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Gone Fishin’ on Green Lake

Deep in the heart of Wisconsin



Heidel House, surrounded by colorful fall trees, hugs the shore of Green Lake.

 


I raised my hand and swore the oath, ending with, “and when I hear the name ‘Hudson Bay Company,’ I will shout ‘Stinking English pig-dogs,’ and spit, ‘ptooey!’”
 

With that, my companions and I climbed into a 26-foot canoe and, led by French voyageurs in the employ of the North West Company (OK, they were re-enactors), were launched into the Fox River and began an exploration into the history of Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s waterways offered inroads as far back as the early 1600s. Today, the fur trade is gone, but water still calls visitors to the area. And it was Wisconsin’s deepest natural lake that called me to the central part of the state.

 

There are lots of fish in Green Lake, from monstrous muskellunge and lake trout to more manageable bass, perch and panfish. I was after walleye – one of the few fish I actually enjoy eating.

My two companions and I went out with North Bay Sport owner Joel Baranowski, a personable, knowledgeable guide who at first looked askance at three novice fisher-ladies.

Two-and-a-half hours had been scheduled on this trip for me to catch the wily walleye on which I’d set my sights. It was mid-June but chilly on the lake. We bundled up, shivering, as our boat sped to a likely spot. Joel baited our hooks, cast our lines out and handed us the poles.

Almost immediately I heard a squeal: “I’ve got something!” Joel patiently coached Barbara as she let out a bit of line, then began reeling in her catch. Joel scooped it up with the net, removed the hook and handed Barbara the fish, held by a gripper, for her close-up.

Next I felt a nibble. Joel talked me through the process and I brought up a big, beautiful smallmouth bass! We didn’t mess with weighing or measuring – just released the fish quickly so we could start all over again. The fun was contagious. We all caught fish – rock bass, smallmouth bass and even two species of catfish. Joel, though he actually did 90 percent of the work, seemed to get a kick out of our enthusiasm. Am I a real fisherwoman? No. But I had a great day … and so did the all the walleyes who got away!

 

Wisconsin cuisine is so much more than cheese – although I did have the requisite fried cheese curds at one meal. There are creative cooks everywhere, and even small towns can produce gustatory greatness, including a pairing lunch at Vines and Rushes Winery in Ripon that was one extremely special treat. Patrick Isajiw, executive chef at Ripon’s The Treasury restaurant, prepared a Mexican street corn and sunflower sprout salad with roasted asparagus, cherry tomatoes, poblano pepper and black garlic aioli. The sous vide tenderloin could be cut with a fork, and rested on a bed of polenta made with Wisconsin MontAmore cheese. He finished our meal with a lemon buttermilk tart topped with compote of strawberries picked the night before. As much as is possible, his ingredients are sourced locally.

The wines, made with grapes suited to the Wisconsin climate, held their own with each course. You’ll have to sample them in Wisconsin – Oklahoma is one of few states where they don’t ship – and enjoy Chef Patrick’s outstanding cuisine at The Treasury.

A more down-home menu was offered at rustic Mecan River Outfitters & Lodge in Princeton. The owners, the Harvey family, organize all sorts of outings such as canoeing, kayaking, hunting, skiing and sleigh rides. And they have an excellent restaurant. Their shortcake with fresh-picked strawberries was heaven (alas, not in season now), but the apple pie with a scoop of ice cream runs a close second.

(top left) Glen Gorsuch as Jacque Largolier, voyageur, introduces early Wisconsin history to guests on Fox of the River Voyageur. (top right) The iconic mounted moose head adds to the woodsy décor of the restaurant at Mecan River Outfitters. (bottom) Indian summer and fall décor make shopping fun in Green Lake.


 

I loved everything I did on this trip, but I wish I’d had more time to explore at Heidel House Resort and Spa. My balcony view of the lake was beautiful – but no time to sit and contemplate! Lucky the guests who actually vacation there. In addition to entertainment, sight-seeing cruises, tennis, golf and swimming, the spa is exceptional – beautiful facilities overlooking Tuscumbia, Wisconsin’s oldest golf course. It even includes a labyrinth for relaxation and meditation.

The resort’s fine dining restaurant, Grey Rock, has a long and fascinating history. The original land grant was given in 1845. In 1899, Edward Morris (Chicago meat-packing magnate) and his wife, Helen Swift (another giant industry name!), built a permanent summer home there. Today’s diners enjoy many of the original features, and while the buildings may be historic, the cuisine is up to contemporary gourmet standards.

 

In addition to lake activities, landlubbers luck out, too. Golf courses nearby include Tuscumbia and Mascoutin. Bird watchers and nature lovers will find great places for walks. The Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake checks out more than just books; visitors can borrow birding and fishing equipment, telescopes, bike maps and more.

Shoppers will find interesting shops in Green Lake, Berlin, Ripon and Princeton. I can’t testify to all they have to offer, but my favorite has to be Princeton. It’s hard to resist Teak and Soxy there – home décor, gifts and whimsy in a space that has been in Matt Trotter’s family for four generations. His great-grandparents invented Muk-Luks, the leather-bottomed socks that my brother and I swore by when it was too cold to go barefoot!

You’ll hear lots of cool stories like Matt’s. Folks love this area and tend to stay. You’ll love it too.


photo credits: Heidel House courtesy Heidel House Resort; Glen Gorsuch and moose head by Elaine Warner; Green Lake shopping by Jim Koepnick

 

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September 2019

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Bicentennial Park
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Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
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Cost: Free

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Telephone: 405-268-3978
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Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
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Sponsor: OKC Broadway & DCF Concerts
Telephone: 405-594-8300
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Cost: $35 or $50. Prices do not include fees.

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Civic Center Music Hall
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Civic Center Music Hall
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Cost: $5

Where:
La Brasa
1310 NW 25th ST
Oklahoma , OK  73106
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Sponsor: Pauleen
Contact Name: Pauleen

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La Brasa & Pauleen present Bollywood Night at La Brasa this Saturday, September 21st.  This is one of the first Hindi Music events to happen in Oklahoma City and anyone can come...

Cost: $5

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Cost: Free

Where:
Bicentennial Park
201 North Walker Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Community Foundation
Telephone: 405-606-2922
Contact Name: Kasey Gardner
Website »

More information

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Show More...
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The Musical Swings is an interactive public art installation featuring 10 swings that each activate a different note, allowing participants to make music, connect to one another and have a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bicentennial Park
201 North Walker Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Community Foundation
Telephone: 405-606-2922
Contact Name: Kasey Gardner
Website »

More information

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
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The Musical Swings is an interactive public art installation featuring 10 swings that each activate a different note, allowing participants to make music, connect to one another and have a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bicentennial Park
201 North Walker Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Community Foundation
Telephone: 405-606-2922
Contact Name: Kasey Gardner
Website »

More information

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Audiences across North America are toasting a new production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF! Rich with musical hits you know and love, including "Tradition," "Sunrise, Sunset;'...

Cost: Varies

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Civic Center Music Hall
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Sponsor: OKC Broadway
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The Musical Swings is an interactive public art installation featuring 10 swings that each activate a different note, allowing participants to make music, connect to one another and have a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bicentennial Park
201 North Walker Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Community Foundation
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Contact Name: Kasey Gardner
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Artspace at Untitled
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View map »


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Website »

More information

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Cost: Varies

Where:
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The Musical Swings is an interactive public art installation featuring 10 swings that each activate a different note, allowing participants to make music, connect to one another and have a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bicentennial Park
201 North Walker Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Community Foundation
Telephone: 405-606-2922
Contact Name: Kasey Gardner
Website »

More information

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
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View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

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View map »


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Contact Name: AL Caveny
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Audiences across North America are toasting a new production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF! Rich with musical hits you know and love, including "Tradition," "Sunrise, Sunset;'...

Cost: Varies

Where:
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View map »


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Telephone: 405-594-8300
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Cost: $35 or $50. Prices do not include fees.

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
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View map »


Sponsor: Painted Sky Opera
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

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Cost: $10 Registration Fee

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Sponsor: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Telephone: 405-815-5705
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DAY OUT WITH THOMAS™: THE STEAM TEAM TOUR 2019 IS PULLING INTO OKLAHOMA RAILWAY MUSEUM FOR THOMAS & FRIENDS’ BIGGEST YEAR YET! ENJOY A DAY OF FAMILY FUN WITH THOMAS THE TANK...

Cost: $18

Where:
Oklahoma Railway Museum
3400 NE Grand Blvd
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View map »


Contact Name: Danielle Fusaro
Website »

More information

The Musical Swings is an interactive public art installation featuring 10 swings that each activate a different note, allowing participants to make music, connect to one another and have a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bicentennial Park
201 North Walker Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Community Foundation
Telephone: 405-606-2922
Contact Name: Kasey Gardner
Website »

More information

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

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Cost: $59.95

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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel
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View map »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District & Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and, quite possibly, an amazing...

Cost: Adult: $20 Seniors and Children: $15

Where:
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701 S. Lincoln Blvd
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma River Cruises
Telephone: 405-702-7755
Contact Name: Che Loessberg
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

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Cost: $35-$65

Where:
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600 N. High
OKC, OK  73117
View map »


Sponsor: The Blue Door & Kessler Presentss
Telephone: 405-652-9541
Contact Name: Melissa Monroe
Website »

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Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


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Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

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