Tag Archive | Winter

Woodstock Illinois – “True To It’s Past, Confident of It’s Future”


Woodstock, IL is in McHenry County in northern Illinois with a population of nearly 25,000 as of 2010.  It was chosen as the county seat in 1843 and was originally called Centerville, due to being in the center of the county. In 1845 the town name was changed to Woodstock after resident Joel Johnson’s hometown of Woodstock, Vermont. It became a city in 1873, and a rail line soon arrived. It is still in use today, Metra trains come through also, taking passengers to Chicago 37 miles away.

Metra Train Station in Woodstock

Prior to 1992, Woodstock was not considered to be a destination for visitors.  The movie Groundhog Day changed all of that. Since the movie’s release in 1993, people have been streaming in from all over the country (and world!) to see the city that the movie made famous. Al and I came into town to celebrate Groundhog Day in 2015 and 2017 and had the time of our lives!  All the sites in the movie are marked with a plaque for a self-guided Walking Tour any time you come to visit.  The city was re-vitalized by the movie and the money spent in town by visitors has allowed for many improvements and beautification projects to make the city a welcoming place for all.  We stay at the Super 8 when we come to visit. Book early if you are coming for Groundhog Day, we reserved our room in early November. Or you can even stay at the Royal Victorian Manor, featured in the Groundhog Day movie as the Cherry Street Inn.

super-8-in-woodstock

Royal Victorian Manor - Cherry Street Inn  in Woodstock

There is more to Woodstock then the groundhog though.  They have preserved their beautiful historic Square and most storefronts are occupied with boutiques and restaurants.  On our most recent visit in 2017, many buildings are now outlined in LED light and the trees in the inner square have white lights on them. Very beautiful!

Woodstock Opera House at night

Woodstock Inner Square at night

Woodstock created a pdf map listing the historic buildings on or near the Square.  Here are some of them. Let’s begin at the Opera House and go counter-clockwise.

Pennsylvania Hotel - Woodstock Opera House

For great Groundhog Day souveniers and other gifts, stop at Read Between the Lynes.  They had everything!

Read Beween the Lynes bookstore in Woodstock

Read Between the Lynes Groundhog Day display

Across the street on our left is  the Phoenix Block.

Phoenix Block on Woodstock Square

At the end of this corner on 113 S. Benton is the majestic Church Block building (1899),  named after Malachi Church, a county sheriff.  In the corner is now a four-face city clock and the business Ethereal Confections Craft Chocolate and Dessert Bar.  Also Material Things.

Church Block building in Woodstock IL

Night view.

Church Block at night

We round the corner to the BMO Harris building, housed in the Primm Block. The tan building is the Murphy Block.

BMO Harris on Primm Block in Woodstock

At the end of  Benton Street (across from Ned’s Corner) are these businesses.

Benton Street on Woodstock Square

Cass Street is next on the square.

Cass Street on Woodstock Square

On this street is the former Tip Top Cafe’ in the Groundhog Day movie. Now Taqueria La Placita, we enjoyed a great dinner there 2-1-17.

Tip Top Cafe in Woodstock

At the top of Cass St. we see the Old Courthouse and Jailhouse buildings, all occupied.The Old Courthouse and Jail in Woodstock

 We enjoyed lunch at the Public House of Woodstock here, site of the Groundhog Day movie bar scene where they drink to world peace.

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

Bar in Groundhog Day movie in Woodstock

Across the street is the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Jaci’s Cookies, where we got a couple scones and a Groundhog cookie! They closed on 9-30-16.

Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Jaci's Cookies

We are back at the top again where we started. We saw other interesting buildings, these are on Main St. just off the Square. This is the Waverly house building, built in 1900. Next to it is the store Rare Rubbish, with a vintage Elgin Watch neon sign with clock. Cool! We saw the sign at night in 2017, one side still works!

Waverly Building in Woodstock

Ray Wolf Jewelers sign in Woodstock

Elgin Watch neon sign at night

Across the street is the Woodstock Theater, on this site around 100 years.

Alpine Theater - Woodstock Theater frame

Night view.

Woodstock Theatre marquee at night

Behind the square on 227 N. Throop St. is Afterglow Creative Services, a video production and photography agency.

Afterglow Creative Services in Woodstock

Stop by the Woodstock Public Library to learn more about Woodstock and it’s proud history.

Woodstock Public Library

Go bowling at Wayne’s Lanes.

Wayne's Lanes in Woodsstock

On our way out of town, we saw the Purple Heart Memorial.

purple-heart-memorial-in-woodstock

This wraps up our tour of Woodstock. Check these resources for more information about this city and McHenry County.  A great place to visit any time of the year.  We always feel welcome here, as we do when we visit my home state.  We also found this great historical marker just outside of Woodstock at a small wayside.

illinois-marker-location-map

welcome-to-illinois-marker-in-hebron

 

Hot Website Links

Visit McHenry County

McHenry County Historical Society

City of Woodstock, IL

Groundhog Days Website 

Chamber of Commerce

Woodstock Farmers Market

Metra

Tripadvisor – Best of Woodstock

 

 

 

Madison Westside Celebrates Christmas


11-20-14 and previous visits

Hilldale – 20th Annual Christmas Tree Walk

NO Tree Walk for 2015  😦

Like downtown Madison, the westside of Madison has just as much enthusiasm for the holiday season.  In the daytime we start at Hilldale, a shopping center open since 1961 at the corner of Midvale and University Avenue.  There are not as many trees this year due to construction at the mall which will be completed by 2015. Here is what they had on display.

Christmas Tree Walk Hilldale 1

Christmas Tree Walk 2

There is also a pretty gingerbread cookie display in the Atrium.

Gingerbread Display at Hilldale

On Saturdays in December musical groups come sing to entertain the shoppers.  A friend of our performed with the Yahara River Chorus in 2002. Here they are serenading Santa 🙂

Yahara River Chorus 2002 at Hilldale

 

For even more Christmas trees, the University Avenue Holiday Lights are a must see. Lit every holiday season since 1993, they are a draw to people from all over Madison and beyond. You can now donate  to keep the lights coming back each year. A wonderful tradition!

University Avenue Tree Lights

University Avenue Trees

Happy Holidays from Madison’s Westside!

Sauk Prairie Holiday Kick-Off Celebration


3rd Friday in November    11-16-12

Sauk Prairie Holiday Festival 2012

 

This was our first time at this  Sauk Prairie event and it was really fun!  We arrived early so we could and enjoy the festivities before the parade at 6:00 PM.  The town was beautifully decorated for the season. In 2012 the event was at the historic park by the river. There was a craft show and a fire pit to warm up.

Inflated Santa Claus in Sauk Prairie

Craft Show at Sauk Prairie Tree Lighting

Parade time!

Sauk Prairie Holiday Parade Start

Sauk Prairie Holiday Parade float

After the parade the people congregate in the area near the tree, well-lit by a spotlight.

Sauk Prairie Holiday festival

Church Building at Sauk Prairie

People warm up and shop in the historic church building while waiting for Santa and Mrs. Claus to light the tree, kicking off the holiday season officially.  They have arrived!

Santa and Mrs. Claus in Sauk Prairie

It’s time, One, Two and Three!

Sauk Prairie Christmas Tree

And now for the fireworks, ringing in the season!

Fireworks collage

What a wonderful celebration to bring in the holiday season with a bang! Happy Holidays from Adventures in Travel!

 

Get Ready for Spring at the WPT Garden Expo


2nd Weekend in February

Garden Expo logo

We are relatively new gardeners, and look forward to the seminars at this event to learn how to grow a better garden.  The expo is hosted by Wisconsin Public Television. We also are lucky enough to meet hosts of many of the programs shown on WPT. Here we are with Shelly Ryan, host of “The Wisconsin Gardner”.  She retired in 2013, but you can still watch past episodes and buy some on the site.

Us with Shelly Ryan

Update 1-16-14    We are saddened by the news that Shelly Ryan passed away today. Her obit can be read here.  At this year’s expo they had a memorial for her.

Shelly Ryan Memorial

I also had a picture with Kyle Cherek from “Wisconsin Foodie”.

Kyle Cherek and I

 

This year we took our picture with Inga Witscher, host of the new program, “Around the Farm Table”.

Inga Witscher and us

Meeting the hosts is a lot of fun,  and makes the programs more personal.  We have attended many great seminars too. Topics include canning, fertilizing, landscaping, and preparing food from  veggies that you  may not be real familiar with.  Last year we really enjoyed local chef Tami Lax preparing a Confetti of Beauty Heart Radishes and Carrots, also called Watermelon Radish.

The recipe is in the book, ” From Asparagus to Zucchini-A guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce“.  It is about as big as a large apple.  It was delicious!

Tami Lax making Confetti Slaw

In the show room are many vendors selling a large variety of products, gardening-related or otherwise.  You would be hard pressed going out empty handed!

Crystal lights

If you are even just a little bit interested in gardening or just want a different shopping experience in the middle of winter, this is a great event to go to.

Downtown Madison Celebrates Christmas


12-18-10

Foggy Madison Capitol 2006

The holidays were in full swing in downtown Madison, and we wanted to be a part of it. Our first stop was the Monona Terrace for the Winter Farmers Market. Winter doesn’t stop Madison from having its weekly market, they just go inside 🙂

Dane County Winter Farmers Market

After getting a treat here we headed to the State Capitol for a Christmas concert by Sandy La Clair Musical Productions.  They played all the holiday favorites and the kids attending even played instruments. This little girl was adorable playing the triangle.

Sandy La Clair Christmas concert

The centerpiece of the show is the Christmas tree in the center of the Rotunda.

Wisconsin Capitol Xmas Tree 2012

After the show we took a walk down State Street to have lunch at State Street Brats.

State Street Brats in Madison

After lunch we were done for the day.  During this time of year,  a free trolley goes up and down State Street to make shopping easier.

Madison WI Holiday Trolley

We sure had a great day downtown celebrating the holiday season. Come join in the fun!

Related articles

Hyde Mill for All Seasons


Hyde Mill 1-25-11

Hyde Mill in Spring

Hyde Mill Summer

Hyde Mill in Autumn

Hyde Mill is one of Wisconsin photographers favorite subjects.  Its located in Ridgeway in Iowa County in Southwest Wisconsin. It’s future is uncertain since the parcel of land its on has been up for sale since 2008.  The mill was built in 1850 and is no longer functioning.  Mill Creek still flows by, providing a relaxing sound. However, the area surrounding the mill is replete with artifacts left from when it was a functioning mill.

There is a row of millstones on display on the grounds. This was two years ago, now they are behind a fence.  There are other artifacts as well.

Millstones

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Up on a hill nearby is the Old Mill House, built in 1876.

Old Mill House in Ridgeway

 

Other interesting places are in Hyde near the mill. The Hyde Chapel.

Hyde Chapel labeled

The Hyde Store.  A busy establishment, the store host many parties and live music performances.

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7-26-16

It was time to revisit the mill, AT NIGHT.  I had just bought a new camera, the Canon Rebel T6i after learning it was capable of astro-photography.  We also found out the mill is located in one of the darkest spots in Wisconsin.  This Light Pollution map was our guide and is updated yearly.  This was the result, wow!  My objective was to photograph the Milky Way as a backdrop behind the mill.

Best IMG_0398 No line WM

Darkness of mill location.

Light Pollution at Hyde Mill marked

The view behind the mill was just as impressive, both photos taken on the bridge.

Best IMG_0412 Behind Mill WM

 

It is always enjoyable to visit here no matter the season.

 

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Hyde’s Mill

Hyde, WI; Vanish at the Hyde Store, Hyde’s Mill

On Wisconsin: Hyde Store filled with stories

My Favorite Tree on Atwood Ave. in Madison


Do you have a favorite tree?  I do. It’s in the Atwood neighborhood in Madison, behind Monty’s Blue Plate Diner.  What drew my attention to it was its brilliant fall colors. I then observed it the remaining 3 seasons. It’s stately and beautiful year round,  and I now have this tree in all 4 seasons.

Fav Tree Winter 1-21-13IMG_23726-1-139-28-11 fall

The fall picture was taken two years ago on Sept. 28, not last year but in 2011.  Last summer’s drought damaged it and it wasn’t pretty last fall.  This is what is looked like on Sept. 26 last year.

9-26-12 final