 2013 and other fun attractions in the Lodi area. See the episode here.
Lodi has many historic homes going back to the city’s early history. This is the Daniel and Nellie Burns home on Mill Street.
This MAY be the former home of Dr. Chval, but still need to confirm.
There is a stone fountain dedicated to him in Goeres Park.
Overlooking the park is the beautiful Blessed Trinity Catholic Parish. I was near the church when the chimes sounded at noon. I managed to record the music.
A little further down the street is the Lodi Curling Club. Read about the club’s history here. Also the Fairgrounds, complete with a historic one-room school house..
On Seminary Street is the John A. and Martha Robertson house. The smiley face in the window is cute!
This beautiful house stands out, across from the Historic Hotel Lodi building on Main. See more historic Lodi and Columbia county here.
Across the street are a variety of art businesses in a former garage. The one I am familiar with is Gary N-Ski Photography. He was the photographer for my brother’s wedding in 2008, great work. He also has prints for sale of pictures taken in the Lodi area. They participate in the Lodi Art Walk, between May and October.
From here we turn back toward downtown on Main St. to see the many businesses there. If you are here in August, you will find a self-serve Sweet Corn cart in the parking lot of Main Street Liquor, owned by the prominent Ness family. Their largest business is Ness Auto Sales and Service. The sign inside the cart, you can get a large amount of corn too.
On the right is the Kwik Trip and Fire Department. Also a gazebo with Lodi area information.
We now approach the main part of downtown at the intersection of Main and Portage Street (Highway 60).
Lodi Mini Mall at 105 Main on our left. The Lodi Enterprise newspaper is located here.
Directly across from here on the other corner is M of N Vapors, e-cigarette shop.
Next door is the La Grotta Sull’acqua Wine and Spirits Lounge.
Now we arrive at Spring Creek Park, relax by the water after a busy morning shopping 🙂 This is an archived photo from 2011, the corn dispensers are no longer there except for one, and it was empty. I brought my own dried corn to feed the ducks.
Next is the Spring Creek Restaurant and Bar and Cottage House Primitives, a great shop for Colonial-style home decor. The City Hall is right next to it. On 4-29-16 we had dinner at the Spring Creek restaurant, great food and friendly staff! They also have a “duck cam” mounted to wall outside overlooking Spring Creek to watch for Susie on a big screen in the dining room. Great fun!
It looks like they have a brat fry going on across the street, let’s get some lunch! They also served hot dogs, chips, a soda too. $5 for a meal, the chips and soda included. They don’t do this every Saturday, I got lucky!
After lunch, I was given a tour of the American Legion building which was recently renovated. Beautiful work both inside out. The front hall is large and can be rented out to host YOUR event, including the use of the kitchen. They are also now participating in the Lodi Art Walk event as well. Find them on Facebook too to see their latest events. Thanks very much for the great tour, it was fun!
Be sure to see the Veterans Memorial at Veterans Memorial Park.
Near the end of South Main, next to the American Legion is the Jolivette Memorial Home, owned by the Lodi Valley Historical Society. They are open 10-1 on Saturdays May to November. I finally was able to be here for a tour when the museum was open!
On the grounds is the historic Palmer Tree, been here since around the time Lodi was settled. It’s a Bur Oak. It was officially dedicated on Arbor Day in 1997.
On the grounds is also a school bell inside the little shelter above.
We are now approaching the end of South Main, this is the view looking north. The remaining businesses at the top of the street…
Lodi also offers camping at Smokey Hollow Campground. They take a big part in the Susie the Duck Day parade and festivities. Especially the parade! Here is their HUGE driving shopping cart, quite unique!
Lodi is a great place to visit. Great shopping and beauty all year around and most of all, friendly people who say “Hi” back when you do. Nearby is the Merrimac Ferry or Gibraltar Rock to add more fun to your day trip.
We finally arrived at 7:30 AM! We left Rhinelander about 6 AM but made stops in Lake Tomahawk and Woodruff along the way. This was the northern-most point of our journey before heading toward home around 12:00.
Lac du Flambeau is a very old Ojibwe Indian community settled around 1745, and maybe much longer. It is designated as an Indian Reservation as well. Here is a brochure of the community. Here is their history in the beautiful Northwoods.
Coming here had special meaning to us because Al came here in August 1997, a month after we met. He was at the Lake of the Torches Casino with his brother at a conference. We only met a few weeks earlier and at first neither one of us expected to miss each other as much as we did. This was before there were smartphones and easy internet access away from the desktop computer at home. Al called me one night from the hotel and said he was looking out on Lake Pokegama outside his room window, and saying how much he missed me and wish I were there at the lake with him, seeing this view. Fast forward to 7-8-15. We are finally here together, seeing this view, as husband and wife 18 years later ♥
We enjoyed the delicious breakfast buffet at the Eagles Nest Restaurant. We also got introduced to the Wild Rice pancake, made to order by a chef at the cooking station. Yum! I made them at home after we got back.
It is very interesting seeing how wild rice is harvested. This is a historical clip from Canada.
After breakfast we took a tour, Al showed me what he saw when he was there in 1997. The building was quite new then and can have more guests now. The casino itself.
The Convention Center where the conference was held.
Wading pool and hot tub area.
A living room area with doors leading to a courtyard with a view of the lake. There was a stained glass decoration in the window and a wood carving in the living room too. The spot where we took our photo.
We saw a family of Common Merganser ducks in the water near the pier. I never saw those before!
After our tour we headed downtown to look around. On the lamp poles are torches, probably lit at night.
At long last, we took a tour of the Overture Center of the Arts. They are free, given every Saturday morning at 11:00 AM unless a special event is going on.
In the entry is a plaque.
Our tour guides Dawn and Ann were quite excellent in showing us so many of the nooks and crannies of this fine entertainment venue. Our tour began in the foyer in front on an inscription carved into the marble, a quote by the main benefactor, Jerry Frautschi. He and his wife Pleasant Rowland were partner in funding the reconstruction of the former Civic Center. The original facade was left standing.
Now let’s begin our tour by visiting the Capitol Theater. The are four performance halls inside the OC. We had a quick peek inside, rehearsals we going on for a show that took place later. The hallway outside of the auditorium was beautiful!
We also went under the stage to see the trap doors the performers sometimes dropped through.
We also got to see some of the dressing rooms and Green Room for performers and crew to take a break. There is a book where cast and crew can sign too. Jerry Seinfeld was here in January!
Next was the Rotunda Studio, great to have a wedding reception or large party in.
We came upstairs into sunlight to see the great view of the Capitol in the Promenade.
Another great room your party can rent is the Wisconsin Studio. See all the areas you can reserve for your use here.
While we are downstairs, we visited the Rotunda Stage, directly below the dome skylight.
Promenade Hall has hosted many events. Plenty of room for a small orchestra up front.
And the most exciting part was the finale of our tour. The largest performance auditorium of all (seats 2255), The Overture Hall, had just finished the show going on while we were there (heard them under the stage!) and we were allowed to go in and take a look! Quite a beautiful place, and the large pipe organ is a sight to behold!
We had a fantastic tour, thanks Dawn and Ann! The fun doesn’t stop here though. Our tour concluded with at the time capsule, to be opened in 2056. We hope we are there to see it opened.
When you visit, get your picture taken at their very own photo booth. They give you a print on the spot and send it in an email too. A great memento of your visit!
Since the Overture Center is a non-profit agency, they have many means to raise funds and have quite a few sponsors. Their main fundraiser is Art Fair On/Off The Square in Mid-July. A chance for you to purchase art from artists around the country. We will be back soon! It looks just as pretty at night.