Tag Archive | travel

2018 Adventures – Happy New Year 2019!

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.

  1. Crooked Canvas-Deb’s Place in Shullsburg.

  2. Riverdawgs in the Wisconsin Dells.

  3. Cat Café Mad in Madison.

  4. Ella’s Deli in Madison.

  5. 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!

2014 Adventures – Happy New Year!

We come to the end of another year of fun and travel and we have made a list of the places we visited and blogged about. We have been to many places.

Adventures in Travel 2014


We hope you have enjoyed traveling with us. We also hope that if you have not officially been following our blog (email notification, Facebook, etc), that you join us officially today.  We get the feeling many of you are reading and not following, I see the evidence in the stats of the posts being read 🙂   Some days we get hundreds of readers. We won’t bite 🙂 Thanks!

My husband Al and myself wish you a Happy New Year and that you join us here for our 2015 adventures.

Happy New Year

Adventures in Travel Tips and Hints

AIT logo 2014 Overlock Font TM frame

Our travels have taken us from Florida to northern Minnesota in 16 years of marriage.  Each experience has enriched our lives and we learn more about our great country and the people in it. One thing we have learned is, “Every town has its story” and part of the fun is learning what those stories are.  We have met people who’s ancestors has lived in these towns for many generations and have told us of their ancestors having a large part in their community’s founding.

Most of our travels have been in Wisconsin due to time restraints but we don’t feel limited by that.  There is so much to see and do here!  In our 15 years of  marriage, we have developed a list of tips to make our trips successful and nearly free of frustration.   For all trips with enough advance notice, I contact the area’s Chamber of Commerce to send us a publication. If the trip is planned less than a week in advance,  we make sure we get to the chamber when we are in town.  We learn a lot from talking to the staff who work there too, so go in if they are open.

If you happen to be traveling further afield and may need to rent a vehicle at your destination, I recommend Turo.  Check out the airport car rentals at your airport.  More are added frequently so check often for updates.

 One Week (or More) Out

 Research where you are going.  I keep a stenographer pad on a clipboard and make a page for the town we are going to. We make a list of points of interest and try to find them in advance, getting addresses. I look for historical markers in the area that we are visiting at this site:


Check your own state for similar sites. A state’s Historical Society is a great resource. In addition, I look for a town’s Historical Society (if any) and check for buildings of interest.

 Day of Trip

 Choose clothes suitable for weather

Many of our adventures are outside all day, especially in summer.  We dress for sun protection and comfort. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, I especially like Columbia hikers. Moisture-wicking socks (not cotton) go a long way in helping your feet feel good all day.  The shirts we wear are also non-cotton. Gander Mountain and Travel Smith have great shirts that protect us from the sun.  We  have often found such shirts at thrift stores for a greatly reduced price.  We also wear hats with brims going all the way around and a bandana around our neck to prevent sunburn. Also sunscreen and sunglasses of course. For people who need to wear glasses at all times, bring a spare pair in case of breakage. It is also good to carry a spare set of clothes if you get wet or dirty.

Be sure to tell family and friends where you are going and when you expect to be back. Also leave them numbers to contact you in case of emergency and have them do the same. Plan for delays, it is hard to be precise even with a timetable mapped out.

Other Essentials

1. Food – Pack a lunch or snacks, you WILL get hungry, sometimes when you are not near a restaurant or gas station.

2. Water – Bring refillable cups that fit in your vehicle’s cup holders and a gallon insulated water jug with more.  You won’t always be near drinking water on your travels at all times. When we hike, we wear a Camelbak Hydration System filled with plenty of water for our hikes.

3. Garmin and road maps (if the Garmin fails) – Our Garmin nüvi has been ESSENTIAL for helping us plan our trips, as well as Google or Bing online maps for planning routes. We can even input addresses in advance on the Garmin to save time on the road. You save a lot of money and time by not getting lost.

4. Road Emergency Kit – Spare tire, First Aid Kit, blanket, winter wear, tire jack, flares and emergency flashing lights, flashlight, crank radio, hand warmers, etc. for winter travel, also include a small shovel and cat litter to give tires traction in snow if you get stuck.

5. Stand-alone portable device charger – Both vehicle-powered and not. Don’t be caught with a dead phone when you need it the most. We recently acquired some solar powered chargers too.

6. Camera – An important part of your trip, it pays to invest in a quality camera. My primary camera is a Canon Powershot SX500 IS, 16 MP. I have had it for two years. I saved over $50 on the camera on a sale just before Thanksgiving.  Get plenty of extra batteries, I have six. Also have a lens-cleaning cloth handy in your camera bag. Also invest in an inexpensive tripod for a great self-portrait or when you need the camera to be rock-steady.

All these tips have helped us to have stress-free adventures and we go home with many great memories to share.  Happy travels!

Little Norway in Blue Mounds, WI



This summer we got a package deal on three Wisconsin attractions; House on the Rock,  Little Norway and Cave of the Mounds.  This was our first time at Little Norway. This attraction consists of carefully preserved artifacts and buildings from a Norwegian family that settled in Wisconsin in the mid-1800’s. Osten Olson Haugen and his family settled here and worked hard to earn a living in what has been referred to as Nissedahle, or “Valley of the Elves.”

Little Norway sign 2Entrance

LittleNorwayLittle Norway info

Norway Bldg Sign 2

We arrive at the main building and gift shop. Some friendly trolls adorn the entrance area. We will be getting a guided tour by a docent in native garb.


We begin our tour. The group is small since we are the first group and it’s now off-season. We view the first building just outside.  She took us in and showed us around, also showed how some of the artifacts worked.


We continued the tour, the buildings were so beautiful and well taken care of.

We didn’t go in here, it’s a private residence of the family still living there. Notice the grass growing on the roof ? Makes it blend into the hillside.

Private residence


The most striking building on the site is the Norway Building, featured at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.


Other great views.

Building 6GreatView

We had a wonderful visit here. Unfortunately, there will be no other chances to see it.  A farewell video was produced in Sept, 2015.

Related articles

31st Annual Morel Mushroom Festival in Muscoda




This was our first time in Muscoda (pronounced Mus – co – day), located in Grant County by the Wisconsin River. Muscoda means “Prairie of Flowers”. They earned the status, “Morel Mushroom Capitol of the World.”  The village is on the Lower Wisconsin River Road.

At 10:00 am we arrived downtown at Mushroom Headquarters. They sold lots of souvenirs of the festival. I got a brown hoodie with the festival logo on it.  I wish I could say we ate some, but we didn’t.  They are VERY expensive.


The first thing we saw was a kid’s parade celebrating the Morel.

Tame big ones Morel Kids

A lot of fun things were going on, arts and crafts vendors had lots of great items, plenty of morel gifts. Here is a $150 bench and walking sticks.

Morel benchwalking sticks

Muscoda also has a delightful cafe and gift shop called The Pink Spot.  We stopped there for lunch and conversation.  Owner Katy Grimm loves chatting with her customers and even posing for a picture.  She would love it if you would stop by 🙂

Pink Spot small

Katy Grimm text sm

The festival also had a small car show and helicopter rides.  Even chainsaw wood carving demos.

Chainsaw Carvingcar show


This festival was great fun, we hope to go back next year.  At the northern edge of town is a great park and campsite, Victoria Riverside Park and Campsite. Its right at the edge of the Wisconsin River for easy access to water recreation. The park also has a beautiful gazebo overlooking the river. It even has a  Little Free Library just before you turn in.

Victoria Riverside ParkFreeLibrary

Here is the gazebo from across the river in winter. Beautiful!


Victoria Riverside Park Gazebo framed

I hope you enjoyed your visit, we sure did!

Getting High at Blue Mounds


It was summertime, and we spent much of this summer exploring the southwest corner of Wisconsin.  Today we were going to explore Blue Mounds State Park. This part of Wisconsin is called the”driftless area” because the glaciers did not cover this part of the state.

Blue Mounds signBlue Mounds State Park sign

Blue Mounds FortDriftless Area

Blue Mounds Fort marker and driftless area information.

The park is on the top of a very high hill with great views of the countryside. There is also a lookout tower to go even higher. Here the view is towards the town of Blue Mounds below. Attached to a scope on the tower was a guide to what we could see from up there. The park also has a memorial to a plane that crashed there in 1944.

Tower smBlue Mounds view

Landmark Locator

After the tower we decided to hike on Flintrock Nature Trail.

memorialFlintrock Trail

The trail had many signs explaining what we saw. This is the top of the mountain, and its capped by Chert (flint) , a very hard rock that has prevented time from wearing down Blue Mounds to the same height as the surrounding countryside.

Here is good site to lean about of a survey of the area.

Flintrock Nature Trail mapTrail

Here is a pretty chert boulder.  Also more information on the geology.

ChertChert colors

Tumbling Boulders SignChange

Fire StartersChert becomes soil

A memorial to the man who played a big part in Blue Mounds becoming the great resource that it is.

John MinixAl and Laurie

We had a great time hiking here in this beautiful park.

We went to Aunt Mary’s Hooterville Inn for lunch after our hike. This place in Blue Mounds has been serving locals and visitors for about 50 years. You are treated as a friend the first time you walk through the door. We have been back many times since this trip when we are in the area.  We were just back on May 14, this week.  I recommend this place for anyone wanting food and drink.

Aunt MarysMary

Aunt Marys Review

Surf and Turf in Milwaukee

5-16-13 0930 AM

Wisconsin’s largest city is not only known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and cultural attractions like the Milwaukee Art Museum, it’s also known for beautiful and parks and its maritime heritage.  Milwaukee is also Wisconsin’s largest Harbor Town.

Al and I explored this aspect of Milwaukee Thursday when we paid a visit to the S/V Denis Sullivan docked at Discovery World, it’s home port.

Discovery World 2

The crew were getting the schooner ready for the summer season beginning May 25. A new main mast had just been installed and final adjustments being made.  We chatted with them a few minutes. In fact, she was given a shakedown cruise within the breakwall that very morning while we were walking on the Lakeshore State Park path along the lake.

Denis Sullivan shakedown cruise

A little history on the pier in this area. We did the loop of the “island” joined to the mainland by a bridge. after I crossed I saw the Denis Sullivan sailing.  We also saw the red and white lighthouses from there.

Cargo Pier 2Lakeshore path

bridgewhite lighthousered lighthouse 2

From our parking spot we had a great view of the Art Museum.

1125 Wings up 2

After our walk we were hungry so went to the Milwaukee Ale House for lunch. It was 11:25.  It’s located in the Historic 3rd Ward. Quite the striking red brick building.

Ale House

The views were just as great on the patio, it is alongside the Milwaukee River and the restaurant has 6 slips available for people boating in. The Milwaukee Boat Line gives tours along the waterways of the city. One of their boats, the Vista King  went right by our window while we had lunch.

Vista King

After lunch we headed to South Milwaukee to visit Grant Park. Quite beautiful there, and plenty of wildlife, especially fat raccoons looking for food.  There are seven bridges and steps leading down a deep ravine with a creek running through. It led to access to a beach on Lake Michigan. Very beautiful!

Grant parkraccoon

ravineLake Michigan outlet


It was a great spring day with perfect weather and lots of fun!