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Travel Logs November 2016

Compulsive Traveler

Vilas County, Wisconsin: Muskies and More

By Sandra Scott

If you want to catch a prize-winning muskellunge then Vilas County is the place for you. Muskies are highly sought after by fishermen because of the explosive strikes and rugged fights. Vilas County has some of the best smallmouth bass, walleye, trout, and pike fishing.

Vilas County has it all: nature, history, sports, adventure, art, craftsmen, Native Americans, great places to stay, wonderful restaurants, and fun for the whole family. There is always something fun to see and do.

  1. Fishing: If you want to catch a prize-winning muskellunge then Vilas County is the place for you. Muskies are highly sought after by fishermen because of the explosive strikes and rugged fights. Vilas County has some of the best smallmouth bass, walleye, trout, and pike fishing.

  2. Nature Lovers: The Discovery Center in Manitowish is the place to learn about Wisconsin’s Northwoods. There are 12 miles of trails including a 16-station interpretive trail, plus many programs and events. The center has many unique activities and special events. There are lots of trails throughout the county for hiking, biking, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, and cross-county skiing.

  3. Water fun: Vilas County has more than 1300 lakes, so the water fun abounds and it is not all about fishing. Try standup paddle boarding, SUP for short – and you can even do yoga on the paddle board. Nothing beats canoeing or kayaking on a serene, tree-surrounded lake. Of course, there is swimming. Don’t miss a cruise on a pirate ship.

  4. The First People: Vilas County is home to the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The George W. Brown, Jr. Ojibwe Museum & Cultural Center has dioramas depicting traditional seasonal activities along with other displays. The Mikwendaagoziwag Heritage Center, once the boys’ dormitory for the BIA/government-run boarding school, is where children were immersed in European-American culture, thus losing their native culture.

  5. Boulder Junction: Boulder Junction, The Muskie Capital of the World, is home to talented craftsmen and artists. Penny Mykytka is a master leatherworker, Moondeer & Friends Gallery offers fine art, and Firemouth Pottery has exquisite handmade pottery. Wiley Miller’s wildlife carvings are so lifelike that people stare at the owls, waiting for them to blink.. Nearby are Vagabond Antiques and the Cranberry Gift Shop.

  6. Eagle River: Eagle River is home to the wonderful Northwoods Children’s Museum. After checking out the 24 permanent hands-on exhibits, head to Soda Pops, a vintage soda fountain for a root beer float. Across the street is Tremblay’s Sweet Shop where they make fudge daily. For an adult libation head to the Tribute Brewery Company.

  7. Unique: The Vilas Cranberry Company in Manitowish has cranberry tours on Fridays at 10 a.m. from July to late September. Wisconsin is the world’s leading grower of cranberries, producing five million pounds in 2015. Contrary to popular belief, cranberries don’t grow in water. The fields are flooded to make it easier to harvest them – they float.

  8. Gangsters: During Prohibition, the secluded nature of the Northwoods attracted John Dillinger, “Baby Face” Nelson, and their cronies. In April 1934, Special Agent Melvin Purvis of the FBI led a botched raid on Little Bohemia Lodge. Dillinger and his gang members escaped but even today there are hundreds of bullet holes as a reminder of the event. Learn more on the Dillinger Pontoon History Tour.

  9. Events: Vilas County is a happenin’ place – year round – from the Moose Tracks Snowshoe Race in January, to the Phelps Maple Sugar Fest in March, to the Solstice Festival in Manitowish Waters, to Trig’s Smokehouse Annual World Championship UTV/ATV Derby in August, to the 40th Annual World Championship Musky Classic in September.

  10. If you go: For more information log on to: www.travelwisconsin.com or www.vilaswi.com or call 800-236-3649. There is a wonderful selection of accommodations from motels like the Boulder Junction Motor Lodge to great resorts such as Wild Eagle Lodge. You won’t go hungry – check out The Outdoorsman Restaurant & Inn, Blue Bayou Inn, and Riverstone Restaurant & Tavern.

 

Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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