Lake Mills Knickerbocker Ice Festival


2-6-16

Lake Mills sign

2016-Poster Knickerbocker Festival

This was the first time Al and I went to the Knickerbocker Ice Festival in Lake Mills.  We started the fun at Rock Lake by taking a look at Icehenge, a take-off of Stonehenge. We made the mistake of not stopping by right after they finished it in late January, the warm weather over the last 5 days took its toll. Read more about it here.

Ice Henge text IMG_1720

The Fisheree was going on too, somebody was drilling a hole in the ice nearby to fish in. We found a cute fishing shack downtown promoting the Fisheree.

Ice Fisheree Shack

Ice Fisherman IMG_1712

Ice Fishermen at Lake Mills IMG_1710

After visiting Icehenge we went downtown to the square (actually a triangle) to see all the activity going on there.  We could hear the sound of multiple chainsaws as the ice sculptors were making their creations. Lets watch them!

We enjoyed a great lunch at Cafe On the Park, under new ownership as of 2015. They are open 6-2 daily. Al had a prime rib sandwich and I had a breaded chicken sandwich. Delicious!

Cafe on the Park in Lake Mills

Cafe on the Park inside IMG_1818

The park sure was busy by 12:30!

Commons Park gazebo

There was a big ice skating party going on in the park, small children were being pushed in chairs.

Ice Skating party in Lake Mills

There was also target practice with tennis balls for safety. Also to aid the kids to throw snowballs with greater accuracy  :)

Target Practice IMG_1880

Some other kids were building a wood castle, complete with flags.

Building a castle IMG_1883

It was now 1:00, and it looks like most of the ice sculptures were getting finished. My personal favorite 3 carvings.

Favorite Ice Carvings

The Lewis carving even had little wine bottles, cute!

Ice Wine bottle in Lake Mills

The Eskimo was especially fun, since this one was interactive and we could take a fun selfie with it.

Eskimo Ice Carving selfie

Other ice sculptures of note.

Knickerbocker Ice Sculptures Collage

We had a wonderful time at this festival and got further reinforcement that Wisconsinites love festivals in any setting the whole year around.

I Love Lake Mills

Free Day at the Milwaukee Public Museum


2-4-16 First Thursday of the Month

Milwaukee Public Museum

What a great opportunity!  We found out that the Milwaukee Public Museum has a free day every month for ALL visitors. Kohls is the sponsor.  We jumped at this chance to go.  We found a historic clock just outside of the building.

Historic Tower Clock by Museum

After checking in at the front desk, we were on our way!  You can check your coat in for $1 or use a locker for 50 cents. We also got a free ticket to the Planetarium show at 11:30, there usually an extra charge for that.   I have not seen one of those shows since I was a kid.  It was great getting a refresher on the night sky and constellations.  Also some Hubble pictures were shown.  A great 25 minute show!

Planetarium show sign

We enjoyed a good lunch at the café  before heading back up to the first floor. The have a coffee stand too.

The Daily Grind coffee at museum

The museum has four floors, we just had time to see the ground, floors 1 and 2. It is a large museum so we hope to return to see the rest.  On the first floor were many great exhibits, a favorite being the “Streets of  Old Milwaukee” and “European Village”. It looks like Milwaukee around 1880-1910. To enhance your experience here, you can download an app to hear residents of old Milwaukee tell us about their occupations, etc. at the turn of the last century. You can only listen to the oratories through your headphones in your phone.

Streets of Old Milwaukee and European Village

You enter the Milwaukee exhibit through the streetcar and exit in the back.

Streets of Old Milwaukee Entrance

Let’s take a stroll through the street, you can occasionally hear horses hooves clopping.

Inside are prominent Wisconsin businesses, many still here.  Usinger’s, Schlitz and Roundy’s among them. The most charming part of this exhibit was the candy store. It was real and you could buy some “penny” candy here. The store is small so only a few people could be inside at a time.

Candy Store IMG_1518

You could also go up a staircase in one of the buildings and look down below at the street. You could see the candy store to the right. The front view showed an eye doctor business, complete with a sign with eyes that appear to be looking right at you!

Balcony view of candy store

Balcony View front IMG_1536

Eye sign at Public Museum

See the silhouette of the lady in the window? She moved in and out of view and appeared to be getting ready for a night out.

Lady in the window IMG_1539

Saw a photographer taking a portrait of a lady.

Photographer IMG_1545

Inside a general store.

General Store at Milwaukee

High fashion for ladies around 1900.

Ladies fashion IMG_1549

When you reach the end of the street it transitions into the European Village, opening up to Pabst Square.

Pabst Square in European Village

European Village in Museum

Each house surrounding the square represents a different country in Europe. Here is the Czech house from Al’s heritage.

Czech house at museum

The Russian house, my sister-in-law’s heritage. She is a first-generation American.

Russian house at Museum

We spent an extended amount of time in these exhibits, they were fascinating!  Now we move on to the Jack Puelicher Butterfly Garden. This sunny room had many beautiful butterflies and warm temperatures that felt good on this winter day.

Butterfly wing at Museum

Butterfly at Museum

Let’s watch them them in action!

A butterfly display in a case.

Butterflies at museum

And this Muskrat exhibit is from 1890, like the clock outside. Very intricate detail!

Muskrat Habitat display at museum

It was time to go, we plan on returning as soon as we can to see what we missed. Meanwhile, enjoy this great view across the street from the museum.

Milwaukee skyline

And this one facing in the other direction.

Milwaukee Skyline 2

Experience Beautiful Fort Atkinson


11-11-15 (Veteran’s Day) and 2-1-16

Fort Atkinson Bridge and Indian

Welcome to Fort Atkinson crop

 Fort Atkinson is a city of of over 12,000 with a proud history.  Fort Atkinson was built around the site of Fort Koshkonong during the Black Hawk War. It was also named after General Henry Atkinson.  The site has a marker, a monument and a cannonball.  This is the historic Eli May House on 407 East Milwaukee Ave, built in 1866.

Fort Koshkonong Marker at Eli May house in Ft. Atkinson

 

Fort Koshkonong site in Ft. Atkinson

This is a peaceful community now with many activities for visitors and residents to enjoy.  Our first stop on our November visit was to Evergreen Cemetery to see the Bellman Carillon Tower and Veterans Memorial.

Bellman Carillon Tower in Ft. Atkinson

Vets Memorial in Ft. Atkinson

The Chamber of Commerce is another great place to stop for info on Fort and the rest of Jefferson County.

Ft. Atkinson Chamber of Commerce

We headed downtown to see other historic sites and markers. Nearby the Eli May house is the historic water tower. During the summer you can climb the stairs to have a good view of the city. When we return in May, we plan on doing just that!

Ft. Atkinson Water Tower

Water Tower Markers in Ft. Atkinson

Long before Europeans lived here, Native Americans did.  The have many mounds in this area. There is a marker and a partially-preserved VERY rare Panther Intaglio on 1228 Riverside Dr. You can see it here.

Panther Intaglio Mound Marker in Ft. Atkinson

Panther Markers

Panther Intaglio in Ft. Atkinson

A famous poet also spent most of her life here, Lorine Niedecker. We found where she lived at Blackhawk Island near Ft. Atkinson.

Lorine Niedecker marker

Lorine Niedecker house

The larger house near the Rock River is further down the driveway, we didn’t trespass to see it, just zoomed in.

Former Lorine Niedecker house

Fort Atkinson also has a re-creation of their original Fort Koshkonong and stockade at Rock River Park. It was built between 1966-68 and hosts the Koshkonong Rendezous every May on Memorial Day weekend. We plan on going in 2016.

IMG_7211

Fort Koshkonong replica in Ft. Atkinson

Fort Koshkonong History

Bring your bike along or take a walk along the Glacial River Bike Trail.  Take a break at the depot/shelter.  This is part of the Rails to Trails programs to convert old rail lines to recreational trails.

Ft. Atkinson Glacial Trail

Fort Atkinson is also host to many businesses that provide good jobs and a fun night out.  On our 2015 visit we went to Capn’s Roadhouse for lunch. It was Veterans Day and since Al is a Navy vet, he got a free steak dinner!

Capn's Roadhouse in Ft. Atkinson

The restaurant is close to the high school, on the grounds is the historic first bell it had.  It is in a protective structure.

Ft. Atkinson High School Bell 1867

A great place for shopping is Nasco.  They have discounts on toys and much more.  I couldn’t help myself, I got a Duncan YoYo.

NASCO in Fort Atkinson

Duncan Yoyo

Jones Dairy Farm is also a major employer, I see their products in my local grocery stores all the time.

Jones Dairy Farm in Fort Atkinson

If you like live theater, The Fireside is a favorite destination for Wisconsinites.  We have not yet been there yet, but we plan on it.  You get dinner before the show for a complete evening out. This a family business, the 3rd generation has now taken up the reins to keep this popular tradition going at Fort (what the locals fondly call their city).  They also offer Friday Fish Fry for just the food and no show.

Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson

Speaking of fish fry, the VFW has one too, they open at 3:00 on Fridays. It is post 1979, open weekends only.  We hope to get there in March 2016.

Ft. Atkinson VFW

A new restaurant opened up on the Rock River downtown in Nov. 2015, Brook’s River Walk Tavern and Grill.  We will enjoy a visit here too on a future visit!

Brook's Riverwalk Tavern and Grrill

Enjoy a stop at Tuttle’s Pharmacy, open since 1931.  Their friendly service can’t be beat either and are are ready to help with your prescription needs. There are many unique gifts ideas too.

Tuttle's Pharmacy in Fort Atkinson

Across the street is Catfish Alley, between two buildings, beautiful art work!

Catfish Alley art in Fort Atkinson

One place you need to make time for when you visit is the Hoard Museum and Dairy Shrine. We stopped there in November and didn’t quite complete our tour so we plan on returning in March to finish and enjoy a meal at the VFW.

Hoard Museum sign

Hoard Museum and National Dairy Shrine

Downtown Fort Atkinson

Fort Atkinson is a very interesting community and we look forward to returning real soon.