Eating Our Way Up North

IMG_9615.jpgLast weekend Carter and I headed north to hear Elizabeth perform for solo and ensemble (as I said in my last post).

IMG_9612Before we went, I checked out some local restaurants that might be fun to try.

IMG_9613On the way to Steven’s Point, I found a cheesy option which I thought was appropriate being that we were in Wisconsin and all. The place had several different varieties of mac and cheese – that was their specialty – hence their name. Neither Carter nor I were very hungry, so we split a bowl – well, actually a mini cast-iron frying pan of the classic cheese – nothing fancy.

And that’s kind of how IMG_9611it tasted. Even though it is considered the #3 best restaurant out of 130 restaurants in Wisconsin Dells, it was rather cheesily bland. The macaroni was drenched in a creamy sauce. Maybe I just don’t like creamy sauces. We ate it, but were glad we didn’t order separate servings. (And I’m guessing some of their fancier dishes are more tasty.)

You order at the counter and take your dish to a seat  (or maybe the server brings it to you – I really can’t remember)- so semi-kind of, fast food.

Maybe it was #3 restaurant  – I haven’t been to the other 130. I’d give it a six out of 10. I did like the decor. Very Wisconsinish.


Once we got to Stevens Point, we were asked to meet the others at Hilltop Pub and Grill. (#4 of 91 in S.P. according to Trip Advisor). IMG_9617Cindy’s parents had heard it was a great place for Friday Night Fish Fry (definitely a Wisconsin thing).

I still wasn’t hungry (not feeling 100%) so had something simple – but most of the family got the fish fry. So, I did eat a couple pieces of Cindy’s fish and it was super good. Carter had the chicken tenders and said they were similar to what he’s had other places. But everyone truly thought the fish delicious.. Good recommendation.

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Various members of several sides of the family.

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IMG_9646Another restaurant that interested me was the Wooden Chair.  (Trip Advisor – 3 of 91). So after the Saturday competition we headed over.

The restaurant opened in 1993, but is located in a bank building from 1891. (Seems like I have been in several banks turned restaurants.) A lot of the structure/decor reflects the bank.

Jeff, Cindy, Carter, Elizabeth and I were the ones who ate here and we all got something different. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food. I was feeling better, so I got a BLT. The IMG_9650sandwich was absolutely delicious! I like BLTs and eat them a lot – especially on road trips – but this one was extra good – moist with a lot of bacon. I wished we lived closer so I could try some other foods. (I was still eating cautiously.)

The walls were brick and very old-time bankish – which I also liked.

And I had to smile at Carter and Elizabeth playing games with the creamer containers. Anyone who ever went out to eat with my dad knows how he had a whole series of games with the creamers – getting points for landing one upright, etc. These two never met my dad, but his DNA was evident in their choice of activities.

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All I can say is, their great-grandfather would’ve been proud of them.

 

An Eerie Evening Walk

IMG_9628To prepare for a quick trip to Stevens Point with Carter, I searched on the internet for things to do/see that would interest me and a 14-year-old boy.

That’s how I found the Stevens Point Sculpture Garden. By the time we got to S.P. , met the rest of the family for dinner, and then checked out the performing arts center on the UW campus (where Elizabeth was to perform Saturday morning), the sky was beginning to darken.

I put the address in the GPS and we headed out. But Siri just left us with “find a place to park and walk to your destination.”  However, there was no place to park and no clue as to where the destination was.

So after riding around some more and after the sky getting even darker, we went back to the hotel, picked up Jeff And Elizabeth, and headed out again. This time I put Zenoff Park in the GPS because I guess that the Sculpture Park is inside of Zenoff Park – but if you don’t know that – the directions get very confusing.

All this to say that by the time we found it, the evening light was fading. The trees were  leafless and the ground brown and muddy. Parts were flooded from the recent rain. This was the night’s aesthetic as we wandered the trail and looked at strange formations in the dusk. The pictures do not even do justice to the eeriness of our walk.

I am sure if we did the same walk on a sunny summer morning, the perspective would be a lot different.

If you’re in Stevens Point, I would recommend it for a place to get some exercise – however, although we did not get bitten by an army of bugs  (maybe a little early in the season) – reviewers say the place has a multitude of ticks and mosquitos – which I believe because of the boggy areas. So beware.

 

 

 

A Place to Remember

IMG_9486 2When my daughter asked me if I could take the kids somewhere “educational” this week, I thought of a few places, but centered in on the Illinois Holocaust Museum, I had been there once before, but I knew the kids hadn’t been.

The museum is located in Skokie, a Chicago suburb, where at one time, the population was half Jewish. (That figure is from the 90s, not sure what it is today.) Precisely because of that demographic, the development of the museum had a lot of support from townspeople who had been through the holocaust or had family who had been through it.

The new museum (it use to be located in a storefront) opened in 2009.

You can take pictures in many areas inside, but I didn’t. So much to read and look at and we shared the space with a limitless amount of middle and high school kids on field trips. (Might not have been the best time of year to go.)

Although all the museum is interesting, the highlight of the trip was the Take a Stand exhibit – considered to be one of the top twelve museum exhibits in the world.

To design the exhibit, the museum took several Holocaust survivors out to L.A., where they sat in a green room and were asked questions for five or six hours a day over a period of a several days. Their answers were videoed. The producers then edited the video down to 28 answers to the most common questions and the entire project was made into a hologram.

So, as you sit in the auditorium, a man or women sits up front and tells his or her story. IMG_9491Then the audience can ask questions. Because of the hologram effect, it seems as if you are talking to a real person, but in actuality it’s a picture. In fact, the man we listened to died two weeks ago. As time goes on and the number of survivors decreases, I’m sure exhibits like this will become even more valuable.

I would highly recommend a visit.

Here are some tips.

*Knowing about the Holocaust before you visit is a good thing. That helped me grasp the meaning of some of the exhibits. Although, even if you know nothing, the museum clearly gives a timeline of the events. Both munchkins had studied the Holocaust and had a good understanding of what they were seeing.

*Give yourself a lot of time. We missed quite a bit of it because of time constraint.                           The Take a Stand exhibit is an hour itself. In other words, don’t expect to run in and out in a half hour.

*Consider the ages of your kids. I asked the munchkins how old they thought someone should be before visiting and they agreed with me – middle school and up. If you do take a  younger child, a lot will need to be explained. Pictures are also disturbing (for older teens and adults, too, but we are more understanding of the reality of what happened). And I did not see one child among the hundreds of people who were visiting on the day we were there.

IMG_9485*Beware that this time of year is when field trips happen. The place was packed with teens to the extent that we were often stuck behind them and had to wait to get to the next room.

*Know you will need to go through security to get in.

Would I recommend it? Yes! And I would recommend you bring your teens there, too. As we get further and further away from World War II, less people will be around to tell their stories and memories blur.

Yet, we must NOT forget.

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Evening on the Lake

I have always loved water – whether it’s being mesmerized watching a barge sail down the Mississippi, listening to the sound of river water bubbling over the rocks or … canoeing on the lake.

I mentioned that I wanted to take a picture of the sunset so Jeff said he’d go out on the canoe with me. I could take pictures. He could fish. (Last year I got my fishing license, but didn’t take the time to do it this year.)

No sooner had we gotten in the canoe, then the clouds rolled in. But we stayed … and sometimes clouds make for a more interesting sunset than no clouds.

Here are just a few of the pictures I took on the lake.

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Goldfield – Part 2

Here are more photos from Goldfield, Colorado (for more information, see my post from a few days ago.)

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Evening primrose (I think – please let me know if I’m wrong.)

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One of the large trucks on top of the current area where they’re mining. You can see the size by comparing it to the trees down below.

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Goldfield city hall from the 1800s

Garden of the Gods – Part 3

We didn’t see any rattlesnakes as we were wandering through the park, but we did see a mule deer, and a mountain bluebird and a spotted towhee and a family of pigeons that lived inside one of the formations. We all laughed as we watched them crawl (wait, I don’t think pigeons crawl) out of the split in the rock – they just kept coming.

DSC_0201Anyhow, I think my favorite was the spotted towhee because as I was standing on the path taking pictures, a tiny little girl walked up and stood next to me. Quietly she watched me take pictures for awhile and then she turned to her father, “What’s she looking at, Dad?”

I told her there was a spotted towhee in the tree and her father lifted her up so she could see it. She reacted with quiet reverence. The dad then repeated the name to her and she giggled. Later the father asked me what another bird was  – a pigeon/rock dove. (I didn’t even have to ask my brother to identify that one.) I don’t think the man was from the U.S. or maybe he just hadn’t been around a lot of birds, but he was friendly and inquisitive and his daughter was cute as she hopped along next to me waiting to see what other pictures I would take.

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Roger got its picture jumping over the fence, but I wasn’t quick enough.
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A mountain bluebird.
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A columbine – but not a good one – it’s on its way to wilting which I guess all flowers are – but this one was a few steps closer than some.
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a southwestern prickly poppy

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Garden of the Gods – Part 1

Most people who visit Colorado Springs visit Garden of the Gods. Surprisingly, this is a public city park and is free to all who visit. GOTG is also a National Natural Landmark.

We first headed for the visitor’s center. The center  has several exhibits which we quickly walked through, a gift shop and a balcony overlooking the park. A highlight is the dinosaur picture painted on the floor/wall with a 3D perspective – although it is painted on flat surfaces. My brother pulled out his famous red chair and we got our pictures on top of the picture.

Something I didn’t know, but maybe should’ve known is that Katherine Lee Bates wrote America the Beautiful after visiting the area – Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. (You can read about it all outside the ladies restroom.)

Last time I was at  Garden of the Gods was on a hot day in 2006.

This time we went early in the morning (right when the center opened)  when the weather was still fairly cool. We were early enough to get a parking lot outside the center – but already the place was filling up and getting crowded.

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View from the balcony of the visitor’s center.
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And another view from the balcony with Pikes Peak in the background. (Imagine Katherine Bates seeing this and being inspired to write America the Beautiful.)
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The sign by the ladies room.
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And the red chair makes an appearance.
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I look frightened …
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And Barb looks so calm.
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Another view from the balcony  …  my brother in the parking lot.

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