Thursday, August 17, 2017

America the Beautiful

With just less than three weeks left my husband turned 62, in time to purchase his lifetime pass to National Parks for only $10.

This is what we've been waiting for, a retirement with lots of time to finish visiting all the National Parks with HaRVey. Maybe even work in one.

The pass will increase in price to $80 on August 28th. Still worth it, but I sure like $10 more. I won't qualify for mine until December. They are also now offering annual senior passes for $20.

The pass gets a vehicle into a National Park and even some discounts on camping fees.

This will also include US Army Corp of Engineer, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and Reclamations properties.

Locally you can get your pass at the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge office on Brice Prairie.

Sure hope America can stay Beautiful!

What's in your wallet?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


We made a quick stop on our way back from Door County to another State Park.

Located smack dab in the middle of Wisconsin is Roche-a-Cri, once an island in Glacial Lake Wisconsin. The 300 foot rocky outcrop stands out in the surrounding countryside.

You can climb to the top or just stop and admire the early Native American petroglyphs and pictographs.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ye Olde Fish Boil

Dinner and a Play- Dating Door County Style.

We got tickets for the Northern Sky Theater right in Peninsula State Park. This outdoor theater had several difference summer performances we chose Oklahoma in Wisconsin. The story about a  family owned Fish Creek Hotel searching for a way to attract more customers. They begin offering the areas first Fish Boil, a tradition of area fisherman. And the rest is history as they say.

Discounted tickets are available for campers!

We finally attended one of the Fish Boils in Fish Creek. They begin with a large pot of salted boiling water, toss in potatoes and onions then finish off with fresh caught Whitefish and ignite the whole thing on fire. Very dramatic. It was tasty but there are a lot of fish bones since these are not filets.

TTTo finish off our park date we tried catching some of the Perseid showers but the night sky was often overcast. So we made our own starry nights with the holiday laser light I got for my birthday last year.

Maybe a little hard to see in a photo, but very impressive in person.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Harbors, Bays and Shores, Oh My!

The Peninsula of Door County, Wisconsin is more than just parks. Instead of hitting the trails we got lots of steps in wandering the sidewalks of all the quaint little towns. Here's a list of our favorite stops along the way.

Bailey's Harbor-for a beer and lots of cheer. Door County Brewing Company has a new building with lots of charm. We joined a table with two seniors of UW. We enjoyed a tasting flight and some delicious Truffle and Parmesean Fries form the Chives food truck while we assisted them in a game of Cribbage.

Fish Creek-for frozen custard and Ducks. A short stop for an afternoon cone at Not Licked Yet. We rested at the creekside chairs and enjoyed the ducks.

Sister Bay- for goats and goat cheese. The famous rooftop goats on Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant are always fun to see. Another stop when in Wisconsin is for the local cheese. Door County Creamery had lots of tasting items and we left with some fresh Chevre with smoked Whitefish.

Egg Harbor-pottery and art along the way. Plum Bottom Pottery is just one of the unique countryside stops for inspiring art. Another stop was for a sculpture garden at the Edgewood Orchard Galleries. Just to name a few. We even had a chance to stop at the Peninsula School of Art for the Plein Air exhibit.

Sturgeon Bay-ships and shipbuilding are everywhere. Stop at the Door County Maritime Museum for a history lesson. Who knew a state in the Midwest built so many ships, even submarines. When you look at a map you'll see why, we connect to the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Ephraim-a tour of The Clearing. Established by Jens Jensen a famous landscape architect. On weekends they have a free walking tour of the folk school campus and we gained a new appreciation for his legacy.

Along the Way
Can't miss the cherries of Door County. Lots of Wineries too!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Peninsula Parks

Surrounded by Green Bay and Lake Michigan the Door County Peninsula of Wisconsin is a popular getaway for city folks from Milwaukee to Chicago. You won't find chain restaurants or big box stores more like lighthouses and rocky shores. Some say it feels like Cape Cod.

We had our fill of parks to visit with four State Parks and many County Parks. I've highlighted the best of each park.

Potowatami State Park

Our first stop in Sturgeon Bay and the water views are great. Enjoyed watching sailboats and skipping rocks. This is also the beginning point of the Ice Age Trail which demarks the edge of the last continental glacier across Wisconsin.

Pennisula State Park

Just outside of Fish Creek we stayed at Weborg Campground in Peninsula State Park, only a dozen sites adjacent to a nice pier on Green Bay, great for early fishing with breakfast and sunsets or viewing the night sky.

Whitefish Dunes State Park

On the Lake Michigan side is a sandier side for beaches and dunes. This park also displayed a recreated village of woodland and Oneota people, the areas earliest inhabitants.

Newport State Park

Another Lake Michigan Park at the tip of Door County offers a  beach and rocky shore. A wilderness park and recently designated by the International Dark-Sky Association. One of only 48 in the world for best places for night sky viewing.

Cave Point County Park

One of my favorite stops for lots of wave action. The shoreline  and caves are a favorite of kayakers.

The unique landscape is part of the Niagara Escarpment a 1000 mile long cliff running from Wisconsin to New York.

We can't forget to mention Rock Island State Park. We didn't visit this time, but we've camped several times years ago and enjoyed the Perseid Meteor showers with friends. It's a long journey to get there with a ferry to Washington Island then the Carfi to Rock Island. Walk-in campsites only and no showers except in the sky of course.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Rock On

"Be A Little Boulder" at Perrot State Park
Found this rock at Perrot State Park Headquarters. To share in the fun we hid it atop the trail at John A. Latsch Park in Minnesota.

It was a difficult climb but we made the 300 plus steps up to the top. The "Be A Little Boulder" was then strategically placed under a bush just below a fantastic view of the Mississippi River.

Lots of steps up to the top of John A. Latsch Park

"Be A Little Boulder" waiting to be found under bush

Can you find the Rock in this picture!
After joining the Facebook page I found it has already been found by a fellow named Cameron who is now taking it up to the UP (Upper Michigan Pennisula).

Cameron found the rock the journey continues.

So this Little Boulder, we discovered, was originaly painted by Delores's daughter in New Orleans. Found next by Rachael who found it in N.O. then rehid in Wisconsin. Alas we found at Perrot State Park making it's way over to Minnesota.

Rock On! Little Boulder

Hail to Mother Nature

Area residents file their claims
The forces of weather have left their impact at Perrot State Park.

One week it was golf ball size hail the next week torrential rains.

Go figure we live in Wisconsin, a lush green valley with lots of rivers and lakes. Some campers found a few holes in screen tents or a cracked air vent while others got washed out by the weather and slept in their cars or found shelter elsewhere. Fortunately all woke up the next day to enjoy another day in the park.

It's always a good plan to be connected to weather alerts and know where to go if conditions demand seeking shelter. We have often found our selves listening to the weather and not even knowing the county they are talking about. I guess we just have to be more aware when setting down HaRVey's trailer jacks.

Some hiking trails were closed at the park but many remain open. If you haven't ever hiked the Bay Loop, Black Walnut or River View Trails then it's about time. All of the trails in the park are unique and offer different views. Have you seen the effigy mound, the little cottage adjacent to the park campground or the rock shelter. It's time to get to know all the trails at Perrot.

Be sure to respect closed signs as work crews will be removing trees and rebuilding trails in the days to come.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

It Takes aTown

Prairie walk at Holland Sand Prairie
The Town of Holland, located about half way between La Crosse and Perrot State Park, looks like any developing suburb in a rural setting. As families invade the country side they bring with them the seeds of change. The newly disturbed landscape tends to sprout new business opportunities.

Prairie Cinquefoil

The newly transplanted inhabitants of the township had the foresight to stop and see the special place they called home. The last remnant of a dry sand prairie existed in their neighborhood. Since it was too dry to attract farming it remain untouched until developers imagined a strip mall would please the new neighbors. Local folks organised, appealed, collaborated and put forth their own tax dollars to save what is now called Holland Sand Prairie.

Clustered Poppy Mallow
This is the last sizable sand prairie remnant between Trempealeau and Prairie du Chien. The land referred to as the Mississippi River sand terrace also includes rare geological dunes created by windswept sands over thousands of years. With over 150 native plants the 60+ acres was designated as a State Natural Area in 2017. A real treasure now protected.

Curly Milkweed

Thanks to the following organizations you can enjoy another guided prairie walk Saturday, August 26 at 10am.

Friends of Holland Sand Prairie
Mississippi Valley Conservancy
Prairie Entusiasts
and of course the Wisconsin DNR

I'm looking forward to finally catch Goat's rue, Silky prairie clover and Missouri goldenrod in future blooms.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tree Top Retreat

A local family in Trempealeau had their big reveal by Tree House Masters.

Rumor has it the company was building a large tree house project down river and ran a contest for another tree house to be built.

Lucky ducks.

Here are a few pictures when I had the chance to pass by on First Street in the Village of Trempealeau.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Stops in the name of Fun

Birch Lighting

Along the way we stopped at the Art in the Park in Lanesboro, MN. A couple of my favorite finds a lady that created birch lighting fixtures.

Wired Sculpture

Another artist that amazed me was a wire sculpture artist Would have loved the set of deer running along. He really captured the emotion of motion. I at least left with an ornamental walleye.

Lunch on the Root

Pie Guy

After a little lunch at the Riverside on the Root we stopped by Aroma Pie in Whalan, MN. Right along the Root River Bike Trail, a must for a pick me up. We had the Rhubarb Custard and Raisin Sour Cream. Both delicious, it was hard to choose.

Another very out of the way place near Lanesboro was Avian Acres. You could really feel the passion for birds with this one man operation and a barn full of avian supplies and gifts. He was busy answering all sorts of questions on how to attract certain birds.

I think you'll fall for all the fun stops in and around Lanesboro and Forestville Mystery Cave State Park.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I'ts all about the Journey

This is how they roll.
They say getting there is half the fun.

When we stopped for a day in Lanesboro, Minnesota we saw all sorts of rigs and outfitters ready to set you up with bikes, canoes, kayaks, tubes or take your around by horse and buggy.

This little town is the mecca of bike trails, country roads and the Root River all tangled into one hub of activity.

Motorcycles must stop at here at the Iron Horse Outfitters and Inn. The shop is decorated with these enormous recovered vents turned into lighting.

Also found this great art work by DC Customs. Here's their contact information

Lots of family activity on the Root River Bike Trail which runs from Fountain to Houston, Minnesota. The 42 miles of paved trail goes through rural communities catering to visitors.

Try the local transportation.

Another fun thing to do take a personal tour with Bluffscape Amish Tours or tour the country side and visit the Amish local bakeries and shops on your own.

For a lazier approach on a hot day, you can ride the Root River on an inner tube. Lots of businesses will transport you upriver.

Felt like all roads led to Lanesboro.