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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas lights on Candy cane lane, West Allies, Wisconsin

Finally the Christmas fun begins. So I choose nearest place to view Christmas lights. It was a little cold so we decided to drive by the street and enjoy the view.

History of Candy Cane Lane

Candy cane Lane holiday lights had started In the year of 1984. These holiday lights are not sponsored by any professional. But the group of neighbors living in West Allis, Wisconsin decorate their houses. The donations collected on Candy Cane Lane will go to the MACC (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, Inc.) Fund. 

They collect donations in honor of a neighbor's child. The neighbors worked in concert in decorating their homes and encouraged visitors to make a small donation as they drove through the festively enhanced neighborhood. (Source:- candy cane lane website)

All the money raised went to support research, treatment, and the eventual discovery of a cure for childhood cancers and related blood diseases.

Candy Cane Lane is in West Allis, Wisconsin, from Montana Avenue on the north to Oklahoma Avenue on the south and from 96th Street on the west, to 92nd Street on the east. 

We started from the 96th street and Oklahoma avenue and we take turns from Montana avenue towards next street. It will become Zigzag pattern. Both sides of the street are decorated beautifully. You can park one or two streets away and walk down the street if you want. There will number of cars driving by so be patient.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas holiday light events in Wisconsin

Holiday light displays are one of my favorite event for this time of year. So, I found out a few of the larger displays in Wisconsin. I am sure you will also love these

A. Free light shows

1. Milwaukee Holiday lights festival

In Milwaukee downtown three parks are lit up with colorful lights:-  Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park and Zeidler Union Square. Either you can visit all three park separately or hop on the Jingle bus for a warm and cozy narrated tour of the festive season. 
Starting address:- Pete Marquette Park, 900 N Plankinton Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Jingle bus tickets and boarding:- Shops of Grand Avenue – Center Court, 275 W. Wisconsin Avenue

Timing:- holiday lights :- November 20 – December 27, Jingle Bus :- Thursdays – Sundays | 6pm – 8:20 pm
Length:- November 20 – December 27 every year.

2. Rotary Holiday lights, La Crosse

The La Crosse's Riverside park illuminated with more than two million lights. These light display also offer other features like animated displays, a computerized tunnel, and a holiday village with reindeer, hayrides and carriage rides. You can also meet the Santa.
Address:- Riverside park, La crosse, WI 54601
Timing:-  Daily 5-10pm
Length :- Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve every year.
Fees:- Free! Free! Free!
Image source:- facebook page

3. Some other light shows which are free around Milwaukee suburbs

  A. Miller coors holiday lites on 4251 w state st
  B. H.C. Light show 6235 S 123rd st, Hales corner 
  C. Candy cane lane S 96th st to S 92nd st from w Montana ave to W Oklahoma ave
  D. Hope's light celebration Wisconsin humane society, 4500 W Wisconsin ave
  E. The Ackmann Home 3808 104th st, Greenfield 

B. Light shows With minimal charge

1. Country Christmas light show, Waukesha

One of the great feature of these display is this is drive through light display. So you can experience animated figures and holiday scenes all from the comfort of your car. 
After the drive-through experience, visit Christmas Village where you can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while looking at animated scenes and a cuddly cast of characters and an amazing working model train display. They also have display Streets of Bethlehem.
Address:- Country springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Waukesha, WI 53188
Timing:- Mon-Thur 5-9pm; Fri, Sat & Holidays 5-10pm.
Length:- Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve every year.
Fees:- $15.00 Carload or minivan and $25.00 Limo, mini-coach or large passenger van
Image source:- rotary botanical garden website

2. Janesville rotary botanical gardens holiday light show

These holiday display is also include local musicians and life size elf houses. These have events as well so if you want to take part than check the schedule before you plan your visit.
Address:- Rotary botanical gardens, 1455 Palmer drive, Janesville, WI 53545
Timing:- 4pm-8pm on selected dates Dec 11 - Dec 13, Dec 17 - Dec 23, Dec 26 - Dec 27 2015 and Jan 2, 2016 - Jan 3, 2016
Length :- Thanksgiving through Jan 3rd every year.
Fees:- $5.00 per person, kids 2 & under are free 

3. Oshkosh celebration of Lights, Oshkosh 

Menominee Park Located on the shores of Lake Winnebago. This is mile-long drive decorated with millions of twinkling lights, including a 100-foot-tall tree and sculpted scenes. They have different events daily so you can check out the calendar and plant your trip accordingly.
Address:- Menominee park, Oshkosh, WI 54901
Timing:- Daily 5-9 pm (closed Mondays)
Length :- Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve every year.
Fees:- General Admission per carload is $ 8.00. $1 off with a non-perishable in-date canned food donation.
Image source:- facebook page

4. Garden of Lights, Green Bay 

These light display is different as it will accompanied by flowers, butterflies and other botanical themed images. You can either walk on the trail or take the carriage ride.
Timing:-  5pm-9pm on selected dates Dec 11- Dec 13 , Dec 18 - Dec 20, Dec 26 - Dec 30, 2015
Length :- Thanksgiving through Dec 30th every year.
Fees:- Walking Tour
                    Adults (13 & up): $9, Children (3 - 12): $5, Children (2 & under): Free 
           Horse-Drawn Wagon Tour*
                    Adults (13 & up): $13, Children (3 - 12): $9, Children (2 & under): Free 
*Horse-Drawn Wagon Tour includes Walking Tour.

Do you love holiday light show? Which light show is your favorite?

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Fall colors at Peninsula state park in Door county

This was almost the last weekend to enjoy the fall colors, so I don't want to miss this chance to get the last glimpse of fall leaves. So I immediately checked fall color report and door county had 100% fall colors. So we decided to go door county on Saturday. I found out places to go and also figure out the route. I saw the news in the evening and came to know there are chances of rain. So I check out weather app and it said 90% chance of rain till Saturday afternoon. Finally, at night we drop the idea of door county trip. On Saturday night we were checking what to do on Sunday and my husband said, let's check out the weather of door county on Sunday. And guess what it was sunny whole day. Although the temperature was in the 50's, but until it is sunny we can bear. 

How to get there?

You can land on any of three airports Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay. You take a rental car from airport rentals and head to the Door County.

Tips to explore Peninsula State Park
  1. If you are going to explore fall colors than do check the fall color report and then plan your trip.
  2. If you are living in the nearby city, then you can do a one day trip easily, but it has lots of things to do so make your trip itinerary first.
  3. Check the weather and decide your attire accordingly.
  4. As Peninsula State Park is on Lake Michigan you might feel windy, especially in cold weather, so be prepared for it.
  5. If you are planning to hike than get your proper hiking gears.
  6. There is no facility for food inside the state park so carry enough food and water before entering.

We went to the visitor center first. If you are not sure what to explore in Door County than you can check in to the visitor center and they will provide information. You can also get maps and other brochures from there. one of the best things of these visitor center is its open 24/7. Isn't it great? You will get all types of brochures like shopping and dining, attractions, parks & beaches etc. I really liked the rocking chairs kept in patio of visitor center. 

So we grab our maps and head to peninsula state park. In Door County two main highway go through 42 & 57 which helps you cover whole door county area.

In the Peninsula State Park you require to buy vehicle permission sticker. If you have already bought than you are good to go. They have yearly, monthly, daily and hourly passes. You can buy these stickers at the entrance. You will also get map in which you will get hiking trail guide details as well.

If you don't want to do hiking than also it has a nice view points and scenic drive. We started from pier center and Weborg point. Camping and picnicking available at Weborg point. Hemlock trail can access from Weborg point. This trail is 1.8 miles long and contains rolling terrain, cedar and hardwood forest. 

From this point you will get a very nice view of the lake and forest as well. They also build the concrete doc walkway. It was little bit windy otherwise you can sit there with coffee and enjoy the view. In parking lot also there were beautiful trees with pretty fall colors.

Our next stop was Nelson point. This point also has a small picnicking area. You can get a view of Lake Michigan from this point as well. Follow the same road and next is the Tennis court point. Here they provided steps to get down to the Lake shore. The view of the lake from this point is absolutely stunning. 

When we proceed further road splits in Shore road and Skyline road. We want to cover both drives as both drives are scenic according to the visitor center representative. So we decided to complete  the Shore road drive first. On this road you drives parallel to the Lake. These gives the illusion of lake and sky flows together as far as you can see.

On Shore road drive one more split will come which is Shore road and Bluff road. By mistake my friend took right instead of left. And I am so glade he did this mistake. We took immediately right On Bluff road as so many cars were parked there so wanted to check out what's in there. It was nature center and White cedar nature trail. This trail is a self guided nature trail teaches deer ecology. This is 0.5 mile loop trail with amazing fall color views.

After viewing beautiful scenery on this trail we get back to shore road and head to Eagle bluff lighthouse. You will get great the view of Lake Michigan and peninsula forest. Unfortunately, when we visited the lighthouse was closed for the season. It normally opens till early September.

This is a great place. It has quite good photography spots as well. From the Eagle bluff lighthouse to the Nicolet beach is very beautiful drive. You can see colorful fall leaves. It's a simply amazing drive.

As we didn't want to miss the scenic drive on the Skyline road as well, we took the Bluff road and return on the shore road. We took the skyline road from starting point and stopped at Sven's bluff. These point is on higher elevation so very nice view of the lake.

You can also take the skyline loop trail from the Tennis court. This trail is 3 miles long. You can also check out the hemlock road. If you just want to drive by than you can finish viewing these state park within one to two hours. But if your planning to hike than there are around 11 trails. You can choose which trails you want to hike on.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Kettle moraine scenic drive

Kettle moraine is one of the best scenic drive I ever had. There is two way of these drive you can go either north to south or south to north. As I live in south Wisconsin, we decided to go farthest point first so we went to Start point of north to south drive. I would advise you to Download direction instructions PDF from these link. Kettle moraine scenic drive . The reason why to keep print out because if you miss any turn you will get away from scenic drive. So better to be prepared I lost my path twice but thank god I had the direction instructions with me.

Start point of north to south drive starts from outside of Broughton Sheboygan Marsh Park, Tower and Wildlife Area. So we first went to check out the view from tower. If you are planning to visit Marsh tower than get ready to clime stairs around 4 floors.

So started our scenic drive after exploring marsh tower. In these drive you will see many small towns and forest areas. Within 3 miles you will reach to Elkhart lake town, which is famous for historic race circuits. After crossing these town two other town will be on the way Glenbeulah and Greenbush. In Greenbush one of the left turn sign is missing so make sure you take left from Old Wade House.

After crossing Greenbush you will enter forest area and beautiful fall colors. Both sides of road covered with colorful trees. 

You will drive by long lake recreational area follow by Dundee town and than New Prospect. It also includes Kettle Moraine state park area in drive. You will drive by Forest lake. You can stop by if you want but we preferred to continue the drive. We decided to stop by at Parnell tower to explore top view of fall colors from 60 feet high tower. You need state park parking permit or you can buy it on the spot. 

Parnell tower

View from Parnell tower
Further we drove by the kettle moraine forest area and crossed smith lake, Big cedar lake and Slinger town. Next is pike lake Unit of kettle forest. Pike lake is great destination to explore fall colors through kayaking. 

We also cross by holy hill. Holy hill is known for The basilica of national shrine of Mary. It has scenic tower which gives great view. Also you will encounter Monches recreation area and North lake town. Which leads to drive between Pine lake and Cornell lake. And followed by Moose lake and okauchee lake. As we almost reached south side. 

Kettle moraine forest
We explore some of new recreational area and small towns which hardly half an hour from our place. We didn't knew about Nashotah park. Next we cross by Delafield town looks like live and amazing town. There is also Nagawicka lake at Delafield so you can enjoy water activities as well. These drive was so fun and amazing views.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Elkhart Lake - The Racing town

You must heard about road America racing in Sheboygan county. If not, then don't worry, you got plenty of reason to explore this town. These time my trip was unplanned almost. I was very excited to view fall colors and that too in Wisconsin as I heard that fall in Wisconsin is a lot of fun. I searched so many places to view fall colors. Than I check fall color report of Wisconsin. Wisconsin tourism have their own website Wisconsin fall color report. So I found out the places for hiking with 100% fall colors. But then on Thursday night weather channel exploded with whole day temperatures in 30s, and I was not quite ready for winter yet. So since Friday morning I started exploring where to go on Saturday. And I found out ELKHART lake town.

Elkhart Lake

How to get there?

You can land on any of three airports Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay. You can take a rental car from airport rentals and head to the Elkhart Lake.

Tips to explore Elkhart Lake

  1. If you are going to explore fall colors than do check the fall color report and then plan your trip.
  2. If you are living in a nearby city than you can do a one day trip easily.
  3. Check the weather and decide your attire accordingly.
  4. In Wisconsin many of the attractions open from Memorial Day to Labor Day so check out before making your itinerary.

Things to do in Elkhart Lake

This is a small town with a bunch of things to do in and around it. This town is famous for road America racing. There are many recreational activities you can do on Lake Elkhart. As I mentioned earlier, it was roughly planned trip so we decided to go visitor center first, but unfortunately it was closed on that day. But they kept some of brochures besides the building so we got from there.

Visitor center Elkhart lake

You can see Elkhart Lake historic depot museum just across the street. It is century old railroad station house and they kept original furnishings.

Elkhart Lake, historic depot museum

After that we decided to take a walk and explore the town. There are nice shops and dining options nearby. We started walking on Lake street it was very nice view of the street. Both sides of the road covered with colorful trees.

Elkhart lake

There is Gessert's ice cream & confectionery, which is old fashioned ice cream parlor running since 1920s. They offer more than 20 flavors not only that, they also serves Sunday's, ice cream soda and fudge. The Presentation itself is mouth watering. So don't miss to try it. 

Gessert's ice cream & confectionery 

There is ample of options to select for lunch /dinner. They have Lake street cafe on the same lake street. Lake street cafe is famous for wood fired pizza and home made soups.

Lake street cafe

Across the lake street cafe you can see off the rail in red building. Off the rail offers specialty coffee and tea drinks as well as home made baked goods. 

Off the rail

If you follow gottfried street than you will find Gina's fine gifts and framing shop just next to off the rain restaurant. This shop carries an eclectic collection of wonderful things from bath & body products to home decor. It also includes apparel and toys as well. They offers custom framing with highest quality as well. I love the collection of these shop.

Gina's fine gifts & framing

Still we are taking walk and I saw brings orange leaves on tree. I was hopping to see and capture at least one tree with orange leaves. I don't know why but I love orange leaves. So I immediately walk there and trying to get the perfect snap. 

Orange leaves

So we decided to turn back from that place. My husband having fast. So he hasn't eaten anything and suddenly I saw the SainRx organic juice bar. Juice is the best drink to make you feel full. The lady who runs these juice bar is Dr. Grace Hameiter. She is very nice and friendly. We were looking at menu and checking ingredients because my husband can have fruit juice only no vegetables allowed in fast. So she suggested us to go to pick your own. So we decided to go for it. While she was making juice she share her experience and great moments. I love her picture wall as well. 

Sain Rx organic juice bar

The best thing of these juice bar is 100% organic corn free, GMO free, dairy free, gluten free and very low sugar juice. She also offers fresh organic produce,grab n go salads. Isn't it great? So even on vacation at Elkhart lake you can stay healthy. Not only that, but she also specializes in weight management and fitness programs and pain reduction. Besides all these she is the great human being. I was so pleased to meet her.

Dr. Grace suggested us to visit road America racing event and Vintage wine shop. Earlier, when we stop by at the visitor center I saw many people were carrying paper bags and I was wondering what they are buying? Than I come to know they have been to the vintage wine shop. It carries more than 250 wines around the world. They also carry local cheese, olive oils, chocolate, cigars and other stuff. Wine tasting is much more fun in Wisconsin. If you are living outside Wisconsin than must must try to attend wine tasting. 

Our last stop was road America racing Do you love racing?? So do I. In summer road America racing have lots of racing events. You can pre-purchase your tickets for it. They have different gates to enter so verify it so you don't have to roam around to find gate. Besides these racing event Village of Elkhart lake have historic race circuits. Fourteen historic markers are placed around these winding circuits to commemorate big names and big events that occurred here between 1950 and 1952.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Top 10 things to do when it's raining outside

Me and my husband are rain lovers. We moved to States before two and half year. We moved to Seattle so you can imagine you should love rain anyway. As we love rain we enjoyed staying in Seattle so much.  I know many people don't like to go outside during its raining and some like us loves to get wet. So I thought to share my experience of how to enjoy even if it's raining outside.

1. Long drive

Long drive is my all time favorite activity. I love that rain drops splashing on your windshield and trying to touch you. I feel Wet road, drive and playing soft music is best romantic moment anyone can thought on rainy day. Isn't it?

2. Enjoy Hot coffee at your patio

If the weather is cold than you might don't want to get wet but still want to enjoy rain, definitely you can. You can stand at you patio or balcony and watch rain drops falling on ground. I love watching rain drops and having hot coffee. As I stay in apartment there is big sliding window in our living room. So generally we take coffee and sit on couch so we can see beautiful views of rainfall.

3. Watch movie 

In our busy life sometimes you don't get time to watch movies and tv series. So in rainy day you can say back and enjoy your favorite movies which you were planning to watch since long time. 

4. Candle light dinner 

Personally I feel rain create very romantic atmosphere. So I really like to organize candle light dinner. Set up the table near big window or in patio. You can also do it in sun room from where you can see rainfall. Light up the candle and put it in the center. Cook meal which takes less time and spend more time together. You can cook soup and past,vehicles is very quick.

5. Gather family and play board games

Do you love board games? So do I. Playing board games is great activity specially with kids. You can also gather friends and play board games. You can play monopoly, The whole brain game, checkers etc.

6. Go out in rain and play

I really love playing football and basketball in rain. It's so much fun. Splashing water with your football nothing else can make you happier.

7. Enjoy spicy popcorn 

I love eating hot and spicy food in rainy weather, at the same time I feel lazy to cooking. So I generally pop up the corns in microwave or just fry the potato fries. To make it spicy I use flavored powder like jalapeños, chilly cheese, black pepper etc. so your spicy snack will be ready in few mins. Now I really feel carving for pop corn.

8. Go for indoor activities like bowling, pool, snooker

As you spend whole summer enjoying sun but in rainfall no options for outside activities much. So find out nearest bowling ale or game zone. You can practice indoor archery as well.

9. Bake some delicious recipes 

It's totally your choice what you want to bake? I love baking some dessert recipes as am found of sweet dishes. I love making sponge cake and brownies so much. But my husband loves cupcakes and cookies. There so many varieties where you can brush up your baking skills.

10. Photography 

I love doing photography anytime in any season. I love capturing moments. Even though I am out for long drive than also my photography is still on. You should too. You don't need to be perfect photographer, just grab your phone and capture it.

Rainy evening

Drive in rain

What you would like to do while its raining?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

Best things to do during fall in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is great place for viewing fall colors. But except fall colors there are many things to explore to make your fall memorable.

Train ride viewing fall colors

Usually people viewing fall foliage through road trips is very common. But Wisconsin's train ride is more fun and exciting to experience the stunning autumn. There are some train services which provides dinner as well. And kids will love it. As the leaves transform into brilliant hues of reds, oranges and gold, you will not miss a beat as you pair your trip in the vintage cars with the magnificent sights of the season. 

Train ride

There are five famous train rides in Wisconsin
  1. Lumber jack steam train at Laona 
  2. Mid-continental steam train at North Freedom 
  3. Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway at Osceola 
  4. Riverside & Great Northern Railway at Wisconsin Dells
  5. Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad Excursion train at Spooner 

Cheese factory tour

Wisconsin is dairyland, so how can your trip can be finished without cheese tasting? Cheese has been made here for more than 150 years. It is a craft, a tradition and a way of life. Cheese making was originally taught in Europe and emigrated with the pioneers who settled in Wisconsin. There are n number of varieties in cheese, which I haven't heard before.

I remember some of the names like bass lake cheese factory, cedar grove cheese, simon's speciality cheese. There are so many cheese factories so find your nearest.

Wisconsin Cheese

Explore wine trails and winery at Door county

Fall is best time to experience Wisconsin's beautiful wineries. So make your trip little bit foodie. The Door county wine trail include seven wineries throughout the Door Peninsula. As you taste your way though the wineries, take in the beauty of the season. Door County offers a gorgeous backdrop of fall color.

Wine trails

The Door County Distillery is a must-stop on the trail. Opened as an expansion to the most famous winery Door Peninsula. it's one of the hand-crafted distilleries in the state of Wisconsin and the first in the region to produce vodka and gin.

Pumpkin run ATV rally 

Iron county pumpkin run ATV rally is sponsored by the Mercer Area Chambers of Commerce. This rally gives chance to ride and explore the 250 miles of ATV trails throughout Iron County. These event also includes Friday night parade, weekend long poker run, great trails, food, games, prizes and more! Events take place in both Mercer and Hurley. You can ride Wisconsin's largest ATV trail system during the beautiful fall season. You can also get view of fall colors on trail. Event held on October and registration starts from mid September. 
Starting address :- Iron County Wisconsin ATV trails , 5150N Hwy 51, Mercer, WI 54547
End address :- Po Box 97, Hurley, WI 54534

ATV rally

Wisconsin fall color run

There are many counties who organize fall color run but Fontana sports is very famous. You can join these race for a 2, 4 or 8 Mile Run/Walk on the Ice Age Trail on the Gibraltar Segment in Lodi. Enjoy the fall colors seen along the bluffs on this run! They take around $10 from each registration.

They will not throw any powder colors as usual color run. These just old fashion run. You can also enjoy views of Lake Wisconsin and Devils lake from the top of the bluffs.

Fall color run

Canopy tour

In Wisconsin you will find many zip line tours. But to view fall colors I personally preference Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Dells and Door county zip line tours. All tours have different features like speedy ride, sky bridges and spiral staircase. It's all up to you how difficult you want to choose.

Canopy tour

Viewing fall colors through Hot air balloon 

Want to view fall colors from the top? We have option for you. Climb into the eight-passenger gondola basket for a relaxing hour long ride over the Wisconsin countryside. Dress warmly and be prepared to be flexible in scheduling; even seemingly calm days can produce strong winds higher in the sky that make rides unsafe.

Hot air balloon 

Enjoy a scenic sunset hot air balloon flight over the beautiful Green Lake County area with Wisconsin's Majestic balloons. You need to do pre book your tickets for these ride. Sunset flights are scheduled daily from mid-May through early September and also on most weekends year-round. 
Destination address will be Majestic Balloons, Ltd., Box 406, Ripon, Wisconsin 54971

View fall colors through Kayaking 

There are more than 15000 lakes in Wisconsin. These includes all small and large lakes. Some of them are very famous to view fall colors. Devil's lake state park, Lake Geneva, Oshkosh etc are some of the famous places to view fall colors throughout kayaking.