Telephone: (608) 355-9899 Check Availability

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.

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.

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

See Woodcock Aerial Dance At Devil’s Lake State Park April 9

The variety of habitats surrounding the Inn at Wawanissee Point amid the Baraboo Range ecosystem allow us to see common and rare wildlife within minutes of our bed and breakfast. A perfect example is the American woodcock’s aerial courtship display in April.

Why is this so special?

  1. The American woodcock, also known as the Timberdoodle, is a wary, secretive bird that we scarcely see. It’s usually silent and difficult to spot as it forages through muddy thickets probing for earthworms with its long, flexible bill.
  2. When its large eyes spot danger it freezes in place, which coupled with its camouflage plumage, makes it nearly invisible.
  3. The Woodcock population has declined steadily by one percent a year since the 1960s as forests have matured and development has overtaken much of its habitat—young forests and shrubby areas near wetlands, streams and rivers.

Alert_woodcock_1 The kettle ponds, creek and brushy habitat along the mature forest edge at Devil’s Lake State Park’s Steinke Basin offer the woodcock an ideal home. The timberdoodles also mate by the small pond across the road from the Inn. Our neighbors have enjoyed their courtship dance for years.

The Spiral Dance

In April at dusk the plump, neckless, 10-inch long bird emerges from its brushy cover for its unusual mating ritual, a spiraling aerial display alternated with a rhythmic, buzzy peent sound.

The male peents repeatedly while bobbing on the ground, flies upward in a spiral as high as 300 feet and then zig-zags in a downward dive, its wing feathers making a chirping sound as it descends. He’ll land silently, hopefully beside a female, and then repeat the performance. The males continue this display even after most females have laid eggs.

Timberdoodle Watch April 9, 2016

Schedule a spring-break getaway the second weekend of April to enjoy a fascinating and rare opportunity to view this bird.

Saturday evening from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., join Devil’s Lake State Park’s naturalist to watch for male woodcocks dancing in the air and singing to attract females. Bring a chair, blanket and binoculars to the Steinke Basin parking lot only five minutes west of the Inn.

Since spring is nature’s romance season, you’ll likely hear a frog chorus in the background. Early spring—late March to early April—is when spring peepers start singing, and shortly after tree, chorus and wood frogs join the concert.

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

Learn More

Since 2001 the Ruffed Grouse Society with wildlife agencies and conservation organizations have been restoring habitat for this odd bird, one of few shorebirds hunted. Visit Timberdoodle.com and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Where To Look

Hike the shrubby edges of our property, the Riverland Conservancy’s Merrimac Preserve and the adjacent Roznos Meadow of Devil’s Lake State Park for more opportunities to spot a Timberdoodle.

Track Spring Migration

March through May is the exciting time to watch birds arriving to breed in the Baraboo Bluffs and resting during their northern journey. Bird migration changes quickly and they often follow the edge of a storm front. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdCast Web site forecasts birds on the move to help you plan your birding hikes.

See an article below to learn more about April birding and spring activities in the Baraboo, Wis., area.

More At And Around The Park

April 8: Wrannock Celtic Trio at the Village Booksmith, 526 Oak St., in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 7:30 p.m. Call to confirm start time. Sauk County’s Mossman family—Mike Mossman, Lisa Hartman and their son, Angus—returns to play traditional Celtic music with a tin whistle, guitar, cittern, banjo, bodhran, and mandolin, and share tales of their travels tales in the British Isles. Admission is free. An eclectic, used bookstore with used, new and rare books and more. Fellowship and refreshments. Call 608-355-1001 for more information or visit villagebooksmith.com

April 9: Effigy Mound Builders And Their Cemeteries In Wisconsin: Facts And Fictions at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Meet at the north shore’s Nature Center, five minutes west of the Inn. American Indians constructed earthen mounds of animal shapes, called effigy mounds, throughout Wisconsin’s southern half from AD 700 to AD 1,000. Because these enigmatic earthworks are so visible they have spurred speculation, and amateur and professional archaeological investigation for more than 150 years. Unfortunately early misconceptions of what the mounds are, their contents and who made them have continued, making it difficult for most people to sort fact from fiction. This presentation will explain old ideas no longer supportable. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

Maple Syrup Fest April 2

Spring Is Emerging

The snow is shrinking, opossums and raccoons are lumbering around, and birds started singing their dawn chorus in this last week of February 2016. We saw robins at the Inn at Wawanissee Point Feb 24. Meanwhile another early but silent sign of winter’s transition to spring is sap flowing in the trees throughout the Baraboo Bluffs.

That turns our thoughts to the Maple Syrup Festival April 2, 2016 at the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center in Poynette, Wis., a 35-minute drive from Wawanissee Point. From 8:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m., rain or shine, tour the sugar bush (a grove of maple trees), see trees being tapped and sap boiling into syrup. Learn how American Indians and pioneers made maple sugar and syrup compared to modern methods. An antique engine will churn homemade ice cream to sample with the spring elixir. Live music and horse-drawn wagon rides help you shake off winter.

Maple SapMaple syrup pancakes

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

See Wildlife And Historic Exhibits

The Center encompasses 500 acres with an arboretum with more than 100 tree species, a nature study pond, interpretive trails through forest and prairie, an observation tower, conservation and logging museums, and educational infrastructure. The State Game Farm where ring-necked pheasants are raised for the Wisconsin’s restocking program is adjacent the Center. The wildlife area and historic exhibits will be open during the Festival.

  • Learn more about the Maple Syrup Festival and the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center here.

Festival admission is free but donations are appreciated to support the Center’s education programming for adults and more than 15,000 children a year about the state’s natural resources.

Sweet But Fickle Treat

The amber syrup we love dripping from a fluffy stack of pancakes is at nature’s mercy.

Fluctuating temperatures trigger pressure and suction that move sap through a tree’s vascular system. Daytime temperatures climbing above freezing cause positive pressure to develop in the tree, allowing sap to seep from a wound or hole in the tree’s bark. Evening lows dropping below freezing create suction or negative pressure that draws water into the tree’s roots.

This cycle of warm-to-cool periods in a short temperature range—too cool and sap won’t flow, too warm for more than a few days and trees begin to bud, turning sap bitter—can last a couple days to six weeks in February to March. Sap-collecting season is unpredictable!

More Spring Break Fun

Spring bird migration will be underway! Hike our private trails, and at Devil’s Lake State Park and Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area five minutes from the Inn.

April 2: The Great Nature Race at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Meet at the north shore’s Nature Center, five minutes west of the Inn. The weather is warming so spend a day outside on a Great Nature Race! Drop in the Nature Center anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for an adventure across the Park. You’ll need your car for this combination of geocaching, orienteering and scavenger hunt. Bring your GPS or check one out from the Nature Center. Work at your pace to find new places on the property to conquer this challenge! Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

April 2: Raven House Antique Show & Collectors Fair at the Baraboo Arts Banquet & Convention Center, 323 Water St., across from Circus World Museum, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. More than 25 dealers with antiques and collectibles for sale. Admission $2.00 or $10.00 Early Bird. Learn more at www.ravenhousebaraboo.com or visit the Raven House at 108 Third St. in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District.

April 2: Fly By Night Sketch Comedy performance at the Northwoods Banquet Hall, N6510 U.S. Hwy 51, two miles south of Portage, Wis., 7:00 p.m. Fresh, funny, original skits and sketchs like Saturday Night Live but with more laughs. 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 about the show and organization at www.nwdswi.org.

April 4: Dorf Haus Supper Club’s Bavarian Smorgasbord, 5:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. 24 minutes south of the Inn, Roxbury, Wis., 608-643-3938. Nestled in a quaint German village this ethnically decorated Wisconsin supper club features authentic German and American specialties. Learn more here.

April 4: Winter Words at American Players Theatre season, 7:00 p.m. A public play-reading series in the APT’s indoor Touchstone Theatre. Tonight’s performance: Trifles by Susan Glaspell and Fog by Eugene O’Neill. Two thrilling, one-act plays by contemporaries Susan Glaspell and Eugene O’Neill. In Glaspell’s Trifles, a community attempts to decipher whether the wife of a deceased man is perpetrator, victim or a little bit of both. In O’Neill’s Fog, three people are adrift in a lifeboat without oars, leading to a pointed and poignant discussion of society and humanity. From the Inn at Wawanissee Point, APT is scenic 50-minute drive along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway on the Scenic Byway State Hwy 60. Tickets $15.00 at americanplayers.org

Schedule Your April Birding Getaway

If you love watching birds, April is a sweet time for birding in the Baraboo Hills with new arrivals nearly every day, and for new birders the species returning then are easier to identify. May is when the harder-to-learn warblers return to feed on emerging insects.

The Baraboo Hills Important Bird Area (IBA), in which Wawanissee Point and our 42 acres are nestled, is also a sweet spot for birding in Wisconsin. It’s one of the largest IBAs in the Midwest, according to the National Audubon Society. The contiguous, mixed hardwood forest here hosts at least 135 breeding bird species, some of which are important at-risk populations like the cerulean, worm-eating and hooded warblers, among others.

Sandhill cranes are usually the first migrants to return to the bluff, in March, which for us marks spring’s beginning. Other hearty migrants—red-winged black birds, robins, song sparrows, killdeer, geese and turkey vultures—arrive in the first wave of spring migration, around the spring equinox and by the first week of April.

Duck migration peaks the first week of April. Watch the bluffs’ upland marshes and ephemeral ponds, and sloughs around Lake Wisconsin.

Blue birds, great blue herons, Eastern phoebes, fox sparrows, Eastern towhees, house wrens, wood thrushes, tree swallows, catbirds, the brilliant scarlet tanagers and more return throughout April. The ruffed grouse males begin drumming; listen along the forest-prairie ecotones.

Spring is a frenzy by the end of April, for fauna, avifauna and flora. We’re putting out jelly, oranges and sugar water, anticipating the ruby-throated humming birds and Baltimore orioles any day. The woodlands’ spring ephemerals are peeking from leaf litter, waterfowl are hatching amid blooming marsh marigolds, small mammals and deer are birthing, and the frogs and American toad are singing wildly for affection. Romance and life renewed are everywhere.

April daytime highs are in the 50s and hit the low 60s by month’s end. Morning lows are at or above freezing. Frost fading from the soil leaves it squishy. Bring your waterproof hiking boots for spring birding. You’ll encounter wet spots along the woodland trails and lower spots.

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

We have for guests to use…

  • binoculars
  • field guides
  • Devil’s Lake State Park Bird Checklist
  • trail maps

If it’s too cool or damp for you, stay in and use our binoculars in the south-facing sunroom to watch our feeders at the edge of the woods. From the Great Room skybox you can zoom in over the greening prairie and beyond with our spotting scope.

New Bird Species Breeding In Wisconsin

Look Around the Inn at Wawanissee Point

The largest natural history survey ever conducted in Wisconsin, called the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas, was first completed 15 years ago. Citizen-science volunteers, conservation biologists and ornithologists began surveying for the second Bird Atlas in 2015. It’s a five-year process of observing and documenting the location and breeding activity of birds throughout the state, divided into survey blocks assigned to observers, as well as noting species abundance.

The first year of Bird Atlas II began fantastically, with 700 volunteers confirming 212 breeding species (226 were recorded in five years during the first Atlas), including eight new species. Learn more about the first year’s findings in this article.

It’s possible two of the eight newly confirmed breeding birds could be seen in the habitat surrounding Wawanissee Point, the white-eyed vireo, and yellow-throated warbler. Both are species of special concern in the state.White eyed vireoYellow throated warbler

The olive green and light yellow little vireo has a distinct song (“Quick, pick up the check!”) and likes shrubby areas along woodland edges, streams, and overgrown fields and pastures. Look in the dogwood, alders, willows and pesky buckthorn.

The calm yellow-throated warbler will be harder to find. It nests high in mature forest canopies, about 30 feet to 50 feet off the ground and up to 9 feet from the truck at the end of limbs where it’s well concealed from the ground view. Its bright coloring and clear song may help you spot it. During the first Bird Atlas there was a probable sighting in the Baraboo Hills.

Where To Bird Around The Inn

  1. Our 42 acres of prairie and woods with three miles of groomed trails
  2. Adjacent to us Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area with access to the Ice Age Trail west to Devil’s Lake State Park.
  3. Two miles from here the Riverland Conservancy Merrimac Preserve’s 1,900 acres of forest, prairie, savanna, wetlands and streams laced with 12.7 miles of trails, including 3.2 miles of Ice Age Trail that connect to Devil’s Lake State Park.
  4. Devil’s Lake Oak Forest and South Bluff/Devil’s Nose State Natural Areas, within Devil’s Lake State Park, are considered one of state’s top 10 birding sites by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. For the nature reports from The Park visit its blog at www.devilslakewisconsin.com.
  5. 20 minutes northeast is Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area (IBA), 16,000 acres adjacent the Aldo Leopold Center along Levee Road, which is Rustic Road 49, and the Wisconsin River. Explore a 2.5-mile trail through 305 acres of oak savanna, wetlands and a dry prairie remnant overlooking the River, critical habitat for grassland birds and sandhill crane staging during migration. Around 40 bird species use this IBA during migration.
  6. Baxter’s Hollow State Natural Area, 30 minutes west of the Inn, offers great birding and spring blooms. It’s an extensive tract of deep forest with a gorge cut through the Baraboo quartzite by Otter Creek, a mountain-like stream. This is prime warbler habitat, attracting birds rarely seen elsewhere in the state, such as worm-eating and hooded warblers, and would be a good spot to look for the yellow-throated warbler. This preserve protected by The Nature Conservancy since the 1960s still seems wild and untouched. The challenging hike in will reward you, or walk along the abutting dead-end road. Watch the weather warming and insect activity to time your visit for warbler watching.
  7. Enjoy a 40-minute scenic drive west of here into the heart of Sauk County where the glaciated landscape meets the driftless for outstanding birding at Natural Bridge State Park and Natural Area, and Honey Creek, Pine Hollow and Hemlock Draw State Natural Areas (SNA). Owned by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy, Honey Creek SNA has hosted as many as 180 bird species, besides 500 native plants. The SNAs don’t have groomed trails, often a primitive footpath and more challenging hiking, but the habitat and discoveries make it worthwhile. Take a map of the SNA and a compass.

Bird By Car

If you’re unable to hike more difficult terrain to see birds, drive Sauk County’s four Rustic Roads. Rustic Road 21—Slotty, Orchard, Schara and Ruff Roads—winds through four SNAs (see #7 above) and offers a lovely, slow drive through scenic working land and protected forests. Slightly east of RR 21 is Baxter’s Hollow State Natural Area, along the dead-end Stone Pocket Road, seven miles west of U.S. Highway 12 (see #6 above).

It’s best to see the Leopold-Pine Island IBA while driving nine miles of RR 49, Levee Road, since most of this area is privately owned. (see #5 above).

For more birding by-car-ideas near the Inn, see the late Harold Kruse’s article and download his birding map.

Birds’ Dawn Chorus

Daybreak is an ideal time to see many birds. They are aflutter refueling themselves after arriving in the night or slumbering. Slip out of our Secret Garden guest room’s private entrance to our enchanted forest early as the first rays of light break the dark to enjoy the awakening birds’ chorus mixing with flowing creek sounds in the moist air and earthy aromas. Then savor Trudy’s fresh breakfast.

April Area Events

April 2: The Great Nature Race at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Meet at the north shore’s Nature Center, five minutes west of the Inn. The weather is warming so spend a day outside on a Great Nature Race! Drop in the Nature Center anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for an adventure across the Park. You’ll need your car for this combination of geocaching, orienteering and scavenger hunt. Bring your GPS or check one out from the Nature Center. Work at your pace to find new places on the property to conquer this challenge! Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

April 2: Fly By Night Sketch Comedy performance at the Northwoods Banquet Hall, N6510 U.S. Hwy 51, two miles south of Portage, Wis., 7:00 p.m. Fresh, funny, original skits and sketchs like Saturday Night Live but with more laughs. 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 about the show and organization at www.nwdswi.org.

April 9: Timberdoodle Watch 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 experience the amazing courtship display of the American woodcock, also known as the timberdoodle. Witness the males’ spiraling flight and song in the stage this prairie remnant creates. Bring a chair, blanket and binoculars, and dress warmly. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

April 9: Bowtime Quintet: Performing Arts Concert Series at the Portage Center For The Arts and Drury Gallery, Portage, 7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. An eclectic group delivers the elegance of a classic ensemble with the grooves and sensibilities of a pop group. For tickets 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.

April 15: International Crane Foundation opens, Baraboo, daily 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., 15 minutes north of the Inn. Learn about the world’s 15 crane species that reside there and the organization’s global conservation programs on a guided tour three times daily on weekends only in April and May. Hike and bird through the restored prairie, wetland, and oak savanna ecosystems. Plan at least two hours. Visit www.savingcranes.org.

April 15: Aldo Leopold Legacy Center opens, Baraboo, Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturdays 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., 20 minutes from the Inn. An educational and interpretive facility in a new, renewable-energy-powered building, near the Leopold shack. A 2.5-mile trail network through 305 acres overlooking the River, critical habitat for grassland birds and sandhill crane staging during migration. Visit www.aldoleopold.org.

April 21: Aldo Leopold And Wisconsin’s Conservation Tradition at the Ruth Culver Community Library, 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 talk about 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, 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, 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. Details and tickets at 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; you may order appetizers, desserts and specialty drinks. Purchase by calling 608-253-4000 or at www.dellspalace.com.

April 23:  Sweet Dreams & Honky Tonks at the CAL Center at 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 with the pedal steel guitar, electric and upright bass, and 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.

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 to listen for spring peepers, and chorus and wood frogs, and  other night sounds. Bring a flashlight. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

April 24: Encore!! Art 2016: Reuse, Recycle, Rethink at the Rock Springs Community Center, 8 miles west of Baraboo, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. A Sauk County Art Association event art created from discarded and unwanted materials. Free admission. Visit www.saukcountyartassociation.com.

April 24: Sauk County Earth Day Celebration Wooden It Be…, at the Rock Springs Community Center, 8 miles west of Baraboo, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Highlighting the Upper Narrows of the Baraboo Range. Exhibits, workshops, guided nature hikes at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. by Ken Lange , music, art, food and more. Free admission and parking. Visit saukcountyearthday.org.

April 28–May 1: Branson On The Road® Dinner Theatre, The Palace Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. A fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, upright slap bass, rhinestone costumes, hilarious comedy and great classic country, bluegrass, rockabilly and gospel music combine into a clean, fun performance that lets you forget your troubles and laugh, the best medicine for a couple of hours. 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; you may order appetizers, desserts and specialty drinks. Purchase by calling 608-253-4000 or at www.dellspalace.com.

April 29: Wine Walk in downtown Portage. Stroll the historic downtown. Tickets $30.00 at the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce Office, 104 W. Cook St., and at 205 Vino Wine Bar and Tapas at 205 DeWitt St. Ticket sales begin March 29 and are limited. Call for availability at 608-742-6242 and learn more here.

April 29: Reedsburg’s Uncorked Wine Walk, downtown Reedsburg, 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Stroll one of the most beautiful, historic downtown Main Streets in Sauk County. Contact the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce for ticket information at 608-524-2850 or reedsburg.org.

April 29: Jimmy Fortune at the River Arts Center in the Sauk Prairie High School, 105 Ninth St., Prairie du Sac, 7:30 p.m. A country-music performer and songwriter previously with the legendary Statler Brothers for 21 years. Tickets $35.00 and $30.00 at www.riverartsinc.org on the home page right side: Other Tickets.

April 29: Lil’ Rev at the Village Booksmith, 526 Oak St., in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 7:30 p.m. He is fascinated with the ukulele and harmonic, which keep him busy teaching across North America. He is a songwriter, instrumentalist and storyteller who interprets American-roots music and culture. Learn more at www.lilrev.com. Come enjoy a house concert of folk, old-time, blues, novelty and original songs. Admission is free. An eclectic, used bookstore with used, new and rare books and more. Fellowship and refreshments. Call 608-355-1001 for more information or visit villagebooksmith.com

April 30: H. H. Bennett Studio opens for its daily season (open Saturdays Jan.–April 29), downtown Wisconsin Dells, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. 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 beginning in 1865 that attracted tourists here by the trainload to marvel at the rugged beauty he uniquely captured in photographs. Learn more at hhbennettstudio.wisconsinhistory.org.

March 7 Sandhill Cranes Return To Wawanissee Point

Monday, March 7, 2016, the sandhill crane pair that nests in the marsh between Tower and Bluff Roads across from the Inn at Wawanissee Point bed and breakfast returned, announcing what we consider spring’s official arrival. Under sunny skies and near 50 degrees at 6:45 a.m., their rattling unison calls echoed in the hills.

  • Hear a sandhill crane unison call here.

    Sandhill cranes courtship dance International Crane Foundation

    You may see the sandhill cranes during their courtship dance in the fields around Wawanissee Point during March and early April.

The cranes are the second migrant to return the bluff, following the robins. Start your birding checklist for 2016. Red-winged blackbirds, turkey vultures, great blue herons (there’s a rookery at Devil’s Lake State Park’s south shore) and killdeer should be next.

Spring Bird Migration March To May

The Baraboo Hill’s is one of the largest Important Bird Areas (IBA) in the Midwest, says the National Audubon Society. The bluffs’ contiguous, mixed hardwood forests host 135 breeding bird species, including important at-risk populations like the cerulean, worm-eating and hooded warblers, which will arrive in May as warming temperatures bring out insects they eat. This area is also an migration important rest stop for birds that will nest farther north.

Fox Passes Through

About the same time as the cranes arrived, we looked out at the pond garden and saw a large fox walk down the driveway and turn into the woods! We don’t see this often but it’s another sign, like the bald eagle feeding along the road last week, that we are nestled amid an ecosystem teeming with wildlife.

  • Come sit by any window or on one of the benches along our three miles of private trails and you’ll likely be treated to pleasant surprises, especially early mornings and at dusk.

Following a warm weekend, and for the next week daytime lows are forecasted at or above freezing and highs in the 50s and more, the shallow frost in the soil is quickly thawing. That means spring peepers could start singing their romantic chorus any day.

March Hiking

Energy reverberates along the trails through the bluffs in March. Warming temps, fading snow, squishy soil, longer daylight and wildlife springing into action. Come discover skunk cabbage—the first of the spring blooms and so unusual. You’ll find it along our spring-fed creek and in the wetter, woodland sections of the four State Natural Areas surrounding the Inn in March.

  • Bring waterproof hiking boots for hiking in March and April.

Book a March retreat here or call us at 608-355-9899.

Devil’s Lake State Park Sightings

For more news of wildlife sightings, Park news and trail updates, visit the blog at www.devilslakewisconsin.com by Derrick Mayoleth local outdoor enthusiast and photographer.

Come Play In The Snow!

2014 driveway front approach sunny new snow  The mild start to winter has been enjoyable, but some of us have been looking longingly at the trails, hills, snowshoes and skis.

Snow play has begun! Monday, Dec. 28, 2015’s storm draped the Baraboo Bluffs in 7 inches of snow, reminding us how beautiful our winter wonderland is. We received as much again Jan. 26 and Feb. 2, 2016!

See the Inn at Wawanissee Point’s Live Valley View Snow Cam at the bottom of our home page.

Snowshoeing Special

Stay with us January 10 through March 31 and receive $50.00 off your stay. Valentine’s Day(s) are not included.

We have weekend vacancies in late February and early March.

Weekdays are available and at a reduced rate.

Conditions are great; come enjoy the last of winter.

Book your Guest Room at our secluded, mini resort.

Call us at 608-355-9899.

Devil’s Head Resort next door is open for downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowboarding; Cascade Mountain 20 minutes northeast of here is open for downhill skiing, tubing and snowboarding; and we’re snowshoeing. Come play in the snow with us!

Bring…

  1. Comfortable, warm winter boots or waterproof hiking boots, and wool socks.
  2. Waterproof snow pants are helpful but not required.
  3. Wicking long underwear of wool, silk or synthetic materials (no cotton), a fleece or wool middle layer and top them with a lightweight windbreaker jacket.
  4. Hat, waterproof mittens or gloves, sunglasses and sunscreen lip balm.
  5. Fanny pack for a water bottle and snack, if your coat pockets aren’t big enough.

See our blog articles below for winter activities around the Inn each weekend.

After playing in the snow…

  • Rejuvenate in our Shiatsu massage chair
  • Warm and cleanse in the sauna
  • Soak in tub together
  • Snuggle by the fireplace in the Secret Garden and Great Room

Late February Final Winter Frolic

The 2015–2016 winter at first has offered limited snow treks due to the strong El Niño weather pattern. While in early January it’s difficult to predict, as a rule the end of February is often the last opportunity to snowshoe and winter hike, and ski and snowboard. By then the deep cold has passed and the sun shines longer each day, helping to root out the winter blahs.

Check our snow status at the Inn at Wawanissee Point’s Live Valley View Snow Cam at the bottom of our home page.

Why we love winter hiking (or snow walking when nature cooperates):

  1. Follow… critter tracks to discover for rabbit holes, deer beds and sheds, and squirrel caches.
  2. Listen… to woodpeckers drumming (they don’t sing like other birds) and cedar waxwings peeping as they devour the last berries, and at dusk or after dark owls and coyotes, maybe a fox calling for mates. The calls of wildlife entranced with courtship begin in late January, and the birds’ spring chorus often in February.
  3. Watch… for snow birds arriving from further north like pine siskins and red polls.
  4. See… the natural artistic architecture from a new dimension, where bare branches and the white backdrop highlight the landscape, color and texture unique to winter.
  5. Let…yourself get lost in hush of nature’s serenity.

snow creek

Guests may use our complimentary Redfeather Snowshoes.

Last-chance Full Moon Shoeing

About five days before and after the Feb. 22, 2016 Snow Full Moon is your last chance this year to glide shimmering diamond-snow trails by moonlight. It’s a breathtaking, peaceful experience like no other that you should try at least once.

In the evenings enjoy musical and theatre performances nearby, or slip into seclusion with your sweetie to enjoy the Inn’s soaking tubs, sauna, fireplaces and massage chair. A little pampering to rejuvenate after snow treks.

The Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park will host a Candlelight Snowshoe And Hike Feb. 20, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., in Baraboo, Wis., five minutes west of the Inn. Enjoy a self-guided snowshoe or hike through the Park along a new and longer route this year. Then warm by the campfire and make some s’mores.

Meet at the north shore’s Rock Elm Shelter. Dress for any weather, the fun will commence regardless of rain, snow or sun. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions. Get your 2016 Wisconsin State Parks annual admission sticker or a daily pass at the Park entrance or beforehand here.

Besides exploring our 42 acres and three miles of private trails, find more suggestions for skiing cross-country and downhill, snowboarding, sledding and snowshoeing in other blog articles recently posted before and after this one.

Select your favorite guest room HERE,
then call us at 608-355-9899 to reserve to enjoy our Snowshoe Special.

Events Nearby

Feb. 19–21: Reedsburg Players Inc. presents Little Nell-A Melodrama at the CAL Center, 1100 South Albert Ave./south- US Hwy. 23, adjacent the Reedsburg Area High School, Reedsburg, Wis., 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:00 p.m. Sunday. For details and tickets visit www.reedsburgplayers.org.

Feb. 20: Candlelight Snowshoe at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Enjoy a self-guided snowshoe or hike through the Park along a new and longer route this year, and then warm by the campfire and make s’mores with the Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park. More details above.

Feb. 20: Al. Ringling Theatre Gala Reopening, 136 Fourth Ave., in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, Baraboo, 8:00 p.m. Help celebrate the 100-year-old, magnificently restored theatre acclaimed America’s Prettiest Playhouse, coinciding with Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday by welcoming Frank Cinatra Jr. for Sinatra Sings Sinatra. Details forthcoming or at www.alringling.com or by calling 608-356-8864.

Feb. 21: Food Patriots Screening at the Al. Ringling Theatre, America’s Prettiest Playhouse newly restored in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 136 Fourth Ave., 3:00 p.m. Join us to watch this documentary about food safety in the United States and then a talk-back with the filmmakers. Co-sponsored by Baraboo Public Library, the Al. Ringling Theatre and the Bradshaw-Knight Foundation. Admission is free. Learn about the Theatre built in 1915 at www.alringling.com.

Feb. 22: Snow Full Moon American Indians called this the snow full moon because the heaviest snows usually fell during this time of the year. Since the harsh weather made hunting difficult, some tribes called the Full Hunger Moon.

Feb. 23: The Art of the A.R.T. at the Al. Ringling Theatre, America’s Prettiest Playhouse newly restored in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 136 Fourth Ave., 7:00 p.m. From Florence to France, artistic and architectural inspiration for America’s Prettiest Playhouse including the hand-painted murals, plaster reliefs and the Theatre’s Eureopean design. A presentation by the Sauk County Historical Society to honor the Theatre’s newly unveiled renovations. Admission is free. Learn about the Theatre built in 1915 at www.alringling.com.

Feb. 24: Masters of Grandeur at the Al. Ringling Theatre, America’s Prettiest Playhouse newly restored in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 136 Fourth Ave., 7:00 p.m. A presentation by the Sauk County Historical Society to honor the Theatre’s newly unveiled renovations about the early works of the theatre’s architects George and Cornelius Rapp who later designed more than 300 theatres in the United States. Learn about theatres before the Al. Ringling and how Ringling’s bottomless checkbook allowed the Rapp brothers to design a work that took their careers to new heights. Admission is free. Learn about the Theatre built in 1915 at www.alringling.com.

Feb. 26: Reedsburg’s Frosty Fest, various events throughout Reedsburg, 40 minutes from the Inn, for everyone to shake the winter blues. Outdoor recreation and games, and the signature event, Buttertown Showdown, Reedsburg’s game show extraordinaire, think of Family Feud strategy, Minute To Win It contests and Let’s Make a Deal costumes! See a full schedule of events here. Call the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce at 800-844-3507 with questions or visit reedsburg.org.

Feb. 26: Dorf Haus Supper Club’s Lenten Season Roast Turtle: A 30-year tradition, served Fridays during Lent. 24 minutes south of the Inn, 8931 County Y, Roxbury, Wis., 608-643-3938. Nestled in a quaint German village this ethnically decorated Wisconsin supper club features authentic German and American specialties. Learn more here.

Feb. 26: The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) Rhapsodie Quartet at the River Arts Center in the Sauk Prairie High School, 105 Ninth St., Prairie du Sac, 7:00 p.m. Some of the Orchestra’s brightest stars create a resident string ensembl of the MSO’s award-winning HeartStrings Community Engagement Program. This fusion of talent, passion and heart in their performances is a music-therapy-informed program grounded in the belief that music touches people on a fundamental level regardless of age or level of functioning, and helps all people but especially those with disabilities, assited-living needs, long-term illnesses and dementia. Tickets $15.00 and more details at www.riverartsinc.org.

Feb. 26: Tartan Terrors at the CAL Center Presents, 1100 South Albert Ave./south- US Hwy. 23, adjacent the Reedsburg Area High School, Reedsburg, Wis., 7:00 pm. A premier Celtic event, the Tartan Terrors have brought its unique blend of Celtic music, comedy and dance to standing-room audiences at the Dublin Irish Festival, the Newport Irish Festival, Chicago Irish Festival and theatres throughout North America. Good Morning America featured this group. Be ready to clap, stomp your feet and laugh until your sides hurt when this Celtic extravaganza hits the stage with a hilarious, kilted vengeance. Tickets $20.00 at tickets calcenterpresents.org. Call 608-985-7307 with questions.

Feb. 27: Frozen Paddle at Lake Columbia along the Wisconsin River south of Portage, Wis., on Hwy V, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. The Columbia Energy Center power plant heats the water to 68 degrees F and more. Join us for an unusual winter paddle and lunch at the Cactus Club in downtown Portage at 12:00 p.m. Hosts Steve and Jackie Dykstra and Fred Galley. Questions e-mail [email protected]

Feb. 27: Finding Bigfoot At Night at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Meet at the north shore’s Visitor Center, five minutes west of the Inn. Go on an adventure to see if Bigfoot can be found in the bluffs at the Park. We’ll use detetctive skills to determine which signs and tracks are from other night creates and which may be Bigfoot’s. This is for kids of all ages! Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.

Feb. 29: Winter Words at American Players Theatre season, 7:00 p.m. A public play-reading series in the APT’s indoor Touchstone Theatre. Tonight’s performance: Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka. An African community is thrown into chaos when an age-old custom of ritual suicide by the king’s horseman upon his master’s death is outlawed by the British colonialists. 
“…a rich turbulent piece, which starts as folk comedy and ends as Greek tragedy”
– The Guardian. From the Inn at Wawanissee Point, APT is scenic 50-minute (38-mile) drive along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. Tickets $15.00 at americanplayers.org.

Trail Background