Blogs > News-Herald Food and Travel

Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Catching the Christmas spirit in Wisconsin

Santa's right at home at the Ostoff Resort here in Elkart Lake Wisconsin where winter is frosty and white and just cold enough for the ponds to be prepared for ice skating. I'm here for the annul Chirstmas Market, which you may have read about in Last Sunday's travel section (Dec 8).
But he resort is aswarm with parents and excited little ones  here to meet with Mrs. Santa Cluas in a cookie decorating workshop and then see the Joly Old Elf himself.  Sanya holds forth beneath a brightly decorated tree near an old fashioned sleigh filled with wrapped gitfs. Inside a nearby room is a wonderful buffet - with knee high serving stations for little children. A pianist plays and sings  christmas carols.

I just finishd up my Christmas shopping at the Christmas market, where 100 vendors are gathered in their booths beneath a large white tent it a football field sized space that  has another life as a parking lot. Each of the vendors is in its own smaller tent draped with pine boughs and twinkle lights. Many of them are from Germany, and the Czech Republic and even Istanbul and Russia. They bring  handcrafts from family businesses and  community cooperatives, offering bargains for really unusal merchandise. Plenty of Wisconsin folks, from cheesemakers to  knitters and even a family who makes items from reindeer antlers. Their reindeer are outside the tent, posing for photos and I,m told theyll come indoors tomorrow for the resort's gala Sunday brunch.

It's about  15 dgrees out now and our group is scheduled for a horse drawn sleigh ride in about a half hour. So I'm  back in my room to bundle up, with a fire going in my fireplace  and still warm inside from the gluwein I sampled at the Christmas market.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Visit France, Baltimore, Louisville and Alabama in December's travel

The December travel section was delivered to readers on Sunday with the second part of my Provence series about the towns of Aix-en-Provence and Arles, towns which are 50 miles apart and linked  by a  2,000 year old Roman road.  Lucky for me, they're also linked by train.
Readers headed to Baltimore won't want to miss the quirky shop Sideshow, inside the American Visionary Art Museum. It's a lot like Big Fun in Cleveland's Coventry neighborhood, and it was no surprise for me to learn that the owners of both shops are friends.
My newsroom colleagues Michael  Blair and Tracey Read went to Louisville, where they experienced the wonders of the Galt House Hotel, which goes all out for Christmas. They took their young sons and returned solidly in the mood of the season when they wrote about it.
And David Glasier is back again with another story about great golf, this time on the links along Alabama's Gulf Coast.
Those who don't subscribe to the paper can read all the stories by clicking on the words in contrasting print above. Enjoy.