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We’re back with the last drawing of the week (more next week!) with two getaways: Sundara Inn & Spa in Wisconsin Dells and American Lodge & Suites Madison South.

All subscribers to the WisconsINN Getaways monthly e-mail newsletter are automatically entered to win (you only need to sign up once!) so make sure you’re on the list. Bonus entries go to anyone who comments on our blog questions of the day below, with winners picked around 4 pm CST.

Day 8 Question: Yesterday we asked about the best gift you ever got (the story about Mom making Dad give the puppy back crushed my soul a little) and today we want to know what was the best, most exciting or meaningful gift you ever GAVE. Bonus giveaway entries to all who comment before 4 pm!

Good luck!

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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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By Pamela Haase
Whenever a holiday rolls around there are always many fun, safe family events around Wisconsin and – if you celebrate it – Easter is no exception! Check out the following:

Wednesday, March 31 – Saturday, April 3
Teacher Place & Parent Resources, Burlington
Activities: Five different & unusual techniques to dye eggs: “classic, modern & awesome styles!” See website for times available.
Cost: $3 per person, children must be accompanied by a paying adult

Friday, April 2 – Saturday, April 3
Apple Holler Restaurant & Playhouse, Sturtevant
Big Bunny Weekend Celebration
Activities: Storytelling, hay wagon ride through the orchard, games, prizes, Big Bunny visit, pony rides, egg hunt
Cost: $7 per person

Friday, April 2nd
Branded at The Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee
Adults Only Easter Egg Hunt
Activities: Search for eggs filled with grown-up prizes such as free drinks, also serving Pink Peep Martinis all weekend

Saturday, April 3rd
Milwaukee County Zoo
Egg Day
Activities: Scavenger hunt, face painting, arts & crafts, Easter parade

Children’s Museum of La Crosse
Easter EGG-Stravaganza
Activities: “Egg hunt, games, crafts and more. Pre-registration and pre-payment required.
Cost: $5 per child (members), $7 per child (non-members) Adults free

Easter Hat Parade 2010, Madison
Activities: Hat-making workshop, parade for kids & adults around the Capitol Square & live baby animals
Workshop begins at 10:00 am, parade at Noon

Boulder Junction Winter Park
Easter Cache Hunt
Activities: Introduction to geocaching, hunt for 12 caches, complimentary lunch to participants, wagon rides, prizes

Saturday, April 3 – Sunday, April 4
The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake
Activities: Meet the Easter Bunny, egg hunt and workshops, Sunday brunch buffet

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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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Yep, half way through winter in Wisconsin & there’s still plenty of festival fun to be had…

February 19-21
Madison Winter Festival
Family fun from tubing to snowshoeing, ice carving and snow sculpting, plus running, walking, biking and more all around Madison’s Capitol Square.

February 20th
Chilly Fest, Menomonie Falls
Includes Chili cook-off and ice carving contests, food, games & live entertainment at Mill Pond Park.

2010 Freeze Fest, Whitewater
Rise and shine with a pancake breakfast by the Kiwanis, then head out for a carriage ride or family skating time and much more! Freeze Fest is also one of the three Polar Plunge events this weekend in Wisconsin (see below for more).

Mardi Gras Festival, Wausau
Food & drink specials plus fun family events at Granite Peak Ski Hill.

February 20-21
Klondike Days, Eagle River
Head to Eagle River for a full weekend of family fun including snowshoe races, lumberjack competitions, plus a winter rendezvous encampment. Be sure to also check out the traditional Ojibwe dances by the Waswagoning Dance Theatre.

February 20thPolar Plunge for Special Olympics
In addition to the Polar Plunge during Freeze Fest in Whitewater, brave souls will also be raising money and making the plunge in Madison & Oshkosh on February 20th. To learn more & check for Plunge dates/ locations near you, visit the Special Olympics website.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ2GfBgSIyo]

As always, head on over to WisconsinLodging.info and start planning your Wisconsin winter getaway!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve shared some of Wisconsin’s fun festivals and celebrations with you, so check out this list below of five great ways to enjoy January in Wisconsin…

January 22-24
Waukesha JanBoree, Waukesha
With many fun indoor and outdoor events across Waukesha, you’re sure to find something for everyone in your family! Click on over to their site to learn more about the Frosty 5K Run/Walk, downtown’s Ice Sculpting Contest, the AMCW Dog Pull and more.

Flake Out Festival, Wisconsin Dells
With “Wisconsin’s only state-sanctioned snow sculpting competition“, sleigh rides, tubing, ice maze and more, you’re sure to find lots of ways to enjoy the great Wisconsin winter outdoors. When it’s time to warm up, stop in to the Art & Craft Fair or the Kid’s Craft Corner.

SchneeFest 2010, Elkhart Lake
Why search for a needle in a haystack when you can head to SchneeFest for an ice cube hunt! With dog sled demonstrations, snow sculpting and a chili cook-off contest, there’s lots of fun to be had!

January 23rd
Owl Prowl, Bong State Recreation Area
Learn more about owls & why they’re such good nocturnal hunters, but dress warm! This event runs from 8:30-10:00 pm.

Polar Dash/ Tropic Bash,  Madison
Kids have cabin fever? Head over to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens and this fun family event for some outdoor fun & competition. Then head inside for snacks, hot drinks and a walk through the Conservatory.

Still can’t get enough great winter sports? Mark your calendars for the 2010 Badger State Winter Games, beginning January 29th in Wausau. Click here to see the full line up of scheduled events.

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Sheraton Madison Hotel

12 Days of Getaways - Day 2:
Congratulations to Dotti P. from Wisconsin Rapids! Dotti is the second winner in the 12 Days of Getaways contest. Dotti will receive a free night getaway to the Sheraton Madison Hotel in Madison, WI.

Still not entered? What are you waiting for?

Get on the list by simply signing up here. Every month, you’ll receive an email with up to 10 special deals or packages for amazing places to stay in Wisconsin & each month you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free stay PLUS you’ll be entered for a chance to win each of the remaining 12 Days of Getaways.

Fine print: Wisconsin Innkeepers Association employees & family not eligible- SORRY! Also, no purchase necessary to win, but must be 18 years or older. Odds of winning are based on number of entries, 12 total giveaways will be awarded. Winners will be notified by phone.

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Congratulations to Andrew F. from North Freedom, WI!  Andrew is the winner of the November WisconsINN Getaways free night give-away at the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace in Madison.Hilton Madison Monona Terrace

If you’re interested in being entered to win a different free night each month, simply sign up for the WisconsINN Getaways monthly e-newsletter. Every month, you’ll receive an email with up to 10 special deals or packages for amazing places to stay in Wisconsin & each month you’ll be entered for another chance to win a free stay.

Upcoming giveaways include:
* Brookfield Suites Hotel (Brookfield)

Click over to the WisconsINN Getaways newsletter to sign up today and again, Congratulations to Andrew!

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PointeHotelCongratulations to Steve C from Oregon, WI!  Steve is the winner of the October WisconsINN Getaways free night give-away at The Pointe Hotel & Suites in Minocqua .

If you’re interested in being entered to win a different free night each month, simply sign up for the WisconsINN Getaways monthly e-newsletter. Every month, you’ll receive an email with up to 10 special deals or packages for amazing places to stay in Wisconsin & each month you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free stay.

Upcoming giveaways include:
* Hilton Madison Monona Terrace (Madison)

Click over to the WisconsINN Getaways newsletter to sign up today and again, Congratulations to Steve!

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FlickrPhoto-By-SkedonkIt’s a sunny, beautiful Friday afternoon here in southeast Wisconsin!  Kids are back in school, the Packers start their regular season on Sunday, and the leaves have just begun to show their fall colors…  What better way is there to enjoy the goodness that is fall in Wisconsin than with samplings, tastings or tours of some of Wisconsin’s finest breweries and wineries?

Four to hit this weekend:

  1. September 12: Fall Harvest Fest, Parallel 44 Winery, Kewaunee
  2. September 11-13: Lake Geneva Wine Festival
  3. September 13-19: Milwaukee Beer Week
  4. September 12-13: 4th Annual Fall Festival, Autumn Harvest Winery, Chippewa Falls

On the Horizon: September 19-20

Plus more Brewery Tours:

  1. Taster’s Tour at Minhas Craft Brewery, Monroe
  2. New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus
  3. Point Brewery, Stevens Point
  4. Capital Brewery, Madison
  5. The Leinie’s Tour at Leinenkugels Brewery, Chippewa Falls

Raise a toast to Wisconsin this fall! (As always, please enjoy responsibly.)  What are your favorite beer or wine tours in Wisconsin?

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