Fox Cities Historic Locks Tour

Appleton Lock2

Written By: Amy Karas, Convention Sales Representative

I had the pleasure of joining a Fox Cities press tour group of travel writers to check out the newest attraction in the Fox Cities, a historic locks tour. This tour is put on by the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway group. President Candice Mortara arranged for 2 pontoon boats with drivers and a historian to pick our group up at the public dock just before Appleton lock #2, a short walk from Pullman’s restaurant. The tour took us through Appleton locks #2, #3, #4, Cedars, and ending at the Little Chute Guard Lock. Little Chute Lock House

Once there, we had the opportunity to tour the Little Chute lock tender house which is currently being restored to reflect its 1910-era heritage. The lock tender house will eventually be available as a rental property for nightly guests.

The day offered perfect weather for boating, a sunny Saturday with a light breeze; and we were able to see wildlife including turtles, pelicans, ducks, orioles and an eagle. The historians on board offered information about the history of the locks which were built in the 1850’s in order to navigate around the dams. The locks are still hand-operated by a lock tender, and we were able to see how they operate.  We also learned about some of the landmarks along the way including the old railroad swing bridge located near Appleton lock #3, and the Vulcan Street hydroelectric plant, which is now Atlas Coffee Mill adjacent to the Paper Discovery Center.

Appleton Lock 3Appleton Lock 4

The long term vision of this group is to obtain a paddle boat to take larger groups through the locks and to provide live music, cocktails and possibly light hors d oeuvres. If you’d like to navigate the locks on your own, you can see them by boat, canoe or kayak. Boaters will have to pay a day pass depending on the size of the boat ($6 for under 26 feet or $12 for over). There are spots to pull kayaks and canoes out of the water to avoid the lock user fee. The Appleton and Cedars locks are open May 22 – September 7, 2015 on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from 11am – 11pm . For more information on the Fox River lock locations, schedule and fees, please visit

Parties interested in a historic lock tour should contact the Fox Wisconsin Heritage Parkway at (920) 707-2965 or For more information about this nonprofit organization, their initiatives and events, please visit

Appleton’s 65th Annual Flag Day Parade

Written by: Alison Hutchinson, Convention Sales and Marketing Representative

It is clear to see why Appleton’s Flag Day Parade has such a long running. I attended the parade this past Saturday with my daughter. Although the weather was a little overcast and rainy, the patriotic spirit was definitely in the air. We sat next to a family that was dressed in red, white and blue, proudly clapping and waving at everyone in the parade.

20150613_143125Parade attendees came out to honor the flag. The City of Appleton has been celebrating for 65 years. Their float displayed several American flags with many veterans in the crowd as well as in the parade. The Navy Reserves marched by, proudly displaying their banner recognizing 100 years for their branch.

Military bands and high school bands marched proudly while playing familiar patriotic songs. My favorite was the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band. They looked sharp and sounded great too.



There were many modes of transportation that passed by, old and new. From horses to cars, fire engines to military vehicles. One of my favorites was the horse-drawn funeral coach. It was a silent symbol to recognize those who have sacrificed for our country.

20150613_143417  20150613_144049

Although, you will not get candy from this Flag Day parade, you will get a sense of pride and patriotism that will resound with you for a long time. It is fantastic to have such an honorable celebration in our area.

Cedar Harbor – A shopping adventure awaits in Downtown Appleton!

Written by Kim Tisler, Director of Operations

CedarHarborEntranceLocated 5 blocks north of College Avenue, and just slightly off the beaten path, a treasure trove of unique gifts and home decor awaits anyone who is looking for something different and special, for themselves or for someone else.  Built in 1906, what was once Sprister Meat Market, now houses a myriad of amazing re-purposed architectural finds, new and reclaimed oddities, wares from local artists, floral accents, rugs, candles and one of a kind items, too numerous to mention.

CedarHarborBackPatio1Pulling up to the curb, you instantly feel as though you are about to take a step back in time.  Much of the character of the original building still remains.  The shopping experience you are about to embark on is enough of a treat in itself.  But, wait until you step out into the backyard and patio!  An original meat smoking house still stands, and the welcoming patio décor and invitation to sit and stay awhile may have you doing just that.  The backyard space is there for you to sit, relax and reflect, or better yet, consider hosting a gathering of your own.  The Cedar Harbor owners welcome groups of up to 15 people at no charge.  The setting would be a very special place indeed for baby or bridal showers, book clubs, team building, or grab your best friends and a bottle of wine, and enjoy a memorable girl’s night out!

CedarHarborInterior3You’ll find Cedar Harbor at 611 North Morrison Street in Appleton WI.  Store hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 10am – 5pm.  Thursday: 10am – 6pm.  The store is closed Sunday and Monday.

Yoga in the Park


Written By: Mary Rhode, Marketing Communications Manager

The days of summer and warm weather are finally here and that means that we are finally able to exercise outside without freezing! For those of us who take refuge at a fitness center for the other 3 seasons of the year, we welcome the opportunity to be outside exercising. For myself, I take refuge inside an 85+degree yoga studio three seasons out of the year. This summer, however, you’ll find me and my yoga mat in City Park in Appleton on Wednesday nights for Empower Yoga’s FREE Yoga in the Park. This event is a must-do for the yogi in all of us. There is no age limit and all skill levels are encouraged to give it a try.

Even though everyone’s yoga experience is different, my first time doing yoga outside in a park was one I won’t forget. The final savasana of class was very different from those in my indoor classes. For anyone new to yoga, the final savasana is where you completely surrender yourself to your yoga mat. It’s essential that you quiet all movements and thoughts in your body and simply focus on your breathing and the sounds around you. City Park provided a plethora of noises….from birds chirping and kids laughter from the nearby playground to the occasional car horn honking in downtown Appleton. Focusing in on these “sounds of nature/sounds of the city” enhanced my yoga practice that day and I can’t wait for next Wednesday!

Mary-Yoga  Mary-Yoga2

The first week of this event, 135 people showed up. Week 2 boasted over 325 people! Whether you are a Fox Cities visitor or a local, if you plan on going, I recommend getting there early if you like to be in the front of class. So, feel inspired to give up one hour to focus on you, grab some friends and have fun!

Here’s a recap of all of the details:
Where: City Park, Appleton, 500 E. Franklin St. – parking is free on the streets around the park

When: Every Wednesday, 6p-7p through Summer

Cost: FREE

For: Those who are experienced with yoga and those who have never even tried yoga, from ages 5 to 75

What to bring: yoga mat or beach towel, water to stay hydrated and shoes if you do not want to be barefoot

More information:


Houdini’s Escape Gastropub: Where Food and Drinks…Disappear


Written By: Jennifer Hecht, Convention Sales Coordinator

If you are looking for a unique and original dining experience in the Fox Cities, look no further than Houdini’s Escape Gastropub. With 175 beers, some of the best old fashioneds around and fresh, inspired food in a laid-back atmosphere, Houdini’s is sure to please even the most diverse crowd for any occasion. The Appleton eatery is so popular with locals and visitors alike, they are in the process of building on an addition to include more dining space and a larger bar for their expansive beer selection. They have also recently expanded their outdoor dining space with three fire tables to enjoy while sipping late night cocktails.

Houdini's BarMy husband and I decided to try Houdini’s for a date night a few weeks ago and we were so glad we did. Both of us were blown away by the food, drinks and service. We started off with their brandy old fashioned; hand-muddled with orange, cherry and bitters, the way a good old fashioned should be! For dinner I had the Grilled Chicken Panini; sliced chicken breast, gruyere cheese, spinach, tomato and basil pesto aioli. I also had a side of the Truffle Mac & Cheese, which is to-die-for delicious; a blend of cavatappi pasta, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and truffle oil. My husband had the Gastro Burger with Pub Chips; half pound ground chuck, your choice of cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion, served with house aioli on a croissant bun. Everything was delicious and cooked to perfection! We will definitely be making Houdini’s a regular date night and happy hour spot; there’s so much more on their menu we can’t wait to try!

Be sure to check out their current renovations, they’re adding more dining space and expanding their outdoor patio! Reservations are recommended. Open for lunch and dinner, take a look at their menu online before you dine – complete with pictures of all their offerings.

Around the Fox River Mall


Written By: Pam Seidl, Executive Director

When people think of coming to the Fox Cities for its excellent shopping, the Fox River Mall usually tops their list – and rightfully so – but many people don’t realize the great shopping just STEPS outside of the Fox River Mall building. When you are visiting, be sure to check out some of my favorites in the mall area:

Outdoor Outlet
I can blow an entire lunch hour looking through all the beautiful stuff here!  Outdoor Outlet specializes in outdoor clothing and gear.  From March to September, you will find camp, kayak, hike, climb, and bike gear, as well as outdoor furniture. We have a shop downstairs for bike tuning and repair. From September to March, it’s the place to get your snow goods: ski, snowboard, snowshoes, and cross-country skis. They also service and rent downhill skis and snowboards. The staff was very helpful.  I purchased my kayak here last summer and they were wonderful at helping me choose the right model.

200 Mall Dr. Appleton, WI
(920) 731-3652

Country Village
Great place to find gifts and home décor items.  A mother/daughter team opened Country Village in in 2006 with a shared love of country decor and the goal of offering the very best in product selection, quality and customer service.

144 Mall Drive, Appleton, WI

World Market
I love the selection of food items from around the world and kitchen goods.  Great place to outfit the patio for summer, find items for a theme party and a really good wine selection.

680 N. Casaloma Dr., Grand Chute, WI
(920) 997-9790

Penzey’s Spices

Penzey’s is a Wisconsin-based company featuring high quality spices.  It’s fun to just walk around and enjoy the smells, but once you use their spices, you’ll l never go back to the stuff at the grocery store.

710 N.  Casaloma Drive, Appleton, WI


Not really a retailer (although they do sell their packaged sauces) but some of the best food you will find anywhere in the Fox Cities.  Carmella’s focuses on Italian specialties and SAP has a great breakfast and lunch menu.  Both restaurants often use locally grown and made products.  Try the papardelli with chicken and wild mushrooms at Carmella’s – my ultimate favorite – or the Florentine benedict at SAP.. and just try to walk by the bakery case at SAP without making a purchase!

708 N. Casaloma Drive, Appleton, WI


A little bit North of the mall in the Trasino Park development, Scatter Joy offers a fun and unique gift selection.   Great place to get greeting cards, gift items and home goods.

1879 N Casaloma Dr., Appleton, WI

Memorial Day Weekend in the Fox Cities

Memorial Day Flag

Written By: Karen Treml, Visitor Services Coordinator

Looking for ideas to fill your Memorial Day Weekend? The Fox Cities has some great events happening that will keep your schedule full and fun! Plan your trip today!

Division 3 Baseball Tournament
Hoping to catch some sports on your Memorial Day weekend? The NCAA D3 Baseball Championship is in town! The top eight teams from across the country will compete to determine a national champion, taking place at Fox Cities Stadium. Check their website for details.

Appleton Downtown Farm Market
It might not be summer quite yet but you can enjoy Appleton’s Farm Market year-round! The Farm Market is held every Saturday in downtown Appleton, inside City Center. With more than 50 vendors selling fruits & vegetables, meats & cheeses, breads & baked goods, eggrolls, popcorns, specialty foods and handcrafted items, there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget to leave yourself some extra time to explore the rest of the downtown area. There are plenty of shops, boutiques, museums, and restaurants to fill your day with fun! Visit their website for more information.

When Neenah Came Marching Home – Remembering the Sacrifice of Neenah’s Civil War Soldiers
This new exhibit is featured at the Neenah Historical Society is honoring the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and focuses on local information and unique artifacts  that tell the story of Neenah’s own Civil War Soldiers and the community to which they returned to. You can view the exhibit on Sunday afternoons from 1-4pm, or by appointment. Visit their website for more details.

Spring Baby Farm Animal Tour at Mulberry Lane Farms
Looking for some family fun on your Memorial Day weekend?  Spring comes to life at the farm.  Baby chicks, baby ducklings, baby kid goats, baby lambs, baby piglets, baby calves, baby ponies, baby kittens, baby bunnies… oh baby, they have babies! Tours include: Milk a cow, ride a pony, enjoy a hay ride, catch a chicken, kiss a pig, cuddle a kitten & more! Check their website for details.

Appleton Memorial Day Parade
What’s Memorial Day without a parade?! The parade starts at 9am on College Avenue in Downtown Appleton and ends at Riverside Cemetery at approximately 11am, followed by a “Moment of Remembrance” Ceremony at The George D. Eggleston, G.A.R. Monument honoring our veterans. Visit the City of Appleton’s website for more details.