High Cliff State Park…a geological gem

Posted by: Amy Karas, Convention Sales Representative

Growing up in Door County, I was surrounded by scenic shoreline and had plenty of parks available for swimming or hiking. When I moved to Appleton 9 years ago, I was excited to find that I could still enjoy nature while living in a bigger city. One of my favorite places to hike is at High Cliff State Park. The park is located on the northeastern shore of Lake Winnebago in Sherwood, Wisconsin, just a short 15 to 20 minute drive from Appleton, Wisconsin, the Fox Cities’ largest community.

High Cliff1High Cliff State Park has over 26 miles of trails including the Bike and Horse trails, Forest Management Trail, Butterfly Pond Trail, Indian Mound Trail and the Lime-Kiln Trail which is the one I hiked this past Thursday with friends and family. This trail is a combination of hiking near the Winnebago shoreline, in the steep Niagra Escarpment and through the kiln remains. From 1895 to 1956 a company town operated the limestone quarry in this area. All that remains today are the kiln ruins and the store. I have included pictures of the kiln ruins and other beautiful scenery from the Lime-Kiln Trail.

There are many other activities to do at High Cliff State Park for any season although the spring, summer and fall have the largest variety including picnicking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, boating, biking, horseback riding and fishing. It is definitely worth climbing the tower to look out across the fields from the observation deck.

High Cliff3I have also utilized the group campsites which can hold up to 60 people and are separate from the family campground. The field in the middle of the group sites is perfect for volleyball nets and other recreational activities. During the winter months, the trails are converted to snowshoe and cross country ski paths as well. Visitors do need a state park sticker for entry. Day passes are also available.

The scenic 18-hole High Cliff Public Golf Course is located just outside of the park and overlooks the Niagra Escarpment and Winnebago shoreline. High Cliff Restaurant and Banquets is also just outside of the park and is open year round for events. If camping is not your thing, but you would still like to experience the park, golf course or banquet hall, arrange to stay at the High Cliff Resort Suites in Sherwood or any of our Fox Cities hotels just a short drive away.

Celebrate Independence Day the Fox Cities Way!

Posted by:  Mary Ann Minten, Group & Visitor Services Coordinator

Celebrating the anniversary of our independence is a great American tradition.  Fireworks, parades, music, food and fun…the Fox Cities has it all!  Here is your guide to some notable celebrations in our area.

Appleton celebrates Independence Day on July 3rd from 5pm-11pm at Memorial Park. Family friendly fun that includes food and children’s activities such as face painting, inflatables and balloon animals!  Music entertainment is Eminence, followed by headliner Boogie and the Yo-yo’s!  Cap off the evening with fireworks at dusk.

Neenah and Menasha offer two days of celebrations starting on July 3rd with the Parade of Lights.  Starting at Riverside Park at 9:15pm in Neenah and travelling to Milwaukee Street in Menasha enjoy floats ablaze with lights and music.  On July 4th from noon until dusk enjoy a host of activities, food and entertainment.  See a water-ski show, the Venetian boat parade and enjoy children’s activities. End your evening with fireworks!

If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate, check out a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers game on July 3rd at Fox Cities Stadium.  Nothing beats watching America’s favorite past-time and ending the evening watching fireworks over the field.

Lastly Kaukauna hosts it’s annual Firecracker 5k starting at 8am on July 4th.  Even if you don’t run, you’ll be wowed by skydivers landing just prior to the race start and runners being welcomed across the finish line by the University of Wisconsin Marching Band!

On behalf of our team at the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau,  we wish you a safe and happy 4th of July!

Neenah StreetBall 3on3 Preview

Written by Adam Schanke, Sports Marketing ManagerNeenahStreetball_6

Neenah StreetBall is Wisconsin’s largest outdoor basketball tournament played on 20+ courts with over 1,300 participants making up 300+ teams and takes place in the heart of Neenah on Wisconsin Avenue and Commercial Street. For many, Neenah StreetBall marks a homecoming and an annual opportunity to reunite with family and friends.

Countless games of competitive 3on3 basketball on Saturday, June 14th and Sunday, June 15th are not the only thing to look forward to this year. Among other activities on Saturday, there will be a “MadSkillz” contest at 2:00pm where participants can show off their slam dunk abilities, dribbling skills, or other basketball stunts and tricks. Sunday will feature a 3-point competition at noon, where the 25 best shooters will take home t-shirts.

New to StreetBall in 2014 is the Official StreetBall Store, where participants and spectators can pick up personalized jerseys, shorts, hats, and other gear.

Aside from the competition itself, Neenah StreetBall provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy the tastes and sights of downtown Neenah. For those attending morning games, there is no better way to start your day than at Great Harvest Bread Company with a cinnamon roll or slice of fresh baked specialty bread. In-between games, grab a scoop (or two) of your favorite ice cream at Cherry on Top Ice Cream Shop and enjoy the waterfront at Shattuck, Riverside, or Kimberly Point Parks. After competition hours, kick back and relax at Greene’s Pour House.

Happy StreetBall 2014!

For more information on Neenah StreetBall 3on3, go to: www.streetball3on3.org

NCAA Division III Baseball Recap!

Posted by:  Matt Ten Haken, Director of Sports Marketing; Adam Schanke, Sports Sales Representative;  Katie Kemps, Sport Intern

The NCAA Division III Baseball Championships were hIMG_7715eld right here in the Fox Cities this past Memorial Day Weekend. Here’s a quick recap of the event!

The NCAA Division III Baseball Championships is a huge event that the Fox Cities has had the pleasure of hosting since 2000, and will continue to host through 2018. This double elimination-style Championship brings in teams from all over the nation. This year included teams from Emory (GA), St. Thomas (MN), Linfield (OR), Cortland (NY), Southern Maine, Baldwin Wallace (OH), Salisbury (MD), and UW-Whitewater. This event is a benefit for the Fox Cities because it brings people from across the nation and gives them the opportunity to explore the Fox Cities. It is also a fun event for the locals to enjoy some great baseball.

This year the event kicked off on Friday, May 23rd with Special Olympics Day. Rally towels, compliments of the Special Olympics were handed out to all fans. We also had an amazing turnout of Special Olympians who played a role in kicking off the first four games by throwing out the first pitches and being present for team introductions. Here are details on the rest of the tournament weekend:

  • Saturday started off with caramel corn giveaways compliments of Valley Popcorn.
  • Sunday’s games started off with Buffalo Wild Wings coupons and ended with spectacular fireworks.
  • On Memorial Day, American Flags with handed out to all fans, along with the first game’s National Anthem sung by Fox Cities Native and talented jazz performer, Steve March Torme.
  • Tuesday, the last day of the tournament, started off with giveaways compliments of Outagamie County Airport.

The Championship game was between Emory and UW-Whitewater, and had a record attendance. UW-Whitewater beat Emory 7-0 and became the 2014 Division III Baseball Champions. UW-Whitewater also became the first school to win a football, men’s basketball and baseball title in the same year.

The NCAA Division III Baseball Championships is a great event for families and friends to get together and enjoy some great baseball! Keep in mind for next year that early bird all session passes go on sale in February for only $15.00. We’d love to see you all there next year!

 

Eating chocolate and exercise!

Image

Posted by: Katie Kemps, Sports Marketing Intern

Hello Fox Cities! As the weather slowly warms up there are more and more events coming to the Fox Cities to get you out of the house and into the fresh air! One unique event in particular is the Chocoholic Frolic 5K/10K Race May 18th, 2014 at the Fox Cities Stadium – Neuroscience Group Field in Appleton.

If you love chocolate, then this is a perfect event to get your friends and families involved with and have a good time! Run, jog, or walk your way through the course and enjoy chocolate stops along the way. Then, end the race with a melted chocolate fountain and treats for dipping.

Each participant will receive a ¼ zip jacket, cinch bag with chocolates from the World’s Finest Chocolate, and a Chocoholic Frolic Finisher Bar. Don’t forget about all the chocolate you will get to enjoy along the course itself!

To register or find out more information, log onto www.chocoholicfrolicrun.com/appleton. Online registration closes on Sunday, May 11th at 11:59pm. This event is limited to 4,000 participants, so hurry up and sign up today!

Chocoholic Frolic Picture“I don’t understand why so many “so called” chocolate lovers complain about the calories in chocolate, when all true chocoholics know that it is a vegetable. It comes from the cocoa bean, beans are veggies, ’nuff said.”  

- Anonymous

Thousands of reasons to love 1,000 Islands Environmental Center

Posted by: Mary Ann Minten, Group Visitor Services Coordinator

unnamedSpring has sprung and so has the time to start exploring all the environmental gems of the Fox Cities.  My recent visit to 1,000 Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna was the perfect opportunity to take in the scenery and fresh smells of spring.  Encompassing 325 acres of terrain and 7 miles of trails, some along the Fox River, it’s one of the best locations to fish, hike and enjoy wildlife.  It’s also one of the best locations for viewing the majestic bald eagle!

Although the environmental center was closed when we were there, we and the many visitors enjoyed taking in the sites of the high rushing river water and navigating the boardwalk trails.  The spring melt made for beautiful trickling streams all around us.

Not only can you venture this place independently, the environmental center holds numerous events for nature enthusiasts of all ages. Here are a few notables:

1000 islands springTuesday, April 22nd at 6pm: People and the Planet.  Celebrate Earth Day with this family friendly program offering hands-on activities.

Sunday, May 18th: 32nd Annual Nature’s Images Art Fair. Annual fundraiser for the environmental center with  fine art, music, food, and a raffle.

Friday, June 20th at 9:30am: Crayfish and Critter Hunt.  Wear your old tennis shoes and have lots of fun trying to catch critters!

These are just a few events. To see all 1,000 Islands has to offer click here.

 

 

Kaukauna’s Coffee Gem

Posted by Mary Ann Minten, Group Visitor Services CoordinatorImage

Hidden in the depths of downtown Kaukauna is a quaint coffee shop with a cozy hometown feel.  I recently visited Kaukauna Coffee and Tea with a few girlfriends for our monthly Sunday brunch.  From the moment I walked in I was enchanted by the aromas of fresh coffee and it’s retro decor.

The staff is friendly and the coffee and fresh pastries were delightful.  They also serve organic teas, homemade soups and fresh made-to-order sandwiches.  I got the Focaccia Bold sandwich as a carry out and enjoyed how flavorful and fresh it was. Kaukauna Coffee and Tea keeps those with dietary needs in mind by offering gluten free alternatives, using organic ingredients and making fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies. This cafe isn’t simply for the cold weather months but also the warm weather months as they have a deck out back with a beautiful look of the Fox River. My girlfriends and I agreed this is definitely worth a revisit.

If you’re a crochet or knitting enthusiast a small corner of the cafe is devoted to hand-dyed, small batch yarn and knitting supplies for sale.  Opt to join one of their knitting sessions open to the public and offered on ‘odd’ Thursdays.

Make it a day trip on your visit to Kaukauna with a hike at 1000 Islands Environmental Center after your morning cup of gourmet coffee!

To find out more about Kaukauna Coffee and Tea click here

Image

In The Mood For Love?

Posted by Mary Ann Minten, Group Visitor Services Coordinator

February is well known for the nationally recognized celebration for lovers…Valentine’s Day.  From singing Valentines to dinner at the ball park, the Fox Cities has many options for you to enjoy the holiday with your special someone.

A few unique notables are:

Singing Valentines! Offered by the Fox Valleyaires, this quartet of tuxedo clad gentlemen will personally deliver a long stem rose, card, and sing two songs to the one you love!  A unique sentiment to leave a lasting impression.

Death by Chocolate! Does your special someone have a sweet tooth? Attend downtown Appleton’s ‘Death by Chocolate’ event! Stop in at participating local downtown businesses and sample some of their chocolate delights. Visit appletondowntown.org for more details.  Don’t forget the Fox Cities also has some amazing chocolatiers such as VandeWalles Candies and Wilmars.

For the more active couple, try a moonlight ski and snowshoe.  The candlelit trails of Bubolz Nature Preserve are sure to create a memorable evening! Finish off the evening there with hot beverages and food.

Valentines dinner at Fox Cities Stadium? The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are opening the doors to their banquet facility and club suites for a romantic, four-course dinner-for-two event.  They will add an extra personal touch by displaying the names of each couple attending on the field videoboard!  For more information on this event and pricing please call: 800-WI-TIMBER.

Fox Cities also has many romantic dining options such as Cena, Lombardi’s Steakhouse, Apollon and more!  Many hotels offer ‘Romance’ packages to complete the lovers get-away!

Want to know more about these and other events happening on the Fox Cities?  Sign up for our e-newsletter here!

Enjoy the holidays outdoors in the Fox Cities!

Posted by Chadd Scott, Director of Sales

This past Saturday, my wife and I decided to attend a “Holiday in the Woods” event at a friend’s residence in Appleton.  It was fun, very relaxing and peaceful.  We joined over 100 other people with a stroll through the snow covered woods via candlelight to an area where we enjoyed a campfire, holiday songs and great conversation with friends.  Afterwards, we gathered in their home for drinks and hors d’oeuvres.  This is a great way to connect with family, friends and colleagues during the holidays.  If you’re looking for a way to get out and enjoy the Holiday season, look no further, the Fox Cities has so many different and amazing winter family fun venues, events and activities to offer.

Here are a few suggestions for you to explore:

Sleigh rides:  What better way to reunite with family and friends over the holiday season than at Cavanaugh Carriages in Neenah. They offer sleigh rides for groups, large or small with a bonfire and a rustic party room…bring your own hot cocoa and marshmallows for the full experience!

Cross-country skiing and Snowshoeing:  Heckrodt Wetland Reserve has a candlelight snowshoe event at the end of January complete with snowshoe rental and hot cocoa for only $3.  1000 Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna and Bubolz Nature Preserve offer groomed cross-country ski trails and snowshoeing.  Most offer rentals as well.

Sledding:  Anyone can sled and the Fox Cities has numerous parks with sleds worthy of lots of enjoyment for kids both big and small.  A few parks with noteworthy sledding hills are Plamann Park, Pierce Park and Memorial Park.

Grab your winter gear and enjoy the holidays outdoors with loved ones.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

For more details on these as well as more outdoor fun visit: http://www.foxcities.org/attractions.cfm?c=7

Image

Local holiday treats!

Posted by: Kelly Ann Hekler, Convention Sales Manager

As some of you might know, I am from Michigan.  I don’t think that my family would allow me to visit if I didn’t bring a local treat!

One of my favorite things about the Fox Cities is the variety of local food products.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • VandeWalle’s Candies- Their caramels are amazing!  They also offer a variety of cookies, cakes, and homemade ice cream.  My favorite is the milk chocolate covered sea salt caramels.
  • Wilmar’s Chocolates- Three words:  Cherry Pie Bar.  You’re welcome!dsc_2533
  • Mike’s Popcorn- Who can resist a caramel/cheese corn mix or their popcorn balls?  Not me!
  • Simon’s Cheese- Wisconsin parties aren’t complete without a variety of cheese and Simon’s offers just that!
  • Kerrigan Brothers Winery- The dinner table isn’t complete without locally produced cherry wine!
  • Arty’s Old Fashioned- Being a Michigan girl, I had never heard of old fashioneds (crazy, I know).  Arty’s makes these Wisconsin drinks already premixed, just add ice and a garnish!
  • Stone Cellar Brew Pub- They have many varieties of beer and even root beer for the little ones.
  • Victor Allen- Are you a coffee lover?  Although the beans aren’t grown here, Victor Allen processes and flavors your favorite drink.  Try the hazelnut.
  • Dalla Terra Pasta- Being a vegetarian, I know good pasta!  Try the mushroom sage or the tomato basil.
  • Carmella’s- Finish your local pasta with Carmella’s famous sauce.

Doesn’t that sounds like a lot of amazing, locally made products?  To be honest, I haven’t even scratched the surface.  I’d recommend checking out Simon’s Cheese in Little Chute or the downtown Appleton Farmers Market.  Most of these products can be found in one of those two locations.  If there is a certain product that you’re looking for, please feel free to contact the CVB and we will direct you to the right place.  Also, if you have another favorite that wasn’t mentioned, feel free to contact us.  As a CVB, we shop local when we can.

Most people don’t realize how lucky they are to have these local businesses.  It’s really important to support them, especially during the holidays.  A box of Wilmar’s chocolates and bottle of Kerrigan Brothers Wine will go a lot further than anything you’d pick up from the grocery store.  Show off your Fox Cities!

I hope that my stocking will be stuffed with local products and I hope yours will as well!  Happy Holidays!