4 Wine Drinking Paradises You Didn’t Know were around Appleton, WI

The title says it all – calling all of you wine-o’s to draw your attention to four places that are killing the wine game in Appleton, WI. Occasionally people say, “There is nowhere with higher-end wine around here.” Or, “You can’t find good wine in Wisconsin”. False, my friends. I went on a solo hunt for some of the best places to grab a glass of wine in Appleton, and I was extremely successful. My journey consisted of four unique wine bars in or near Appleton.

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#1 – Xe54 Wine Bar

Beginning in the little town called Fox Crossing, we discovered Xe54. Only a little over a year old with a very “boujee” feel to it. The interior is filled with popping colors – blue walls, large gold lettering, purple velvet couches, quirky art on the walls – and has a very “New York” vibe to it for being located in a small Wisconsin suburb. Overall,  very sleek and elegant interior.

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Wine Options

The important part – what wine selection do the offer? First off, Xe54 uses tap wines. It’s one of their main attractions. Which means they have kegs (yes, entire kegs) full of wine. They have eight total wines on tap – four reds and four whites. Essentially, this helps to keep the wine at the perfect serving temperature and provides a fresh glass with every pour. Beyond the tap wines, they have about 12-15 wine options that they provide from the bottle. Each glass on average runs between $8-$10. They also provide a retail section which guests can either take a bottle home for enjoying, or drink in the bar for a corking fee. As for regions of wines that they offer, they just began selling international wines alongside their domestic options. For a smaller menu and retail section, they have a very wide range of grapes and regions.

Beyond the Wine Options

Beyond their wine list, Xe54 also offers a build-your-own cheese board menu. Allowing you to check mark which cheeses, meats, and extras (crackers, olives, etc.) you may be looking to snack on while drinking your wine. They also have extensive options for liquor, beer, craft cocktails, and live music on Saturday evenings around 7-10 PM. They have a plethora of events including wine tastings and pairings. Xe offers a happy hour from 3-6 offering $1 off all drinks (wine, cocktails, and beer).

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From the Staff: Candice – Wine Events Coordinator

I spoke with Candice from Xe54, who is the wine events coordinator. She runs tastings and events that help to showcase new wines the Xe54 has to offer. From speaking with her, she wants the general public to know:

“We want a broad enough spectrum of wine to fit different people’s tastes and pallets while also bringing in different varietals to help others try new things. We pick wines that can cover any occasion, birthday party or graduation, we’ve got wine for you at an affordable price.”

Taste Test

To really give you all a look into what Xe54 has to offer, I tried four different wines that all range in different taste, acidity, depth, etc.

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  • Essence Riesling – a sweeter white with fruit notes to it. I tasted notes of more green apple, a little touch of sour notes coming through but balanced well with the sweet. (Mosel, Germany)
  • Misty Cove Sauvignon Blanc – which had more of a tart and citrus taste to it with nice acidity. This taste test was my favorite that Xe54 had to show me, very tasty. When I drank it, I immediately thought of a seafood dinner for pairing. Dee-Lish. (Marlborough, New Zealand)
  • Diablo Dark Red Blend – this was a blend of Syrah and Malbec wine which gave the blend a nice, lingering finish. Notes of darker berries like cherries and raspberries. (Chile)
  • MWC Shiraz Mourvedre – a spicier, drier wine with notes of blackberry. A very bold wine with great flavor! (Victoria, Australia) 

#2 – Uncorked

My second stop was in downtown Neenah at Uncorked Wine & Bistro. Along with the rest of the downtown area, Uncorked has beautiful brick walls (inside and out) with dim and intimate lighting. There are retail options covering two full walls with plenty of options to look at, and the bar has a darker marble finish to it. While I was visiting, it was decorated for the Halloween/Fall season and was done beautifully. A very inviting setting really focusing on the socialization and intimate aspect of wine drinking.

Wine Options

Uncorked has an insane selection for wines – both retail and by the glass. They have a rotating wine menu that’s categorized into two sections: Sweet, crisp, aromatic, and rich (whites) and fruity, spicy, earthy, and bold (reds). Beyond that, they offer 11 different flight options or BYO. Within the 11 flights there is also a Port Wine flight option. Uncorked offers over 300 options for retail which guests can either drink at home or in house for a corking fee. They offer 32 wines by the glass and carry both international and domestic. They also provide a list of their “bubbly” options for guests – which are all fresh.

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Beyond the Wine Options

Uncorked offers a wine club where you can choose between all white or all red wines, a mixture of both at two different price ranges occur once a month. They offer wines from many different regions and very diverse options for varietals and countries. Uncorked offers beer, liquor, and cocktails with options in abundance for those looking for other options. As for food, they have a pretty large range of options. From crostini’s and pita pizzas to cheese platters, desserts, salads, meatballs, salmon, and daily specials. It’s a really extensive food menu for the size of the location. They also have a happy hour from 3-6 where they offer two white and two reds for $5 a glass. There is live music every other Saturday and they do occasional wine tastings.

From the Staff: Kris – Manager

At Uncorked I met with the Manager, Kris. She has been management for Uncorked for 10 years now and knows the establishment like the back of her hand. She wants the general public to know:

“We listen to customers for what they’re looking for. We love helping them find the perfect fit for where the night is leading to and what they enjoy in a wine. We try our best to do a read on them and let them try new things they have never had. We enjoy doing new wines on happy hour to teach others about different varietals that people don’t typically ask for. We try pushing them from comfort zone and helping them.”

Taste Test

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  • Spätlese Riesling – A sweeter wine that had a light and fresh taste to it. A very balanced and vibrant wine. (Germany)
  • La Plage Rosé  Du Var – Drier for a rose, yet still holding the lighter fruit flavors all the way through, very refreshing. Cool thing is, Uncorked serves this wine year round for you Rose lovers that can’t seem to find one in the depths of the winter. (Profanse, France)
  • Shooting Star Blue Franc – This was my personal first time ever trying a blue franc, and I was delighted by the flavors. It was a medium bodied red that reminds me of the kind of red wine you actually enjoy drinking during the summer. Subtle hints of darker berries. Very flavorful but drier on the back end. (Washington)
  • Freakshow Red Blend – A familiar label for most people, darker fruit notes, tastes higher end than it actually is, drier, with chocolate aromas and subtle tastes. (Lodi, California)

#3 – Mondo! Wine Bar

Third on the list was Mondo! Wine Bar in downtown Appleton. The aesthetic of Mondo! is very simplistic with most of the color coming from the menu and the wine bottles along the walls. They have very lively music playing within the bar and has a heart of the city feel to it. The owner, David, is also a bartender at Mondo! which was awesome to see from a customer standpoint. A charismatic little place.

Wine Options

To start, the owner of Mondo is very smart when it comes to wine. He really knew his stuff. Not that all of the places before didn’t, he just surprised me with how much knowledge he had about the wines he served. He considers his bar “unique to the world” due to the way he has his wine organized. He composed a period table of wine that helps each wine-o find exactly what they’re looking for. At Mondo!, the menu is organized with the lighter wines at the top of the menu and they get darker, richer and deeper as you move left to right and down the menu. He used this method to help his customers experiment with new varietals based off of wines the customer already knows they enjoy. It is also color-coded to make finding your type of wine even easier, with an icon to match every wine. Although their “by the glass” menu is a bit more limited, Mondo! has a pretty large array of wines for retail purchasing.

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Beyond the Wine Options

Mondo! offers educational tastings, free tastings once a month, and in the summer they do a wine camp one Saturday every month. Alongside wine, they also offer beer, liquor, non-alcoholic options, and food. For food, they have items such as cheese platters, pizza that is made in house, and ala carte options like nuts and olives. Their location is also right by the Performing Arts Center in Appleton making it a great stop before or after a show in Appleton.

From the Staff: David – Owner

David is the owner and creator of the unique wine bar, Mondo!. The idea of the periodic table concept was created by him and he is usually at Mondo! every day. He wants the public to know that:

“We expose people to wine and things they have not seen or heard of before. We have uniqueness of organization, and we want things to be fun for people. We want to stray away from the idea of being “stuffy”, so we go to great lengths to keep things light and fun. We love getting to know our clientele, we compare ourselves almost to ‘cheers’ – that neighborhood bar that just happens to serve wine. We don’t want anyone to feel intimidated to come in.”

Taste Test

  • Tres Ojos Old Vines Garnacha – a bright wine, flavor packed, showcases a lot of fruit, has a little bit of spice mixed with sour. (Spain)
  • Black’s Station Cabernet Sauvignon – untypical for a cabernet, tasteful and not as dry as expected, divine, fruitful but also has minor bitterness. (California)
  • Domaine De Pouy – very vibrant and bright, has good notes of acidity, with notes of fruit. (France)
  • Long Little Dog White Blend – softer acidity, more fruity mostly pear flavors/armoas. (France)
  • EXTRA Sangue di Giuda Sweet Red – chilled, reminded me of a breakfast meal or the smells of a bright morning. Not too sweet but has the perfect balance of sweet while combining what one expects from a red. Smells close to a buttery scent. (Italy)

#4 – Tandem Wine Lounge

Last on our wine tour through the Fox Valley is a relatively new option to the area – Tandem Dinner & Wine Bar. After being immediately greeted by not only the owner himself but also the earthy, aesthetic, home-y interior of the bar itself, you are overwhelmed with the beautiful chaos that is Tandem Wine Bar. It’s complicated yet also intriguing and even though it’s only in the process of being complete it feels as though the interior is a vision you’ve been searching for a long while for a casual place to have a good glass of wine. A very intimate setting with dim lighting and wooden accents everywhere you look – Tandem focuses on the less stuffy side of wine and the more freeing side.

Wine Options

Tandem has a wine menu that fluctuates every couple of weeks with their options by the glass. They do offer both retail and by the glass for their customers; with an average glass costing about $8.00-$9.00. Their wine options include both international and domestic, carrying many different flavor varietals for customers. Included in their “by the glass” options are about 13 options ranging between sweet whites and dry reds.

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Beyond the Wine Options

Beside their copious amounts of retail wine options placed along the beautiful brick walls, Tandem also offers many other bar-like amenities. They have begun dipping their toe into the food world and offer a cheese board currently for $18. Although it’s only one option, the cheese board is extensive and offers something for guests to nibble on while they sip. They also offer an extensive selection of bourbons, scotch, and whiskeys. There is a cooler in the bar filled with craft beer by the bottle along with 3 beer options on tap. Moving past food and drink – Tandem offers live music and specials throughout the week.

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From the Staff: George – Owner

“We’re a wine, beer, and spirits store with a nice lounging atmosphere. We refer to ourselves as a wine lounge rather than a wine bar. We don’t really do bar hours, typically closed by 10 PM. People enjoy the simple aesthetic and authentic space. Tandem was a swan dive into a vision.”

Taste Test

  • Bouza Tannat Reserve 2015 – Big and bold, showcases flavors of darker fruits including plum and blackberry, deep and rich, could be paired with any kind of “hardy” meal like stews, roasts, steak. Velvety finish. (Montevideo, Uruguay)
    • Very interesting and delicious try – was informed not many people are familiar with the varietal.
  • Chateau Buena Vista Cabernet – Racey, bold, a little sweeter on the tongue. Intense and powerful red. Strong flavor of cherry and dark berry. (Napa, California)
  • Chateau Ferrande Graves 2015 – Very subtle, light flavoring. Soft and earthy with bright notes to it. Nice alternative to a super sweet and fruity white. (Graves, France)

If you’re like me and love a good, rich, and flavorful glass of wine mixed with an environment to match your mood – one of these four places is bound to be the perfect match. They are all so different and so unique in their own way, allowing for each place to have an entirely different experience. Which place are you visiting first? Let us know in the comments below – and thank you so much for reading!

Until next time.

– Camille

Best April Events in Northeast Wisconsin

April Events in the Fox Cities 2019

This month has some solid events. There’s even some outdoor events on 4/20. Northeast Wisconsin really respects the green after a long winter. Check out the awesome events from beer and (mac n) cheese to litter cleanups to popup dinners, here are the best April 2019 events we could find.

Manitowoc Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) : Sip Sip Hooray!

When? April 5 @ 6PM

Where? Sepia Chapel

Looking for a way to give back to the community? Join Manitowoc County’s CASA program for a fun night out! Cocktail and social hour start at 6, immediately followed by dinner and a performance by Janet Planet at 6:30. Admission includes signature drink, dinner by Courthouse Pub and dessert by French Creek Bakery. Proceeds from this event go directly to Manitowoc County CASA Program!

Fifth Annual Pig Out

When? April 5th @ 6PM

Where? Badger State Brewing

This event is present to you by Badger State Brewing and Ahnapee Brewery. It entails a pig roast to benefit the Friends of the Ahnapee State Trail. The event will take place at Badger State Brewing from 6 – 9 PM. The cost is $35 per person, with options to bundle if you have a table of 8! The cost covers a pork meal, a specialty brewed beer, and an opportunity for some awesome prizes all while supporting a wonderful organization committed to making the community and outside visitors aware of all the quality aspects of the trail!

Fox Cities Kidz Expo 2019

When? April 6th @ 9 AM – 3 PM

Where? Fox Cities Exhibition Center

Fox Cities Exhibition Center
Credit: Post Cresent

Have you gotten a chance to check out the Exhibition Center in Appleton yet? If not, here’s the perfect opportunity! Activities for this family event include face painting, inflatables, costumed characters, crafts and balloon animals! There will also be brief seminars with information on various community activities.

Mini Golf on the Town

When? April 6th @ 1 – 6 PM

Where? Downtown Appleton

Can’t wait to get out on the golf course? We have the perfect solution! …kind of. Nine holes of mini-golf are being set up at different bars with beverage specials at each bar. You and your team can register at a participating bar – $60 per foursome. See y’all at the after party at D2!

Free Electronic Recycling

When? April 6 @ 9 AM – Noon

Where? Sunset Park Kimberly, WI

Join the local community and K9 Tech at Sunset Park in Kimberly for an opportunity to finally get rid of your old electronics that are just collecting dust – for FREE! This isn’t an every day opportunity, don’t miss it!

K9 Tech Recycling event in Appleton
Credit: K9 Tech Recycling

Chris Company Pop-Up Dinner

When? April 6th @ 6PM

Where? W5562 Center Valley Rd, Black Creek

A popup dinner in a historic 1887 schoolhouse located in Black Creek, Wisconsin. Tickets are $75 for one person and $130 for two. The event promotes unique venues and the best local food and wine in Northeast Wisconsin.

Game of Thrones Trivia

When? April 9 @ 7 – 9 PM

Where? Fox River House

Are you dying to know how well you know Game of Thrones? You’re not alone. Come test out your knowledge at Fox River House downtown Appleton on April 9th from 7 PM to 9PM. Bring a friend and make it an intense competition.

Game of Thrones Screenshot for Game of Thrones Triva event in NE Wisconsin
Credit: Game of Thrones

Mac and Brew Fest

When? April 13 @ 6 – 10 PM

Where? Sunnyview Expo Center

21+ – $30 a person, $50 a couple.

Alright Wisconsinites… beer and cheese – everything we could ever want! Share a laugh with some awesome comedians, devour mac and cheese through various tastings, and find your new favorite beer or wine! If none of that tickles your fancy, there will also be dancing and indoor yard games. The cost is $30 a person. Make it a date, and couples can sign up for $50 for two! All of the funds raised from this project are for Oshkosh South West Rotary projects.

Dueling Pianos

When? April 13 @ 7PM

Where? Dockside Tavern

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Credit: NEW Piano Guys

I’m sure you’ve heard of the NEW Piano Guys by now. If you haven’t, you need to. You really won’t regret it. Check them out at Dockside Tavern on April 13th!

Loop the Lake Earth Day Hike

When? April 20 @ 9AM

Where? Arrowhead Park, Neenah

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Credit: Post Cresent

Here is another opportunity to check out one of the newer additions to our community. On April 20 (rain date April 27) grab a friend or simply you hiking shoes and get out on the Loop the Lake Trail that encompasses Neenah, Menasha, and Fox Crossing. This event is free and it begins in Arrowhead Park in Neenah. The loop is about 3.5 miles. There will be refreshments and activities at Fritze Park! Plan to start between 9 & 10:30 AM. Before you get your hiking shoes on, make sure you grab this Sierra Club liability waiver form to fill out and bring it with you!

Earth Day Hoot

When? April 20 @ 7PM

Where? Mosquito Hill, New London

On 4/20 at 7PM come help celebrate the Earth, with a variety of musicians in an Earth Day themed program. – Folk, acoustic, traditional music. The event is kid friendly – $5 adult, kids are free with intermission treats included.

Party like it’s 1995

When? April 25 @ 6 PM

Where? TRATS Stadium

We are all severely itching for summer – the Timber Rattlers feel it too. They’re ready to party like it’s 1995 with you. Join the TRats on April 25th for a good ol game of America’s favorite pastime and enjoy prices like you would have seen in the 90’s! $5 box seats, $4 bleacher seats and $3 grass seats. Enjoy popcorn and cotton candy for $1, and craft beer and brats for just $3! This is an event you don’t wanna miss!

Broadway Beer Hop

When? April 27 @ Noon

Where? Lyric Room, Green Bay

On April 27th, for $20 a person you can hop around town and sample beer from four different breweries! You’ll have a punch card that can be turned in at the end for a chance to win some cool prizes. The event will start at noon and go until 4 PM!

Earth Day Event & Fox Valley Cleanup

When? April 28 @ 10:30AM

Where? Mr. Brew’s Taphouse

Whatever your thoughts on Climate Change are (cough cough, it’s here folks) i think we can all agree that littering is not OK. On April 28 from 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM, starting at Mr. Brew’s Taphouse there will be a cleanup happening by the Fox River east of downtown. Garbage bags and water will be provided but it is recommended that you bring gloves! Of course, you won’t want to miss the after party immediately following the cleanup at Mr. Brews. The first 72 people over 21 years old will get a free event t shirt!

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Editors Pick – Best Event in April

I’m impartial because I’m big on outdoor activities and clean up projects, but I like to pick the best events based on excitement. I think the most exciting event this month is the Mini Golf on the Town. So there’s my pick for the month. We’re extremely excited for the warm season in 2019. Which event do you think sound the most exciting?

Top 12 Events in the Fox Cities – December 2018

The weather is getting colder, the snow is starting to fall, and the ideas of “what can we do?” …in Northeast Wisconsin are becoming more and more limited, to the indoors at least. We are all busy with the Holidays, but when that slows down, the kids will be nagging to do something, and of course you’ll be ready for a night out! End 2018 on a positive note with fun activities all throughout the Fox Cities.

Race for the Light 5k, Saturday December 1, 2018 – Oshkosh

Join over 1,000 people as you run through Oshkosh’s Celebration of Lights at Menominee Park by the Lake. (Oshkosh’s best park!) The 5k run raises money for the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services in Oshkosh. The run starts at 4:30pm. Registration opens at 2:30pm. After the race, be sure to stop by Ground Round in Oshkosh for some delicious food, they are generously donating 15% of their sales to the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse center! winterrun

Oshkosh Gallery Walk, Saturday December 1, 2018 – Oshkosh

Right after you’re done with the Race for the Light 5k, head downtown to enjoy tons of local art at 13 different venues throughout the city. Including at Becket’s, Jambalaya, and New Moon Cafe! The walk starts at 6pm. Full line-up of artists, art styles, and venues here!

Electric City Parade, Tuesday December 4, 2018 – Kaukauna

Did you love the Appleton Christmas parade? Did you accidentally miss the Appleton Christmas parade? Kaukauna also has an annual parade that you’re bound to enjoy! After the parade, you have the opportunity to enjoy cookies and hot chocolate with Santa in the Community Room of the old City Hall.

Rudolph Run, Friday December 7, 2018 – Neenah

A costume contest and a fun run all in one? Could it be? That’s exactly what the Rudolph Run has to offer.  Dress up in your best Christmas outfit for the chance to be one of the three lucky people to win the dress up competition. Not a good runner? Don’t worry, this isn’t necessarily a race (though it can be if you’re feeling competitive!). Start out at Shattuck Park, pay $8 per person and run down to the Christmas tree on the corner of Wisconsin Ave and Main Street. Even better, the first 300 participants get fuzzy antlers to add to the awesome dress up and a glow necklace.

Make a Glass Ornament at Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass – Saturday December 8, 2018 -Neenah

A very special way to get creative with your family. The local Museum of Glass in Neenah offers friends and families an opportunity to make your own glass ornament for $15  a person. They will also have various other art projects to partake in. The event runs from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Menasha Holiday Hayride, December 8, 2018 – Menasha

You have 8 opportunities for a ride – you don’t want to miss it. From 5 PM to 8:40 PM, get your tickets at the Parks and Rec office through December 8th. Tickets are $2 a person. The ride will take you through Menasha Island, which is beautifully decorated for the Holidays. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, all while enjoying some delicious treats!

Hayride events in Menasha, WI

Downtown Appleton Holiday Fun Fest, Saturday December 15, 2018

Games, activities, cookie decorating, horse-drawn wagon rides, and Santa with Mrs. Claus. That’s enough said. Enjoy these activities and downtown Appleton from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

Brunch with the Grinch, Saturday December 15, 2018 – Appleton

Brunch with the grinch activity in Appleton, WI

Join the grumpy ol’ Grinch at the Children’s Museum for a fun brunch and story, plus a Grinch themed photo booth. Cost is $5 a person if you’re a member, $12.50 a person if you’re not. This is something your kids won’t want to miss! Hurry though, as this was written there were only two time slots available for tickets.

Pet Photos with Santa, Mondays through December 17, 2018 – Appleton

Get your furry friend a photo with Santa at the Fox River Mall from 5 – 8 PM on Mondays! This can be the perfect addition to a Christmas card, or just a fun excursion for your four legged loved one.

Noon Year’s Eve, Monday December 31, 2018 – Appleton

Join WIXX at Funset Boulevard on New Year’s Eve from 10 AM to noon for a bunch of New Year’s Eve fun! Donating five non perishable food items for their food drive for St Joe’s food pantry gets you two unlimited wristbands completely free! End the new year by having a great time and donating to an important need in our community!

Menasha New Year’s Eve Celebration, Monday December 31, 2018

25th annual! Enjoy free live music, a ball drop, fireworks and giveaways happening in Downtown Menasha at Reed Square. The celebration runs from 10 PM to 12:30 AM. It may be a good idea to make dinner reservations at a local restaurant nearby!

New Year’s Encore Eve, Monday Dec 31, 2018 – Appleton

Now here’s a party! The sixth annual New Year’s Eve concert celebration, produced and promoted by Mile of Music Presents. The party is at the Red Lion Hotel Downtown Appleton. The event goes from 8:00pm-12:30am. There is a surprise emcee, and the full music line up can be found here!

Events in Appleton December 2018
Mile of Music – Credit: Lawrence University

At Venture Wisconsin we make it easy for you to find cool s#!+ to do here in Northeast Wisconsin. Simple as that. What you will find on all of our blogs? Events the author would go to. In this case I, Melanie, enjoy drinks, pets, live music, hanging with loved ones, and large events. I hope you enjoy one of these throughout the month! Let me know in the comments if you went or if I missed something, and I will reply!

10 November Events & Shows You Must Look Into!

November 2018 Events List

As the leaves are rapidly falling and the pumpkin carving comes to an end, many people in the Fox Cities begin to wonder what exactly there is to do during this cold winter season. Luckily, the people of the Fox Cities come together as well this time of year, and are surprisingly lively. If you’re looking for something to do this November besides the typical deer hunting and Thanksgiving dinner, look no further!

1. JINGLE – Sip & Shop, a Vintage & Artisan Market – November 2

Have you checked out the new Fox Cities Exhibition Center? Have you gotten any Christmas shopping done? If not, here is the perfect opportunity to do both! On November 2, starting at 4 PM at the Exhibition Center, you will find tons of Wisconsin vendors selling all kinds of handmade, vintage, and upcycled items. Plus, there will be a cash bar and a food truck on site. This is the perfect opportunity to support local vendors and get your friends and family a unique gift for the holidays!

*Admission is $3

2. Downtown Appleton Indoor Farmers Market – (Every Saturday)

Reinvent Ferment at the Farmers Market
Reinvent Ferment at the Appleton Indoor Farmers Market Credit: Downtown Appleton Farm Market

How awesome is it that we barely have to go a month without a farmers market between summer and winter? To kick off the holiday season, Downtown Appleton’s Farmer’s Market starts right away on the first Saturday of November, the 3rd. Running from 9 AM – 12:30 PM weekly, you’ll find 50 vendors with all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies, unique food items, as well as crafts for sale. There really is no better way to spend cold Saturday mornings!

3. Dueling Pianos in Oshkosh! – November 3rd, 16th, & 21st

It is as awesome as it sounds. Dockside Tavern in Oshkosh is featuring the N.E.W. Piano Guys starting at 7 P.M. It will undoubtedly be a show you don’t want to miss! Dockside has phenomenal food to complement the great entertainment, as well as great drinks. If you love them (which you will) or miss the show, catch dueling piano shows on November 16th at Fox River Brewing or the 21st at Fletch’s Tap House.

4. Downtown Appleton Light Up the Town – November 9

Trout Museum Christmas Tree Lighting in Appleton
Appleton Light Up Ceremony. Credit: WLUK News

Head down to Houdini Plaza on November 9th at 4 PM, for this fun family friendly night downtown! You will experience live music from local choirs as well as tons of activities for the kids to enjoy, that undoubtedly will also keep adults entertained! The lighting ceremony begins at 6:30 PM

5. Downtown Appleton Window Walk – November 9

After experiencing the lighting ceremony, be sure to walk down The Ave and take advantage of the opportunity to check out all the special decorated windows of our local downtown businesses, as well as many specials offered on this evening only. This event goes until 8:00 PM.

6. TED talks in Oshkosh! – November 10th

TEDx Oshkosh is hosting a live program at The Grand in Oshoksh! A great opportunity to hear from 14 thinkers and doers across the region! It is a most of the day event. The live presentation costs $50+ to attend, and includes food and TED goodies. More information and tickets here!

7. Pablo Francisco at Skyline Comedy – November 15 – 17

Skyline Comedy brings in so many awesome comedians to Appleton, and this particular weekend they are featuring Pablo Francisco. A night at Skyline is the perfect date night activity or a night out in Appleton with friends. To make the night even better, consider having dinner at Stone Cellar (it’s right underneath Skyline)!

Pablo Fransisco Promotional Graphic for Skyline in Appleton
Pablo Fransisco Credit: Skyline Comedy Club

Bonus: If for some reason you can’t make this show, check out Open Mics on Wednesday nights. Hear local comedians try out their best routine, and enjoy BOGO drinks! Wednesday nights are free, and absolutely hilarious.

 

8. Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade – November 20

A holiday favorite in Appleton! Come enjoy the beautiful downtown Christmas parade that has been a hit here in Appleton for over 40 years! The parade begins promptly at 7:00 PM at the corner of State Street and College Avenue. We absolutely recommend getting there early in order to ensure you get a great viewing spot. This parade gathers quite a crowd!

9. Small Business Saturday Downtown Appleton – November 24

With so many awesome small businesses in Appleton to choose from, this Saturday will be a busy one. Download a “passport”, pick one up from a small business, or get one from the Post Crescent on Thanksgiving Day, and go shop on Saturday the 24th. When you collect 5 stamps from different local businesses, you can turn your passport in and be entered to win some amazing prizes. What an awesome way to support our local economy and tackle some holiday shopping!

10. Fiddler on the Roof at the Performing Arts Center – Nov. 27 – Dec. 2

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is featuring “Fiddler on the Roof” to finish off a fun filled November. Tickets start at $31.00 (maybe someone can get an early holiday gift?!). No matter what you are celebrating, or not celebrating, a night out at the Performing Arts Center is guaranteed to leave you in awe.

Fox Cities PAC
Fiddler on the Roof at the PAC Credit: Fox Cities PAC


If you’re trying to find ways to get out into the community and find some cool events before the winter comes, check out one of these events that sticks out to you. Personally, I think it’s nice to see so many live performances on the list! If you’re reading this, please know, we put these out there with the hopes that people like you will find something you like, and get out there and try it! If you do visit an event on the list, please jump back on here and let us know how it went! We will be sure to respond.

P.S. If you’re more of a hiker/photographer looking for something to do in November, you have to check out this state park within 1 hour of the Fox Cities!

Possibly Oshkosh’s Coziest, Most Interesting Breakfast – Camille’s Choice #2

For this experience, I was in the mood to try somewhere more low-key, relaxing, and straight up comfort food. Where better to go than a local cafe in close to my college housing in Oshkosh, WI? This cafe is called Pilora’s cafe and it’s located right on Main Street, just outside of Downtown Oshkosh.

What attracted me to this cafe initially was the exterior. I had always passed by the restaurant on Main Street, but never seemed to have the time to stop in. I knew I had to feature it for the Camille’s Choice series. The restaurant is cute, quaint, and even has a little outdoor patio which was perfect for a 75 degree summer’s afternoon! Once you enter the cafe, you’re overwhelmed with smells of fresh brewed coffee and the smell of syrup – yes, even at three in the afternoon. There is a little coffee bar behind the main register that instantly caught my eye as well. Around the restaurant are tables and booths with different pieces of art and many kinds of plants. The sun is able to come in through their huge windows and keep you warm while you eat, too. All around, Pilora’s atmosphere is perfect if you’re looking for that Sunday morning, coffee and pancakes kind of meal.

For my meal, I decided to go with something the server said they were well-known for – their Pilora’s french toast. This is the thickest, richest, and sweetest french toast. It was so good and their homemade syrup was truly the “icing on the cake.” Along with the french toast I got some nitro cold brew coffee (which I am a HUGE fan of), and it was creamy and so fresh.

I enjoyed the company of my roommate, Lace, on this journey and it was a nice place for us to sit and share a meal and some warm conversations. Lace and I have both agreed we would love to go back sometime soon and check out some of their other unique menu items as well, and so should you!

If you really want to see how beautifully displayed (and tasty) Pilora’s french toast is – click here to see my vlog! 

Trying to find Pilora’s and try it out for yourself? Here’s some information that might help you out!
Simplified directions: Right on the end of Scott Street, where it turns into Main Street
Address: 910 N Main St, Oshkosh, WI 54901
Located by: Cinders Charcoal Grill, Doctor Benzie’s Pizza, Family Dollar

Five Reasons Hartman Creek State Park Should Be Your Next Adventure

Hartman Creek is the most versatile state park I have been too within an hour of Appleton! During the two hours I spent there exploring and watching all the different activities going on there I was truly in shock with how much potential this park has to so many people. So, the whole point of writing this is to give you the insight you need to get out there and experience this truly awe-inspiring place! I had the opportunity to visit with my girlfriend this fall, and our journey was great.

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Hiking

At Hartman Creek the beauty of their hiking trails is spectacular! I had the personal opportunity to hike these awesome trails. My favorite ran right along the water, and gave us an amazing view of Allen lake and the number of trails is enough for you to hike all day if that’s what you desire to do. But I highly suggest going in the fall, the true beauty of all the fall colors on your hike is amazing. Just looking across the lake and seeing the trees filled with oranges and reds is sure to drop your jaw in awe.

Fishing

Hartman Creek has some amazing fishing! We know that’s the truth because Hartman Creek was once a fish hatchery before it was even a state park! Fun fact! Plus, all the lakes around it are all spring fed. That makes for great fishing! You can expect to catch largemouth bass, perch (my favorite), blue gill, and other types of panfish. There are four lakes to choose from at Hartman Creek: Lake Allen, Lake Hartman, Lake Grebe, and Lake Middle. Along with that if you don’t have fishing gear you can rent it for free right at Hartman Creek! If you end up going to Hartman Creek don’t forget your fishing License.

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Winter Activities

Winter is just as much fun at Hartman Creek as the fall and summer are. You have winter activities like cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat tire biking trails! When snowshoeing you have free reign to venture off the trials or stay right on path. There are six miles of cross-country skiing trails and three and a half miles of snowshoeing trails! That’s a lot of winter wonderland to explore!

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IMG_9592-2Kayaking/Canoeing

Kayakers can launch from Manomin Lake and paddle through Pope Lake, and Marl Lake. Don’t forget to stop and look at the crystal clear water and all the amazing red and orange colors from the trees surrounding each lake.  Then you can stop and have a lunch break at Whispering Pines picnic area!

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Swimming

Hartman Creek provides an amazing 300 foot sand beach which is great to bring your family to or go on a date! What’s even better is that the beach is right next to a three acre, multi use area which is perfect for social games like spike ball and bags or just having grill outs and getting together with family and friends for the weekend! Along with that if you’re from further out of town, they have plenty of camping sites for tents and Trailers!

From hiking to swimming and all the things in between you can clearly see how amazing Hartman Creek is. Not only a great stop during the spring and summer, but a place to explore all year long. So why not head out to Hartman Creek for an adventure?

Outdoor Spotlight: 1000 Islands Nature Center

1000 Islands is an awesome nature spot in the Fox Cities. Located right off of downtown Kaukauna, you can find 7.2 miles of hiking trails. Including 1 mile of trails along the Fox River!

1000 Islands shoreline fox river picture
The Fox River at 1000 Islands. Source: FoxCities.org

The land is set aside for the public to enjoy. According to the Conservancy, the land is set aside, “with the idea of teaching good conservation practices and preservation of natural resources.” We at Venture Wisconsin support this sentiment! Our goal is to show you that awesome places like this exist, and to convince you that they are worth visiting!

Activities: Hiking, sight seeing, wildlife viewing, classes, snow shoeing, fishing, canoeing, and any classic outdoor activities (frisbee, catch, picnics, etc.) are welcome. If you’re running out of ideas of outdoor activities, we made you a list of a few!

What else? There is an amazing nature center, full of awesome displays and information about our local natural history, and other cool things!

1000 Islands Nature Center
Inside 1000 Islands Nature Center.

1000 Islands is open year round, and unfortunately, no pets allowed. Seriously though! Go visit! Leave yourself some time to hike. It’s worth it. What’s your favorite way to enjoy the outdoors?

Looking for something more?? Something you didn’t already know?! We did our first Neature Feature episode at 1000 Islands! Oh, also, they rent different items to enjoy the outdoors in a new way!

Check out our Neature Feature episode below on 1000 Islands. (Recorded February 2018)

“There is nothing to do around here!” Many people, mostly young people, complain of the Fox Cities. At Venture Wisconsin we’re taking it upon ourselves to lay out all the awesome things to do, as well as create awesome things to do across Northeast Wisconsin. This is why we spotlight outdoor areas to explore via our Neature Feature series, and our Instagram account.

11 September Events in the Fox Cities You Don’t Want to Miss

Blog Image Events in the Fox Cities - September 2018

Maybe you have kids, they’re now back to school, and the family is back into the comfortable groove of daily routine. Fall is near, and the crisp smell and feeling of winter looming. Thoughts of family and fresh dinner rolls loom in your mind. Maybe you don’t have kids, maybe you are going to school, college or high school. You’re back, the excitement of friends and a new chapter surround your daily life. EVEN if you have no kids in your life in any form, maybe you’re a young professional, a retired soul, or you just take life easy, September is a time of change. Event though September’s rain and temperatures are unpredictable, there are still events and opportunities for fun and community for all types of people, especially you! Which is why we made this list, to make sure you at least know what you’re potentially missing out on.

Seafood Fest – Friday & Saturday September 7th & 8th

Take the wildly successful, monthly Fox Valley Food Truck Rally that happens all summer at Jefferson Park in Menasha, and add two days of live music and lobster and salmon dinners from 4pm-9pm! If you love music and seafood by the water, this event may be for you!

Eve of Destruction – Friday September 7th

At the Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna is the annual Eve of Destruction event. From 7pm-10pm, you can expect a monster truck show and rides, extreme freestyle motocross, figure 8 racing, two man crew racing, pyrotechnics, and fireworks. $12/person entry. Expect an intense night of family fun! More details here.

Eve of Destruction 2017
2017 Eve of Destruction. Credit: Instagram @mayrae009

Green Bay & Oshkosh: Summer Send-Off Scavenger Hunt & Bar Crawl – Friday September 7th & 8th

Looking for a fun way to celebrate the end of summer with your friends? Venture Wisconsin has scavenger hunt bar crawl events in Green Bay, Oshkosh, and Appleton on September 7th, 8th, and 14th respectively. These events line up with the syllabus week for each city’s university. The goal is to welcome the students to join the community over some beers. Sponsored by Fox River Brewing, the events include drink deals and activities at each bar, and a photo scavenger hunt with prizes for the winning teams. $16 to register ahead or $20 to register at the door for each event if you wait until the last minute. Register by purchasing a shirt for your city at this link.

Bazaar After Dark Night Market – Menasha – Wednesday September 12th

The popular Bazaar After Dark series is taking place in Downtown Menasha for their final event of 2018! Don’t miss your last chance to join this night market and see what the buzz is about. You can expect a food truck rally (16+ trucks), crafts, food, and more!

Bazaar After Dark
Bazaar After Dark. Source: Fox Cities Magazine

Brew at the Zoo and Wine, Too – Thursday September 13th

This is a fundraising event at the NEW Zoo in Green Bay. From 5:30pm to 8:30pm there will be 70 different craft brews, wines, and non-alcoholic drinks to sample while raising money for conservation. Unlimited tasting, $35 to participate. Buy tickets here!

Appleton Summer Send-Off Scavenger Hunt & Bar Crawl – Friday September 14th

Celebrate the end of summer, join us for drinks, games, Blu Bobber and a photo scavenger hunt. Just like the Oshkosh and Green Bay events, you purchase a shirt to register. In Appleton we have Player 2, D2, OB’s Brau Haus, The Bar, Jim’s Place, and Mill Creek. Activities include Bobbing for Blu Bobber, Bags, Flip Cup, N64, photo station, and Hammerschlagen, plus the scavenger hunt! Purchase your shirt here to register. $16 ahead of time, $20 at the event!

Oshkosh Biking Brewery Tour: Final Ride

A 14 mile bike loop around Oshkosh along all of the main water ways with three stops! Fox River Brewing Co, Fifth Ward Brewing, and Bare Bones Brewery. Ride with us or ride with your friends. Enjoy $1 off pints at Bare Bones and Fifth Ward, a logoed glass from Fox River Brewing, games, giveaways, and fun! Tickets are $15 and you get a mixed six pack of Oshkosh beer, two from each brewery. Buy your tickets in advance here. $20 at the event.

Biking Brewery Tour
Touring Oshkosh Local Breweries

1st Annual Harvest Fest – Sunday September 16th

Bluegrass music, new local draft beers, an art fair, and a new special harvest menu at The Source Public House in Menasha! Visit The Source and enjoy the food, drinks, and art. Free entry event.

Brews, Bistros & Bonfires – Friday September 21st

Taking place at the Green Bay Botanical Garden is a cozy night of local brewery samplings and local food while you enjoy The Ultimate Steele Dan Tribute Band, the glow of the fire, and the fall air. More details here.

Appleton’s Octoberfest (37th annual) – Saturday September 29th

Self proclaimed, “Appleton’s largest block party.” All profits go to community projects, charities, and events. 100+ food vendors and live music throughout College Ave. Free entry event.

Too White Crew at Appleton Octoberfest
Credit: Too White Crew

Barktoberfest (During Octoberfest) – Saturday September 29th

A free fun event for humans and their pups. There is costume contest. Categories include: Kids and Dogs, Most Original, and Best Theme. Trophies for “Best Trick for a Treat.” There will be dog beer, pretzels, and cigars. As well as “Yappy Hour” from 1pm-4pm. This event takes place at the DePawsitory in Appleton during Octoberfest!


Just because summer is turning into fall doesn’t mean there isn’t ample opportunity to have fun with your family, friends, and community! We hope you find an event that fits your schedule and peaks your interest. Please share this list with your friends, and let us know if we missed any events in the Fox Cities that your are excited for September 2018!

 

15 Touristy Things to do in The Fox Cities

If you live in the Fox Cities or are driving through, many people don’t give the Fox Cities credit for all the reasonably priced activities in the area! We composed a list of the more established things to do in Appleton, Menasha, Neenah, Oshkosh, and surrounding area that would interest tourists and locals alike.

1. Paper Discovery Center

The Fox River is Paper Valley! Many large corporations like Kimberly-Clark for example originated in the Fox Cites. In memory of this history, the Paper Discovery Center was developed right off the Fox River and Downtown Appleton. If you are visiting or live in the Fox Valley and want something unique to see, to bring your kid, or show a friend who is visiting, this is a unique spot.

2. Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass

Head to Neenah for a unique museum experience! If you are looking for things to do in Neenah, this is one of the big attractions that is certainly a new experience. The museum has different exhibits all the time!

3. Appleton History Museum

With revolving exhibits, and the constantly evolving exhibits of Appleton’s history and Houdini, this is a great activity in the Fox Cities for any age!

4. Building for Kids

If you are looking for something to do in the Fox Cities for kids, this is the crown jewel. The Building for Kids features interactive, educational fun! Multiple stories of construction, factories, grocery stores, airplanes, play land, and more! Check it out in Appleton!

Kids learning at Building for Kids in Appleton
Kids playing at the interactive Building for Kids in Appleton. Credit: FoxCities.org

5. Hearthstone House

The Hearthstone House is a gemstone in any city. Hearthstone is the first home independently powered by hydroelectric power using the Edison System. We talk about it here as well. It is always cool to have a first in innovation, and Appleton back in the late 1800s had a lot of promise as a city. Visit the Hearthstone House to learn more about Appleton history.

6. Fox River Mall

A big local hang out spot in the Fox Cites, the Fox River Mall attracts people from all over Wisconsin. So if you are visiting for EAA, Mile of Music, or any local event, check out the mall if that is your cup of tea.

7. Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

The Performing Arts Center (PAC) is a world class venue that brings tons of unique shows to the Fox Cities. World class shows like Mamma Mia, The Lion King, and The Book of Mormon come to the PAC in cycles, and it is worth checking out if you can get the opportunity.

8. Oshkosh Grand Opera House

Much like the PAC, the Grand Opera House in Oshkosh is historic and world class. Slightly smaller shows frequent “The Grand,” but there are plenty of unique and reasonably priced shows to make it worth checking out the historic theater.

9. Weis Earth Science Museum and Barlow Planetarium

If you go to the local community college you will find more than local students saving money. You will find the Weis Earth Science Museum and the Barlow Planetarium where you can find unique science exhibits and awesome seasonal light shows!

10. EAA Aviation Museum

EAA stands for Experimental Aircraft Association, and they put on the largest airshow in the country for a week! Every summer over 100,000 people come to Oshkosh for the EAA Airventure event, so you can imagine the museum is pretty special.

Inside the EAA Hangar
Part of the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, WI

11. Paine Arts Center and Gardens

With rotating art exhibits and outdoor gardens and events, “The Paine” is a great place for tourists to experience Northeast Wisconsin in a unique way! Here you will find their events and exhibits

12. Menominee Park and Zoo

Menominee Park is Oshkosh’s crown jewel as far as parks go. A huge spot of land with a lot of lake shore on Lake Winnebago. Plenty to do including the beach, trails, huge playgrounds and massive trees. The park also includes a zoo! If that’s not enough you can also rent kayaks or water bikes.

13. Take a Party Bike Ride with The Social Station

Mega bikes or party bikes are vehicles that are pedaled by a group of people. Very unique and new to the area, The Social Station offers tours, pub crawls, and exercise expeditions to anyone in Appleton! Book here.

Party Bike Group
A group after a group ride on The Social Station.

14. Oshkosh Public Museum

Across the street from The Paine Arts Center is a historic Oshkosh home near the Fox River. There exists the Oshkosh public museum with awesome changing exhibits. The Oshkosh Public Museum is a one of many reasonably priced things to do in the Fox Cities for tourists and locals alike.

15. Take a Segway Tour

Segways are cool!.. Right? Book a segway tour and learn about the local history and hotspots in Neenah, Appleton, or Oshkosh. Click here to book a tour!

Conclusion

The Fox Cities has many awesome resources for the public, including many outdoor things to do. For now, this will get you started for planning your next visit to Appleton, Oshkosh, or Neenah! If you want to find events, outdoor treasures, and other things to do in Appleton and the Fox Cities, follow our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channel. Thank you for reading and let us know in the comments if you ended up trying any of these.

One Restaurant, Indivisible with Inclusion and Pizza for All

Did you know that a brand new pizza cafe has just opened at 432B Wisconsin Ave. in Appleton? The new restaurant is called Harmony Pizza Cafe, inspired by Harmony Cafe, the awesome coffee shop that closed its doors a few years back.

The restaurant is open Thursday 5:00pm-9:00pm, and Friday and Saturday 5:00pm-10:00pm, for now. Harmony Pizza has plans to grow, but is currently developing a strong business model as the owners get the word out. They are currently building a stage for live music and an environment of inclusion for LGBT and all races, creeds, etc. in the community.

Harmony Pizza Cafe owners doing prep work
Part owners, Julia and Forrest, doing prep work for their second night of business.

Harmony Pizza offers Neapolitan pizza, and they opened their doors officially on the winter solstice December 21, 2017. Also commonly known as the day with the least sunlight each year. Part owner Julia says, “At first it wasn’t planned that way, but when it timed out, we were like, let’s do a solstice celebration.”

We were told that Harmony Pizza uses nearly all organic ingredients, with only a few exceptions. Also using nearly all local ingredients with the exception of their crust! We hope you find your way to Harmony Pizza to give this great new addition to the Appleton community a try! If you read this post and try it, please come back and leave a comment about how it went.