Tag Archives: Northwoods

Torpy Park

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Torpy Park is located on the “island” of downtown Minocqua, in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. This picturesque park was a perfect locale for watching the sunset on our early June trip up north.

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The beach was deserted and while Etta stayed in the car, using the park’s free wi-fi to download the previous night’s episode of Game of Thrones, I climbed atop the lifeguard chair to take in the day’s last light.

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There are some beautiful old trees here, and it would be a great place for a swim.

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Briq’s Soft Serve

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Briq’s is a local Wisconsin chain for soft serve. It provided a satisfying end of day treat.

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Etta got a large cone with vanilla covered in krunch kote and i got my all-time favorite: a peanut butter cup freezee. It was a delicious treat to bring to Torpy Park to watch the sunset.

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Pub’n Prime

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Pub’n Prime is now one of my favorite all time restaurants in Wisconsin. As a matter of fact, I recommended Pub’n Prime to Ron Faiola for his upcoming second volume on Wisconsin Supper Clubs. Pub’n Prime does so many things right I don’t even know where to start.

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The service was spotless, crushing the challenge of most of the guests leaving the Tiki Bar (yes, it’s a prime rib and tiki bar kind of place) and moving into the main dining room at the same time. The servers use hand written checks, including all the abbreviations, and pick up hot food when their server number silently lights up on an elevator floor display kind of sign. I love old school systems like that!

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The menu is blissfully minimal: focused on one thing (prime rib) and doing it right. First we received fresh baked rolls and WIsconsin butter, as well as a nontraditional relish tray of black olives and crackers with a richly delicious cheesy spread. The prime rib arrived deliciously seasoned in its own jus and something strange happened to me, and I kind of blacked out. Next thing I know, EVERYTHING is gone, all the meat, even the fat I would usually trim off. It was outstanding.

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Gruff male hunters, at the table behind ours, were intoxicated by the $2 margarita Monday special and berated the owner, saying the price for prime rib was different on their website. The owner calmly replied, in a low frequency tone I could only just make out, that the out of date menu was from a third party website, as the restaurant does not even have one. I was concerned these butter and beef-fed Wisconsin jerks would snap her neck.

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I had nothing to worry about: she was a pro. Scientists may as well have discovered that the low frequency tone of her voice had the same effect on the lizard brains of these two hog-men as the umami-packed jus of the prime rib. The signature peak in the brain waves was identical. For her, these 300LB silverbacks was NBD. There would be more than enough prime rib to sate all comers. Top notch service and killer prime rib (in my blackout I didn’t even take a photo!) won us over, and the silver fox owner won these old boys over too. Next time I’m in town, Pub’n Prime is where I’m eating!

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Ancient Giants of the Northwoods

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Etta and I enjoy visiting beautiful parts of the country and going on day hikes.

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Even when these hikes are only a couple miles long, I panic and begin to despair towards the back half.

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So it’s important that we find the right mix of natural beauty and for my sanity’s sake, brevity.

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Fallison Lake Nature Trail is a 2.5-mile loop trail rolls through rich birding terrain.

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The lake is surrounded by a mixed coniferous/deciduous forest of balsam fir, hemlock, red pine, white pine, sugar maple, white birch, and large-toothed and trembling aspen.

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The trail crosses bogs and a hemlock glade. Some of these ancient giants of the Northwoods are hundreds of years old.

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The longest loop of the trail goes all the way around 50-acre Fallison Lake: we took a shortcut and skipped the final bog to cut down on my whining!

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St Germain Flea

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Every Monday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, one of the biggest flea markets in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. We bought some locally made soap with the natural oils of mint, eucalyptus, and Northern pine. There are over 400 vendors, some more professional like the soap couple. It’s really interesting to see what the locals bring in. The St Germain Flea is held rain or shine, and there is food for sale by the Lion’s Club.

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Lake Placid Inn

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Etta and I loved this charming old school Northwoods breakfast joint. The woman who waited on our table kept the restaurant open a little later in the afternoon than normal to accommodate an elderly couple visiting from Wausua. Turns out she is the owner who also lived in Wausua, and they reminisced about the early eighties when Wausau was awarded the All America City Award.

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The bloody mary was punchy and flavorful and right up Etta’s alley. I enjoyed a welcome bite of coffee cake after we had placed our food orders. The breakfast was the star of the experience here. I had the Weed Bed, a fishing term, not what happens slumber-wise post munchies. Crispy potatoes and American cheese blanketed eggs over easy and thick cut bacon. The bread was homemade and richly delicious.

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Marty’s Place North

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We returned to Marty’s Place North at the very beginning of the 2015 summer season: it was the first week of June and leaves had only been open on the tall trees for about a week. The waitress and my girlfriend had some kind of weird vibe going on but all that I was interested in was the food.

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The relish tray, usually so good, had a couple issues that I will bring up here as constructive criticism for the Marty’s team: the green onions were not properly drained and so a bunch of water emptied out on the table. Also the bread was super flaky and too soft, tasting less than fresh.

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I love Marty’s and only bring this up because the relish tray is the first impression for the guests and the details are important!

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The ribeye and walleye, on the other hand, were absolutely delicious. The steak was perfectly seasoned and grilled, and the walleye was golden and crispy on the outside and sweet and moist on the inside.

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My favorite, the strawberry schaum torte, was torte-ally amazing once again! See you next time we’re in the Northwoods, Marty’s!

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Black’s Cliff Resort

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The Northwoods is one of my favorite places in the country, and I’ve stayed at a few places in both summer and winter. Black’s Cliff Resort is by far the gem amongst the many other good options.

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I have to give the credit to Etta who found the place, and also the time of year, first week of June, it was so quiet and peaceful.

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We stayed in the Birchwood cabin, right next door to the resort keepers place, home to the resort dog a regal golden retriever who seems to be doing very well in his professional role.

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The cabin was amazing, with a fireplace inside, stocked with local firewood, and a backyard fire pit.

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A breezeway overlooking the lake with a bed hanging from the ceiling was the perfect spot for a Sunday afternoon snooze after the drive up from Chicago.

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Later in the evening, after dinner, I noticed the light fading and wandered down the stairs to one of the most thrilling sunsets I have witnessed.

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I was the solo witness because not a soul was stirring on that lake in early June, and evening chill negated Etta’s interest in the natural beauty.

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That night, on the soft bed, I had the best night’s sleep in at least a year.

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I didn’t want to say goodbye to this guy!

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Ship Rock

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Ship Rock is a 1,024 foot outcropping of limestone created by Wisconsin’s ancient glaciation. A wayside along State Highway 21 includes a parking lot and seating area to view Ship Rock. It is a stunning example of the powerful forces at work during the ice age, and a beautiful formation to photograph.

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It is one of 23 rock formations in Adams County, Wisconsin, and is not too far away from the most famous formation, Roche-A-Cri Mound in Roche-A-Cri State Park.

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Northwoods Winter

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The Northwoods is called the snowmobiling capitol of the world in winter. We may have braved a ride on one, if not for the “indoor water park incident” and resulting trauma of falling neck first from the bottom of the toilet bowl and landing on my arm. Etta told me her friend’s friend severed her spine just going over a bump on a snow mobile.

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I was so shook up that even driving alongside snow mobiles was jarring. I kept thinking they would cross the road in front of me and I would have to slam on the brakes and end up in a snow bank. Indoor water park PTSD.

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