The Fox Cities are a collection of cities, villages and towns along the Fox River, which resides in Northeastern Wisconsin.   I know, it doesn’t seem like thrilling stuff, basically, they’re towns along a slow moving river.  Yet, when you unearth the stories of these communities and the legacies their former inhabitants left behind, its pretty cool subject matter.  I mean, this area was first unveiled by French explorers almost four hundred years ago.  While the towns are not that old, it’s nice to fancy what the explorers saw in contrast to what you find today.  Did they know they were paving the way for a metropolitan area that would champion art, history, education and first and foremost, family?  I think they would have been pretty proud they ignited the immigration to this collection of municipalities.

With that said, I put together a list of places, in these communities, I especially like.  There’s tributes to famous and infamous residents, there’s interesting symbols of  heritage and there’s even a curious tribute to industry.  Of course, there is a ton more than I will mention, like the PAC and the Wisconsin International Raceway, but here’s a few Ideas for visitors to this portion of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

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In Northeast Wisconsin, professional sports are fairly limited.  Among some choices are the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, a junior hockey team known as the Green Bay Gamblers or if you’re in Appleton, minor league baseball.  The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are a minor league affiliate for the Milwaukee Brewers, so if you love the Brewers you could possibly see a future star cutting his teeth on the lower rungs of the ladder. It’s not too early to buy a Christmas package and put tickets into a young baseball lover’s stocking.

Click here to learn about our June experience.

Minor League Entertainment in Appleton

 

History Museum at the Castle.

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Appleton has had some rather unique individuals call this city, the largest of the Fox Cities, home.   One, if your into Red Scare politics of the 1950’s, would be senator Joe McCarthy.  His bust is permanently on display among the halls of what was once a Masonic Temple.  Also, and probably more noteworthy, the famous escape artist and illusionist Harry Houdini once called Appleton home.  Most of the upper level is full of fun artifacts, interactive exhibits and information you probably didn’t know about this enigmatic character.

I’ve included two blogs about the castle.  The first entry is simply an overview of my first visit.   The second is about the current exhibit that has found a home in the museum.

History Museum at the Castle-Mystery and lore

An Excellent Guitar Exhibit in Appleton

 

The Grignon Mansion

It’s approaching Christmas time.  So, I’ll throw in a fun place to visit during the holidays.  The Grignon Mansion offers a tour of the Charles Grignon home, which was known as the Mansion in the Woods, complete with musicians playing Victorian instruments to set the mood.  If you top it off with a carriage ride, hot chocolate and crafts, it turns out to be a festive Victorian endeavor.

Christmas at the Grignon Mansion.

 

An Authentic Dutch Windmill.

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Little Chute Wisconsin, despite the half English half French name, is actually originally a Dutch settlement.  To celebrate it’s history, some daring souls erected an authentic old world windmill right on Main Street.  It can actually grind wheat into flour, as it harkens back to the technology of the 1850’s in Holland.  Even if it has been constructed by the finest Dutch craftsman, who have been in the industry for generations, the windmill is practically brand new.  To see something that unique, rising towards the sky, in a quaint Midwestern town is actually a welcomed oddity.

Read this to get a better picture of what you might see.

The Ultimate Symbol of Dutch Heritage in Little Chute, Wisconsin

The Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass

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I remember discovering this place.  Glass seemed like such an ordinary thing that it struck me as peculiar.  Yet, when I walked in this museum’s fashionable halls, which once played home to Mrs. Evangeline Bergstrom, I couldn’t help but be stunned by her collection.  The museum has added exhibits after her passing, finding colored and shaped pieces that can blow the mind. Some of the older glassworks in this free institution have survived centuries and originated in different continents.  I can’t say how incredible that seems to me. I find I can’t make a dish set last ten years in my own house.

Read this for a detailed tour.

My Wanderings in a Glass Museum

The Hearthstone Historic House Museum

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This is a Victorian mansion with a twist.  It was the first home to have been lighted by hydro-electric power.  That novelty, coupled with interesting tales, make this a delightful tour.  Its a standard Victorian home for someone with means, complete with a scullery and servants quarters.  In the basement, there is an interactive demonstration on hydroelectric  power.

This link will tell you all about it.

Appleton’s Hearthstone Historical House Museum-the Victorian age ‘house of the future’

Bubolz Nature Preserve

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In Wisconsin, we’ve had snowfall totals that smashed any previous record for the month of November.  Still, we can’t do much with it.  Being fall,  accumulations melt due to above freezing temps before the next 1-3″ falls to the ground. That being said, I feel that we’re in for some white wintry weather in the upcoming months.  So, I thought I’d make a suggestion for an outdoor recreational area that mixes modern and rustic fashionably well.  What I like about this lodge, versus others, is that they rent cross country skis.  Good luck finding another place that can say that!

Snowshoeing is also in the mix!  You click on this link to read about our very cold day of traditional Cross Country Skiing.

Skiing the Bubolz Nature Preserve

Wiess Earth Science Museum

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This museum is full of fun rocks, minerals and fossils.  It’s tiny, but the admission price is so cheap that it might as well be free.  What’s great about this place is that if you have a young Dinosaur lover, they’ll think it’s pretty cool.  There is a giant skull of a T-Rex and dinosaur eggs in this little spot…you could tell them they’re about to hatch any moment!

To read a general overview, click this link

Weiss Earth Science Museum

 

And that’s my recap for the Fox Cities.  Again, there’s tons to do in the area.  So don’t limit yourself to my suggestions alone.  I also have blogs on bars and restaurants in the vicinity.  So, if you’re looking for other suggestions go to karasexplore.com.

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Here’s some great drinking and dining options for you to try also!

Hanging Out at the ‘Stone Arch Brew Pub’

A Couple of Cozy Spots for a Brew and Some Eats

 

Safe Travels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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