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Windjammers Circus Concerts In Baraboo July 28 and 30

If you enjoy large bands performing or circus music, you’ll want to spend the last weekend of July 2016 with us at the Inn at Wawanissee Point bed and breakfast in Baraboo, Wis.

Reserve your guest room HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

The Windjammers Unlimited, a national, historical music society preserving traditional circus music, will hold its annual summer meet July 26–31, 2016 at Circus World Museum, the original Ringling Brothers Circus’ winter quarters along the Baraboo River, one of Wisconsin Historical Society’s 10 historic sites and a National Historic Landmark.

The society meets twice yearly, in Florida for its annual convention and in the summer at members’ locations around the country. This year more than 100 musicians from across the United States will gather at Circus World to play soul-stirring, classic circus-band music from the golden era of the American circus.

The Windjammers will hold three public concerts in Baraboo, 10 minutes from the Inn:

  • Thur., July 28: Baraboo’s Concerts On The Square, a weekly summer event, on the courthouse lawn in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Admission is free. Bring a chair or blanket. Rain site is the Al. Ringling Theatre across the street.
  • Sat., July 30: Two concerts at Circus World Museum, at 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in the Hippodrome. The concerts are included in your museum admission, $19.95 for the day. Parking is free.
Ringling Brothers Band

Ringling Brothers Band, courtesy of Windjammers Unlimited.

Circus World is open daily 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., June 20–Aug. 28, 2016. Daily enjoy the Big Top Show under the 85-foot European-style tent at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., including aerialist acts within 30 feet of your seat or closer, jugglers, clowns, hula-hoop artistry, gripping chair balancing, clever canines and the talented, enormous yet tender-touching elephants.

New at the circus this year is the Tiger Adventures show featuring majestic, royal Bengal tigers at 10:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. daily. And…

  • a 360-degree model of the inner workings of a circus
  • a recently restored, mechanical organ built in Paris in 1905
  • volunteers repairing the 1883 Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe float, built for the Barnum and London circus

Also take a guided tour of the world’s largest circus-wagon collection–more than 200 rolling masterpieces of wood-carved art in various states of restoration at 1:30 p.m., or 1:45 p.m. daily. See various demonstrations including unique circus instruments, and browse the original Ringling Bros. Circus buildings, collections of advertising posters and circus memorabilia, and new exhibits.

  • See the daily schedule here
  • Spend at least half a day, a full day to see it all.
  • Most attractions are in buildings or under a tent, enjoyable even if it’s raining.

The Cookhouse Grill offers sandwiches, cotton candy, ice cream and other circus treats. Shop two exclusive gift shops.

  • Get your hand stamped to leave the grounds for a picnic along the Baraboo River or lunch at one of the many cafes four blocks away in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District.

Learn more about the Windjammers, its formative connection with the Ringling Brothers’ and membership options at www.circusmusic.org.


Other Events July 29–31

July 26: Summer Speaker Series at Historic Indian Agency House At Fort Winnebago, Portage, 27 minutes from the Inn, 6:30 p.m., admission is free. Bob Birmingham, a former archaeologist, will discuss his book Life, Death and Archaeology at Fort Blue Mounds: A Settler Fortification of the Black Hawk War. This Federal-style house built in 1832 by the U.S. government is one of the oldest in the state and is outfitted with period furnishings when John Kinzie was an Indian Agent to the Ho-Chunk Nation (Winnebago). On 225 acres, open May 15–October 15, Wednesday–Sunday. Details at www.agencyhouse.org. Winnebago is the name neighboring American Indian tribes gave the Ho-Chunk.

July 27–31: 165TH Columbia County Fair, Portage. Grandstand events nightly at 7:00 p.m. Visit www.columbiacofair.com for details.

July 27: A Hike Back In Time at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Join the delightful retired 30-year Park naturalist, author and Baraboo Range geology expert Ken Lange for a 3.5-mile geology hike through the Park. After orientation hike onto the end moraine of the Wisconsin glacier, learn about rocks transported by the glacier, then to the top of the south end of the east bluff to see rocks transported by glaciers, potholes, Devil’s Doorway, an Indian marker tree, a 200-year-old red cedar, a quartzite glade and pygmy forest unique to Wisconsin. Some sections of the trail are steep. Wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water.

July 27: Hike Aldo Leopold Memorial Reserve, on Rustic Road 49, Baraboo, 20 minutes from the Inn, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Five like-minded neighboring landowners created the Reserve in 1967, allowing Leopold to implement his pioneering ecological restoration experiments. Hike with the Aldo Leopold Center’s stewardship staff as they discuss, Leopold’s legacy of land management, and the property’s uniqueness, history, plants and wildlife, including critical bird habitat. Admission is free. Details at www.aldoleopold.org.

July 27: Learn To Kayak at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Designed with fun in mind come learn basic strokes, how to get in and out of a kayak safely, and what to do if you capsize. Try your new skills. Be prepared to get wet. Bring your craft or rent one, only single kayaks allowed for this workshop, $25.00. Space is limited to 10 people and registration is required, see note above.

July 28: Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. A guided paddle of Devil’s Lake to explore for birds, fish, mammals, geology and history. Tour begins at the Park’s north shore Chateau boat launch. Space is limited and prior registration is encouraged, see note above. Kayak rental $25 single, $45 double.

July 28–29: Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower Peak. An average shower, up to 20 meteors per hour at peak. Annually July 12–Aug. 23. The second quarter moon will block most of the fainter meteors this year you should still see a quite few good ones. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight to early Friday morning.

  • Order a s’mores kit to enjoy by the fire on our prairie terrace.

July 29: Reedikulus Day Sidewalk Sales And Concert, downtown Reedsburg, 40 minutes from the Inn, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. An old tradition throughout the prettiest, historic downtown in Sauk County. Downtown sidewalk sales and craft fair, followed by live music in the bandstand, art and refreshments in City Park (see more below), two blocks north of Main St., 5:00 p.m.–9:00 pm. Details at the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce 608-524-2850 or reedsburg.org.

July 29: Reedikulus Art Crawl, downtown Reedsburg, 5:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. A Reedsburg ArtsLink initiative, a free walking tour featuring and meeting with local and national artists throughout the historic downtown. Complete a Passport at galleries and shops with exhibits to by making quick, simple art, then enter it to win a prize. Refreshments sold along the route. The Crawl ends at the beautiful, tree-filled City Park with a large-scale public art exhibit, music and food. Learn more at Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce 608-524-2850 or reedsburg.org.

July 30: Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. See July 28 details.

July 30: In The Light Of The Night Moonlight Paddle, Wonewoc, 55 minutes from the Inn, 8:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. A guided paddle down the Baraboo River by moonlight with added mood lights along the way to make it magical. Drizzling rain will not stop the trip; dress appropriately. Contact Beyond Boundaries at 608-464-7433 or goingfarbeyond.com for details and to reserve, space is limited. Canoes $45.00, kayaks $35.00.

July 31: Music In The Park at Devil’s Lake Sate Park, Baraboo, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. A free concert along the north shore sponsored by the Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park. If it rains the concert will be in the Chateau. Performing: Swing Crew, a fun, interactive, acoustic band playing classic rock, country, pop, swing, island beat and more, with jokes, stunts, toasts and audience participation.

Baraboo Circus Parade And Celebration July 23-24, 2016

Baraboo, Wis., and its Circus World Museum host the fourth-annual Baraboo’s Big Top Parade And Circus Celebration July 23–24, 2016 to commemorate the city’s circus heritage—132 years since the first Ringling Brothers Circus performance here and home of seven circuses. Baraboo’s Downtown Historic District including the courthouse square becomes a circus extravaganza filled with air calliope concerts, outdoor dance and aerial performances, interactive circus workshops, a classic car show, farmers and antique markets, and more.

  • The signature Big Top Parade at 2:00 p.m. July 23 with more than 75 units winding through the circus city for an hour is the celebration’s center ring.
  • A special Big Top Performance at Circus World follows the parade.

Book a guest room at the Inn at Wawanissee Point, 10 minutes from Baraboo.

Click here or call us at 608-355-9899.

This year’s celebration honors the Gollmar Bros. Circus, first cousins of the Ringlings. This circus began 125 years ago in Baraboo. The Gollmar Bros. Greatest of American Shows operated out of a winter-quarters complex on Baraboo’s Second Ave. from 1891 to 1916, and traveled the country for 25 years. Gollmar brothers Walter, Fred, Charles, Ben, and Jake were the show’s proprietors. They made lasting contributions to American circus history and figure prominently in Baraboo’s rich, circus heritage.

The 2016 Big Top Parade route follows the same streets the Gollmar Bros. Circus used for its hometown parade more than 100 years ago, which passed their parents’ home at Third Avenue and Birch Street. Descendants of the original Gollmar brothers will serve as the grand marshals.

Gollmar Bros Circus Parade, Baraboo, Wis., circa 1907

Gollmar Bros. Circus Parade, Baraboo, Wis., circa 1907

The parade features historic circus wagons, bands, live animals, clowns and circus-themed floats. This year it includes the gilded, 6,000-pound Gollmar Bros. Band Tableau, built in Baraboo in 1903, one of 14 antique circus wagons and vehicles to appear in the parade from Circus World’s unequaled and the world’s largest collection.

Gollmar-Mirror-Bandwagon

Gollmar Mirror Bandwagon

Saturday, July 23:

  • 7:30 am–1:00 pm: Baraboo Farmers’ Market, downtown historic square
  • 9:30 am-10:00 am: Air Calliope Concert, downtown historic square
  • 10:00 am–10:20 am: Wild Rumpus Circus Performance by Mazo Movement Arts Center, courthouse lawn
  • 10:30 am-11:00 am: Air Calliope Concert, downtown historic square
  • 10:30 am-1:00 pm: Interactive Circus Skills Workshops for children and youth by Mazo Movement Arts Center, courthouse lawn, courthouse lawn
  • New this year: 11:00 am-11:45 am: Cycropia Aerial Dance Performance, one of the oldest continuously operating aerial dance troupes in the United States, from Madison, Wis., downtown historic square at the corner of Third and Oak Streets.
    • Using single-point trapeze, bungee, lyra, aerial fabric and custom-steel apparatus, Cycropia combines modern dance, athleticism and the magic of defying gravity.
  • 12:00 pm-12:45 pm: Cycropia Aerial Dance Interactive Workshop for the public, details above
  • 12:45 pm-1:15 pm: Air Calliope Concert, downtown historic square
  • 2:00 pm–3:00 pm: Big Top Parade, downtown Baraboo, beginning at the corner of Broadway and Sixth Ave.
  • 4:00 pm: Special Big Top Circus Performance at Circus World Museum, 550 Water St., featuring Take A Walk On The Wild Side starring tigers, clowns, elephants, a singing ringmaster and more, admission $5.00.

Sunday, July 24:

  • 8:30 am–2:30 pm: Classic Car Show, downtown historic square, Broadway St. and Third Ave., hot rods, muscle cars and trucks, and classic and antique cars.
  • 10:00 am–1:00 pm: Kids Pedal Car Show, downtown historic square
  • 10:00 am–3:00 pm: Sunday Market, downtown historic square, antiques, vintage collectibles, art and crafts

Last year’s parade and celebration drew 25,000 people to this city along the Baraboo River. Plan your visit at www.bigtopparade.com including where to park and watch the parade.

Baraboo’s Circus History

In 1884, five Ringling brothers founded the Ringling Bros. Circus in Baraboo and made its winter quarters along the bank of the Baraboo River for 34 years, through 1918. The original location, which locals called Ringlingville, is now a National Historic Landmark and home to Circus World Museum. This living history museum, one of ten historic sites that the Wisconsin Historical Society operates, is open year-round. Learn more about Circus World Museum and its history at www.circusworldbaraboo.org.

Also headquartered in Baraboo were the John Robinson Circus, the Adam Forepaugh & Sells Bros. Enormous United Shows, the Hodgini Bros. Combined Railroad Shows, The Fun on the Farm Circus, and Wilbur W. Deppe’s Classic Country Circus.

More Events July 20–24

July 20: A Hike Back In Time at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Join the delightful retired 30-year Park naturalist, author and Baraboo Range geology expert Ken Lange for a 3.5-mile geology hike through the Park. After orientation hike onto the end moraine of the Wisconsin glacier, learn about rocks transported by the glacier, then to the top of the south end of the east bluff to see rocks transported by glaciers, potholes, Devil’s Doorway, an Indian marker tree, a 200-year-old red cedar, a quartzite glade and pygmy forest unique to Wisconsin. Some sections of the trail are steep. Wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water.

July 20: Learn To Kayak at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Designed with fun in mind come learn basic strokes, how to get in and out of a kayak safely, and what to do if you capsize. Try your new skills. Be prepared to get wet. Bring your craft or rent one, only single kayaks allowed for this workshop, $25.00. Space is limited to 10 people and registration is required, see note above.

July 20–23: International Edsel Club Rally Convention, Portage. Produced 1958–1960 and named after Henry Ford’s son, the Edsel is a vehicle with unique history. Edsel owners bring their beloved cars to this annual convention held in different cities each year. Various tours planned for the car owners around the city. Car Show awards on Saturday. More details forthcoming at here.

July 21: Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. A guided paddle of Devil’s Lake to explore for birds, fish, mammals, geology and history. Tour begins at the Park’s north shore Chateau boat launch. Space is limited and prior registration is encouraged, see note above. Kayak rental $25 single, $45 double.

July 22: Friday Night Fish Fry at Devil’s Lake State Park, 5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m., at the north shore Chateau by Baraboo’s Elite Catering, through Sept. 2. $11.50 per person for two pieces of fish, one piece of chicken and three side dishes. Dine under the oaks or inside if it’s raining. Purchase beverage and an ice cream cone for dessert from the from the Park’s North Shore Concessions.

July 23: Shakespeare In The Park: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 2:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Meet at the north shore’s outdoor amphitheater in the Northern Lights Campground. This theatre troop created a tight, 75-minute minimal production with mayhem, character switches and hilarity with a focus on actors per the style of Shakespeare’s time. Performance admission is free but you will need a state-park vehicle admission sticker.

July 23: Summer Nights: Songs That Celebrate Evening Hours Classical Benefit Concert at the River Arts Center Gallery, Prairie du Sac, 4:00 p.m. A soprano and pianist team to feature a mostly classically performance featuring Berlioz’s famous set of songs, Les nuits d’ ete, and other selections in English and French (program has translations). Ticket $15.00 and details at www.riverartsinc.org.

July 23: Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. See July 21 details.

July 23: Big Band Dance In The Park at Devil’s Lake Sate Park’s north shore Chateau, Baraboo, 7:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Dance to the big-band sounds of The Hal Edwards Orchestra in Wisconsin’s most romantic dance pavilion. Tickets: $10.00.

July 24: Sauk City History Crawl, beginning at Cameo Antique Mall’s back door, 827 Water St. in the Village of Sauk City’s parking lot, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., by the Sauk City Historic Preservation Committee and the Tripp Memorial Museum. Walk the heart of Sauk City’s Water Street in the state’s oldest incorporated village and listen to the walks talk. Sample locally brewed beers and foods. Discover places only the locals know in this Wisconsin waterfront town that’s been soaking in the scenery since 1854. Admission $15.00 and limited to 15 people. Register in advance with the Tripp Memorial Museum by calling 608-644-8444 or [email protected]. Learn more at www.saukcityhistory.org.

Summer Concerts At Wollersheim Winery

Wollersheim Winery & Distillery in Prairie du Sac, Wis., will host Concerts At The Cave Series, two summer-evening concerts in its wine garden with food, wine and cocktails, July 18 and Aug. 10, 2016. Relax and enjoy music amid the beauty of the hillside overlooking Wollersheim’s vineyards and its recently renovated, historic wine cave, built in 1847 by the winery’s founder, Hungarian nobleman Agoston Haraszthy.

Wollersheim Winery garden patio

Check-in begins at 5:00 p.m. and music at 5:30 p.m. Tickets include a complimentary glass of wine or a cocktail, and are available for $20.00 online at www.wollersheim.com.

Vintage Brewing Co.’s Woodshed Ale House in Sauk City, Wis., will sell specialty food items in the garden through the evening. Wollersheim will also provide a variety of artisan cheeses, cheese curds, sausage, crackers and pretzels. The Winery and Distillery stores will stay open until 8:00 p.m.

  • Monday, July 18: Gin, Chocolate & Bottle Rockets It’s a power-pop trio of veteran musicians from Madison, Wis., featuring tight, three-part harmonies, honest and gritty song writing, and riveting performances for a little sass and sweet, and a lot of fire. Find more about the group here.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 10: Lou Shields is a solo musician and artist from Chicago, Ill., who relocated to Wisconsin’s driftless region. His original music has a deep appreciation for Delta blues, country blues, folk, early country and beyond and may be best described as Americana and American-roots music. Learn more at www.loushieldsart.com

The concerts will move indoors if the weather doesn’t cooperate. There are a limited number of chairs and tables, so please bring a lawn chair or blanket.

Wollersheim Winery is a National Historic Site along the Wisconsin River where eagles soar overhead, overlooking the south flank of the renown Baraboo Range. In its 43rd year of production, it’s one of the oldest wineries in the country. Julie Wollersheim-Coquard and her husband, Philippe Coquard, a French-raised and Wisconsin award-winning winemaker, operate the winery, now with their children, continuing Julie’s parents’ endeavor.

In 2015 Wollersheim opened a new distillery to add spirits fermented from Wisconsin-grown grapes to its offering, including Garden Gate Gin and Dancehall Absinthe Blanche. In preparation, in 2012 Coquard began distilling brandy from estate-grown grapes with the winery’s original Portuguese copper-pot still, returning Wollersheim to its pre-Prohibition roots. These new developments were possible because of a 2009 change in Wisconsin law that allowed wineries to again have licenses for distilled spirits.

During the 1800s wineries used brandy to fortify wine for transport. Wollersheim Winery made wine and brandy since 1876, shipping its wine as far as Maine. The winery stopped making wine and brandy in 1919 due to the Prohibition. After the Prohibition’s repeal in 1933, Wisconsin allowed wineries to resume making wine only.

Wollersheim Winery & Distillery hosts its New Brandy Release June 17–18, 2016 when it will uncork its newest brandy, 1876 Press House Brandy, and Coquard Brandy Batch No. 4. Learn more about the celebration here.

  • Wollersheim is open daily year-round for tours, tasting and shopping: the winery 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and the distillery 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
  • The Inn at Wawanissee Point bed and breakfast is 20 minutes from Wollersheim Winery.

Book your guest room HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

Some Events Around July 18

For Devil’s Lake State Park events, call the Nature Center at 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions and to register.

July 15: Friday Night Fish Fry at Devil’s Lake State Park, 5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m., at the north shore Chateau by Baraboo’s Elite Catering. $11.50 per person for two pieces of fish, one piece of chicken and three side dishes. Dine under the oaks or inside if it’s raining. Purchase beverages and an ice cream cone for dessert from the from the park’s North Shore Concessions.

July 15: Downtown Portage Beer Walk, 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Explore this historic Main Street while sampling various beers. For more information visit the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce.

July 15–16: Learn The Early Wisconsin Fur Trade at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m. p.m.–5:00 p.m. Join the people from the Fox of the River Voyageur Canoe for a hands-on experience in history and the camaraderie of the fur-trade era with its colorful participants, the Voyageurs. Step back in time with guides Jean Paul Pauquette and Jacques Largillier and play a role paddling a Voyageur canoe. Meet at the north shore’s boat launch, five minutes west of the Inn.

July 16: Build A Burger Train at Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, 23 minutes west of the Inn. In addition to the regularly scheduled daytime coach trains, enjoy two Burger Trains: the same fantastic ride with snacks followed by a grilled burger delivered to your table that you build into a masterpiece with the toppings of your choice, two side dishes, dessert and your choice of beer, wine or soda, at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Reservations are required for the burger train, tickets $35.00 for one burger, $40.00 for two burgers. Reserve and learn more at www.midcontinent.org. Museum grounds open 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

July 16: Margarita & Taco Train at Mid-Continent Railway Museum. At 5:15 p.m. a coach train with salsa, chips, ice-cold margaritas (nonalcoholic, too), tacos served family-style with toppings of your choice, dessert and your choice of beer, wine or soda. Reservations are required for this dinner train, tickets $40.00. Reserve and learn more at www.midcontinent.org. See additional Museum details above.

July 16: Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. A guided paddle of Devil’s Lake to explore for birds, fish, mammals, geology and history. Tour begins at the Park’s north shore Chateau boat launch, five minutes west of the Inn. Space is limited and prior registration is encouraged, see note above. Kayak rental $25 single, $45 double.

July 16: Witwen Concert At The Campground, 25 minutes southwest of the Inn, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Harmonious Wall performs, a local jazz trio with intoxicating vocals and enticing arrangements that push the boundaries of Gypsy swing with a mandolin, guitar, female vocals and drums. Learn more about the band at wail.com. Grounds open at 4:00 p.m., food for sale at 4:30 p.m. and you are welcome to bring a picnic supper. Bring lawn chairs. If raining the concert is held in the tabernacle on the grounds. More at www.witwenpc.com.

July 16: Universe In The Park, Mirror Lake Sate Park, Lake Delton, 8:45 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Explore the night sky with University of Wisconsin-Madison astronomers. Slideshow presentation, discussion, question-and-answer session and a large telescope for viewing the night sky. Meet at the beach shelter. Call 608-254-2333 or e-mail [email protected] with questions. Learn about the park here.

July 19: Night Paddle at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 8:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. By Buck Full Moon’s light and glow sticks illuminating our crafts, we’ll explore the lake. Paddle begins at the park’s north shore boat launch, five minutes west of the Inn. Bring your kayak, canoe or boat, and register with the Nature Center to ensure there are enough glow sticks available, see note above.

July 20: A Hike Back In Time With Ken Lange at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Meet at the Steinke Basin parking lot, five minutes west of the Inn. Join the delightful retired 30-year Park naturalist, author and Baraboo Range geology expert Ken Lange for a 3.5-mile geology hike through the Park. After orientation hike onto the end moraine of the Wisconsin glacier and talk about rocks transported by the glacier, then to the top of the south end of the east bluff to see rocks transported by glaciers, potholes, Devil’s Doorway, an Indian marker tree, a 200-year-old red cedar, a quartzite glade and pygmy forest unique to Wisconsin. Some sections of the trail are steep. Wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water.

July 20: Learn To Kayak at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Designed with fun in mind come learn basic strokes, how to get in and out of a kayak safely, and what to do if you capsize. Try your new skills. Be prepared to get wet. Bring your craft or rent one, only single kayaks allowed for this workshop, $25.00. Space is limited to 10 people and registration is required, see note above.

July 20–23: International Edsel Club Rally Convention at the Best Western Resort & Conference Center, Portage. Produced 1958–1960 and named after Henry Ford’s son, the Edsel is a vehicle with unique history. Edsel owners bring their beloved cars to this annual convention held in different cities each year. Various tours planned for the car owners around the city. Car Show awards on Saturday. More details will be forthcoming here.

Some Events Around Aug. 10

Aug. 6: Cyantotype Demonstrations at the H. H. Bennett Studio, downtown Wisconsin Dells, 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Learn about this photographic process that prints photos using the sun’s power. Studio open daily April 30–Oct. 30, 2016, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., with extended hours mid June through mid August. Visit hhbennettstudio.wisconsinhistory.org

Aug. 6: Explore The Night Sky at Devil’s Lake Sate Park, Baraboo, 7:00 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Meet at the north shore boat launch parking lot, behind Rock Elm Shelter, five minutes west of the Inn. Join the Madison Astronomy Society to learn about the night sky. Telescopes will be available to view the moon and winter constellations. Informal program, come anytime.

Aug. 10: A Hike Back In Time With Ken Lange at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. See details above in July 20 description.

Aug. 11: Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. See details above in July 16 description.

Aug. 11–12: Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks…snuggle by the fire with a s’mores kit on the Inn’s secluded prairie terrace. The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak, even 90. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. The shower runs annually from July 17 to August 24. The waxing gibbous moon will set shortly before midnight leaving fairy dark skies for an excellent early morning show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

Aug. 12: Friday Night Fish Fry at Devil’s Lake State Park, 5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m. See details above in July 15 description.

Aug. 12–13: Heroes For Honor Badger Honor Flight Fund-raiser, Westwynde Park, Prairie du Sac, Softball and bean-bag tournaments, dodge ball, tractor and H.O.G. poker run, raffles, wagon rides, large craft fair, music by four local bands (polka, country, 1950s–60s and blue grass) with a large dance floor, food and beverage stands though no alcohol but you may bring yours, and fireworks at dusk. Saturday morning breakfast in the park and veterans eat free. Details here.

Aug. 13: 32nd Annual Susie The Duck Days, Lodi, Wis., 12:00 p.m. Begins with the Lodi Rotary Parade followed by the Duck Derby, launching 3,000 rubber ducks into Spring Creek to begin their journey traversing waterfalls and rapids to the finish line. Festivities continue at Lodi’s Habbermann Park with the Taste of Lodi-Lake Wisconsin, an assortment of tasty treats, live music and a beer garden. Admission is free. Learn more here.

Aug. 13: 50TH Anniversary Celebration of Mirror Lake State Park, Lake Delton, 25 minutes north of the Inn, 10:00 a.m.–8:30 p.m. In the outdoor amphitheatre 10:00 a.m. Swing Crew, an interactive acoustic band performs; 10:30 a.m. guest speakers; 11:30 a.m. unveil the landmark rock; 1:30 p.m. Ho-Chunk dancers and singers perform; and 7:00 p.m. Patchouli performs, a folk group with pure, haunting lead vocals and beautiful harmonies, whose sound, depth and virtuosity is described as “Simon and Garfunkel meets the Gipsy Kings”. A state-park vehicle admission sticker for the day is required, but the events are free. Donations are welcome. Make it day: hike, bike and paddle this 2,200-acre park, rentals available, then have supper at Ishnala Supper Club, a historic, traditional Wisconsin supper club nestled in the woods on a rock ledge overlooking the lake. Or enjoy supper in Reedsburg, 18 minutes west, at one of many restaurants along one of the prettiest, historic downtown Main Streets in the county including the state’s smallest microbrewery, Corner Pub Brewery. Call 608-254-2333 or e-mail [email protected] with questions. More details here.

Aug. 13: Big Band Dance In The Park at Devil’s Lake Sate Park’s north shore Chateau, Baraboo, 7:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Dance to the big-band sounds of The Hal Edwards Orchestra in Wisconsin’s most romantic dance pavilion. Tickets: $10.00.

Aug. 14: Shakespeare In The Park at Mirror Lake State Park, Lake Delton, 25 minutes north of the Inn, 7:00 p.m. In the outdoor amphitheatre: This traveling, seven-member theatre troop created a short workshop for children and adults followed by a tight, 75-minute minimal production with mayhem, character switches and hilarity with a focus on actors per the style of Shakespeare’s time. It is committed to presenting short, accessible, classical theatre in Wisconsin’s state parks. A state-park vehicle admission sticker for the day is required, but the event is free. See park details above.

Friday Night Fish Fries At Devil’s Lake State Park Begin June 10

Friday night fish fry at Devil’s Lake State Park, in Baraboo, Wis., resumes June 10, 2016 and continues until Labor Day. From 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. enjoy a hearty supper under the towering oaks along Devil’s Lake’s north shore, or indoors in the historic Chateau if it’s raining.

Elite Catering of Baraboo will again offer two pieces of fish, one piece of chicken and three side dishes for $11.50. Purchase a beverage from the Park’s North Shore Concessions, and an ice cream cone for dessert!

Afterward explore the Park…

A Lawn Chair Bat Watch occurs each Friday night during the summer beginning May 27, 2016 at 8:15 p.m. Meet near the north shore boat launch by the bat condo to watch bats emerge from their houses. The white-nose syndrome is spreading in Wisconsin and depleting the bat population. Come see and learn about these interesting and now threatened mammals before you can’t. The start time begins progressively earlier through the summer. Visit www.devilslakewisconsin.com for the current times and updates about Park events.

Paddle the peaceful lake with a kayak or canoe that you can rent from the North Shore Concessions at the Chateau, or at the south shore’s concession stand. Kayaks are $25 for a single or $45 double. Reserve a craft or ask a question by contacting the Nature Center at 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or [email protected].

Watch the sun set from the East Bluff Trail from atop the 500-foot quartzite cliff. Access this trail from either the north or south shore. Pick up a trail map in the north shore’s Nature Center or download it here. Take a flashlight to descend through the wooded sections at dusk.

  • You’ll need a state park vehicle admission sticker. Purchase a day or annual pass as you enter either shore of Devil’s Lake State Park or online here.

Then order a s’mores kit and enjoy the fireflies dancing in the prairie as you snuggle by the campfire on the secluded terrace at our Inn at Wawanissee Point bed and breakfast, five minutes west of the Park.

Book a guest room before they’re gone. Summer weekends fill early.

  • Click HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.
  • If you don’t see your desired date available, call us. Sometimes we have last-minute cancellations.

Baraboo Hills Guided Hikes This Summer

Letting yourself drift into the rhythm, scents, sounds and views as you hike at your leisure the miles of wooded and prairie trails in the Baraboo Bluffs around the Inn at Wawanissee Point bed and breakfast is stress relieving, nourishing and uplifting. And fun!

But sometimes you wonder about these natural landscapes, wishing you knew more. Visit the Inn in Baraboo, Wis., this summer to attend two kinds of free, guided hikes to learn about the Baraboo Range’s unique features.

Baraboo Hills guided hikes

Baraboo Range Lower Narrows looking southwest. Photo courtesy of the Baraboo Range Preservation Association.

A Hike Back In Time with Ken Lange at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo is a new hike offered weekly this summer and fall. Lange served as the Park’s naturalist for 30 years. He has written numerous books about the ecology and geology of the Baraboo Range, publishing his newest book, Song Of Place: A Natural History Of The Baraboo Hills, in 2015. It is a treat to learn from Lange’s extensive knowledge of and passion for this area’s natural wonders.

This 3.5-mile geology hike through the Park begins with an orientation at Steinke Basin, then crosses the road onto the end moraine of the Wisconsin glacier to talk about rocks transported by the glacier. Follow the trail onto the top of the south end of the east bluff to see rocks transported by glaciers, potholes, Devil’s Doorway, an Indian marker tree, a 200-year-old red cedar, a quartzite glade and pygmy forest unique to Wisconsin. Some sections of the trail are steep. Wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water.

Hike dates:

  • May 14, 21 & 28, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • June 4, 11, 18, 22 & 29, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • July 6, 13, 20 & 27, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 3, 1:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 10, 17 & 24, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
  • Oct. 1, 8 & 22, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

Before the hike purchase a state-park vehicle admission sticker online here or at the Park’s north-shore entrance just beyond Steinke Basin. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

Check the Devil’s Lake State Park Visitor Guide at www.devilslakewisconsin.com to learn about other events at Devil’s Lake State Park and tips to explore Wisconsin’s largest state park.

Reserve a room at the only bed and breakfast five minutes from Devil’s Lake State Park.

Summer weekends fill fast!

Click HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

Aldo Leopold Memorial Reserve stewardship hikes start at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center 20 minutes northeast of the Inn on Levee Road, which is Rustic Road 49. During this two-hour, summer evening hike the Center’s land stewardship staff highlight the property’s uniqueness and discuss its history, plants and wildlife, and what it means to continue Aldo Leopold’s legacy of land management. You’ll explore part of the Leopold family’s 150-acre farm and learn about the Reserve, a 1,500-acre buffer around the farm and the Leopold Shack established in 1967 by five like-minded neighboring landowners, which allowed Leopold to implement his pioneering ecological restoration experiments.

The oak savanna, wetlands and a dry prairie remnant overlook the Wisconsin River, offering critical habitat for grassland birds and sandhill crane staging during migration. The Reserve is part of the 16,000-acre Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area, a large conservation project cooperatively managed by public, private and nonprofit entities that embodies Leopold’s conservation and land-management principles. “Conservation is a slow and laborious unfolding of a new relationship between people and land,” Leopold wrote.

  • Hike dates: May 25, June 29, July 27 and Aug. 31, 2016, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
  • Learn more at aldoleopold.org.

Spend the afternoon exploring the art and exhibits in the Aldo Leopold Center and visit Leopold’s Shack, a National Historic Place. Then have dinner in Portage or Baraboo before the hike.

Learn about taking field notes during a Brown Bag Lunch, Finding A Story In Field Notes, at the Aldo Leopold Center on June 17, 2016, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. Making notes while hiking improves our observation skills and makes us better naturalists. Doreen Pfost, a Wisconsin writer and communications consultant, and author of the just released This River Beneath The Sky: A Year On The Platte, shares tools and techniques for taking field notes and how to organize them. She’ll read briefly from her book, and show how field notes can become part of a published work. Her new book is an essay series of field notes, and natural and human history about Nebraska’s Platte River, a rest stop for thousands of sandhill cranes during spring migration. Admission is free. Learn more about Pfost at doreenpfost.com.

Big Band Dances At Devil’s Lake Begin June 11

Six Saturday evenings this summer 1940s big-band music will enliven the historic Chateau at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wis., when the Hal Edwards Orchestra returns for its 30th consecutive year of performing beside the lake at sundown.

The Wisconsin Dells High School Jazz Band will play with this local-favorite orchestra that has performed in the region since 1942.

Let the music move you around the dance floor in what is considered Wisconsin’s most romantic dance pavilion, which has hosted bands since 1925. Twirl or tap your toes while watching, either way you’ll leave refreshed and uplifted.

Hal Edwards Orchestra Devil's Lake State Park

Save these dates to kick up your heels from 7:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.:

  • June 11 and 18
  • July 9 and 23
  • 13 and 27

Admission is $10.00, plus you’ll need to purchase a state-park vehicle admission sticker online here or at the Park’s north-shore entrance.

These magical summer nights are a favorite of guests of the Inn at Wawanissee Point, the only bed and breakfast adjacent Devil’s Lake State Park, five minutes east.

Reserve a guest room EARLY. Summer weekends fill fast!

Click HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

To learn more about the Chateau’s history and an earlier pavilion, along with resort accommodations and mining infrastructure that sprouted along the lake in the 1800s, visit the Nature Center where you’ll find a robust historic photograph collection with notations. You’ll also find geology, nature and wildlife exhibits. The Center is at the Park’s north shore and is open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

More Music In The Park

Music floats across Devil’s Lake three other evenings this summer during free concerts sponsored by the Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park. Find these bands along the Park’s north shore:

  • June 26, 6:00 p.m.: Marc LaMere, a variety of music from pop, soul, funk and the blues.
  • July 31, 6:00 p.m.: Swing Crew, a fun, interactive, acoustic band playing classic rock, country, pop, swing, island beat and more, with jokes, stunts, toasts and audience participation.
  • Aug. 28, 5:00 p.m.: The Mad City Radiators, a five-piece band with high-energy, family-friendly music from rock to folk to country.

Check the Devil’s Lake State Park Visitor Guide at www.devilslakewisconsin.com for more details, and to learn about other events at Devil’s Lake State Park and tips to enjoy exploring the largest state park in Wisconsin.

Guided Kayaking And Hiking

See an earlier article in this blog about kayak lessons, guided paddles of the lake and a guided geology hike that repeat through the summer. Find the dates at www.devilslakewisconsin.com.

Indian Ceremonial Resumes June 3 In Wisconsin Dells

The Ho-Chunk Nation’s native dance performance the Wasira Show, pronounced Wa-she-rda, the Ho-Chunk word for dance, returns this summer beginning June 3, 2016 at its Ho-Chunk Gaming facility between Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells, Wis., in the hotel’s award-winning atrium. It’s the Nation’s renowned Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial, renamed the Wasira Show, which the tribe resumed in 2015 after an 18-year absence.

Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial

From 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday evenings through Sept. 3, 2016, the public can see this rich, cultural ceremony. There is no admission.

Drummers, singers and dancers entertain with the beauty and pageantry of traditional and modern regalia. You’ll learn about the Ho-Chunk people’s culture and heritage, through their deep respect for Mother Earth reflected in their songs and dances. Elliott Funmaker Sr., the show’s coordinator and master of ceremonies, will describe the regalia and explain the cultural history. This is the only American Indian show in central Wisconsin.

The Ceremonial includes a grand entry, military song, men’s and women’s dances, grass dancers, the Fancy Dance and the ever-winding Snake Dance. A two-step show where dancers invite partners from audience concludes the event.

The Ho-Chunk Nation, once known as the Winnebago people by its neighboring Sauk and Fox tribes, began its Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial in 1919 at the tribe’s traditional gathering place Stand Rock in Wisconsin Dells to address tourists’ curiosity, who were coming to the area in part due to H. H. Bennett’s remarkable landscape photography that promoted the area’s natural beauty. For 78 years until 1997 the public observed highlights of dances from the Ho-Chunk, Sioux, Kiowa and southwestern American Indian tribes. Read more about the Ceremonial’s history here and in this article by the School For Advanced Research.

Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wisconsin Dells executive manager James Webster said the Nation decided to host the cultural dance again to address the public’s renewed and growing interest in American Indian culture and to transfer its culture from its elders to the younger tribe members.

The Ho-Chunk Gaming-Wisconsin Dells facility on County Rd. BD just north of Baraboo is 20 minutes from the Inn at Wawanissee Point bed and breakfast, named Wawanissee by the Ho-Chunk for its natural beauty. Learn more about Wasira Show at www.ho-chunkgaming.com/wisconsindells or calling 1-800-746-2486.

Click HERE to reserve your summer getaway guest room or call us at 608-355-9899.

Early June Events Around Wawanissee Point In Baraboo

The first two weekends of June offer many events to enjoy summer outdoors and creative talents of all kinds around our Inn at Wawanissee Point Baraboo bed-and-breakfast. Within 50 minutes of here June 1–12, 2016 you’ll find fun in Spring Green, Sauk Prairie, Portage, Columbus, Wisconsin Dells, North Freedom and Baraboo, Wis.

Summer weekends fill quickly so book your guest room early HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

Outdoor concerts, guided kayak and hiking tours at Devil’s Lake State Park, Taste of Wisconsin Dells, Sauk Prairie’s Garden Thyme Bus Tour, Portage’s Art That Blooms exhibition and Canal Days, and history events at the Pioneer Log Village Museum in Reedsburg and the H. H. Bennett Studio in Wisconsin Dells.

Planet And Stargazing

Two planets will be in their best position in the sky for viewing the first weekend in June.

June 3: Saturn at Opposition. The ringed planet will be closest to earth and the sun will fully illuminate its face, the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger telescope (5”–8”) will allow you to see Saturn’s rings and a few of its brightest moons. You may even notice that its rings look brighter than usual thanks to a phenomenon known as the Seeliger Effect. Saturn’s rings will be visible in even small aperture telescopes. Learn more here.

June 5: Mercury reaches its greatest western elongation of 24.2 degrees from the sun, its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise. The Tepee guest room’s private desk is a perfect spot to see Mercury and dawn unfolding over the Lake Wisconsin valley.

Inn W Tepee Room View

Sun sets, stargazing and emerging dawn from your private deck off of our Tepee guest room.

  • View the sparkling night sky by the campfire in our secluded prairie terrace as you snuggle with your sweetie. We have s’more’s kits!

Events Around Baraboo In Early June

June 1 and 8: Concerts At The Portage, Portage VFW Hall, Portage, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m., Wednesday nights. Bring chairs or blankets, and a picnic supper if you wish. Desserts for sale by local nonprofit groups. Performing June 1: Portage High School Jazz Band, June: 8 Portage Middle and High School Choir. If it rains the concert will be moved into the Hall. For more information visit www.travelcolumbiacounty.net

June 1 and 8: Learn To Kayak at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Designed with fun in mind come learn basic strokes, how to get in and out of a kayak safely, and what to do if you capsize. Try your new skills. Be prepared to get wet. Bring your craft or rent one, only single kayaks allowed for this workshop, $25.00. Space is limited to 10 people and registration is required.

June 2 and 9: Baraboo’s Concerts On The Square, Courthouse lawn in downtown Baraboo, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m., Thursday nights through Aug. 25, 2016. Learn more at www.facebook.com/barabooconcertsonthesquare

June 2, 4, 9 and 11: Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. A guided paddle of Devil’s Lake to explore for birds, fish, mammals, geology and history. Tour begins at the Park’s north shore Chateau boat launch, five minutes west of the Inn. Space is limited and prior registration is encouraged.

June 3: American Players Theatre opens for the season, June 3–Nov. 20, 2016. Professional theatre in a natural, outdoor amphitheatre in 110 acres of woods and meadows amid Wisconsin’s driftless region, with picnicking before the shows encouraged. From the Inn at Wawanissee Point, enjoy a beautiful, 50-minute (38-mile) drive along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway, Scenic Byway 60. Tickets for new patrons go on sale April 11, 2016. Buy now! americanplayers.org

June 3: Annual Art That Blooms Opening Reception And Poetry Reading at the Portage Center For The Arts and Drury Gallery, Portage, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. The Drury Gallery will be transformed into a fantasy land for flower lovers with exhibits featuring an array of new, original art by area artists paired with fresh floral arrangements and poems created by area floral artists and writers inspired by this artwork. Admission is free. Opening reception June 3 includes a poetry reading. The exhibit will be open June 3–11, 2016 during Gallery hours Wednesday–Friday 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Details at www.portagecenterforthearts.com

June 3 and 10: Lawn Chair Bat Watch at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 8:30 p.m. Meet near the north shore boat launch by the bat condo, five minutes west of the Inn, to watch bats emerge from their houses and learn fun information about bats. Bring a chair.

June 4: 2016 Garden Thyme Bus Tour by River Arts Inc., 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Departs from the River Arts On Water Gallery in downtown Prairie du Sac, in a coach bus touring four different types of gardens in the rural area surrounding Sauk Prairie and a bakery on a dairy-and-wheat farm. Along the tour learn about 18 barn quilts and this unique agri-tourism program to place large-scale quilt squares on barns. Afterward choose sun, shade and succulent plants for your garden during the plant sale at the Gallery from 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.; proceeds benefit the River Arts Inc. programming. Tickets $30.00 available here along with more details www.riverartsinc.org. Call 608-643-5215 with questions.

June 4 and 11: A Hike Back In Time With Ken Lange at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Meet at the Steinke Basin parking lot, five minutes west of the Inn. Join the delightful retired 30-year Park naturalist, author and Baraboo Range geology expert Ken Lange for a 3.5-mile geology hike through the Park. After orientation you’ll hike across the road onto the end moraine of the Wisconsin glacier and talk about rocks transported by the glacier. Follow the trail onto the top of the south end of the east bluff where you’ll see rocks transported by glaciers, potholes, Devil’s Doorway, an Indian marker tree, a 200-year-old red cedar, a quartzite glade and pygmy forest unique to Wisconsin. Some sections of the trail are steep. Wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water.

June 4: Downtown Portage Walking Tour, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. A guided tour to learn the downtown’s history, beginning at the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce office in downtown Portage. For more information call 608-742-6242 and visit www.portagewi.com.

June 4–5: Civil War Life On The Home Front at the Pioneer Log Village Museum, Reedsburg, 35 minutes from the Inn. Hosted by the Reedsburg Area Historical Society. Stroll through history on the grounds with restored log cabins, a general store, one-room school, church and three museum buildings along with gardens. See Civil War-era demonstrations, fashion show, cannon fire and Regimental Volunteer Band of Wisconsin performing. Concessions on the grounds. Admission $5.00. Call 608-495-3499 with questions. www.facebook.com/PioneerLogVillage

June 5: Early Morning Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m. A special time of day to glide through the lake. A guided paddle of Devil’s Lake to explore for birds, fish, mammals, geology and history. Tour begins at the Park’s north shore Chateau boat launch, five minutes west of the Inn. Space is limited and prior registration is encouraged.

June 6: Mid-Continent Railway Museum opens for its 54th daily season, North Freedom, 25 minutes from the Inn, June 6–Aug. 28, 2016. Train rides commence at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily regardless of weather. Enjoy a 55-minute ride through the Baraboo Bluffs and browse indoor and outdoor restored, vintage railway equipment displays. Museum grounds open 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Learn more at www.midcontinent.org.

June 7: Sauk Prairie Riverway concerts in the park, Meyer Oak Grove Park, Sauk City, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Food is available from nonprofit stands. Performing tonight: 5th Gear, a rocking country band that is Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison 2016 winner.

June 10: Sam Ness House Concert at the River Arts On Water Gallery, Prairie du Sac, 7:00 p.m. A Sauk-Prairie native who has performed here during several Rising Stars concerts, join us as Ness shares music, stories and learning from his nine-month Freedom Tour across Europe. Hear how his travels affected his music and how his music affected his travels. No advance ticket sales for these casual, intimate house concerts, but donations are appreciated to benefit River Arts Inc. programming. Learn more at www.riverartsinc.org.

June 10–11: Taste of Wisconsin Dells, downtown Wisconsin Dells. Friday 4:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. Fish boil Friday night with live entertainment. Saturday: samples from more than 20 area restaurants serving ethnic and American cuisine, arts and craft show, antique tractor show, corvette display and parade, book sale and Bowman House open. Both days beer tent with Wisconsin microbrews Admission is free. See the schedule of events at www.tasteofthedells.com.

June 10–11: Anniversary Weekend at H. H. Bennett Studio, downtown Wisconsin Dells, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Celebrate nineteenth-century photographic technology with special events and demonstrations. Bennett opened a photography studio in 1865 after returning from the Civil War. His iconic photography of the Dells of the Wisconsin River gave Kilbourn City, now Wisconsin Dells, its reputation as a premiere vacation destination attracting tourists here by the trainload to marvel at the rugged beauty. In 1875 he opened this, his second studio, which family operated until donating it to the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1998, which continues as the oldest business in Wisconsin Dells and longest continuously operating photography studio in the United States. Tour this inventive photojournalist’s second studio restored to its 1908 appearance and adjacent museum to see his original work, equipment and inventions from his prolific career including 3-D panoramas he captured with stereographic cameras he built. Daily season is April 30–Oct. 30, 2016, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., with extended hours mid June through mid August. Call 608-253-3523 for details and visit hhbennettstudio.wisconsinhistory.org

June 10–11: Columbus Horse & Carriage Festival, Fireman’s Park, Columbus. One of the largest horse and carriage pleasure driving shows in the country recognized by the American Driving Society. Enjoy a variety of turnouts from miniature horses to drafts, elegant antique and sleek modern carriages, a parade, and sumptuous burgers and tempting treats for sale. For more information visit columbuscarriagefestival.org Enjoy a ride on the Merrimac Ferry across Lake Wisconsin on your way to Columbus, about a 50-minute drive from the Inn.

June 11: Portage Canal Day Festival at the Market Square and Canal. Downtown parade at 10:00 am. Live music, food, canoe rides, downtown walking tour and more to be announced at a later date. Pre 1840 historic encampment, canal tours, tours of the Indian Agency House and Fort Winnebago Surgeon’s Quarters, historic, bartenders’ and waiters’ race, canoe rides and race, live music and food. Call Tricia at 608-566-5730 or visit www.facebook.com/downtownportageinc for details.

June 11: Flag Day Luncheon at Historic Indian Agency House At Fort Winnebago’s Seasonal Opening Celebration, Portage, Special programming to be announced. This Federal-style house built in 1832 by the U. S. government is one of the oldest in the state and is outfitted with period furnishings when John Kinzie was an Indian Agent to the Ho-Chunk Nation (Winnebago). Open May 15–October 15, Wednesday–Sunday 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. 225-acre property with a 1.3-mile interpretive nature trail, gardens, picnic area, Visitor’s Center with a museum and gift shop plus the historic house. Borrow a self-guided tour booklet to learn about the site’s human and natural history. Admission is $7.50, free for active-duty military and veterans, and includes a docent-guided tour of the house and museum, lasting about 45 minutes. It’s 27 minutes northeast of the Inn off at the end of Rustic Road 69, along the historic Portage Canal bordered on one side by wetland habitat. Across the road is a trailhead to the Ice Age Trail’s Portage segment, flat, easy hiking and bird watching in the woods and along the canal. Learn more at www.agencyhouse.org.

June 11: Portage Flea Markets at Veteran’s Memorial Field, Portage, featuring crafts, produce, antiques, collectibles and more. For more information contact the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce at 608-742-6242 and visit www.portagewi.com.

June 11–12: Archery Day at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 12:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Drop in any time to try using a bow and arrow for target practice with certified instructors. All experience levels and ages welcome.

June 11: Second-annual Duck Calling Contest And Brat Fry at Flyways Waterfowl Museum, adjacent Devil’s Lake State Park’s north shore entrance. In the Museum’s front lawn, a family-friendly duck-calling contest with prizes for the top three winners in the youth, women and open competitions. Spectators may enjoy for free. More at duckmuseum.com.

June 11: The Lennon Sisters at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 3:00 p.m. Details and tickets at crystalgrand.ticketfly.com

June 11: Big Band Dance In The Park at Devil’s Lake Sate Park’s north shore Chateau, Baraboo, 7:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Dance to the big-band sounds of The Hal Edwards Orchestra in Wisconsin’s most romantic dance pavilion. Tickets: $10.00.

Kayak Tours And Geology Hike At Devil’s Lake June 1-5

If you’ve been wanting to try kayaking, come June 1–5, 2016 to learn at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wis. This 360-acre lake’s flat-water and no-motor-boat policy make it an ideal place to begin.

  • The Inn at Wawanissee Point is the closest Baraboo bed-and-breakfast to Devil’s Lake State Park, five minutes to the east. Book a guest room early; summer weekends fill fast.

Reserve your guest room HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

You don’t need a kayak to try paddling. Rent recreational kayaks at the Park anytime during the summer at the Park’s North Shore Concessions store at the Chateau, $25.00 single and $45.00 double. It’s best to reserve a craft for guided tours. Call the store at 608-356-3381. You can also rent canoes, rowboats, paddle boards and paddle boats.

Kayaking man single

  • June 1: Learn To Kayak at Devil’s Lake State Park, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Designed with fun in mind, come learn basic strokes, how to get in and out of a kayak safely, and how to handle capsizing. Be prepared to get wet. Try your new skills. Bring your craft or rent one, but only single are kayaks allowed for this workshop. Space is limited to 10 people and registration is required.
  • June 2 and 4: Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Space is limited and registration is encouraged.
  • June 5: Early Morning Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park,, 6:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m. A special time of day to glide through the lake, and work up an appetite for Trudy’s fantastic Wawanissee breakfast. Space is limited and registration is encouraged.

Kayak Tours, Lessons Repeat Through Summer

The kayak lesson repeats Wednesday evenings, and the tour Thursday and Saturday evenings through the summer. The early morning guided paddle repeats occasional Sundays. Visit www.devilslakewisconsin.com to see the summer’s guided-paddle dates and other Park events.

Register for these tours and reserve a kayak rental by calling the Nature Center at 608-356-8301 ext. 140. If you have questions about the Park and its events, call or write to the Park’s naturalist at [email protected].

The kayak lessons and tours begin at the Park’s north shore Chateau boat launch. Beginners and all skill levels are welcome. As you paddle the lake surrounded by the 500-foot cliffs of Baraboo quartzite, you’ll learn about the Park’s history and geology, and explore for birds, fish and mammals.

Kayaking For Everyone

Nearly anyone, any age or ability, can paddle these lightweight, stable crafts on flat water. How to get in and out, and paddle by rotating your torso are simple techniques that take minutes to learn and prepare you for lots of leisurely paddling. Navigating a faster-flowing river is the next step.

Quietly gliding along a peaceful lake or stream from the gentle motion of your strokes is a special sensation. You’ll gain a different view of the landscape from atop the water. The experience is relaxing and transforming for many people. Come try it. Many who have now have kayaks on their cars, including people in their 80s and 90s!

  • Learn kayaking basics in this short article by REI Co-op, which has a store in Madison, Wis., less than an hour from the Inn.

Guided Geology Hike June 4

Join retired 30-year Park naturalist, author and Baraboo Range geology expert Ken Lange on June 4, 2016, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., for A Hike Back In Time at Devil’s Lake State Park. Meet at the Steinke Basin parking lot, five minutes west of the Inn, for an orientation. Then hike 3.5 miles through the Park, onto the end moraine of the Wisconsin glacier and learn about rocks transported by the glacier. Atop the south end of the east bluff you’ll see rocks transported by glaciers, potholes, Devil’s Doorway, an Indian marker tree, a 200-year-old red cedar, a quartzite glade, pygmy forest unique to Wisconsin and more. Some sections of the trail are steep. Wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water.

Ken has extensive knowledge of and passion for the Baraboo Bluffs and Devil’s Lake. To hear him teach and show you the apple of his eye is a delightful experience you don’t want to miss. Call the Nature Center with questions (contact information is above).

You’ll need a state park vehicle admission sticker for the day or year, available as you enter the north shore of Devil’s Lake State Park or online here.

Memorial Day Weekend Getaway In Baraboo

Lemonade at Sette

Weekend with a view.

Enjoy a long, lazy Memorial Day weekend at the Inn at Wawanissee Point May 27–30, 2016. Secluded atop the Baraboo Bluffs, our quiet bed-and-breakfast in Baraboo, Wis., offers a peaceful retreat to relax.

Come enjoy spring transitioning into summer with wildflowers blooming, wildlife babies scampering and singing frogs serenading.

Book a guest room HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

  • Snooze in the sun on the hammock on the vista patio
  • Sip lemonade and read a new book from the settee with a view
  • hike our three miles of private trails looking for scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings and warblers nesting atop the contiguous forest canopy
  • Listen to the creek flowing through the woods
  • Reflect on the bench under the Love Longevity Tree and experience the magic of Louie and Martha’s 50-year love. Read more about it here.

Breakfast from the Inn’s main deck before the memorizing view, freshly decorated with summer blooms and a frenzy of feeding humming birds, is a perfect place to savor Trudy’s fantastic cooking. Linger and daydream as long as you want.

Experience a fantastic dinner with a terrific view at one of our favorite area supper clubs just open for the season, Ishnala Supper Club in Wisconsin Dells, 25 minutes north of the Inn. This traditional Wisconsin supper club is nestled amid the woods in Mirror Lake State Park, on a rock ledge extending over the tranquil lake on prior Ho-Chunk Indian ceremonial ground. Giant Norway pine trees grow through the roof of what was a log-cabin trading post. Ishnala means by itself alone in the Ho-Chunk language. Enjoy history and historical artifacts, and fine dining including prime rib, the house specialty, with peaceful views of this special property. Learn more and watch the restaurant featured on Wisconsin Foodie at www.ishnala.com.

After wine-and-cheese hour snuggle by the campfire in the privacy of our secluded prairie terrace to watch the sun set and stargaze. Order a s’more’s kit!

If you can peel yourself away from the breathtaking view, explore the Baraboo-area:

  • Circus World Museum
  • Aldo Leopold Center
  • International Crane Foundation
  • Mid-Continent Railway Museum
  • Riverside & Great Northern Railway
  • H. H. Bennett Studio.

At Devil’s Lake State Park Memorial Day weekend, five minutes from here: kayak tour, guided geology hike and telescopes for sky viewing.

Memorial Day Weekend Events

May 25: Aldo Leopold Memorial Reserve Stewardship Hike, nine miles northeast of Baraboo on Rustic Road 49, 20 minutes from the Inn, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Hike this property protected in 1967 with the Aldo Leopold Center’s stewardship staff as they highlight the its uniqueness, history, plants and wildlife, critical bird habitat, and what it means to continue Leopold’s legacy of land management. Admission is free. More at www.aldoleopold.org

May 26: Brown Bag Lunch Series at the Portage Center For The Arts and Drury Gallery, Portage, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. Author Bob Kann shares amazing stories from his biography Cordelia Harvey: Civil War Angel. Cordelia Harvey was known as The Wisconsin Angel and The Florence Nightingale of Wisconsin for her compassionate and competent care for Wisconsin soldiers during the Civil War. Tickets $5.00 at the door. Visit www.portagecenterforthearts.com. The Center And Gallery are open Wednesday to Friday 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m.

May 27: Live music at Vintage Port Deli, Coffee & Catering’s Cellar Speakeasy Lounge in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 7:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Live soulful music with unusual cocktails, and creative small plates and desserts. See who’s playing at www.facebook.com

May 28: Aldo Leopold Guided Shack Tours at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, nine miles northeast of Baraboo on Rustic Road 49, 20 minutes from the Inn, begin Saturdays May 28–Oct. 29, 2016, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. A guided tour is the only way to see the inside of the Leopold family’s Shack. Learn of the family’s land restoration work here and stroll restored prairie, woods and river trails. Admission $15.00 or tour  free by becoming a member. Reservations recommended, call 608-355-0279. Self-guided tours, and hiking and birding along the 2.5-mile interpretive trail network, are available any time the Leopold Center is open. Pick up a trail map before departing. Details at www.aldoleopold.org

May 28: Military Service Day at Circus World Museum, open daily 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. At 9:30 a.m. a touching 30-minute tribute honoring all military branches featuring patriotic-themed circus wagons, military and veteran guest speakers, vocalists and more. All current active duty, reservists, veterans, spouses and families are admitted free for the day. See the daily schedule and Big Top performances at www.circusworldbaraboo.org.

May 28: A Hike Back In Time With Ken Lange at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Meet at the Steinke Basin parking lot, five minutes west of the Inn. Join retired Park naturalist, author and Baraboo Range geology expert Ken Lange for a 3.5-mile geology hike through the Park. After orientation you’ll hike across the road onto the end moraine of the Wisconsin glacier and talk about rocks transported by the glacier. Follow the trail onto the top of the south end of the east bluff where you’ll rocks transported by glaciers, potholes, Devil’s Doorway, an Indian marker tree, a 200-year-old red cedar, a quartzite glade and pygmy forest unique to Wisconsin. Some sections of the trail are steep. Wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water.

May 28: Kayak Tour at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. A guided paddle of Devil’s Lake to explore for birds, fish, mammals, geology and history. Tour begins at the Park’s north shore Chateau boat launch, five minutes west of the Inn. Space is limited and prior registration is encouraged. Kayak rental $25 single, $45 double.

May 28: Explore The Night Sky at Devil’s Lake Sate Park, Baraboo, 7:00 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Meet at the north shore boat launch parking lot, behind Rock Elm Shelter, five minutes west of the Inn. Join the Madison Astronomy Society to learn about the night sky. Telescopes will be available to view the moon and winter constellations. Informal program, come anytime.

May 29: The Sunday Market opens on the square in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, Sundays May 29–Oct. 23, 2016, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., rain or shine. Antiques, vintage collectibles, art and crafts. For more information stop at the Raven House downtown and visit www.ravenhousebaraboo.com.

June 1: Learn To Kayak at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Designed with fun in mind come learn basic strokes, how to get in and out of a kayak safely, and what to do if you capsize. Try your new skills. Be prepared to get wet. Bring your craft or rent one, only single kayaks allowed for this workshop, $25.00. Space is limited to 10 people and registration is required.

Circus World Museum Opens May 20, 2016

Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wis., begins its summer season May 20, 2016 with daily Big Top performances seven days a week through Aug. 28 by circus stars from around the world, for the third year under the 85-foot diameter European-style tent from the Royal Hanneford Circus.

  • “A tent is the preeminent way to experience and interpret the American circus,” says the Museum’s executive director, Scott O’Donnell. A tented circus reaches into your soul and adds to the wonder and emotions of the circus performance, he added.

The big tent allows close-up, amazing aerialist acts, each seat is 30 feet or closer to show ring. The hour-long Big Top performance also includes jugglers, clowns, hula-hoop artistry, gripping chair balancing, clever canines and the talented, enormous yet tender-touching elephants. The Big Top shows are at 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. May 20–June 19, then 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. June 20–Aug. 28, 2016.

  • The Museum is open daily 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. through June 19, 2016, and 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. June 20–Aug. 28, 2016.

New in 2016 are the Tiger Adventures featuring majestic, royal Bengal tigers at 10:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. daily. Also find a 360-degree model of the inner workings of a circus. New in the wagon shop:

  • A mechanical organ built in Paris in 1905 recently restored is displayed.
  • Watch volunteers meticulously repair the 1883 float Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe, built for the Barnum and London circus.

The Museum grounds are the original Ringling Brothers Circus’ winter quarters along the Baraboo River and one of Wisconsin Historical Society’s 10 historic sites, and a National Historic Landmark.

Circus World Museum Clowns and Wagons This engaging history museum has the world’s largest collection of authentic circus wagons, more than 200 wagons and vehicles small to large, in varying condition and stages of restoration, with individual stories of moving circuses from town to town by horsepower and then by rail. Meander the Wagon Pavilion yourself and see the adjacent restoration workshop, or take a guided tour daily at 1:30 p.m., or 1:45 p.m. June 20–Aug. 28, to see these rolling masterpieces of wood-carved.

Besides lively entertainment and demonstrations, including unique circus instruments, browse the collections of advertising posters and circus memorabilia, the original Ringling Bros. Circus buildings, fascinating new exhibits and two gift shops.

Circus World is open during rain because many activities are in buildings or under tents.

Plan on spending at least a half day, but a full day to see it all. The Cookhouse Grill has sandwiches, cotton candy, ice cream and other circus treats. Get your hand stamped to leave the grounds for a picnic along the Baraboo River or lunch at one of the many cafes four blocks away in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District. Parking is free with a convenient drop-off area.

See the daily schedule and learn more about Circus World at www.circusworldbaraboo.org.

Book a guest room HERE for a May getaway or call us at 608-355-9899.

Events Around Circus City May 20–22, 2016

May 20: Quartet at the Portage Center For The Arts and Drury Gallery, Portage, 5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m. Details forthcoming. Visit www.portagecenterforthearts.com for more information. The Center And Gallery are open Wednesday to Friday 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m.

May 21: Endangered Species Day at International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, 20 minutes north of the Inn, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Special programming about endangered and threatened cranes of the world. Learn about cranes and the organization’s global conservation programs on a guided tour with a naturalist at 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. weekends only in April, May, September and October, daily Memorial Day through Labor Day. See the world’s 15 crane species that reside there; hike and bird through the Foundation’s restored prairie, wetland, and oak savanna ecosystems; and browse the gift shop. Visit www.savingcranes.org.

May 21: Who’s Line Is It, Anyway? Improvisational Comedy performance at the Northwoods Banquet Hall, Portage, 25 minutes from the Inn, 7:00 p.m., by the Monkey Business Institute. A fundraiser benefitting Northwoods Inc., which serves adults with disabilities, and seniors and families in need. Tickets $18.00; call 608-566-7138 to reserve. Cash bar and great food for sale. Learn more at www.nwdswi.org.

May 21: Dale Ryan Square Dance Party, at the Sauk City Historic Preservation Committee’s Park Hall, Sauk City, 20 minutes from the Inn, 7:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Whether you’re a fast-moving square dancer or like viewing action from the sideline, you’ll feel  hair on your arm stand at attention when Dale Ryan’s smooth voice calls once more. Ryan delivers the retro fun with a dose of characters past for this one-night stand in Sauk City’s most charming hall. Grab your friends and come down. Discover something new about this town. Wisconsin wines and microbrews for sale. Tickes $5.00 at the door. More at www.saukprairiehistory.org.

May 21: Full Moon Frog Safari at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Meet at the Steinke Basin parking lot, five minutes west of the Inn, to hike the Johnson Moraine Trail to the Park’s kettle ponds where we’ll listen for an array frogs and the American toad, and explore other night sounds. Bring a flashlight. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

May 21: Flower Full Moon And Blue Moon. Because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance American Indians called it the flower full moon. It has also been known as the Full Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon. Since this is the third of four full moons in this season it is also a blue moon, which occur on average once every 2.7 years. There are normally only three full moons in each season of the year.

  • Order a s’mores kit to enjoy as you snuggle by the campfire on our secluded prairie terrace.

May 21–22: Automotion 2016, Wisconsin Dells. 1,200 beautifully restored classic cars displayed at Noah’s Art Waterpark. Swap meet, car corral, concessions, live entertainment. May 21: car cruise 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Big Sky Twin Drive-in Theatre feature show at dusk, Hollywood on Broadway 5:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. More at www.wisdells.com.

May 21–22: World War I Encampment at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, 23 minutes northwest of the Inn. Presented by the 2nd Wisconsin National Guard Company E. No additional charge for this event. Enjoy a 55-minute ride through the Baraboo Bluffs and browse indoor and outdoor restored, vintage railway equipment displays. Train rides at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily regardless of weather. Museum grounds open 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Details at www.midcontinent.org.

May 22: Riverside & Great Northern Railway, Wisconsin Dells, opens for its daily season, at 9:30 a.m. with eight train rides on the hour beginning at 10:00 a.m., weather permitting. A 15-inch gauge railroad with three miles of track through canyons, rock formations and wooded areas beside the Wisconsin River, and a living museum of preserved historic engines (steam and diesel) and passenger cars built by the Sandley Light Railway Equipment Works from 1950–1980. Hand-operated turntable turns the locomotive twice during the ride. Exhibits and learning center, Museum Store and picnic area. More at dellstrain.com.

May 24: Brew Ha Ha Tickets On Sale for the downtown Baraboo event June 24, 2016. A Wisconsin craft-beer tasting tour with tasty treats through the Downtown Baraboo Historic District around the 1905-courthouse square. Purchase tickets in person at Bekah Kate’s Kitchen, Kids, Home. $20.00 each, limit four per person. Details at www.downtownbaraboo.com

May 25: Aldo Leopold Memorial Reserve Stewardship Hike, nine miles northeast of Baraboo, 20 minutes from the Inn, on Rustic Road 49, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Hike this property created by five like-minded neighbors in 1967, which allowed Leopold to implement his pioneering ecological restoration experiments. The Aldo Leopold Center’s stewardship staff will discuss the land’s uniqueness, history, plants and wildlife, including critical bird habitat, and what it means to continue Leopold’s legacy of land management, “conservation is a slow and laborious unfolding of a new relationship between people and land.” Admission is free. Learn more at www.aldoleopold.org.

Fair On The Square And BBQ Festival May 14

The second weekend of May 2016 offers events with tantalizing treats among the spring blooms as we welcome back the warblers around the Inn at Wawanissee Point bed-and-breakfast in Baraboo, Wis.

Book a spring getaway in Baraboo HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

Spring Fair On The Square May 14

The Downtown Baraboo Historic District, which includes the historic courthouse square, will be lined with creations for your senses Saturday, May 14, 2016, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Along six streets surrounding the 1905 courthouse you’ll find more than 150 artists and craftspeople selling their work. Along Eat Street in the center is an array of savory and sweet street food flanked by live music throughout the day.

Learn more about the Spring Fair at www.downtownbaraboo.com. Baraboo Fair On The Square

The Baraboo Farmers’ Market will fill one street with locally grown foods from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Bring a cooler to take home early produce like greens, rhubarb, and radishes, plus meats, cheeses, eggs, bakery items, herbal products, new-crop maple syrup and bedding plants to start your spring planting.

Madison Magazine BBQ Festival: Brews, Bikes & Barbecue May 13–14

This is a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned contest and Wisconsin’s official state barbeque championship where 30 of the country’s top BBQ professionals compete by cooking chicken, pork ribs, pork butt and brisket. Come enjoy an array of local barbecue and other foods, beer and wine as the competition unfolds at Meyer Oak Grove Park in Sauk City, Wis., Friday 5:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m. and Saturday 12:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m. Each evening three bands perform live.

Everyone may watch and interact with the competitors as they prepare their meats on Saturday, but there are limited small-bite samples. The event is held regardless of weather with some tents for shelter. Admission is free.

Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson is hosting a Backroads & BBQ Poker Run for motorcycles, bicycles and automobiles in conjunction with the Festival with six back-roads stops.

Learn more about the Madison Magazine BBQ Festival at www.madmagbbqfest.com.

Friday evening May 13, 2016, enjoy the Around The World In 80 Days: A Play at the River Arts Center in Prairie du Sac, at 7:00 p.m. The Driftless Area Repertory Theatre presents this whirlwind show of danger, romance and comic surprises with five actors portraying 39 characters traversing seven continents in Mark Brown’s new adaptation of one of the great adventures of all time, Jules Verne’s novel. Stampeding elephants, raging typhoons and runaway trains! Unabashedly slapstick! Hold onto your seats for the original amazing race. Tickets $15.00 and details at www.riverartsinc.org.

The Inn at Wawanissee Point is the closest bed-and-breakfast to Sauk City and Prairie du Sac, Wis.,
an easy 20-minute drive through the scenic Lake Wisconsin Valley.

Warblers Returning

The first two weeks of May are when warblers return to the Baraboo Hills Important Bird Area, when temperatures are warm enough for the insects they feed upon to emerge. The wooded bluffs around the Inn at Wawanissee Point offer critical breeding habitat for warblers, including some at-risk species. This area is also a rest stop for warblers that breed farther north.

Early May is a great time to hike to see an array of birds plus many blooms in the woods, prairies and wetlands while all the frog species and the American toads sing for their mates.

Star Gazing

Come enjoy your first campfire of the season on our secluded prairie terrace and watch the falling stars. The Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28.

See our previous blog articles for more spring-vacation ideas around Baraboo. Many area attractions open for the season by mid May including the Flyways Waterfowl Museum and the Historic Indian Agency House At Fort Winnebago.

The Flyways Waterfowl Museum adjacent Devil’s Lake State Park’s north shore entrance opens May 14, 2016 with these spring hours: Thursday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Extended hours begin June 15. This is a modern, natural-science museum with world-class exhibits and accompanying audio recordings about North American waterfowl and their habitats, with historical exhibits, art collections, short videos in the Duck Blind Theater, laser arcade games and a gift shop. The new 2016 exhibit is Ducks Of The Deep Seas. Learn more at duckmuseum.com.

May 14, 2016 the Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters Historic Site opens for the season in Portage, Wis., Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Operated by the Wisconsin Society Daughters of the American Revolution, this facility is one of the oldest French colonial log structures in Wisconsin, built in 1824. In 1828 the Army began constructing Fort Winnebago adjacent to this structure, one of three forts it built along the Fox-Wisconsin waterway from Green Bay to Prairie du Chien. The Army abandoned the Fort in 1845, then fire destroyed much of it in 1856, but the log cabin endured and became the U.S. Army surgeons’ quarters. Though short, Fort’s existence significantly contributed to commerce and development in this area leading to Wisconsin’s statehood in 1848. It is the last remaining building of a military installation in the state. Winnebago is the name Sauk and Fox American Indian tribes gave their neighboring tribe, the Ho-Chunk, and the European fur traders also used it. Open May 14–Oct. 15, 2016, Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Admission is $7.50, free for active-duty military and veterans. Learn more by calling 608-742-2949 and visiting www.fortwinnebagosurgeonsquarters.org.

May 15, 2016 is the Historic Indian Agency House At Fort Winnebago’s seasonal opening celebration in Portage, Wis. It’s the 84TH year of conserving and sharing Wisconsin’s rich history with this Federal-style house built by the U. S. government in 1832, one of the oldest in the state and outfitted with period furnishings when John Kinzie was an Indian Agent to the Ho-Chunk Nation (Winnebago). Open May 15–October 15, Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Located at the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, this 225-acre property includes a 1.3-mile interpretive nature trail; a perennial garden with benches; a lawn with picnic tables; a stone building Visitor’s Center with a museum and gift shop with many hard-to-find historical books and more; and the historic house. Borrow a self-guided tour booklet from the Visitor’s Center to learn about the site’s human and natural history. Admission is $7.50, free for active-duty military and veterans, and includes a docent-guided tour of the house and museum, lasting about 45 minutes.

It’s 27 minutes northeast of the Inn at the end of Rustic Road 69, Old Agency House Road, along the historic Portage Canal bordered on one side by wetland habitat. Across the road is a trailhead to the Ice Age Trail’s Portage segment, a 0.75-mile path of flat, easy hiking and bird watching in the woods and along the canal. Learn more by calling 608-742-6362 and visiting www.agencyhouse.org Winnebago is the name Sauk and Fox American Indian tribes gave their neighboring tribe, the Ho-Chunk, and the European fur traders also used it.

Treat Mom To A Baraboo Vacation For Mother’s Day

The first weekend of May 2016 we’ll celebrate mothers at the Inn at Wawanissee Point bed-and-breakfast in Baraboo, Wis. It falls a little early on the calendar this year, Sunday, May 8, 2016.

Spring’s Glory

Give your mom a romantic getaway where spring will be bursting in the Baraboo Bluffs. Early May offers colorful views accented by a romantic chorus day and night.

Leaves unfurling, woodland ephemerals flowering, tulips and daffodils, and apple trees ready to bloom. Drive past Ski Hi Fruit Farm. Frogs in the marsh across the road singing, wildlife babies emerging and new birds returning nearly every day.

Mother's Day in bloom in Baraboo.

Mother’s Day in bloom in Baraboo.

Can you imagine mom enjoying this line-up?

  1. Friday night, our wine-and-cheese hour followed by dinner (we’ll recommend our favorites and make reservations if you wish) and then watch a meteor shower by the prairie terrace campfire with s’mores.
  2. Saturday morning, Trudy’s gourmet breakfast served overlooking the valley, on the main deck if it’s warm enough.
  3. A morning hike looking for blooms, birds and wildlife babies.
  4. A massage and facial at Baraboo’s day spa 10 minutes from here, Spa Serenity. Our guests receive a discount. If mom and dad don’t indulge in a couples massage, dad can golf next door at Devil’s Head Resort, or Fairfield Hills Golf Course’s nine holes just north of Baraboo.
  5. Saturday night an elegant, five-course meal served first-class service aboard a restored train car at Mid-Continent Railway Museum, 25 minutes from the Inn. Reserve tickets now!

Book a guest room for Mom HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

Create and print a custom gift certificate for mom here.

See our Specials & Packages page for surprises we can leave in mom’s guest room.

Quiet And Privacy For Mom At The Inn’s 42 acres:

  • stroll our three miles of private trails through the prairie and woods, and garden paths
  • soak in sun and birdwatch from the southern prairie terrace
  • sway in the hammock before the 36-mile view
  • relax in the our sauna and soaking tubs

Birding Bonanza

The first week of May is birding bonanza in the Bluffs, from the field and our decks. Chatty house wrens and catbirds, wood thrushes, Baltimore orioles, indigo buntings, ruby-throated hummingbirds and scarlet tanagers will be returning and eating at our feeders beside the gold finches in their bright, breeding plumage. See all but tanagers from the sunroom, and dining room and Tepee room decks.

Little brown bats will begin emerging in the evenings. The first two weeks of May you’ll see warblers arriving in the gardens and woods, as temperatures warm enough to bring the insects out for them to feed upon.

Blooms

Often before the trees have leaves, you’ll see native spring ephemerals like marsh marigolds, prairie smoke, pasque flowers, bloodroot and hepaticas, then trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, anemones, Dutchman’s breeches, columbine and more.

Babies, Spring Is The Mothering Season

From any room in the Inn and along our trails, you may see fox kits, deer fawns, wood ducks and the sandhill crane family. From nearby trails by wetlands (we can make suggestions and provide maps) watch for mallards on nests, goslings taking their first swim, and salamanders and newts on the move. Hopeful frogs singing for mates will serenade you.

  • Bring waterproof hiking boots for the ephemeral wetlands along the woodland trails.

Area Attractions To Visit

Open for the season by the first weekend of May are the Aldo Leopold Center, International Crane Foundation, the Mid-Continent Railway Museum, and in Wisconsin Dells the Riverside & Great Northern Railway and the H. H. Bennett Studio.

The Baraboo and Sauk Prairie Farmers’ Markets open with bedding plants, fresh maple syrup, early produce and more.

Baraboo-area Events Mother’s Day Weekend

May 6: Wisconsin Regional Art Program Exhibit Opening Reception, at the Portage Center For The Arts and Drury Gallery, 301 Cook St., Portage, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. Exhibit open May 6–28, 2016 during Gallery hours Wednesday–Friday 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. An annual exhibition of more than 40 local, nonprofessional artists’ work in a variety of media. The Art Program began in 1940 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to encourage rural artists to make and exhibit artwork. Meritorious works chosen from this and more than 20 other exhibitions like it around the state will be featured in the Annual State Art Exhibition in Madison, Wis., in September. Admission is free. Artist workshop May 28, see details below. Details at www.portagecenterforthearts.com.

May 6: Spring Wine Walk through the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale April 6, 2016 for in-person sales only at Bekah Kate’s Kitchen, Kids, Home in downtown Baraboo, $30.00. Learn more about this fund-raiser event here and contact the Innkeepers for help with ticket purchases.

May 6–7: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower can produce up to 30 meteors per hour at its peak the night of May 6 and into the morning of May 7. Dust particles from comet Halley, known and observed since ancient times, produce this shower, radiating from the constellation Aquarius. The shower runs annually April 19 to May 28.

May 7: Baraboo Farmers’ Market opens for the season, Wednesdays and Saturdays 7:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m., through Oct. 31, 2016.

May 7: Wood Carving Demonstrations at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. At the north shore’s Nature Center, five minutes west of the Inn. The Capitol Area Carvers of Wisconsin offer short demonstrations on different styles and types of carving and answer questions. Drop in any time. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

May 7: Mid-Continent Railway Museum opens for its 54th season, North Freedom, with weekend rides only until June 6 when its daily season begins. 25 minutes from the Inn. Enjoy a 55-minute ride through the Baraboo Bluffs and browse indoor and outdoor restored, vintage railway equipment displays. Train rides at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily regardless of weather. Museum grounds open 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Learn more at www.midcontinent.org.

May 7: Pizza Trains at Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom. In addition to the regularly scheduled daytime coach trains, enjoy two Pizza Trains, the same fantastic ride with a choice from four kinds of 9-inch pizzas and beer or soda at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Reservations required, tickets $35.00, at www.midcontinent.org or call 800-930-1385. Museum grounds open 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

May 7: Elegant Dinner Train, Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, 5:30 p.m. First-class service and fine dining with a five-course meal and beverage choice by Elite Catering of Baraboo. The trip lasts about 2.5 hours. Reservations required, tickets $75.00 and $85.00 at www.midcontinent.org or call 800-930-1385.

May 7: Christopher Taylor Concert Pianist at the Al. Ringling Theatre, 136 Fourth Ave., in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, Baraboo, 7:30 p.m. One of the nation’s foremost musicians who critics say brings intensity and artistry to masters’ works from Bach and Beethoven to Boulez and Bolcom, and has done so in some of the most esteemed venues like New York’s Carnegie Hall and Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center For The Performng Arts. This awarded artist is a Paul Collins associate professor of piano performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His most recent recording is Liszt’s Twelve Transcendental Etudes. Come for an incredible performance and see the newly restored 100-year-old America’s Prettiest Playhouse. Learn more about Taylor and purchase tickets $37.00 box seat, $30.00 premium, $25.00 regular, and Senior $20.00 at www.alringling.com or by calling 608-356-8864.

May 7: Frog Safari at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Meet at the Steinke Basin parking lot, five minutes west of the Inn, to hike the Johnson Moraine Trail to the Park’s kettle ponds where we’ll listen for spring peepers, and chorus and wood frogs, and explore other night sounds. Bring a flashlight. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

May 8: Mother’s Day at International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., 20 minutes north of the Inn. Moms receive free admission. Learn about cranes and the organization’s global conservation programs on a guided tour with a naturalist at 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. weekends only in April, May, September and October, daily Memorial Day through Labor Day. See the world’s 15 crane species that reside there; hike and bird through the Foundation’s restored prairie, wetland, and oak savanna ecosystems; and browse the gift shop. For more information visit www.savingcranes.org.

Earth Day Weekend Art Show, Hikes, Performances Around Baraboo

Daffodil bridge

As the daffodils start blooming and neotropical migrating birds return in earnest to the Inn at Wawanissee Point, Sauk County, Wis., celebrates Earth Day with a creative flair, the annual art show Encore!! Art 2016: Reuse, Recycle, Rethink. Sauk County Art Association members repurpose discarded items into art and display their work during the County’s Earth Day Celebration, this year themed Wooden It Be…. Both events occur Sunday, April 24, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Rock Springs Community Center, Rock Springs, Wis., eight miles west of Baraboo, Wis.

Besides the art show enjoy exhibits, workshops, guided nature hikes, live music and food. See more details below.

Reserve a guest room for an Earth Day getaway HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

Why In Rock Springs? To Feature The Upper Narrows

Rock Springs is a fitting choice to host the annual event. The hamlet is perched along the Baraboo River near the county’s center in the region known as the Upper Narrows of the Baraboo Range (Baraboo Bluffs). Here, in what is protected as the Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, is the world-renown location where the River cut a deep gorge through three types of rock, exposing where younger sandstone overrides the ancient Precambrian Baraboo quartzite—the purple rock of the Range including the bluff where the Inn at Wawanissee Point is perched. People come from around the country, especially college geology students, to visit the Gorge and Van Hise Rock because it’s the only place in the Midwest where you can see a unique geologic sequence of events of an ancient sea upheaval. Erosion and the Pink Lady Quarry in Rock Springs have exposed the geologic story.

See aerial photos of the Upper Narrows here. Read about Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area here and a short article about hiking the geologic interpretive trail here.

The Uppers Narrows in the west Baraboo Range mirrors the east end of the Range, where the Inn is located, which is more visibly marked by the taller, exposed Lower Narrows that you drive through east of Baraboo along Highway 33 and the Baraboo River, depicted in the photo on the Inn’s About Our Location page.

Guided Hikes, Workshops

This year’s Sauk County Earth Day Celebration offers a special treat, two guided hikes of the Upper Narrows by author, conservationist and retired 30-year Devil’s Lake State Park naturalist Ken Lange of Baraboo, who published his newest book in 2015, Song Of Place: A Natural History Of The Baraboo Hills. Ken’s extensive knowledge of and passion for the Baraboo Bluffs is unequaled. Thanks to a successful hip replacement he is again traversing the hills, sharing his expertise, and delightful personality. To hear him teach and show you the apple of his eye is a rare experience you don’t want to miss. The guided hikes are at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

At 10:00 a.m., the executive director of the Baraboo Range Preservation Association, a local land trust, and watercolor artist from Baraboo, Todd Pershe, hosts a workshop about the Upper Narrows.

Admission to both events and parking is free. More details will be forthcoming and posted at saukcountyearthday.org. Call Sauk County Land Conservation at 608-355-4839 with questions.

Getting There

Enjoy a scenic and easy, 25-minute drive west of the Inn at Wawanissee Point through an amphitheatre along State Hwy 136, saved by local residents from a state highway project that would have eliminated and dissected the sweeping curves lined with forest and farm fields.

Earth Day Activities Around Baraboo

April 16–25: Lyrids Meteor Shower, April’s Shooting Stars: The Lyrids usually produce about 20 meteors per hour at peak, some with bright dust trails lasting several seconds, by dust particles from comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, discovered in 1861. It peaks April 22–23.

April 19–May 28: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower can produce up to 30 meteors per hour in the Northern Hemisphere at its peak. Dust particles from comet Halley, known and observed since ancient times, produce this shower, radiating from the constellation Aquarius. It peaks May 6–7.

April 21: Aldo Leopold And Wisconsin’s Conservation Tradition at the Ruth Culver Community Library, 540 Water St., Prairie du Sac, 6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Curt Meine from Sauk County is a conservation biologist, historian and writer who serves as a Aldo Leopold Foundation and Center for Humans and Nature senior fellow, and adjunct associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He’ll share his background as a student of Leopold’s life, work and writing, and what lessons Leopold’s legacy holds for Wisconsin today. Meine’s doctoral dissertation was a biography of Aldo Leopold, considered the father of conservation, published as Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work by the University of Wisconsin Press. Admission is free. Learn more by calling Meagan Statz at 643-8318 or visiting www.pdslibrary.org.

April 22: Pink Full Moon. American Indians called this the pink full moon because it marked the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the first spring flowers.

April 22–24: Wisconsin Dells Polka Fest, Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Enjoy a weekend of Patrick Henry-style music, musician workshops, jam sessions, friends and beautiful Wisconsin Dells views. Friday 6:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m., Saturday 12:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. For details and tickets visit www.dellspolkafest.com.

April 22–24: Todd Oliver & Friends Dinner Theatre, The Palace Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Comedian and ventriloquist Todd Oliver and his two talking dogs, Irving and Lucy, are making crowds across the country howl for more. They turn everyday K-9 experiences into knockout, outrageous comedy. His humor is situational and contemporary, resulting in a clean, universal comedy that makes you feel good and leaves you wondering, “How do those funny dogs talk?” Tickets vary per show $29.95–$49.95 and include a three-course dinner but not gratuity, taxes or service fee. Show-only tickets are available and you may order appetizers, desserts and specialty drinks. Purchase by calling 608-253-4000 or at www.dellspalace.com, where you can learn more about this performance.

April 23: Sweet Dreams & Honky Tonks at the CAL Center Presents, 1100 South Albert Ave./south- US Hwy. 23, adjacent the Reedsburg Area High School, Reedsburg, Wis., 7:00 pm. Celebrating the legendary work of country music’s barrier-breaking and biggest stars Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash, two Wisconsin music veterans, Tom Waselchuk and Jami Lampkins, with The Dang-Its as back up band, including Rick Nass on the pedal steel guitar, Pete Olig on electric and upright bass, and Mark Luhring on drums, offer a new revue presenting the best-loved hits of these classic artists with stories of their colorful lives and amazing careers. Tickets $20.00 at tickets calcenterpresents.org. Call 608-985-7307 with questions.

April 23: Dinner Theatre: Sister Robert Anne’s Cabaret Class at the Northwoods Banquet Hall, N6510 U.S. Hwy 51, two miles south of Portage, Wis., 12:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Another Nunsense story with as many laughs. A fundraiser benefitting Northwoods Inc., which serves adults with disabilities, and seniors and families in need. Tickets $29.95 plus tax for the three-course dinner and performance; call 608-566-7138 to reserve. Learn more about the show, organization and robust menu at www.nwdswi.org.

April 23: Frog Safari at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Meet at the Steinke Basin parking lot, five minutes west of the Inn, to hike the Johnson Moraine Trail to the Park’s kettle ponds where we’ll listen for spring peepers, and chorus and wood frogs, and explore other night sounds. Bring a flashlight. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

See Rare Gromme Painting At Aldo Leopold Center

The Aldo Leopold Foundation headquartered at the Aldo Leopold Center northeast of Baraboo, Wis., recently received a gift from wildlife artist Owen Gromme’s son, Roy Gromme, and his wife, Susie. In 1965 Gromme painted as a gift for his son a sandhill crane guarding her nest of eggs in a marsh, set from a scene at Roy’s farm, which was located near Aldo Leopold’s shack. The Grommes recently donated this original and never-reproduced painting to the Foundation to display among its collection at the Center.

“What we find so inspiring about this particular painting is that it documents the early days of the rebound in Wisconsin’s sandhill crane population, not to mention that the Shack location is in the distant background,” said Foundation executive director Buddy Huffaker.

Huffaker noted that Gromme was a colleague of Aldo Leopold’s and together they influenced legislation to protect herons, hawks and owls.

You can see the special painting when the Center opens for its weekend visiting season April 15, 2016, Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. November to mid April the Center and property are open Monday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Cranes In Wawanissee Point Prairie Baraboo B & B cropped

Sandhill crane family foraging the Inn at Wawanissee Point’s prairie.

Book a spring retreat HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.

The Center is an educational and interpretive facility on same property as and near the Leopold family’s shack. You can tour the recently built Center, a renewable-energy-powered building, one of the greenest in the world and the highest-scoring Leadership In Energy And Environmental Design (LEED®) Certification buildings in the United States. Browse interpretive, photography and art exhibits with information about Aldo Leopold, the family legacy, the Foundation’s conservation work and the green building’s features. There is no fee to view the exhibits. Aldo Leopold Center Baraboo Wis

Trails And Birding

The Foundation’s property where the Center is located is part of the co-managed collection of public and private lands that comprise the Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area (IBA), 16,000 acres along the Wisconsin River and Levee Road. Around 40 bird species use the IBA during migration and many more breed here.

While most of IBA land is privately owned, you’ll find excellent birding along 11 miles of Levee Road, which is Rustic Road 49, and on some public land.

Hike a 2.5-mile interpretive trail through the Foundation’s recently acquired 305 acres of oak savanna, wetlands and a dry-prairie remnant. It overlooks the River and offers critical habitat for grassland birds, populations of which are declining in the Upper Midwest, and migration staging for sandhill cranes. The trail is open for hiking and snowshoeing year-round during visitation hours.

Shack Tours

The shack, a repurposed chicken coop where the Leopold family retreated and conserved the habitat, and Leopold found inspiration for his writing, is open year-round except during heavy snow cover for self-guided tours with an interpretive brochure for $7.00. Guided tours occur Saturdays Memorial Day weekend through the end of October, from 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m., for $15.00. Foundation members have no admission fee. Call ahead to reserve a guided-tour spot and ensure the shack isn’t closed for special events or due to weather, 608-355-0279.

Getting There Rustic Road Sign

The Leopold Center is located 20 minutes northeast of the Inn at Wawanissee Point by picturesque rural roads through the Baraboo Range’s lower narrows. It’s situated on Levee Road west of the intersection with Schepp Road. Look for the brown Rustic Road sign.

Learn more about the Center, special events, membership and the Foundation at www.aldoleopold.org.

Hike and bird our three miles of trails through woods and prairie,
where sandhill cranes visit, at our secluded bed and breakfast.

April Activities Around Baraboo

April 15: International Crane Foundation opens for its daily visitor season 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Baraboo, 20 minutes north of the Inn. Guided tours, 15 resident crane species, and hike and bird through restored prairie, wetland and oak savanna ecosystems. Visit www.savingcranes.org.

April 16: 41ST Annual Midwest Crane Count, 5:30 a.m.–7:30 a.m. 2,000 volunteers around Baraboo and throughout the Midwest rise early to count sandhill and whooping cranes returning to their northern breeding grounds. To help and learn visit: www.savingcranes.org.

April 16–25: Lyrids Meteor Shower, April’s Shooting Stars: The Lyrids usually produce about 20 meteors per hour at peak, some with bright dust trails lasting several seconds, by dust particles from comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, discovered in 1861. It peaks April 22–23.

April 16: Rick Springfield: Stripped Down at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 8:00 p.m. A relevant, vibrant, Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician with longevity who just released his 18th studio album, Rocket Science. Top 40 hits include Jessie’s Girl, Don’t Talk to Strangers, An Affair of the Heart, I’ve Done Everything for You, Love Somebody and Human Touch. Details and tickets at www.crystalgrand.com

Trail Background