Wisconsin Travel

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Congratulations to Jane and Chris, winners of a free night of lodging at The Ashbrooke in Door County and the Ramada Plaza Hotel & Waterpark in Green Bay!

We’ve got three giveaways for today, plus a huge last day of FIVE amazing getaways for Friday, including a $250 Best Western gift card!

Here’s today’s challenge: what was the best Wisconsin meal you ever had? Was it breakfast at a quaint B&B? Steak dinner in the city? Did you make it yourself? What made the meal so memorable?

Three winners will be picked at random to win one of three overnights: Spring Brook Vacation Rentals in Wisconsin Dells, a couples-only retreatat Percheron Paradise Romantic Hideaway in La Crosse or a stay at the Landing Resort in Door County.

This contest will close TODAY at 4:30 pm CDT, so comment early and tell your friends!

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Stay Longer weekend giveaways, Round Three!

We want to hear about your favorite Wisconsin Festival! State Fair, Summerfest, Cranberry Fest – they’re all fair game! What festival do you make sure to hit every year and what makes it un-missable?

We’ll pick two winners at random for today’s drawings. Giveaways are a night at The Ashbrooke in Door County and Ramada Plaza Hotel & Waterpark in Green Bay. Comments will close this evening at 10 pm CDT with a winner announced tonight!

Happy commenting!

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Heading to Lake Geneva during Stay Longer Weekend? There’s plenty of family fun to keep you busy your entire stay.

Lake Geneva May Days: on Saturday, May 15 from 11am – 4pm downtown Lake Geneva will be buzzing with the sights and smells of spring. Outdoor kiosks will be selling fresh flowers and garden items all over the downtown area and 25 retailers will be featuring in-store specials and all-day giveaways. Spend $20 at participating retailers and get a free herb plant!
Downtown Lake Geneva  |  262/344-3951  |  May 15, 11 am – 4 pm  |  more information

Old World Wisconsin Barn Dance: Put on your dancing shoes and head over to Old World Wisconsin in Eagle for an after-hours dance in the Clausing Barn. This event was so popular last year that three dances were added for 2010!
S103 W37890 Hwy. 67, Eagle  |  262/594-6301  |  May 15, 6-9 pm  |  more information

See the sights from the water with a Lake Geneva Boat Cruise: the beaches may  not open until Memorial Day, but you can still check out Lake Geneva from the water on a boat cruise. Choose from a variety of cruise types, all with in-depth historical narration about the many estates and mansions that line the shores of the lake.
812 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva  |  800/558-5911  |  more information

Learn more about these and other events at the Lake Geneva Area Convention and Visitors Bureau!

Get a free night of lodging (May 13 or 16) when you book two nights May 14-15 at one of these great Lake Geneva locations: Bella Vista Suites, General Boyd’s B&B, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa and Lake Geneva Motel.

A stop in Madison during Stay Longer Weekend will keep you busy! Check out some of the sights:

Capital Brewery Tour: learn about beer-making and see first-hand how the award-winning beverages at Capital Brewery are made! Make your reservations online, as weekend tours can fill mid-week.
7734 Terrace Avenue, Middleton  |  608/836-7100  |  $3 age 21+, free under 21 with parent  |  more information

Cave of the Mounds: take a guided tour of this underground cavern that began forming more than 1 million years ago! Inside you’ll be amazed by the crystal formations and the steady 50 degree temperature all year round.
2975 Cave of the Mounds Road, Blue Mounds  |  608/437-3038  | 10 am – 4 pm weekdays, 9 am – 5 pm weekends  |  more information

Dane County Farmers Market on the Square: with more than 150 vendors, it’s the largest producer-only farmers’s market in the country. All items are produced or grown by the vendors behind the tables!
Capital Square, Madison  |  608/455-1999  |  Saturdays, 6 am – 2 pm  |  more information

Check out the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau for info on these and many other great events and attractions!

Book your Stay Longer weekend at one of the great participating Madison properties: AmericInn Madison West, Best Western West Towne Suites, Cambria Suites, Comfort Inn & Suites Airport, Crowne Plaza Madison, Hilton Madison, Sheraton Madison, Staybridge Suites Madison East and Staybridge Suites Middleton.

Congratulations to Diane and Lisa, randomly-drawn winners of a free night of lodging at Bella Vista Suites in Lake Geneva and Crowne Plaza Madison!

We’ve got plenty more prizes to giveaway this week, so keep reading if you didn’t win!

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Today on the second day of National Tourism Week, we’ve got a double giveaway! We want to hear about your favorite Wisconsin summer vacation memories. Family getaways, road trips, Northwoods camping – what was the greatest Wisconsin summer of your life?

We’ll pick two comments at random to win a night at the Crowne Plaza Madison or a night at Bella Vista Suites in Lake Geneva. Be sure to comment on this blog post to be eligible to win!

Comments will be closed at 10 p.m. CDT and the winners will be announced Wednesday morning with great things to do in Lake Geneva and Madison during Stay Longer weekend.

Don’t forget to check the @TravelinginWI Twitter for two more giveaways today! Tweet “It’s Tourism Week” and you could win a stay at the AmericInn Beaver Dam in a king whirlpool suite.  Include-Follow @TravelingInWI by 12amCST. Also, Tweet about your favorite tourist place in Milwaukee – include/follow @TravelingInWI and you could win free night at MainStay Suites Milwaukee.

Good luck!

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Have you booked your Stay Longer weekend yet? Participating Wisconsin lodging properties want to give you an extra night (Thursday, May 13 or Sunday, May 16) when you book two nights of lodging May 14-15. See all participating properties here!

So what is there to do in Wisconsin during Stay Longer weekend and National Tourism week? In part 1 of our series, we’ll focus on the Wisconsin Dells area.

State Parks
Devil’s Lake State Park: just outside of Wisconsin Dells in Baraboo,
Devil’s Lake State Park boasts 500 foot cliffs, miles of hiking trails, two sandy beaches and miles of mountain bike trails. Check out the park for a full day of outdoor exploring.
S5975 Park Road, Baraboo  |  608/356-8301  |  wisparks.com |
admission: $7-10 per day, open all year

Mirror Lake State Park: take a quick ride to this park, just three miles outside of the Dells. Here you’ll find sandstone bluffs, fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, picnic areas, boat landing area, biking and hiking.
E10320 Fern Dell Road, Wisconsin Dells  |  608/254-2333  |  wisparks.com |  admission: $3-10 per day, open all year

Golf
Cold Water Canyon Golf Course at Chula Vista Resort: features 18 holes of golf, full service driving range; PGA instruction available. Located on the Chula Vista Resort property.
Hwy. 13 N  |  608/254-8489  |  chulavistaresort.com |  rates start at $49, subject to change – call for details

Photography
H.H. Bennet Studio Tour: tour the circa 1875 photography tour of the landscape photographer who “made Wisconsin Dells famous,” featuring 6,000 square feet of interactive exhibits.
215 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells  |  608/253-3523  |  hhbennetstudio.org |  admission: $3.50-7

Get your own old time photo!
Old Abe’s  |  217 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells  |  608/254-5663  |  oldabes.com
Professor Porter  |  112 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells  |  608/253-7533

Movies
Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater: take a trip back in time at the
drive-in! Big Sky features two screens showing a double feature every
night of the week. Snack bar available, opens at 8 p.m.
Hwy. 16E, Wisconsin Dells  |  608/254-8025  |  bigskydrivein.com |
admission: $5-8, open: May 14-15

Congratulations to… Clare Kuhnen, winner of a free night of lodging at Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells, plus four free waterpark passes!!

Didn’t win? You can still get a free night of lodging (May 13 or 16) at the following Wisconsin Dells-area properties when you book two nights May 14-15:
The Atlantis Hotel, Birchcliff Resort, Chula Vista Resort, Delton Oaks Resort on Lake Delton, Fox Hill RV Park & Campground, Great Wolf Lodge, Meadowbrook Resort and Spring Brook Vacation Homes & Cabins

We’ve got a whole week of giveaways planned! Check back tomorrow for drawings from MainStay Suites Milwaukee, AmericInn Green Bay East and Crowne Plaza Madison!

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Waterslides, lazy rivers, wave pools, hot tubs – what makes a great Wisconsin waterpark? Tell us about your favorite waterpark and what makes it so awesome, and you’ll be entered to win a free night of lodging and four waterpark passes at Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells!

One winner will be chosen at random! Please be sure to leave your e-mail address or a phone number so we can contact you. Today’s contest closes today, Monday, May 10 at 4:30 p.m. CDT. Check back before 5:00 to see if you’re the winner!

We’re giving away more than 30 nights of lodging this week in celebration of National Tourism Week. Follow us on Twitter for multiple giveaways each day @TravelinginWI and check our Facebook page for more chances to win! Today’s Twitter giveaways include the Best Western Midway Hotel Brookfield and Cambria Suites Madison. Good luck!

For a contest rules and a complete list of giveaways, click here.

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Want to Stay Longer at nearly 100 properties in Wisconsin next weekend? Get a free night (Thursday or Sunday) when you book two nights May 14-16 in celebration of National Tourism Week. Properties range from Northwoods cabins and Door County B&Bs to urban hotels and waterparks! A full list of participating properties can be found here.

Keep staying longer all summer – we’re also giving away more than 30 free nights of lodging all week, starting Monday. Watch for the first set of details posted here Monday morning and follow us on Twitter @TravelinginWI. We’ll have a bunch of giveaways each day, so check back all week!

For a complete list of giveaways and contest rules, click here.

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Wow! It’s hard to believe that Things to Do & Places to Stay in Wisconsin has officially been up and active as a Wisconsin traveler blog for a full year now!

We kicked off last March with a very short post on Pet Friendly WI Vacations and thought it would be appropriate to circle back around and do it again, with more info, some great pet stories from our members & even a couple of pics of our own pets…

When Olive strikes a pose, Michelle, our guru of all things printed, posted or published, is always willing to snap a quick pic!

Also in 2009, WisconsinLodging.info was featured in a story on Pet Friendly Vacations in Wisconsin in Fetch magazine. Check out the story, including how Judy at  The Edgewater hotel in Madison will even do a little pet-sitting in her office when needed! You can find well over 350 Wisconsin properties that all welcome “pets with prior approval” when you search at WisconsinLodging.info including some of these great escapes:

Lake Delton/ Wisconsin Dells:
If your dog loves to splash and swim, Delton Oaks Lodge on Lake Delton is sure to be a hit. Dogs are allowed to swim in the lake and play on their beach. Fido may even find a new friend as, during a normal summer, they have about a dozen pets at the resort each day.

Door County:
Beach-loving dogs will also want to try out the Beachfront Inn in Bailey’s Harbor… Fido will find a treat bag in the room upon his arrival and all dogs are welcome on the beach and water area off leash to run and have fun.  Finally, be sure to ask at the front desk, as the Inn has been known to even find a dog-sitter for guests who wish to have a night out without their pet.

The lovable Homer enjoys traveling all across Wisconsin with Bill, our membership & revenue wizard.

Northwoods, Boulder Junction:
If a cabin in the woods is more your style, check out Evergreen Lodge on Little Crooked Lake. Whether you’re hiking the trails, trying your hand at fishing, or simply relaxing on the beach, there are plenty of ways for both you and Fido to enjoy your vacation in the Northern Highland State Forest.

Please be Courteous
Planning on taking Fido on your next escape? Remember to contact your destination prior to your stay to discuss their pet policies and please, never try to ‘sneak’ your pet into a property! Hoteliers and innkeepers want to ensure the safety and comfort of ALL their guests, so when you and Fido leave at the end of your stay, typically your entire room will be stripped, steamed, scrubbed and cleaned to remove all traces of pet dander. This protects future guests who may have allergies or pet sensitivities.

You just never know…
Those of us who have tried (see Fetch article mentioned above) to travel with our pooches know that funny, crazy, weird things can happen…

Phillip from the Sunrise Lodge in Land O’ Lakes shared this story with us recently:  Once, a “guest brought their expectant dog, she was not due for another week. He went out fishing for the day, returned to find….. Mommie had removed pillows from our NEW sofa, dug out the stuffing to make a nest and gave birth to four puppies.” (At least Mom had good taste!)

He's not much of a traveler, but he's all ours & we love him!

Beth from the Super 8 in Portage told us “We once had a guest who left their Houdini-German Shepherd in the room. Despite not being allowed to leave the pet unattended, they did – and the dog kept opening the door and coming out, even after multiple attempts to keep him in! We put a baby gate on the door, as well as the guest tried to put a heavy chair blocking the door as they left – he still got out every time.

So, care to share your pet-travel stories with us?

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By Michelle Eigenberger
The digital issue of the 2010 Wisconsin Lodging Directory is now ready to view online! Flip through the pages like a regular magazine! Click the ads to be taken directly to advertisers’ Web sites! We’re very excited about this digital upgrade to this year’s publication.

Visit the wisconsinlodging.info homepage and click the image of the Lodging Directory cover to be taken right to the digital edition. Click around and let us know what you like! Feel free to report any bugs or broken links as well. Have you used the Wisconsin Lodging Directory to plan a trip, weekend getaway or stay-cation? Let us know, we’d love to hear about it!

The pdf version of the directory can still be downloaded, just click the link below the image of the cover.

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With Halloween just around the corner, many families are seeking fun, safe, and affordable ways to get in the spirit and celebrate. Here are a few to get you started:

FlickrImage_by_ecstaticist
Fridays & Saturdays in October:
Zoo BooNew Zoo, Green Bay
Cost: Zoo Admission: advanced tickets $8, at the gate $10, 1 & Under are free
Begins: 3 p.m.
Features: Inflatable fun, games, horse-drawn haunted wagon through ‘Freaky Forest’, dancing with live D.J.

October 17:
BooFestWisconsin Ave. & Commercial St, Neenah
Cost: Free
Begins: 9 a.m.
Events: Pumpkin carving, scarecrow stuffing, pumpkin recipe contest & trick-or-treating

Zoo BooWildwood Wildlife Park, Minocqua
Cost: Under 12 free with non-perishable food donation, over 12: $7 admission at door
Begins: 1 p.m.
Events: Costume contest, fun activities & trick-or-treating

October 23:
Spooka MinookaMinooka Park, Waukesha
Cost: $10 per car (some activities have additional fees)
Begins: 5:30 -9:00 p.m. for kids 6-12 (Haunted Barn Encore for older kids 10/24)
Events: Haunted trail ride, ‘Spookagraphs’, crafts, cookie decorating, campfire & Haunted Barn

October 24:
Halloween FestPrairie Springs Park, Pleasant Prairie
Cost: Free (some events may have additional charges)
Begins: 4 p.m.
Events: Costume contest, camp fire, pumpkin painting, scavenger hunt, “feel factor” for kids, hayrides

October 23-24:
Candlelight Cave ToursLedge View Nature Center, Chilton
Cost: $5 per person
Begins: 5:30 Friday, 4:30 Saturday
More Info: Use stairs & ladders to descend into the caves led by costumed guides, dress in layers!

As always, check out WisconsinLodging.info for great places to stay, then hit the road for some fun (& not-so-spooky) fall adventures!
Thanks Pamela for all your help with these!

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