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Traverse City and the rest of Northern Michigan get all the love when it comes to midwest summer destinations, but don't sleep on Door County, the peninsula that sits directly west across Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. Right, we know what you're thinking. The first thing that comes to mind when someone says "Wisconsin" is winter, and you can get cheese in any supermarket, thank you very much.
This mentality is precisely what makes Door County so enjoyable to visit, the fact that it crushes all your preconceived notions of what Wisconsin is as a state and travel destination. What you'll find during the summer is a mellow, bed-and-breakfast paced community on a peninsula that is comprised of a series of small towns tucked in between dairy farms, wineries, and cherry orchards. You might also remember our story last fall about the restaurant with the goats on the roof. That's a novel place and a staple of the city, and foodies will also appreciate another local favorite, the state's traditional fish boil held "backyard style" during the warmer months.
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People who live in proximity to the coasts have their summers planned out with visits to the Atlantic or Pacific, but those caught in the middle might find a trip to a local lake to be more accessible and more affordable. From Nevada to New York, there are hundreds of lakes to choose from, so be sure to investigate what lies within a few-hour drive of wherever you call home. Below, we feature three that we can recommend as great weekend getaways:
Thinking of where to go this spring and summer—how about Wisconsin? Okay, we understand that it might not have the appeal of the Caribbean or Europe, but their latest tourism campaign has put the state back on our radar.
Take a break from the cubicle this morning and watch the tourism board’s latest attempt at humor and getting visitors into the state. They do their best to do a little remake of Airplane! complete with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Hays doing their thing.
The fall foliage is starting to get ridiculous across the country (okay, minus Florida and Southern California), each impressing in its own way. The trees and colors of Colorado, for example, are much different than the display you’ll see in Upstate New York.
These two photos illustrate those differences well, from the colors themselves to the vividness with which they come through. The first is from the mountains of Colorado near Glenwood Springs, and the latter from a recent trip to Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin. Beautiful!
We showed you ours, now we want to see yours! Got a photo you think rivals these two? Tweet it to us @Jaunted or post it to our Facebook wall. Who knows -- it might just make an appearance on our site as we collect the best of the best in the coming weeks.
Individuals and businesses have tried to copyright all kinds of wacky things over the years, but goats on the roof of a restaurant might just be the best of the bunch.
Al Johnson's, a Swedish restaurant in Door County, Wisconsin, has used the ole "goats on the roof" trick to lure customers in for meatballs since 1973. The goats were so popular and such a draw that management decided to trademark the idea in the mid-90s. And they take it very seriously. To this day, Al Johnson's will still whip your butt if you even attempt to put a goat on your roof.
How the restaurant initially came up with the idea of planting grass and goats on the roof is a little fuzzy, but is apparently the result of a series of animal-related birthday gifts given to the late owner (although once the grass was planted, we suppose the goats were a natural lawn-cutting solution). The logistics of this operation today are pretty simple. The goats access the roof every morning via a slanted stairway behind the restaurant and are left to hang out and munch during business hours. To answer your questions, no, goat is not on the menu and, yes, the goats have fallen off the roof in the past, but no one has ever been injured, goats included!
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
There may be many great motivations to head up into Wisconsin (like last week's Oshkosh's annual mega airshow), but no matter the reason you've got to stop for cheese curds.
Ignore the souvenir shops just off the expressway, each packed with overpriced foam hats shaped like cheese wedges, and instead take an exit and head to the town's market. Cheese curds live with other cheese products in dairy departments, but differ in that they're ideal finger foods, snacks, and tasty without the addition of anything else.
The fresher the curds, the squeakier they'll be.
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What are you doing this weekend?
Waitdon't answer, because if it's not "heading to Oshkosh, Wisconsin," then it's the wrong reply. What's so cool about Oshkosh, exactly? Well, all this week runs the "world's greatest aviation celebration," called EAA AirVenture, and this weekend will see the bulk of the tens of thousands of participating aircraft in the skies and on the ground at OSH. The impressive numbers of flying machines and visitors (nearly half a million!) bestows upon Oshkosh's Wittman Regional Airport the title of busiest control tower in the world for the week of the festival.
Although we flew in last year, this time we road-tripped up from Chicago to see if doing Oshkosh in a day would be possible. And it totally is. Three hours driving each way, $35 in gas, a pit stop to buy cheese curds, $10 in parking at Oshkosh and lots of listening to Sirius radio was all it took to spend the day amongst fields of aircraft (from brand new Honda private jets to vintage warplanes) and under loop-de-loops of the nearly constant aerobatic action.
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Just last week we were all excited about the arrival of marshmallow Peeps at the Racine Art Museum over in Wisconsin. Not to worry—they’re still putting on their Peep exhibit—but there’s actually a few more places where you can see candy turned into art during the spring season. We just wonder when the chocolate bunnies are getting their own gallery space.
There must be something about the sugary candies and Wisconsin, as another seasonal selection of Peeps is now doing its thing at the Riverfront Arts Center in Stevens Point. Things here run through April 7, and last year there were around 1,300 or so peeple—ha—that came to check things out. This year there’s around 30 entries from both little kids and big kids, and they illustrate every thing from superheroes to a candy version of the Papal Conclave.
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It’s officially spring—at least according to the calendar—and that means it’s time to celebrate the season with chocolate bunnies, candy eggs, and plenty of jelly beans. Sure that stuff is traditionally brought out to celebrate Easter, but we’re pretty sure it tastes just as good no matter your religious affiliation or lack thereof. Of course one treat that takes seasonal candy to the next level are the trusty marshmallow Peeps. This year they taste even better, as they’re part of their very own art exhibit.
If you don’t call Wisconsin home you might want to start looking into some flights, as March 29 is when the exhibit opens up at the Racine Art Museum. They’ve been doing this for a few years now, and the fun is scheduled to run through Sunday April 14. It’s just what you imagine it to be, as artists of all ages are encouraged and welcomed to create their own masterpiece made of out of the candy.
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Labor Day has come and gone, and with its passing marks the unofficial end of the summer season. Sure we’re a little sad to see the sun retreat earlier each and every day, but the cooler weather isn’t too shabby. If anything it just gives us the opportunity to enjoy a new season of beer festivals. The summer ales have disappeared, but there’s still plenty of brews—and sunshine—to enjoy at these outdoor beer festivals in September:
Great Atlanta Beer Fest – Atlanta, Georgia
We’re only a few days away, as this year’s Great Atlanta Beer Fest is set to do its thing on September 8 at Turner Field. The baseball stadium will transform itself into an outdoor beer garden, as organizers are expecting at least 150 different varieties of lagers, ales, stouts, and pilsners. There will be a focus on those brewed close to home with several options from Georgia and the Southeast, and there will even be a few wine and hard cider options as well.
Most of the action is scheduled to go down within the Grand Entry Plaza and the Monument Grove sections of the stadium, and organizers are even planning to beam the weekend’s college football games straight to the televisions across the park. Tickets will set you back $40 in advance, and that will get you access to your souvenir cup, all the entertainment, and plenty of beer samples. Sounds like a decent investment to us especially with breweries like Sweetwater, Abita, and Atlanta Brewing in attendance.
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Here at Jaunted, we spend considerable time and (virtual) ink drooling over weird festivals. So, this summer, we've decided to visit a few. Today Lara Zielin reports back from the Pure Water Days beer fest in Chippewa Falls, WI.
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin was once little more than a scar on the terrain—a place where the trees were ripped up by hardy loggers, then rolled downriver and shipped far afield.
Much of that changed when Jacob Leinenkugel, a Bavarian immigrant and brewer, descended on the town in 1866 and started making beer using the clear, cold spring water on site. First, the loggers drank the beer. Then everyone else started drinking the beer, which is still true today, especially during the town’s Pure Water Days festival.
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Jack Dawson was born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. You know, that guy from Titanic? The guy Rose says there’s no room for on the door at the end?
Jack was escaping this small Wisconsin town for bigger—and ultimately colder—adventures, but if he’d just hung around long enough, he could have attended the town’s annual Pure Water Days Festival, which is probably better than any party his pals threw in steerage.
This weekend, August 10-12, this once lumber- and railroad-dependent town will celebrate its history sprouting up from the banks of the Chippewa River, the source of all that pure water. These days, said water is used for many things, among them Leinenkugel’s beer, which is headquartered in Chippewa Falls.