River Resort/Kickapoo Crossing
8019 State Highway 61, Readstown
Kickapoo Valley Reserve
S3661 State Road 131, La Farge
Mountain State Park
E13660 State Highway 33, Ontario
The snakelike Kickapoo River has earned its title as the crookedest
river in Wisconsin. Early Native Americans had a sense of humor when
naming the ancient waterway. The word "Kickapoo" is from the
Algonquian meaning "he who goes here, then there." The
65-mile-long river valley is less than a mile wide, with its
cliffsides home to several endangered plants.
The Kickapoo is the Wisconsin Riverís longest tributary,
wandering about 130 miles from Wilton to Wauzeka. If a traveler could
fly straight as a bird, this distance would be only 60 miles.
The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is a tract of lovely landscaping
located between the villages of La Farge and Ontario. The area is
jointly owned by the state and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in trust
for the Ho-Chunk Nation. In 2002, a large segment of the reserve was
designated as a State Natural Area.
The river itself is perfect for fishing or merely pleasure
paddling. It has an easily manageable current that toddles along at a
sleepy 2-1/2 mph. The Crooked River Resort and other outfitters offer
tubes, canoes or kayaks, along with paddles, life jackets and seat
cushions. Shuttles are generally available for a ride back to base.
Bicycling is popular throughout the up and down region, with 25
miles of paved roads in and around the reserve, connecting to more
than 100 miles of both challenging and moderate roadways in the
immediate vicinity. State Highway 131 north of Rockton is considered
among Wisconsinís most picturesque pavements, meandering across the
river several times within a short pedal.
The highway intersects with the boundary of Wildcat Mountain State
Park. Among the 25.8 miles of prime hiking trails in the park, Hemlock
Nature Trail and Mount Pisgah are extra-special for viewing May
wildflowers. Benches along the steep route are handy for taking a
break and admiring the vista. The peak is 1,220 rarified-for-Wisconsin
feet above sea level.
Traverse City Convention &
101 W. Grandview Parkway Traverse City
(231) 947-1120(800) 940-1120
Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau
10800 W. U.S. Highway 23 Mackinaw City
(231) 436-5664(800) 666-0160
Michiganís West Coast
Michigan is barely a sneeze to the east across Lake Michigan,
whether driving around the southern tip of the lake or enjoying a ride
across the S.S. Badger car ferry from Manitowoc to Ludington or the
speedy, hair-tossing, Lake Express from Milwaukee to Muskegon. The
latter can carry 46 vehicles and 12 motorcycles, with terminals on
each side of the lake with Hertz car rentals.
Upon disembarking, 19 parks and beaches are within a short drive of
the docks, with swimming, picnic areas, hiking, fishing and
accompanying amenities for family or couple getaways. So be prepared
with blankets, sand buckets, suntan lotion, sandals and wide hats. If
caught short of shoreline supplies, there are always plenty of nearby
gift and curio shops. Rentable condos, houses and hotel/motels in
Grand Haven, Grand Rapids and Holland, as well as other communities
stretching northward along the coast are eager to host Badgers in
Duffers canít go wrong in Michigan. The stateís 900-plus golf
courses place it among Americaís leading golf destinations. Top
notch greens are found in the arc around Traverse City, whose
residents brag they are a "complete golf destination," one
constantly being renewed, updated and renovated.
For instance, the old Kingís Challenge, an Arnold Palmer-design
on the lusciously landscaped Leelanau Peninsula, has just been
reworked and renamed as the Manitou Passage Golf Club.
But the big game in town back in 1763 was lacrosse, not golf.
During a match watched by soldiers at old Fort Michilimackinac, the
local Ojibwe left the playing field and captured the compound.
Hundreds of re-enactors re-create that event on Memorial Day weekend
at Colonial Michilimackinac, a National Historic Landmark. The
festivities include an 18th century trade show.
The fort grounds are at the foot of the 26,372-foot-long Mackinac
Bridge, open for hardy runners on Saturday, May 29. To participate in
the annual race, runners need to preregister and be able to gallop a
minimum of 12 minutes per mile.
Sweetie Pies in
Fish Creekís Settlement Shops: The shopís
"mile-high" apple concoction or the traditional cherry
are perfect for sneaking back to a campground or motel room. For
those who canít decide on which pie is best, the "threeberry"
is the way to go, with its mix of blueberry, raspberry and
blackberry. By calling in advance, two persons (first-come,
first-served; 16 and older) can help make pies on Tuesday and
Thursday production days, June through August. Sweetie
Pies, 9106 Highway 42, Fish Creek, (920) 868-2743
Coffee & Tea: This relaxing coffeehouse was launched in 1993
with 100-some brews now offered at its retail outlet. The
company roasts kickback Specialty Class 1 Arabica in small
batches through what industry gurus call a "fluidized
air-bed roaster." Technicals aside, the results are evident
in each cup. This cozy getaway is about six miles north of
Sturgeon Bay, in the crossroads of Carlsville. For a wake-me-up
kick, the drive-through opens at 6:30 a.m. Door County Coffee
& Tea Co.,5773 Highway 42, Sturgeon Bay, (920) 743-8930 or
Vodka: Then comes evening sipping, unwinding harbor side with a
Deathís Door small-batch vodka, made from organically grown
wheat from Washington Island. The name refers to the dangerous
waterway between the peninsula and its islands, a challenge to
old-time and todayís sailors alike.
The "thumb" on Wisconsinís mitten-shaped map, the
70-mile-long Door County Peninsula has forever been one of the stateís
best getaway values. Native Americans, French explorers and early
Icelandic settlers realized that early on. Itís the same today.
Whether hauling the family, doubling with a significant other or even
going solo, whatís not to like about this chunk of woods, prairies
and condo-dappled landscape. In addition to a car, the Door can be
seen from the comforts of a trolley, a Segway Personal Transporter,
horseback or oneís own folding Porta-Bote.
A vacationer quickly runs out of fingers and toes on which to count
the possibilities: sports fishing off the 250 miles of Green Bay and
Lake Michigan coastlines, dozens of galleries offering honestly good
art, grazing deer, tent or RV camping, rigorous hiking, hilarious
summer theater, aromatic fresh bread and locally made sweet jam. Add
both miniature golf and lush 18-holers, fish boils, campfires and símores,
sailing, explosive sunrises and mind-numbing sunsets.
Eat out your respective sand-encrusted hearts, Cape Cod, Baja and
Florida. The Door has remote Rock Island, too.
818 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis
20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul
box office: (651) 291-7005
(877) 291-7001 (toll free)
410 St. Peter St.
270 N. Kent St., St. Paul
452 Selby Ave.
Vacationers are not seeing double in Minnesota. There are actually
two distinct cities comprising The Twin Cities including St. Paul and
Minneapolis, making it the 13th largest metropolitan area in the
St. Paul was named the territorial capital in 1849, awarding the
town much needed prestige. The original settlement was better known as
Pigís Eye Landing, after Pierre (Pigís Eye) Lambert who ran a
roadhouse there. Yet the Rev. Lucien Galtier, one of the communityís
first priests, got the locals to change the village name to that of
his favorite saint. However, visitors can toast Lambertís memory
with a tall, frosty pilsner from the medal-winning Pigís Eye Brewing
Co. based in St. Paul.
Minneapolis got its start around Fort Snelling, established in 1819
at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Soldiers
kept tabs both on British traders from Canada and the original native
Dakota residents as they hunted mallards along these two flowages.
Thatís long past. But the fabulous Guthrie Theatre has a grand
new home along the Mississippi, with the in-house Sea Change
restaurant open for post-curtain fun. These days, such
theater-restaurant combos are as abundant in the Twin Cities as
baskets of lefsa at a Norwegian picnic.
St. Paulís Penumbra Theatre has offered the best in African
American themes since its founding in 1976. Complementing Gus Edwardís
"Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking," running
through May 23, is Chef Antonio Tettamanziís nearby La Grolla. The
restaurant regularly offers a three-course dinner/show package with
The Park Square Theatre and Meritage, both close to downtown St.
Paulís Rice Park, make for a perfect marriage of stage and cuisine.
The 35-year-old theater company is on a pedestrian mall near the World
Trade Center. Look for the Midwestern premier of Katie Forgetteís
"Sherlock Holmes and The Case of the Jersey Lily," running
May 28 through June 23. Meritageís outdoor seating is perfect for a
warm spring outing. m