Tag Archive | Groundhog Day

Woodstock Groundhog Day Movie Walking Tour


2-2-20/2-2-17 / 2-2-15 / 1-30-11 and 10/17/03

groundhog-and-chalkboard

The Groundhog Day Walking Tour is the highlight of any visit to Woodstock. Following the map, any visitor can take this tour year ’round. One week out of a year, the tour is guided during Groundhog Days. This time we got it on video, especially important since Bob Hudgins (Location Manager) was retiring from conducting the tours. The tour lasted almost 2 hours (bundle up!) and he had many back stories to tell about each scene.  He has done this since 2005 gratis, just because he enjoyed doing it. Thanks Bob!  Join us on the tour below! It’s edited length is 1 hr-6 min.

  Here is a map of most of the sites, print a pdf version here  as well as more info about what is going on each day.

Woodstock Groundhog Day Movie Site Walking Tour

Bob is ready! Let’s examine the sites one by one.

Bob Hudgins Location Manager of Groundhog Day

1. Pennsylvania Hotel

 The historic Woodstock Opera House. The place where the dance scene takes place in the movie and bar scene preceding the dance.

Pennsylvania Hotel - Woodstock Opera House

2 & 3.  Gobbler’s Knob and Bandstand Dance – The large gazebo in Woodstock Square Park.

Phil always hears “Pennsylvania Polka” when he arrives at Gobblers Knob. In fact, there are speakers throughout the park and we heard this and other music from the movie soundtrack during the tour. It is performed by Frankie Yankovic. A classic!

Gobbler Knob- Woodstock Square Park

Plaque on large gazebo

The Gobbler’s Knob plaque is flat on the ground.  Saw it for the first time in 2017 since there was no snow.

Gobbler's Knob Plaque in Woodstock

4. Bar Scenes – Old Courthouse –  Public House of Woodstock

This was the bar as portrayed as being inside the Pennsylvania Hotel, just outside of the dance hall where the Groundhog dance was near the end of the movie.  Also where Phil shared a Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks (with a twist) with Rita. We enjoyed a delicious lunch there and made a toast to world peace. The plaque is inside by the bar.

The Old Courthouse and Jail in Woodstock

i-always-drink-to-world-peace-plaque-at-public-house-in-woodstock

Bar in Groundhog Day movie in Woodstock

Full Bar in Public House

The jail scene was also filmed here, a former large cell is part of the dining area.   Al pretending to be locked up.

Al pretending to be locked up

5. Bill Murray’s Puddle

Six cobblestones were actually taken out of the street to create the hole for the puddle, as told by Bob Hudgins.  He had to put them back in at the end of the day. Al stood in for Bill on our first visit to Woodstock in 2003.

Bill Murray's Puddle PlaqueBill Murray's Puddle

6. Tip-Top Cafe

 Where Phil and Rita had breakfast before trying to leave Punxatawney. Also where Phil learned everything about all the patrons in the restaurant.  At the time of filming it was an empty storefront, now it is a real restaurant called Taqueria La Placita. We enjoyed a great dinner there in 2017.  We sat in the area where Phil’s table was in the movie.  They also had the original Tip Top Cafe lit sign in the window too.

Tip Top Cafe in Woodstock

 tip-top-cafe-plaque

Inside Tip Top

Tip Top Cafe sign

Across the street from the cafe is the Berkshire-Hathaway Real Estate, which doubled as a Rexall Drug in the movie.

Berkshire-Hathaway Realtor in Woodstock

Another perspective shows this is where Phil, Rita and Larry drove into town.

Phil and TV crew entering Woodstock

7. Alpine Theater – Classic Cinema Woodstock Theater

Where Phil and his girlfriend dressed in costume to see a movie. He was dressed like Clint Eastwood, she as a cocktail waitress.

Alpine Theater - Woodstock Theater frame

It had been refurbished and the ticket counter in the front has moved inside.

Screen 1 has been named the Harold Ramis Auditorium, and we saw the movie in there in 2020.

Very nice inside, and many seats!

Above us is a round decorative feature, seen from the lowest level looking up.

 I got a picture in 2011 before it changed.

alpine-theater-ticket-window

Alpine Theatre plaque

Love the lit marquee at night.

Woodstock Theatre marquee at night

8. Gas Station

Where Phil called to try to get more information on the blizzard. This is what it looked like in 2015.

The Gas Station - Gas Depot in Woodstock

The window view as it appeared in the movie (with Bill removed), overlayed over the 2015 photo.

the-gas-station-plaque

 The station in  2011 before it changed.

gas-depot-2011in Woodstock

 

9. Bowling Alley – Wayne’s Lanes

Where Phil was drinking with two other guys who all then proceeded to leave and drove drunk with the police hot on their tail on a high-speed chase through town.

Bowling Alley - Wayne's Lanes in WoodstockBowling Alley - Wayne's Lanes inside in Woodstock

Wayne's Lanes inside

They did not actually actually drive on the train track here, just the view of them turning onto the track was here. The actual track driving was done at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Il.  The bowling alley is across the street to the left of this view.

Turning onto train track scene

10. The Dance

 In the movie it’s in the Pennsylvania Hotel, in reality it’s the inside of the Moose Lodge. This is where the tour began after the Groundhog Breakfast in 2017. The breakfast was here too. They made no changes inside, still the same interior as in the movie.

The Moose Lodge-Pennsylvania Hotel Dance in Woodstock

moose-lodge-plaque

Moose Lodge inside - Dance Scene in Woodstock

Inside Moose Lodge

11. Old Man’s Alley

 In front of the movie theater, where Phil finds a homeless man and tries to help him.

Old Man's Alley in Woodstock

View from the other side.

Old Man Alley view from other side

12. Ned’s Corner

Phil’s high school classmate Ned Ryerson, now insurance agent meets Phil here while he is walking to Gobbler’s Knob.

neds-corner-plaque

Ned Ryerson's Corner in Woodstock

13. The Chase and Crash

 Takes place after the aforementioned Bowling Alley scene. Here you see the movie scene super-imposed over the photo I took.

The Chase Before the Crash in Woodstock Square

  The garbage can was proudly displayed at the Woodstock Public Library.

After knocking over the groundhog…This once was a vacant lot, now there is a building on this site with a plaque on it.

The Crash (into big Groundhog) -Woodstock Footage

the-crash-plaque

The building there now in the former vacant lot.

crash-scene-site

 We are now on our way to the Piano Teacher’s House and Cherry Street Inn (Royal Victorian Manor) and encounter another movie site not on the printed guide. The tunnel where Phil drove the red truck when he stole the groundhog. It actually is for the Metra train that stops in Woodstock. It was built in 1897.

Coordinates:  N 42° 18.772 W 088° 26.625

Phil groundhog chase scene location

14. Piano Teacher’s House

 Phil learned how to expertly play the piano in one day here.

piano-teachers-house-plaque

Piano Teacher's House in Woodstock

Continue past the house to find the tree that the boy fell out of that Phil caught.

iTree boy fell out of in movie

 15. Cherry Tree Inn

 Royal Victorian Manor.  The B&B where Phil stayed. And those are all of the plaqued sites Woodstock are located.  This is also where our tour concluded.

Cherry Street Inn in Woodstock

cherry-street-inn-plaque

The view of the street we saw in the movie.

Street by Royal Victorian Manor

This concludes the walking tour of the Groundhog Day movie filming sites.  It is a lot of fun to do this tour any time of the year, but doing it on or near Groundhog Day make it even more exciting!

Hot Website Links

Groundhog Days in Woodstock, IL

Woodstock Chamber of Commerce

Woodstock Opera House

Gas Depot

Woodstock Theater – Classic Cinema

Taqueria La Placita (Tip Top Café)

Woodstock Moose Lodge

Old Court House Arts Center

Wayne’s Lanes

Sun Prairie – Groundhog Capital of the World!


Sun Prairie Sign

Sun Prairie is a growing city of over 30,000 just northeast of Madison.  The history of how it got its name is quite interesting. In 1837, President Martin Van Buren commissioned a party of 45 men to build a capitol building for the territory of Wisconsin. They left from Milwaukee on May 26, 1837.  They traveled many days in the rain to scout out the area near Madison. On June 9,  they  emerged at the end of a prairie and the sun came out for the first time at that moment. They carved the words “Sun Prairie” into a tree and the name stuck.  We were able to find the site of where that famous tree was. Take Highway 19 out-of-town about two miles, heading toward Marshall. On Skala Road to the left, the tree was located between the railroad tracks and 19. A farm is here.

Skala Road in Sun Prairie Tree site

Charles Bird was the first settler.  Bird Street in the city was named after him.The town of Sun Prairie was created on Feb 2, 1846 (Groundhog Day!). The city, which grew out of the town, was incorporated in 1858.

Some of the city’s historical buildings remain and their downtown is quite active with many festivals throughout the year. Let’s explore the local history.  A good place to begin is the Sun Prairie Historical Museum. They have displays that change yearly and seasonally, and with an appointment you can make use of the research room with a docent who can help you find historical information. The museum was built on the site of the home of the first settler, Charles Bird. A street is named after him.

Sun Prairie Historical Museum

 The museum also has received historical records from the Town of Burke, a town that being dissolved by 2026.  We live in Burke.  The first Burke Town Hall strangely enough, is in Sun Prairie, still in use. It is behind McGovern’s Club and Restaurant.

Former Burke Town Hall in Sun Prairie

 McGovern’s itself has been a mainstay of Sun Prairie since 1935.  Visitors can stay at the hotel for a night or an extended stay.

McGovern's in Sun Prairie

The  Adam and Mary Smith House was built between 1856-1860. It is located at Smith’s Crossing homes community on the outskirts of Sun Prairie.

Adam and Mary Smith House in Sun PrairieSmith House plaque

 Sun Prairie also has the distinction of being the first city in Wisconsin to implement free rural mail delivery, you will find the marker at the Post Office.

Rural Mail marker in Sun Prairie

 

 Downtown you will find the former City Hall building.

City Hall 1895 in Sun Prairie

 

Across on the left you will find Ski’s Saloon, open from  2011 to 2016.  In the fall of 2016 it has new owners Cory and Abby Barr reopening it as The Barr House.  The building was a tobacco shed originally.

July 10, 2018-The Barr House building exploded, possible natural gas. The building is now gone.

Ski's Saloon in Sun Prairie

 Across the street is a row of buildings, including the former hardware store on the left.  There now is Atlantis Taverna, a great Greek restaurant. Also Sun City Cyclery and Skates. Al bought a pair of ice skates here too. Emery Art is on the right.

Downtown Historic Sun Prairie Buildings

 

We now come upon Cannery Square, the heart of downtown and the current site of Jimmy the Groundhog’s annual prognostication on Feb 2nd.  We have attended many of these since 2002. This used to be where the factories in Sun Prairie were in the 19th and early 20th centuries were.  Renovation was complete in 2004 and it’s now a mixed living and retail center. In the square proudly stands a wood carving of Jimmy. You can see it on the right side of this picture of the square. Many festivals now take place here, this is the annual Fall Festival in October.

Jimmy Sculpture in Sun PrairieCannery Square in Sun Prairie

 

Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prairie

 

Famous artist Georgia O’Keeffe was also born in Sun Prairie and a marker can be found on Main St. across Cannery Square. The city has a festival every year to celebrate her contributions to the world of art.

Georgia O'Keeffe marker in Sun Prairie

 

The performing arts also have a strong foothold here.  The Sun Prairie Civic Theater puts on four performances each year. This is “The Barn”, where the stage parts and props are stored. They always need more people to come join the fun!

The Barn for Community Theater in Sun Prairie

 We have enjoyed many great meals at the Market Street Diner on the square. Carl’s Cakes is another business inside of this one, a fine partnership!

Market Street Diner and Carl's Cakes in Sun Prairie

Just opened Fall 2013 is The Nitty Gritty, located in the nearby historic Fuhremann Canning Factory, built in 1900. it was a place for farmers to sell their produce.  Now it is mixed retail. The Nitty Gritty is on the right.

Fuhremann Cannery Building in Sun Prairie

Fuhremann Canning Factory plaque

The Dr. Charles D. Crosse House is another museum in town. They also are a part of many of the city’s festivals throughout the year. He was the city’s doctor early in the city’s history and helped establish the first high school. He later served as a state legislator also.

Dr. Crosse House in Sun PrairieCrosse House plaque

 No longer in use is the Chase Grain Elevator, an interesting structure.

Chase Grain Elevator 1922

At Angell Park is a mural with all the important landmarks in Sun Prairie.  Angell Park is also home to Angell Park Speedway, for Midget Car Racing. The annual Sweet Corn Festival is also here.

Angell Park Mural in Sun Prairie

Freshly steamed corn

On the left side of the mural is the historic water tower on Columbus St., built in 1899.

Sun Prairie Water Tower

 On Windsor Street  is the beautiful Birkinbine House.

Birkinbine House on 305 Windsor in Sun Prairie

 This concludes our visit to the historic downtown Sun Prairie. It is expanding way beyond this area, with many businesses on the edges of the city in all directions. It’s called Prairie Lakes and is still growing.  Sun Prairie is your destination for fun events and shopping. To learn more, stop at the Chamber of Commerce downtown on Main, next to the Historical Museum.

 

Cottage Grove-Where Everyone is Your Neighbor


Cottage Grove Wisconsin sign

Cottage Grove is a community of  3,700  sixteen miles from Madison.  Not only does my brother and his wife live here,  they have many fun events we enjoy going to. It also has an active Historical  Society located in Flynn Hall, a historic building adjacent to Fireman’s Park. Its main function was Town Hall, it was built in 1900 and in 2010 celebrated its 110th Anniversary.  The building now houses the Cottage Grove Lions Club and the Cottage Grove Historical Society.

Flynn Hall

For appointments to see the historical society room and its contents, call her at 839-4470.

Flynn Hall Centennial CrockFlynn Hall Cottage Grove Museum

The Granger Movement also had a foothold here, a political group that formed after the Civil War.

Wisconsin Granger Movement

One of Cottage Grove’s big events is the Hog Day Breakfast in Flynn Hall on or close to Groundhog Day.  It’s a fundraiser for the Lions Club.  A black pig named Sir Arthur predicts spring’s arrival. A yummy breakfast is also served.

Potbellied Pig Sir Arthur Hog Day Breakfast Cottage Grove Lions Club

A couple friends of ours in the Lion’s club, Tod and Darlene Bernarde, act as the VIP’s at this event and take Sir Arthur outside to see if he sees his shadow.  We posed for a picture together too that showed up in a newspaper article about this fun event.

Photo-Hearld Independent

Photo by Herald-Independent

Boss and Queen Hogg-Darlene and Tod Bernarde

In the early summer, the Fireman’s Festival is a big draw.   It kicks off with the Hot 2 Trot Run/Walk to raise money for the volunteer fire department.  We ran in 2012 and Photographer Mindy ? took our picture near the finish line (gave permission to use).  Then a big parade was next.  Here is the parade from 2013.

Then festivities at Fireman’s Park, including a Calkin’s Midways carnival and music.

Al and Laurie run 2012

Zor Shrine Clowns Cottage Grove WI

IMG_6900

The fall brings the community together again during Olde Town Days in September at Olde Town Center. It features wagon rides, food by the 1855 Saloon (great place to eat!) and live music.

Olde Town Center in Cottage Grove WI

Al and Laurie Wagon RideJerry Stueber

Another great place to eat is also at Olde Town Coffee House, also at Olde Town Center.  Great way to start your day with breakfast or lunch, and a hot cup of coffee.

Olde Town Coffee House in Cottage Grove WIOlde Town Coffee House in Cottage Grove WI Dining RoomOlde Town Center banner

2010 photo-No longer stands.

Enjoy your stay in Cottage Grove, where everyone is your neighbor!

Related Article

*  Flynn Hall Kitchen Recieves a Makeover

 

 

Groundhog Day 2013 in Sun Prairie and Cottage Grove


2-2-13

This day is pretty popular in the USA, especially Punxatawney, Pennsylvania and right here in Wisconsin. Nearly every year we go to Sun Prairie which is only a few miles from where we live in Madison. They have a real groundhog named Jimmy, it was the 65th year of Jimmy predicting how the rest of winter is going to go.  My husband I went and had a lot of fun! He predicted an early spring.

Jommy the Groundhog

Going hog wild 🙂   Not to be outdone by the Sun Prairie festivities, we headed south down to the town of Cottage Grove for their Groundhog day Lion’s Club fundraising breakfast.  It’s held at Flynn Hall, which also houses the town historical society.

Flynn Hall in Cottage Grove

They have their own weather prognosticator, a black teacup pig named Sir Arthur. Here he is resting after his prediction of an early spring.

Image

The hosts of this event are Boss Hog and Queen Hog (Darlene and Todd Bernarde, members of the Cottage Grove Lions Club. They were gracious to take a picture with us, and the picture got into their newspaper!

 Boss and Queen Hogg

We had a great time and hope to go next year. We had a snowstorm last night so I hope it’s spring soon!