Category Archives: Wisconsin

A New Adventure

To my followers who haven’t heard much from me in the passing months. Life has been very busy. I have hit some road bumps, and I have also begun a new journey. This past September I found out that my book, Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair, will be published by, Black Rose Writing, on March 29th of this year.

I am beyond elated about this development and it has provided me with a lot more work outside of my regular job, which is working for an art gallery. I am currently in the middle of putting a marketing plan into effect for my novel, as well as planning a release party. All of these things take time, money, and lots of thought.

While I very much enjoy my blog, it has been hard between the book and some other things in life, to keep up a consistent writing system. I do want to continue with Star Spirit Adventures, but I am currently in the process of deciding whether or not to redefine it.

If I do remake the site, it will be a focus more on experiences, which to me still has to do with adventure. You will still receive critiques and information on my travels, but you will also see other articles that may be journal like in structure. I will keep things tasteful, but I am a reflective person, so you will learn about what I learn. This is just a possibility at this point. I will keep readers updated on my decision, once I figure out the logistics.

Until later, keep on exploring and having adventures. I know I will. Every day brings new possibilities.

For more information on my book, please visit: www.fb.me/HappilyWriting

An Evening Of Fun With The Squirrel Nut Zippers

I have always been a lover of live music, so I seldom pass up a chance to see a band in person, even if it’s one I haven’t listened to before. My love of music covers many genres, and for the most part, I can thank my father for the variety I have introduced into my life. Being around a band that plays so many types of music has its benefits.

Recently, on a Saturday night, a friend of mine invited me to see the, Squirrel Nut Zippers, at the State Theater, in Eau Claire. I had heard of them, but didn’t know offhandedly, what they played. I decided that it would be nice to see friends and spend a night out, so I agreed to go. Man, am I glad I went.

The Squirrel Nut Zippers have a big band sound. The band consists of nine people. Their female lead is from New Orleans, so they have that New Orleans flair. The music was lively, upbeat, and it had my foot tapping from note one. My favorite thing about the evening was that this band knew how to put on a show. They danced, they played, they had a great time with each other, and the audience was engaged.

I went home after the show, wishing it hadn’t ended. I wanted more. I could have listened to them all night long. I decided to check out their music on Amazon, and while it was still great, it just didn’t provide the same experience, though I will continue to listen. This group puts on a fabulous show, and I would recommend them to anyone who likes that jazzy big band sound.

For more information on the, Squirrel Nut Zippers, please visit: http://www.snzippers.com/

The Blisters Rock Eau Claire

In my experience as an adventure seeker, when I am not on vacation, weekends are for two things: spending time with family and friends, or getting work done. I of course would prefer the former, which is why I went back to Eau Claire this past weekend to spend time with my family.

Saturday nights in Eau Claire are usually set aside for listening to my father’s band play, but on the rare occasion that we have a free night available, it is nice to get out and enjoy listening to other local musicians. This past Saturday happened to be one of those free evenings and I had the pleasure of enjoying the music of an Eau Claire band called, The Blisters.

The Blisters are a tight sounding, three-piece band, that plays old Rock n Roll and a little bit of country. Their humorous personalities work well together and are upstaged only by their great sound. Their harmonies are something to be commended and they have chosen a wonderful variety of music that will make you want to get up and dance.

The band consists of Peter Phippin, on bass, Dave Engedal, on guitar, and Mike “Slant” Hucek, on drums. All three band members take turns singing. They even shared the stage with a couple of other local musicians who were taking in the show.

Those of you who know me, know that I am a bit of a music snob and I can be pretty critical of local bands. I don’t hand out praise very easily, so my view on this group is sincere. If you want an enjoyable evening, filled with good company and good music, I would highly recommend going to the next Blisters gig. For more information on The Blisters, visit their Facebook page at: fb.me/theblistersrock.

An Overnight Trip To Turtle Lake Casino

We all know that casinos are out there to make money, and one of the ways they do so, is by taking ours when we go overboard and pump too much into the machines, or we spend too much time on a losing table. I’ve never lost a large sum of money at the casino, because I learned quickly that casinos are there to take money, not give it. With that said, I still love casinos.

Turtle Lake Casino is located a mere thirty minutes from my current home. I have checked it out twice now and I find certain aspects of this particular casino to be quite wonderful. First off, it’s not very big, so you won’t get lost, like you could in some of the Las Vegas Casinos. Secondly, they give you some decent perks for playing their slots. I recently received a free night stay for September and October.

Last Thursday night, my husband and I went to Turtle Lake and we upgraded our free night stay to a whirlpool suite. The room was huge. It had a beautiful carved bed frame, microwave, fridge, walk in shower, and separate areas for sleeping and lounging. The window in our room overlooked the pool area, which was kind of neat. I enjoyed the room. I slept very comfortably, but was not happy about being woken at 4am by the outright brawl going on in the room above us. We did call the front desk and it was quickly dealt with, though it didn’t stop someone from stomping around angrily at other points throughout the night.

This casino is separated from the hotel, by roughly, one block. It is definitely in walking distance, so we chose to walk instead of taking the shuttle. The actual casino has three food options. You can choose to dine at the buffet, the concession stand, or the Me-Ki-Noc Restaurant. If you are staying in the hotel, they also have Heggie’s Pizza available as well as a continental breakfast in the morning.

The only food option I have taken advantage of has been the buffet. It is by no means a large buffet; it is actually quite small. I think the best option is to go on Thursday nights for surf and turf. I have eaten the surf and turf and it is well worth it. The regular buffet however, had what appeared to be frozen Chicken Kiev and instant mashed potatoes. I did very much enjoy the desserts, but they are also hit or miss, and I believe none are actually made on premises.

Despite Turtle Lake’s buffet, I do enjoy visiting and I loved the hotel room we stayed in. The whirlpool was quiet and very relaxing. The view of the pool from our room was a fun addition. I will definitely go back and stay again sometime soon.

For more information on Turtle Lake Casino, please visit: https://turtlelake.stcroixcasino.com/

 

Music & Fun In The Sun At Jake’s Supper Club

It’s that time of year again when the leaves begin to change and the cooler weather sets in. The biggest disappointment for me is the loss of outdoor concerts. Last weekend I spent one last afternoon dancing and having a blast in the sun, while listening to the 40 Fingers band perform one last outdoor show.

The venue I spent the day at was, Jake’s Supper Club, in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Jake’s is great because they have a tiki bar out back with several levels of seating that overlook the water. They have tables with umbrellas that overlook a dance floor which is in front of their outdoor music stage.

Jake’s hosts bands through out the summer on a regular basis. You can order food inside the restaurant or outside from the convenience of your umbrella table. The food is excellent. I love the cheese curds and the fried mushrooms. They also have Prime Bites, which I know are a favorite of certain 40 Fingers band members. Aside from their appetizers, they have many other wonderful menu options. The menu does change some seasonally.

The wait staff at Jake’s is great. They will stop by your table and check up on you and they are always quick to put in your order. The bartenders are also great, though it can take a while sometimes at the bar because Jake’s is usually pretty packed when the outdoor music season is in full swing.

Next summer if you are in the area, I highly recommend checking out Jake’s; you may just find a new favorite summer venue.

For more information on Jake’s Supper Club, please visit: http://www.jakessupperclub.com/

A New Restaurant In Hammond, WI

Lack of travel, due to moving, has had me out exploring my locale a little more than usual. While food options are limited where I live, I have found some decent restaurants to turn to when the desire to cook escapes me. The nice thing is that Groupon has come in handy for trying out a few of these new places.

Located off exit sixteen, in Hammond, WI, is a great new restaurant called Schuggy’s American Grill & Taphouse. Schuggy’s has only been around for five months, but they seem to be doing a good job of packing in the patrons on a Friday night. I have eaten at this restaurant twice, and at their sister restaurant, the Barnboard, three times. Several of the items on the menus are similar, or the same.

The first time I visited Schuggy’s, I went with my uncle. We ordered two appetizers: the quesadilla, and cheesy mac potato skins. We both very much enjoyed the quesadilla, but we both greatly disliked the potato skins. The skins were lacking in flavor and they were not served with anything on the side, such as sour cream. Upon informing our server that we did not like them, she basically said they aren’t for everyone and walked away. I found this highly disconcerting. I did take the potato skins home and surprisingly the flavor came out more upon reheating them, however, I won’t ever order them off the menu again.

Normally after a situation such as the above, I would not return to the restaurant, however, I did have a Groupon left, since we didn’t spend enough to use it on our previous visit. My husband and I decided to stop in and try their cheese curds and pizza. While I thought they were both very good, the pizza could have used just a little more sauce. This second experience was much better than the first. Our waittress was more attentive and we left feeling quite full and happy.

I would like to note that this restaurant is clean and has a family friendly feel to it. I love the American themed décor. Honestly, the décor and feel of the restaurant is what made me go back and give them a second try. They are one of the few newer restaurants in this area and comfort is a big deal to me when choosing a place to eat.

I am hoping that the kinks at Schuggy’s will work themselves out. I read several reviews on Groupon and noted that they were dealing with some unattentive waitresses when the business first opened. The owner assured one patron that he was going to look into these issues and personally address them. Despite the first exprerience I will go back and try this restaurant out again in the near future.

For more information on Schuggy’s American Grill & Taphouse, please visit: https://www.schuggys.com/

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: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/willowriver/