Wisconsin Autumn (and other things)

Wisconsin Autumn . . . .

Wisconsin in autumn is a lovely sight.  Heavily wooded with a variety of trees, the colors range from orange, yellow, red, gold, and magenta. One of our favorite areas to visit is the Kettle Moraine, where glaciers deposited massive rock outcroppings visible today along the farm fields, river valleys and hillsides. The topography is enhanced by dense woodlands, lush green fields of corn and grain, and lakes and rivers.  The rural character of the countryside surrounding the Kettle is sustained by dairy farms, some with historic stone farmhouses, and most all with ubiquitous big red barns with hay mow.  Black and white Holstein milk cows provide contrasting color to the green pastures.

The Osthoff Hotel opened in 1886 and became a destination for summer tourists from Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee.  Situated on the shores of spring-fed Elkhart Lake, the hotel re-opened in 1995 as a condominium resort and quickly earned a four-star rating. Located in the small town of Elkhart Lake, pop. 1000, the resort is in a beautiful, quiet setting where “getting away from it all” takes on a whole new meaning.  We walk the lakefront, the hillsides, and along the golf course, as well as strolling the neighborhoods of Victorian homes, restaurants and small shops.

what a backdrop for a game of tennis! . . . .

what a backdrop for a game of tennis! . . . .

We have visited in summer and autumn (June and October); we hope to explore other seasonal amenities on a future visit.  A German Christmas Market, beautiful holiday decorations throughout the resort and the countryside blanketed with snow have great appeal.  Maybe even some ice skating!

Autumn colors in Wyoming consist of the yellows and golds of native willows, cottonwoods and aspens, and the season is short lived.  An early September snow and cold spell had our leaves on the ground when we photographed this scene in October.

didn't bring a fishing pole! . . . .

didn’t bring a fishing pole! . . . .

According to legend, the Potowotomi Indians first called Elhart Lake “Me-shay-way-o-deh-ni-bis” or Great Heart Lake for its shape resembling an elk’s heart.  Carved out by glaciers, the lake is one of the deepest fresh water lakes in Wisconsin.

how can we create this at home? . . . .

how can we create this at home? . . . .

A pond surrounded by gardens leads up from the lake shore to the hotel.  The autumn colors are almost as beautiful as the gardens in June.

uh . . . .I think I can see our room . . . .

uh . . . .I think I can see our room . . . .

We have explored a variety of restaurants in Elkhart Lake and our latest find, The Black Pig, was over the top.  Naturally, most of the best menu items were pork (as in pig).  One wall of the dining room was a backdrop for a famous quote by Winston Churchill, which goes something like this:  “A cat will look down on you; a dog will look up to you, but a pig will look you in the eye and be your equal!”  The bar was friendly, the food delicious and we left with a new appreciation for “the pig.”

crimson climbers . . . .

crimson climbers . . . .

This stone building was covered with autumn color in downtown Elkhart Lake.

Farms along the open road . . . .

Farms along the open road . . . .

"Come in to my garden" . . . .

“Come in to my garden” . . . .

This creepy spider and assortment of pals is the entrance to Jurustic Park located in Marshfield, Wisconsin.  It claims to be a “display of many of the extinct creatures that inhabited the large McMillan Marsh near Marshfield during the Iron Age.”

"where's lunch?" . . . .

“where’s lunch?” . . . .

With tongue in cheek, creator Clyde Wynia has created an endless variety of rusted iron creatures welded from junkyard metal.  His imagination knows no bounds.

a hedgehog perhaps? . . . .

a hedgehog perhaps? . . . .

Nah, it’s a porkypine.  Can’t you read the sign?

"Got a light?" . . . .

“Got a light?” . . . .

Marshfield is about a three-hour drive west from Elkhart Lake, and seems otherworldly.  I could not begin to capture all the creatures at Jurustic Park.

a tortoise, of all things . . . .

a tortoise, of all things . . . .

Clyde gave us a personal, guided tour and said turtles are one of his favorite creatures.

"let's get some action!" . . . .

“let’s get some action!” . . . .

Clyde gives this feminine form a kick to get her to shimmy and shake.  He took up welding after retirement and let his imagination run wild.

a hang-dog expression? . . . .

a hang-dog expression? . . . .

Hard to say what life form is draped over the back of this hound, or lurks in his abdomen. It takes careful scrutiny to capture all the surprises.

a use for all my old CD's . . . .

a use for all my old CD’s . . . .

A stunning array of fish scales made from CD’s!

creature from middle earth . . . .

creature from middle earth . . . .

a new home . . . .

a new home . . . .

Nearing completion, this lovely new home was being readied for a move-in date a couple of days after we departed.

on the road again . . . .

on the road again . . . .

Miles and miles of roadside colors greet us on our return to Elkhart Lake.  We spent another evening at Osthoff and drove to Madison next day to catch a plane. Farewell to Wisconsin, we’ll be back!

 

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