Camping At Willow River

Sometimes in this crazy life it is nice to just get away from the buzz of businesses and city noise and retreat into nature. I make a habit of taking vacations that incorporate outdoor activities into my schedule, because these activities help me reset and decompress. If you like camping, there are a ton of great places to choose from. I tend to enjoy state parks more than your packed in party campgrounds, because they give you more seclusion, less noise, and more nature.

This past weekend my family took a trip to Willow River State Park, which is located in Hudson, WI. This particular park, while the campsites are closer together, gives a feeling of privacy, because of all the the great foliage surrounding each site. Our campsite was surrounded by trees, had a fire pit and picnic table, and was still near a bathroom. We heard little disruption from our neighbors and it felt almost like we were alone at times. The site was not huge, we just barely got our bean bag toss setup in the space provided. Everything worked out fine.

This particular park offers hiking trails, a beach, a nature center, a beautiful waterfall, playgrounds, and activities at certain times for the family and children. Unfortunately, while we visitied, the lake had been drawn down, so the beach was not availble for use. If the lake had been active, the park would have offered kayak and canoe rentals as well.

We took a hike to the waterfall and it was completely worth it. You can actually swim at the base of the falls, but it’s definitely at your own risk. There are lots of great photo opportunities from the bridge as you approach the falls, as well as at the base and top. If you are feeling energetic, you can hike up the stairs to the platform that overlooks the falls for another great view.

If you want to continue hiking beyond the falls, there are other interesting sites and overlooks, including old grave sites and pieces of machinery. I did check out a few of the other outlooks and sites, but I feel that the waterfall is probably the most interesting view. Some of the overlooks are a little overgrown with trees, so you cannot really see much.

Overall, this is one of my favorite campgrounds in Wisconsin. I have been visiting Willow River for many years, even just to hike the falls. I will continue to come back to this campground in the years to come.

For more information on Willow River State Park, please visit:


Great Food In Hammond, Wisconsin

As previously noted, I recently moved to New Richmond, Wisconsin. While I have done some exploring of the surrounding area, much more exploration will take place in the near future. It takes time to put a house in order, which takes away from some of my free-time for checking out my new surroundings.

While looking for food the first weekend in our new home, my husband and I found a great place in Hammond, Wisconsin. The Parkside Restaurant and Bar, which in my opinion, is highly note worthy. We have eaten at this particular restaurant about five times now. Every experience at the Parkside has been great.

What I love about this restaurant is that they offer three great things. They have Friday night all you can eat fish fry, Saturday all you can eat steak buffet, and both of these include an unlimited salad bar. The food is awesome, and you cannot beat the prices. They offer a number of potato selections, including potato salad and garlic mashed potatoes, which are both wonderful.

If you are looking for a place to view the big game, you can do that at the Parkside as well. They have limited table seating in the bar area. If you would like to sit outside and enjoy the nice summer weather, they also offer patio seating. The servers are prompt and attentive. The facility is a little older looking, but seems clean and well kept.

If you plan to visit for one of the weekend specials, be sure to arrive either early, or a little later in the evening. Prime dinner hours can be a little busy and you could find youself waiting for a table, though I have never had to wait more than five to ten minutes max.

For more information on the Parkside, please visit:

Winery Weekend In Withee, Wisconsin

This past weekend I took a trip with family over to, Munson Bridge Winery in Withee, Wisconsin. Each summer Munson Bridge Winery holds Saturday night events with live music. The cover to get into these events is five dollars and that includes a tasting of five wines of your choice. Not a bad deal, in my opinion. They also offer cheese and crackers for free. If you want more than cheese and crackers, you may purchase pizza from, Fire Truck Pizza.

I started out the evening with a tasting. I chose to try ten of their wines for a couple more dollars. When all was said and done, my favorite wines were Virtue and Summer. While they have many great choices, these two were flavorful, semi-sweet, and I could drink more than one glass from the bottle, if I chose to. If I cannot drink more than one glass of a specific wine in a sitting, I do not buy the bottle, because it generally means the wine has too much of something or other.

After the tasting I did try out the pizza. It was good, but I was disappointed by the lack of toppings. I rejected one slice, because both were almost all crust. If I am going to eat pizza, I want it to be smothered in toppings and flavor. I enjoyed the two slices I chose, but wasn’t out of my mind about either. The pizza was mediocre and staved my hunger as I had hoped it would.

At six o-clock the band began to play. Lots of people got up to dance. There was a full crowd all night long. The band was 40 Fingers and they put on a great show, as they always do. Bands play from six until ten in the evening on event Saturdays. The bar closes at nine o-clock sharp, so you must be prepared to purchase your final beverages an hour before close.

If you are looking for a fun evening with wine, music, and some tasty treats, Munson Bridge may be the place for you. The facilities are clean and in order. They have several different fire pits that they light at dusk. There is a small pond for paddle boating, and they have yard games that you can partake in. The staff is very nice and helpful. I will definitely return to this winery again.

For more information on Munson Bridge Winery, please visit:

Moving Ahead

Dear Family, Friends, and Blog Followers,

As you may know, my husband, Neal, and I, have moved to a new home. While moving is always a stressful transition, I can fully state that you never really know what to expect until you find yourself in the middle of it all. This truly has been an adventure full of surprises around every corner.

In just two weeks time, so many things have happened, I feel like I am living in a fiction novel. This tale is full of positives and negatives, and while plenty of negatives have happened, I feel that we are now on an upswing. Things are getting better and setting us up for a long and happy stay at our new home.

On the day of closing, Thursday, August 20th, we arrived at our new place to do a walk through, and found out the basement had flooded. We were faced with the decision of whether or not to go forward with the closing. The previous owner told us that the leak was due to a humidifier hose coming unattached from the furnace. We took it for what it was and made further plans to add extra grading around our house, as well as to extend the rain gutters to help insure a dry basement.

It took several days, but by Tuesday the following week, the house was finally dry and I was able to return the basement fans to the previous owner. That evening at 9:15pm, my husband, went downstairs to find that the basement was again flooding, this time the water was coming up the drainage pipe for the septic. We called a plumber, but were unable to get anything fixed until that upcoming Friday. We were virtually without water due to the consistent backing up that was happening.

By Friday, the floor in the basement was covered in “stuff” I care not to describe. The plumber snaked the drain 130 feet, and then jetted it out to 150 feet. He had us call and have the septic drained because he assured us that he had cleared the blockage. The gentleman who showed up to drain the septic stated that he felt there was still a blockage where the pipes enter the septic tank. He informed me that there was a second cap that needed to be dug up and opened to clear out the blockage.

I began to dig, and when my husband arrived home, he joined in and finished the dig. A foot beneath the ground, we found the second cap. The cap was stuck in place and we had to use our van to pull it off. Upon opening, we indeed did find that there was a large nasty blockage of root and “stuff,” just as the septic guy had said. We ended up fixing our own problem in the end, and the lines have been clear ever since.

Beside the above, we also lost our air conditioner during the massive humid heatwave that was going on, and our refrigerated showed up damaged. Currently I am unable to get my desktop to turn on, so I have been delayed until now, on writing a whole lot. I also hit a nail with my front driver side tire and was dealing with that for three weeks until I was able to get a replacement.

Prior to moving in we found out that we have really bad water at our new home. The nitrates are through the roof, so we are having to install a reverse osmosis system as well as a water softener, which is not cheap. We also have radon, so at some point we have to deal with that as well. Making a home is not always easy, but sometimes it requires a little work.

On an upward note, the new air unit should hopefully be covered by home warranty, though the septic debaucle was not. A new air unit should last us a long time and should be more economical than the current unit we have. I finally received my new refrigerator yesterday and I love it; black stainless is a great way to go.

Now, despite the craziness which I actually downplayed and left a few things out, we are in a great new place and very happy here. I believe that sometimes you have to trek through a little rain and mud to see the rainbow and the view on the other side. As I type this, my husband has informed me that the shower downstairs is clogged, due to the backup we had from the septic. Excuse me while I put on my rain slicker and rubber boots.

Here’s to happier days!