Festivals are a great way to get together with family or friends to enjoy Wisconsin’s Edible Experiences featuring our signature product; Cheese! Wisconsin’s festivals are a foodie’s dream come true with it’s bounty of locally raised food and award-winning cheese. Our state has countless edible experiences from beer, wine & cheese festivals, to gatherings that celebrate chefs and local food. Many of these festivals celebrate our state’s signature product; cheese! We traveled to events like Cheesetopia, Yum Yum Fest, Between the Bluffs Beer Wine & Cheese Festival, Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest, Kohler Food & Wine Experience and a Farm to table dinner all featuring Wisconsin specialty cheese!
Watch the story of a Wisconsin educator and his transformation to a healthier lifestyle from key eating habits.
In this episode of Discover Wisconsin, Mariah and Eric explore Kenosha, a revitalized lakefront city that is bursting with culture, activities and experiences that can’t be found anywhere else in the state! Mariah kicks things off on the lakeshore, where you’ll find gorgeous views, a variety of museums and parks, and vintage electric street cars that can get you from place to place. After stopping by Kenosha’s infamous HarborMarket, she kicks back and enjoys some tunes at Peanut Butter and Jam, a weekly concert series set on the lakeshore.
When it comes to recreation, you better believe Kenosha’s got you covered. The mountain bike trails at Silver Lake County Park are fantastic and draw bikers from all over the region. And if you want to try something a little more unique, Kenosha is home to Wisconsin’s only, and the country’s oldest, Velodrome. Here, Mariah tries track cycling and watches racers young and old compete in a variety of races in front of tons of spectators. Meanwhile Eric heads out onto Lake Michigan to do some salmon fishing with the Kenosha Charter Boat Association. He then heads to the Boathouse Pub for a “Shore Lunch,” where the chefs turn your catch into a fantastic fish feast!
We continue to get to know Kenosha’s food scene at the iconic Mars Cheese Castle, where Mariah learns how to make the perfect grilled cheese. Another Kenosha staple is the House of Gerhard. This family-run restaurant is a traditional German eatery meets classic Wisconsin Supper Club. They specialize in German specialties and mile high ice cream drinks. And for dessert, Eric heads to Elsie Mae’s Bakery and Cannery where he makes a delicious cherry pie. We also check out Taste of Wisconsin, where you can try a little bit of everything that Kenosha has to offer!
One of the best things about Kenosha, is there are so many unique and one-of-a-kind experiences to take advantage of. At the Jelly Belly Visitors Center in Pleasant Prairie, visitors can tour the Jelly Belly warehouse and learn about this classic candy. Eric also runs the bases in a giant bubble ball at a Kenosha Kingfish game, and Mariah meets William Shakespeare at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. It’s stuff like this that shouldn’t be missed! All here in Kenosha, where you can experience “Life on the Lakeside!”
Sure, Wisconsin is known for its cheese, brats and beer, but there’s another crop growing in the central part of our state that puts Wisconsin on the worldwide stage: ginseng. This little root packs quite a powerful punch when it comes to health benefits, and consumers around the world, particularly throughout Asia, are crazy for Wisconsin-grown ginseng!
Marathon County exports 95% of U.S. ginseng, and it has become such a significant part of the economy in central Wisconsin that Wausau hosts the International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival every year. Visitors from all over the world flock to downtown Wausau to celebrate ginseng and its many uses. Hosts Mariah Haberman and Eric Paulsen dive into the festivities, learning about the culture, history and traditions associated with ginseng, as well as indulging in dozens of ginseng-infused treats. Learn about one of Wisconsin’s most important agricultural products – and all the fun that comes with it! – at the International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival!
In the middle of the Driftless Area in central Wisconsin lies the city of Reedsburg, a city whose natural beauty offers some pretty breathtaking views and plenty of outdoor adventure! Hosts Mariah Haberman and Eric Paulsen take in all this growing community has to offer, starting with The Baraboo River. As the longest, free-flowing river in the country, the Baraboo River is spectacular for canoeing and kayaking, as Eric learns when he tackles the Lazy Beaver Canoe & Kayak race before taking to the skies in a helicopter at the Reedsburg Rotary Fly-in/Drive-in Breakfast. Meanwhile, Mariah heads downtown for Reedsburg Uncorked, a springtime wine walk where visitors can sip and sample their way through Reedsburg’s numerous shops. Next, Mariah heads to Butterfest, Reedsburg’s iconic summer festival, and plays a round of Bossy Bingo, which puts an…unusual twist on the classic game! Eric wraps up his trip with a visit to the Pioneer Log Village, where he learns about the daily life of Reedsburg’s original settlers (dressed in traditional, pioneer garb, of course!), before diving in to the area’s agricultural heritage with a look inside the studio of a local barn quilt artist. From outdoor recreation to some good, old fashioned country traditions, it’s easy to see why Reedsburg is a hub of fun for everyone!
In this episode of Discover Wisconsin, hosts Mariah Haberman and Marie Justice learn about the importance of agriculture in the Platteville area. Not only do they take a look at how fresh farm ingredients are used and grown here, but they also explore how visitors can learn about and experience life on a farm.
Getting to meet the farmers that grow the food that you and your family eat is a pretty special thing, and there’s no better place to do it than the Platteville Farmers’ Market, where everything is homemade or homegrown. Visitors to the area can also get a behind the scenes look at how a farm work at Platteville’s Day on the Farm event, held every summer. And in the fall, Marie stops by Kieler Farms to help out during their busiest time of year, the corn silage harvest.
Meanwhile, Mariah samples some of the products that are grown, harvested and produced in the Platteville area. Just west of Platteville, the historic Potosi Brewing Company brews beer made with Wisconsin-grown ingredients. And if you’re on a road trip in Southwest Wisconsin, you’ve got to stop at Rural Route 1 Popcorn. With popcorn grown just down the road, they make every flavor you can think of. She also visits two beautiful wineries, tucked away in the hills of the Driftless Area: Spurgeon Vineyards and Winery and Sinnipee Valley Vineyard and Winery.
Platteville is also a hub for agriculture education and innovation at the University of Wisconsin Platteville. Here, Marie visits Pioneer Farm and learns how students and the public can take advantage of UW-Platteville’s many agriculture programs and learning opportunities.
Back in town, Mariah goes for a bike ride and takes in the beauty of Katie’s Garden, where she lends a green thumb planting flowers. The beautiful land around Platteville is also a haven for fishermen, who enjoy the peace and quiet of the nearby rivers and streams. To conclude their trip, Mariah and Marie come together at the Fall Harvest Table Dinner at Digman Farms to enjoy a delicious farm-to-table meal. There’s no doubt that Platteville’s farming roots run deep – and whether you’re looking to do some learning, tasting, or exploring, it’s all here ripe for the picking!
In this episode of Discover Wisconsin, Mariah and Eric explore the wonders of Manitowoc and Two Rivers from sunken ship to stunning shore. Eric begins by learning about the history and industry of the rivers that flow through Manitowoc and Two Rivers. After exploring the Rogers Street Fishing Village in Two Rivers, he heads to Burger Boat Company to see what the historic company is up to today. He also meets up with some kayakers to do some paddling on the Manitowoc River.
Both the Manitowoc River and the East and West Twin Rivers eventually flow into Lake Michigan, which offers beauty and exploration above and below the surface. At the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, Mariah talks with a marine archaeologist about the shipwrecks in the area, and the different ways visitors can learn about, and access the wrecks. She also joins a group of standup paddle boarders at the Manitowoc Marina and takes in an amazing view of the city from the water.
Back on land, Eric explores the Historic Washington House in Two Rivers, and learns how to make the perfect ice cream sundae in the city where it was invented. We also get to know local producers at Pine River Dairy, who have been manufacturing butter in the area for more than 75 years. Eric then heads to Manitowoc’s Pinecrest Historical Village for their annual Pinecrest Plates event, which brings in local farmers and fantastic food for people to enjoy.
And you can’t visit Manitowoc and Two Rivers without spending time on the coast. Mariah flies a kite on the pristine Neshotah Beach in Two Rivers, wanders the beautiful grounds of West of the Lake Gardens, and goes bird watching at Woodland Dunes Nature Preserve. There is so much beauty to be experienced in Manitowoc and Two Rivers and countless ways to do it – from ship to shore!
With its world-class resorts, incredible restaurants and year-round activities, Lake Geneva is a pinnacle of luxury and relaxation. But the 20+ mile shore path around Geneva Lake gives everybody lakefront access and connects the three communities of Lake Geneva, Williams Bay and Fontana. Host Mariah Haberman treks around the lake to discover what awaits along the beaten path.
As the only lake in Wisconsin with the entire shoreline accessible, there’s a lot to see around Geneva Lake! Local historian Jim Beloian joins Mariah for a walk along the shore path, where he explains the history of many of the famous homes on the lake including the Wrigley estate, Stone Manor, and Black Point Estate & Gardens. Mariah makes a few stops along the shore path including the Geneva Lake Museum and Baker House 1885, where she enjoys a champagne toast at sunset.
Geneva Lake is an endless source for recreation and relaxation, with opportunities for boating, swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, and even flyboarding (essentially, a water jetpack). Mariah teams up with Wisconsin Hydrosports to learn about this growing trend and even gives it a try herself! For those looking for a less extreme water activity, the Lake Geneva Cruise Line has a number of pick up and drop off locations along the shore path, where visitors can hop on board for a lake tour. The arrival of winter doesn’t mean an end to boating quite yet in the Lake Geneva area. With the lake typically not freezing until late January, The Lake Geneva Cruise Line takes visitors on a magical journey to the “North Pole” on its Santa Cruise with beautiful light displays along the shoreline and a special surprise for kids along the way! And once the lake does freeze over, ice boaters flock to Geneva Lake to race in the Ice Boating Capital of the World.
Ambitious hikers can take the shore path through all three communities around the lake, but chances are you’ll want to stop and take a break in each one. Downtown Lake Geneva is home to dozens of unique shops and restaurants, including Oakfire. With a focus on specialty pizza and a gorgeous, outdoor deck overlooking the lake, it’s the perfect place to grab a bite to eat. Williams Bay is home to Pier 290, one of just two commercial properties directly on the lakeshore. Enjoy delicious, Wisconsin comfort food, grab a drink at the outdoor bar or spend a day at Pier 290’s beach right out front. Further still along the shore path is Fontana, home to The Abbey Resort as well as Gordy’s Marine and Chuck’s Lakeshore Inn. Mariah visits each of these beloved lakeside spots and even indulges in Chuck’s famous “Sweet Tart” drink. There’s always something new to explore along the shore path!