On December 12, 2012Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz answered the question:Every angler’s got his favorites, so what constitutes the best fishing spots in Northwoods Wisconsin is highly subjective. Luckily, Wisconsin, with its 15,000 lakes, ponds and streams, provides no shortage of options, and Northwoods Wisconsin is no exception. The Willow Flowage southeast of Minocqua is one of the best walleye lakes in the state. Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay is one of the only places in the world you can snag salmon and trout in the same spot as smallmouth bass and walleye. The Manitowish Chain is famous for Musky (as well as John Dillinger’s famous shootout with the FBI at Little Bohemia Lodge in Little Star Lake), as is Boulder Junction. Chippewa Flowage (you’d better pronounce it “CHIP-wuh” if you don’t want to stick out as a tourist) is Wisconsin’s third largest lake at 15,000 acres, with 200 miles of undeveloped shoreline and more than 100 islands; find Musky, walleye, crappie, smallmouth and largemouth bass, perch, panfish lurking there. Don’t forget that fishing in Wisconsin is year-round; grab a guide, find a warm shanty and drill a hole through the thick ice for fresh catch any season.
On December 12, 2012Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz answered the question:The penultimate Northwoods Wisconsin food experience is the fish fry, followed by a close second, the supper club — and the best supper clubs truly are experiences. A holdover from the post-prohibition era of the 1950s, Wisconsinites once flocked to supper clubs to drink, dine and dance. These days the emphasis is more on drinking and dining, though you might still catch the occasional live band. Sip a Brandy Old Fashioned and nibble on relish trays and cracker baskets until you’re good and hungry, then venture into the dining room for an iceberg lettuce wedge salad, bread baskets, a steak, chicken or fish dinner, and a dessert drink. Ask a local for the nearest supper club, although they might squint back at you in polite wonder; the supper club experience is so integral to Wisconsin culture that many locals don’t even realize how unique it is.
As for the Friday night fish fry, you can find it most everywhere, from church basements to roadside gas station cafes, hotels, supper clubs and fine dining establishments. Cod is the most common, but walleye, perch and bluegill are equally delicious in their own unique ways. It generally comes in a basket or as a full dinner alongside coleslaw, rye bread and french fries. If you’re the rare bird that doesn’t like fried food, don’t fret — most places let you order it baked or broiled, too.
Need a recommendation for where to start? Here are a few can’t miss dining spots for a classic Northwoods food experience:
1. Al-Gen Dinner Club, Rhinelander. There is nothing more Northwoods Wisconsin than a supper club, a 1950s tradition still preserved and cherished in almost every northern town. Marked by cocktails and relish trays, juicy prime rib and crispy pan-fried walleye, the supper club experience is so integral to Wisconsin culture that most locals don’t even realize how unique it is until they travel out of state. As soon as you roll into town, seek out a supper club —any supper club. The Al-Gen Dinner Club in Rhinelander is a superb start.
2. Blink Bonnie’s, St. Germain. Open only in the summertime and a consummate favorite for sizzling steak, Blink Bonnie’s fills up the minute it opens. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations and it’s not unusual to wait hours for a table, so locals simply tailgate outside while they wait.
3. Wolf Pack Cafe, St. Germain. Locals pour into Wolf Pack Cafe for the burst of berry pancakes — get there early or get on the waiting list. Customer service is terrific and the food is fast and delicious. Try the hash brown sandwich (opt for a half order, unless you’re a wolf) or the walleye breakfast, and don’t forget to pick up a commemorative mug or t-shirt on your way out.
4. Maggie’s, Bayfield. The bright pink exterior and kitschy, flamingo-strewn interior make Maggie’s a popular destination, but it’s the food that makes it a legend. Sautéed whitefish livers are a local delicacy, and the garlic polenta fries are delicious. Maggie’s offers 10 different USDA and angus burgers along with pizzas, steaks, stir fry and seafood.
On December 12, 2012Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz answered the question:The best way to see Northwoods Wisconsin in one day is to get out there and get lost; whether by foot, bicycle, ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, horseback or car, the Northwoods is at its finest when it’s slowly and deliciously experienced. Drive Highway 77, the 60-mile Great Divide National Scenic Highway through Chequamegon National Forest. Bike the Cable Area Mountain Bike Association system, among the best in North America, taking full advantage of the Birkebeiner trails off-season. Hike the forests of Nicolet National or Northern Highland State, or any one of dozens and dozens of county managed trails. Twice a year catch the Northwoods Open Art Tour, where you can drive from artist home to artist home, seeing up close and personal how the creative half works. For a quick dose of local culture with a dash of history, take in a show at Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, visit a supper club for fish fry, or find a lake and sit quietly at its shores. Don’t forget to turn off your cell phone — you probably won’t get service anyway.
On December 12, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:You won’t find a slew of mega-sized hotels in Northwoods Wisconsin, but that’s part of its charm. The area is a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, so here are the five best places to stay in Northwoods Wisconsin:
1. Canoe Bay Resort, Chetek. This secluded, romantic resort was designed “by a couple, for couples,” with each accommodation featuring a two-person whirlpool tub, stone fireplace, private deck, and one king-size bed. Breakfast and lunch are delivered to your room, and dinner is served in the lakeside dining room. Canoeing, hiking, swimming, kayaking and snowshoeing are featured on the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel’s three private onsite lakes.
2. Eagle Waters Resort, Eagle River. Tucked deep in the woods and ideal for families, this charming, nostalgic resort offers everything you need for an enjoyable stay, particularly in the winter season. There’s no need to leave the property, and each guest room is more like a spacious, well-appointed condo; book a 1,000-square foot unit with kitchen, living room, fireplace, washer/dryer, walk-in shower, and patio access to the outdoor pool and lake.
3. Old Rittenhouse Inn, Bayfield. This stellar bed and breakfast encompasses two Victorian homes and a private cottage overlooking pristine Lake Superior, with easy access to the stunning Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and Madeline Island. The top-notch restaurant is as renowned as the inn, featuring exquisite local, regional and organic cuisine.
On December 12, 2012Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz answered the question:Feel free to bring the kids in tow next time you book a trip to Northwoods Wisconsin. The area boasts plenty of family-friendly activities, and here we’ve rounded up the five best things to do:
1. Head to Sayner/St. Germain. The Corner Store in Sayner serves scoops of ice cream so generous the cones can barely contain them. Located at the trailhead of the Sayner/St. Germain bike trail, kids can cycle off the sugar rush before riding horses or go-carts at Elmer’s Fun Park, mingling with deer and llama at Weber’s Wildlife Bar and Animal Park, or catching a twice-weekly water ski show on Plum Lake.
2. Explore Minocqua Winter Park. A 6,500-acre winter playground, Winter Park makes Minocqua a year-round destination. Kids love the 600-foot snow-tubing slope, and adults love the handle-tow lift that pulls them all back up again. There’s also ice skating on Chip Wulff Memorial Pond, 45 miles of cross country ski trails and two dedicated snowshoe loops through ponds, swamps, rivers and islands.
3. Attend the American Birkebeiner. Located 20 miles north of Hayward in Cable, Wisconsin, the roughly 55-mile Birkie Trail system is best known for its signature event, the American Birkebeiner. Every February 10,000 cross-country skiers compete in the largest cross country ski marathon in North America, and scores more turn out to cheer them all on.
4. Go see a Fred Scheer’s lumberjack show. Located in Woodruff and Hayward and as seen on ESPN, world champion log rollers and lumberjacks compete and perform in this “Olympics of the forest.” At once funny and thrilling, the one-hour shows target kids with contests and comedy, and still manage to sneak in some education about Northern Wisconsin’s substantial logging history.
5. Make your way to the World Championship Snowmobile Derby. Eagle River is the Snowmobile Capitol of the World, with 600 snowmobile clubs and 500 miles of groomed trails. Every January 30,000 spectators flock to the Eagle River Derby racetrack to watch 1,400 contestants zoom, chase, jump and slice around the oval track, a sort of NASCAR on ice.
On December 12, 2012Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz answered the question:With its breathtaking scenery and endless list of outdoor activities, you’ll never run out of things to do in Northwoods Wisconsin. Here’s our list of the five best things to see and do:
1. Eat fish fry at a supper club. There’s nothing more Northwoods Wisconsin than fish fry, a Friday night religion. Supper clubs are an upper Midwest tradition but nearly every type of restaurant offers fish fry at least once a week; cod is most popular, but walleye, perch and bluegill are more flavorful. Don’t be afraid to wander into the most remote, rustic-looking fish fry joint — those are often the best.
2. Book a fishing guide. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or you’ve always wanted to give fishing a try, the Northwoods affords the perfect opportunity. Wisconsin boasts more than 15,000 lakes, a large number of them concentrated up north. Boulder Junction is the Musky Capital of the World and Northwoods waters are also rich with walleye, trout, bass, perch, panfish and salmon.
3. Hike a nature trail. The Northwoods is thick with trails for hikers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers and snowshoers, but a relaxed, serene nature hike is the best way to slow down and absorb the true Northwoods vibe. In Woodruff, tucked in the northeast quadrant of Wisconsin, Fallison Lake Nature Trail is 100-percent public land and pin-drop quiet, save for the loon calls. Trudge 2.5 miles through bogs and hemlocks, beaver dams and the 50-acre Fallison Lake formed by glaciers.
4. Visit Minocqua. With more than 3,200 lakes, ponds and streams, the Minocqua area offers one of the largest concentrations of fresh-water bodies in the world, making it a compelling destination for boaters, swimmers, skiers, tubers and anglers. The local tourism industry has responded with restaurants, bookstores and antiques — there’s great beer and food at Otto’s Beer & Brat Garden or Minocqua Brewing Company, and quaint shopping at this informal “capital” of the Northwoods.
5. Cruise the Apostle Islands. A harbor town perched near the northernmost tip of Wisconsin, Bayfield’s unique shops, galleries, apple orchards, and eateries offer a charming, cozy welcome to the dazzling Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Hop a ferry, island cruise or kayak to explore the ice and sea caves, sandstone cliffs, lighthouses, 12 miles of crashing shoreline and 22 rugged islands that render the Dairy State nearly unrecognizable.