Category Archives: Travel

Featured Sailing Travel

Weekend Visit: Bayfield, Wisconsin

On the waterfront, Bayfield
On the waterfront, Bayfield

Bayfield, Wisconsin: I spent the weekend looking over my schedule trying to make sure that the various calls of duty don’t manage to fully crowd out opportunities for fun and leisure.

For The Observer, those opportunities come in the form of sailing weekends and the best ones take place in the Apostles Islands, that beautiful cluster of islands lying scattered just off the coast of Bayfield. read more »

Favorite Cities Travel

24 hours in: Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark – On my first visit to Copenhagen I flew in to Kastrup airport late on a hot, still night early one September.  As we made a banking turn to come in for our landing, I stared down on the still, dark Baltic waters crisply reflecting the city lights. The city exuded calm and hospitality.

That welcoming feeling stayed with me during the short taxi ride to my hotel as my driver chatted with me in perfect English, asking me if I’d visited before and helpfully suggesting the best places to see during my short visit. We all know about the typical ‘helpful’ cabby whose suggestions tend to steer businesses to places that help supplement his income, my driver had a passion for painting and sculpture and gave me a list of gallery exhibitions and a quick critique of the art on hand at each in such rapid fire delivery that I thought Copenhagen taxi licensing involved an art history course rather than The Knowledge. The answer to the mystery was much simpler, though: my driver worked part time at the Royal Danish Academy as a researcher.

Despite the fact that my hotel was down the street from the wonderful Galerie Asbæk, my visit would likely be too brief to allow time to attend any openings. In a lovely old building just  few minutes’ walk from the wonderful pedestrian Strøget, the Phoenix Hotel was the perfect place for me to settle in for the night.  The staff was efficient yet welcoming and I was quickly checked in and brought to my corner suite on the 3rd floor.  The rooms were spacious, comfortable, and decorated in a style that successfully balanced French indulgence with Nordic asceticism.

Having settled in my room and done a quick prep for the following day’s meetings, I strolled down the Bredgade to  the Kongens Nytorv in search of a late night meal. Turning east, I walked along Nyhavn toward the harbor front amidst the buzz of cafe society enjoying the balmy end of summer.

I gave up on finding a table outside despite the late hour and ducked into Fisken Pub to sit at the bar, enjoy a bit of fish and a glass of some delightfully light Danish beer (the name of which I have been trying to recover ever since), and admire through the open window the lovely sloops tied up along the quay.

Despite having spent most of the next day in meetings at Dell’s EMEA headquarters just south of the city not far from the airport, I had plenty of time before my flight so I had the taxi drop me off at Tivoli Gardens where I spent only 20 minutes or so before walking back to my hotel wandering through side streets, visiting shops and galleries along the Strøget.

Though such a short trip in many cities would have left me feeling rushed and frazzled, in Copenhagen I never lost that sense of calm and welcome.

Recommended:

The Phoenix Hotel
Bredgade 37
Copenhagen 1260
Denmark
tel: +45 3395 9500
http://www.phoenixcopenhagen.com/

Fiskens Pub
Nyhavn 27
Copenhagen 1051
Denmark

 

Featured Travel

Weekend Visit: Boulder Junction, WI

If you get on Wisconsin state highway 51 just east of Menominee and head north, you’re headed straight into cabin country. This is an area covered by vast patches of farmland – pig and turkey farms, and huge swaths of pine forest which hide lakes and the cabins to which long lines of Suburbans with TVs in the headrests and kayak-topped Subarus can be seen heading, side by side, on any given summer weekend.

The best lakes are remote and, therefore, a long drive from Saint Paul. This means you to drive past a seemingly endless series of exits containing a Hardees, a Citgo station, and a fireworks tent in a vacant lot.  Or a Culvers and a guy on the side of the road selling corn and Mutual Funds out of the back of his truck. You get the idea. It’s all a blur after the first hour.

Most people don’t seem to make it further east than Balsam Lake or further north than Minocqua and I’ll admit that five hours into a drive from St Paul makes the Thirsty Whale seem like a genuine oasis.

But give the Crocs and Coors Light crowd a miss. Persevere.  Forge ahead. Ignore the siren song of the many cold Leinenkugel’s on ice at the TW, and continue just a little way further north for your patient efforts will be rewarded. Branching off 51, north on county road M, and a little way beyond the Chequamegon National Forest lies the delightful little town of Boulder Junction.

True to its name, Boulder Junction sits at the intersection of county roads M and K and is the natural path interconnecting the various villages and resorts nearby. It’s here that the road turns sharply east/west for a quarter mile then resumes its north-south path through the woods.

And it’s this quarter mile that has one of almost everything – but just one:  the gas station, the hardware store, the outfitters, the motel. It’s sort of like Sesame Street for the north woods.

Thankfully, there isn’t only one of everything.  There are two restaurants on this stretch – if you don’t count the hot dogs on the heat rollers for sale at the gas station – and they are very different, which is why they can coexist in this microcosm.  The Outdoorsman is for the posh outing. At least it aspires to be and doesn’t do too badly. We had a very nice dinner there on a recent trip, of which I’ll write more some other time, but they could invest in some air conditioning and a door for the bathroom that latches.  After dinner, go to the imaginatively-named Boulder Beer Bar and Restaurant  for the cold Leinie you passed up earlier.

The town also has its fair share of antique stores and ‘northwoodsy’ craft stores.  It’s worth going in to one or two of them for the experience though I expect you’ll soon be visually and intellectually gorged on all things related to loons.  Chances are good, though, that on any given summer weekend there’ll be a yard sale that has real wood furniture, and if you’re lucky, maybe an old Hamm’s beer sign that will make it worth a stop.

Bring your bikes, too.  There are several miles of great bike paths that run south from town along county road M.

Below are a few details to help round out your trip.

Where to eat:
The Outdoorsman Restaurant
10383 Main Street
Boulder Junction, WI 54512
715-385-2826
www.outdoorsmanrestaurant.com

 

Where to Drink:
Like anyone needs any help finding a place to drink in Wisconsin. Just stay away from anything that looks like it doubles as an icefishing house in the winter or a place that’s a ’50’s rambler in a residential neighborhood and you’ll be OK. If you still want advice, try:

Boulder Beer Bar and Restaurant
5509 County Road M
Boulder Junction, WI 54512
715-385-2749
www.boulderbeerbar.com

 

Where to Stay:
Northern Highland Motor Lodge
PO Box 347
Boulder Junction, WI 54512
715-385-2150
www.northern-highland.com

 

Where to get gear:
Coontail Sports – also for bike, kayak, and canoe rentals
5466 Park Street
Boulder Junction, WI 54512
www.coontailsports.com