"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 :)
We apologize for not getting many posts written this year, we were just as busy as we were in 2017 and am still trying to get caught up. We are going to be deliberately slowing down in 2019 to do just that.
We began 2018 with a day trip to Chicago on January 30th. We went to the Willis Tower, our previous visit was in 2003. It was a fun day!!
This year, several places we enjoyed visiting either closed due to reduced business or unable to reopen after a fire.
Crooked Canvas-Deb’s Place in Shullsburg.
Riverdawgs in the Wisconsin Dells.
Cat Café Mad in Madison.
Ella’s Deli in Madison.
The Farm Kitchen in Baraboo
The cat cafe in Madison closed in 2015, we made two visits to the new Sip & Purr Cat Cafe that opened in Milwaukee in June. As of this posting 146 (Dec 29) cats have been adopted from there. Great job!
We are happy for another new business that opened this year, The Smiley Barn Toy and Candy Store in Delafield. For 16 years, it had been the Montage and looked like this. This photo was also published in the Milwaukee Business Journal in an article they were writing about this new venture. This was on April 6.
Photo by Laurie Kutil, 2014
On May 30, we attended the Delafield Plan Commission meeting and met owner Maria Luthur and her potential staff and other interested people. The meeting was about not whether Maria could have her business there, but whether she could have the smile back on the barn. It was larger than the zoning ordinances allowed for it to be considered a “sign” in Delafield. If it were called “public art”, it would not be considered a sign. Our group all individually put in words of support for Maria. The board voted, the majority supporting the smile being considered art! We were ecstatic and glad we could play a part in this becoming a reality. I took a group photo of us before we dispersed.
We returned in September to take a tour of the new store. It’s great to see Delafield smiling again!
We also went back to Hazel Green in September after 3 years to see more puppet shows. We asked Sandye and Chuck Voight, the Fever River Puppeteers if they would like me to film their shows for them. They enthusiastically agreed after they saw my edit of the first one, The Magic Calendar. See a sample of Jack and The Beanstalk from our first visit in 2015. I don’t have much of that one until it comes around again. We will be back for ALL of the shows for 2019. We encourage you to go out to see their shows. Equally entertaining for adults, they are real pros! The address: Hazel Green Opera House, 2130 Main Street, Hazel Green, WI
Much more to come in the new year, lots of new posts coming up!
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Please follow and share our blog with all of your friends!
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.
KTI Country radio station in Milwaukee was there to cover the event with a live broadcast.
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.
I could soon see the headlight and hear the train horn. It was right on time, 5:25 PM! The crowd cheered and whistled!
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!
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.
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!
We enjoyed a good lunch at the café before heading back up to the first floor. The have a coffee stand too.
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.
You enter the Milwaukee exhibit through the streetcar and exit in the back.
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.
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!
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.
Saw a photographer taking a portrait of a lady.
Inside a general store.
High fashion for ladies around 1900.
When you reach the end of the street it transitions into the European Village, opening up to Pabst Square.
Each house surrounding the square represents a different country in Europe. Here is the Czech house from Al’s heritage.
The Russian house, my sister-in-law’s heritage. She is a first-generation American.
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.
Let’s watch them them in action!
A butterfly display in a case.
And this Muskrat exhibit is from 1890, like the clock outside. Very intricate detail!
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.
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!
Now we went outside to see the exhibits, first were the penguins. They were sure having fun with all the people around watching them.
Our next stop was the Primate house after walking an elevated walkway.
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!
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.
Their habitat looks very natural and the animals appeared relaxed.
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.
This sea-lion was getting lunch.
A Grizzly Bear was making the rounds too. He appeared to like the rain.
A Polar Bear too, probably wishing it were snowing instead of rain.
These Caribou were enjoying their natural woodland setting. They are not often seen outside of Alaska. Stately creatures!
Next we explored the Small Mammal building which also had some primates, also bats.
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.
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.
This display of small fish was mesmerizing to watch.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
We went back out and crossed the street, going under the bridge where you could see beer going across on the conveyor.
It was time to see where the Fermenting Room. Copper tankards were on the upper level and the silver-colored ones were below.
After this we walked further up the street to our last stop, the Historic Caves building where the beer was chilled before refrigeration.
There was also a historic marker on the building.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
We continued our walk and saw another little park, redbuds in bloom.
We see a banner on the light pole as we reach Brady Street.
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.
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.
Thumbs up to Dryhootch!
Berry Me Frozen Yogurt is another popular place.
We reach one end of the street, The Dogg Haus is ready to serve up Chicago specialties.
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.
The Dragonfly is a unique store inside as well as out, a gargoyle sits atop the roof overlooking Brady Street.
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.
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.
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!
Watertown is a city of 23,000 with a rich history carefully preserved. It was founded by Timothy Johnson. He arrived at the Watertown site 12-10-1836. He also co-founded nearby Johnson Creek. If you are heading to Watertown from the west, at Rest Area 13, where you can see a historical marker describing hills left by the glaciers called Drumlins.
German immigrants built many of the historic buildings all over town. It’s home to the famous Octagon House (shaped like a stop sign), built prior to the Civil War. The house is now the base of operations for the Watertown Historical Society, and is open for tours April to October, and some special events Nov-March.
The Cole Memorial Bridge is the centerpiece of downtown, the Rock River runs under it.
We also discovered this site was also important during the Black Hawk War of 1832.
Many murals also adorn the sides of many buildings highlighting Watertown’s early history. Here is a pretty circus mural, picture taken in 2010. It is somewhat obscured now by the business occupying the building.
Watertown is known also for many buildings constructed of brick made from a special light color clay found near Milwaukee. Because the clay was so plentiful, Milwaukee was dubbed “Cream City” The Octagon House is built from this brick.
We have also enjoyed patronizing some of the great businesses here. Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters is our favorite place for the best coffee ever! Not just coffee but a cafe serving breakfast and lunch.
Another favorite place is Glenn’s Market and Catering. They make their own meat products and so much more! Even have a selection of gluten-free products. We highly recommend stopping here for your grilling and party needs!
We also enjoy shopping at the Bethesda Thrift Store when we stop in Watertown. We always find great stuff here!
If you look right of the depot, you see an impressive large building up on a hill. It’s Maranatha Baptist University, since 1968. One hundred years earlier in 1872, it was Sacred Heart College, then Sacred Heart Military Academy in 1955. Read about the early history here.
There is much more to learn in Watertown and will be back again soon!