June 1 Pioneer Press & June 3-4 Big Buck Savers

Free Fun in Wisconsin

The first weekend in June the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources presents its Free Fun Weekend - providing an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the outdoors of Wisconsin. All state parks, forests and trails will offer free admission and no fishing licenses will be required to fish in state waters. Check out the parks, meander on the trails and dip your line in the water to sample the natural outdoor bounty Wisconsin provides.

Speaking of fishing, three state fish hatcheries in Northwestern Wisconsin will hold open houses on June 3. The Osceola Fish Hatchery in Polk County has a kids fishing clinic, while the Les Voigt Hatchery in Bayfield and Brule River State Fish Hatchery in Douglas County offer catch and release opportunities along with a variety of activities for people of all ages.

No fishing gear, no problem. Many DNR service centers and park offices offer a tackle loaner program. You’ll be able to borrow a rod and reel and receive advice from the helpful staff on where the fish are biting.

In addition to free vehicle admission to state parks this weekend, ATV/UTV riders will be able ride on public ATV/UTV trails for free. The 24-mile Blue Hills Area ATV Trail near Ladysmith in Rusk County is just begging for exploration. You’ll find the trailhead 12 miles north of Weyerhauser off Co. Rd. F.

Find your free fun at dnr.wi.gov and ruskcountywi.com.

Exploring the Water in Canoes & Kayaks

The Apostle Islands Kayaks offers guided tours through the wonders of Madeline Island, down the quiet waters of the lagoon and to the cliffs and through the caves. The trip even includes some time for lunch and other explorations.

Iron County is home to a multitude of kayaking and canoeing hot spots. Named after the spirit people of the Ojibwe, Manitowish River Trail offers a variety of paddling scenarios from the pine filled uplands to lakes and large marshy areas. The Turtle-Flambeau Flowage includes nine lakes and 150 miles of sandy shoreline. Both options include some rustic camping sites along the way.

In Price County, the North & South Forks of the Flambeau River provide some whitewater adventure for the paddler looking for more than a gentle paddle. The Jump River offers the chance to discover both developed and undeveloped areas.

The Cable area offers more than 400 miles of rivers and streams, as well as more than 950 lakes, for paddlers to set their crafts into for a journey on the water. Both the Namekagon and the St. Croix Rivers offer legendary scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities.

The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner offers canoe fans a chance to see a one of a kind collection of both vintage and contemporary crafts made by master builders.

Paddle your way to apostleislandskayaks.com, mercerwi.com, pricecountywi.net, cable4fun.com and wisconsincanoeheritagemuseum.org.

Not Just for Museum Geeks

Take the ferry across Lake Superior for a visit to the Madeline Island Museum. Explore the original four log structures which house a wonderful array of items from the island’s rich past as home to the Ojibwe, a fur trade post for the French and English, and as a vacation getaway. Events are held throughout the season, including an Ojibwe Artist Residency with Dennis and Cleo White on June 24-25.

Get up close to World War II legends at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center in Superior. This museum brings to life the heroes who have kept our shores safe through the years. The centerpiece of the museum is the refurbished P-38 Lightning Warbird flown during World War II. Also explore the technological advances of the war and how it impacts our lives today.

The Northern Lakes Center for the Arts in Amery presents Rural Artists of Wisconsin, which highlights 1940s inspired art and the work of regional artist John Steuart Curry. The exhibit runs June 9-July 7.

The Railroad Memories Museum in Spooner features twelve rooms filled to the rafters with memorabilia such as whistles, uniforms, signals, lanterns and much more.

Rock your museum itinerary at madelineislandmuseum.wisconsinhistory.org, bvhcenter.org, northernlakescenter.org and washburncounty.org.

We are the Cheesiest

All kidding aside, Wisconsin really is the cheesiest place around. We are proud of our dairy heritage and it can be tasted in all our cheese, from the squeaky cheese curd to the smooth brie for your cocktail party.

The Burnett Dairy Cooperative, near Grantsburg, is farmer owned with 200 dairies in their cooperative. The milk delivered by these local dairy farms are turned into mouthwatering cheese by certified Master Cheesemakers. Try their wide variety such as Zesty Teriyaki String Cheese, Rosemary Herb Cheddar and Savory Bacon and Onion Colby during Dairy Days on June 16-17. Their website even features yummy new recipes regularly.

The Hayward Bakery & Cheese Shop provides visitors with not only a wide selection of local and imported cheeses, but freshly baked artisan breads for your cheese. What could be better than that?

See how cheese is made while you shop for your favorite flavors at the Comstock Creamery on Highway 63 in Comstock. Their cheeses include specialties featuring added flavors of ingredients such as mushrooms, cranberries, apples and basil. You can also find fine Italian foods, desserts and gift items at their shop.

A serious foodie would have no problem planning a full vacation with a cheese theme “Oh what a be a Gouda time it would Brie.” Start at burnettdairy.com, travelwisconsin.com/restaurants/hayward-bakery-cheese-shop-251314 and ellsworthcheese.com/about/comstock.

Wellness & the Beauty of the Northwoods

In addition to the fun outdoor activities you may expect in the northwoods, wellness spas and retreats are a popular destination in Northwest Wisconsin. More than a massage or yoga class, these retreats offer a centered experience.

Located in Polk County’s beautiful St. Croix River Valley, Luminaries Retreat offers a variety of wellness, weight loss, fitness and nutrition retreats in a duration of one to eight weeks. There you will realize your personal health goals and get the spark necessary to accomplish them. While the retreat focuses on healthful nutrition and spirituality, it also provides a myriad of activities for people of all fitness levels. Indoor and outdoor training, group biking, running and hiking, and watersports are some of the opportunities available in the awesome setting of the St. Croix River Valley.

Looking for a retreat that is an escape from the everyday challenges of life? Canoe Bay in Barron County’s community of Chetek is a 300 acre country estate with three private spring fed lakes. Cozy rooms in their lodge, or tiny houses and deluxe cottages await adults and couples looking for magical experiences in the northwoods. In addition to a full range of luxury resort accommodations, Canoe Bay offers wellness amenities like in room massage and local farm-to-table dining.

For the spiritually minded, the Flowing Waters Retreat Center in Bayfield provides a quiet, tranquil place for reflection, vision quest, mediation and quiet, simple vacations. Massage, yoga and meditation and weekend retreat packages are offered in a balanced country setting.

The wellness begins at luminariesretreat.com, canoebay.com and flowingwatersretreat.com.