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Museums offer special exhibits


Art, history and other museums in Wisconsin offer ongoing opportunities to learn and appreciate the world and home. Consider this sampling of special exhibits that will carry us into the new year.

“Changing Currents: Reinventing the Chippewa Valley” addresses at least 350 years of local history through a diverse array of local figures (including a lumberjack, fur trader, Ku Klux Klan fighter and Hmong refugee), interactive settings (Ojibwe wigwam, steamship and 1950s vacation cabin) and related activities.

Visitors also gain how-to advice about pursuing family research. This major regional history exhibit opens Dec. 7 at Chippewa Valley Museum, 1204 E. Half Moon Drive, Eau Claire. cvmuseum.com, 715-834-7871

Destination cooking


With colder weather comes the inclination to cook more, if for no other reason than to add warmth to the kitchen. This new trio of cookbooks, each associated with a destination to visit, just might add ideas for holiday gift lists or inspiration to your own recipe repertoire.

Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. recently published “The Old Rittenhouse Inn Cookbook: Meals and Memories from the Historic Bayfield B&B” ($24.95), which shares dozens of recipes from the Queen Anne Victorian estate that has been open to overnight guests since 1975.

Things I learned when cruising the Danube


Living out of a suitcase usually is an irritating necessity when a trip involves multiple cities, states or countries.

You can stay in one place to avoid a jumble of hotels, but that means renting a car or riding trains to and from home base, which can eat up a lot of time.

Readers share their thoughts on recent travels


Time to sort through the reader mailbag. ’Nuf said.

Some of you share my enthusiasm for Clear Lake, Iowa, and its rock music heritage.

Game still on at Atlantic City


My bet is that Atlantic City isn’t on the radar of football fans heading east to watch Wisconsin play Rutgers on Nov. 1.

Atlantic City, 100 miles south of New Jersey’s largest university, is quickly losing its reputation as a gaming mecca. Four of the city’s 12 casinos closed this year, and a fifth (Trump Taj Mahal) is expected to go down before November ends.

Haunting New Orleans


One visit is enough for some places, but that’s not how I view New Orleans. The city has a flashy array of personalities, none boring.

If I could be anywhere in the country as this month ends, it would be The Big Easy, and the Oct. 26 Packer-Saints football game is just one reason why.

Dining out on the farm


Lots of chefs develop farm-to-table menus to showcase local ingredients, but these restaurants go one step further. Each is on a Wisconsin farm and open all year.

North Star Homestead Farms, 11077N Fullington Road, Hayward: A trio of women — Ann Berlage with daughters Laura and Kara — operate a cafe, market and creamery on a 1919 farm in Sawyer County and Chequamegon National Forest.

A Grand vacation


Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel — unusual because of its appearance, architecture, attitude and location — soon goes into hibernation for six months. The Michigan summer resort, a National Historic Landmark, is among the Midwest’s most precious getaways.

It’s among the pricier, too, but there are exceptions if you know how to time a visit. Schedule a weekday overnight this month, and the overnight rate could be quite affordable, as in $310 per room for up to four people (the Fall Bed and Breakfast Package). Breakfast goes far beyond cold cereal and pre-packaged muffins.

‘A’ is for agriculture and art


What, besides corn and cows, might you find in farm fields near Reedsburg next month?

A. A woodwind quintet and ballet dancers.

Outdoor sculptures add a fun element to autumn road trips


When fall colors hit their peak, we hit the road in search of the most brilliant blaze of hues. That part is expected.

What adds surprise to the awe of autumnal landscapes? Plan it right, and rural sculpture parks pop up amid the flaming oaks, maples, birches and sumacs.

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