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Your TRAVELER's not complaining (much), but sometimes being the Oracle of the Long and Winding Road takes its toll in more than just small change. The things people want to know! Like, where is Milwaukee? (Go east until you hit Lake Michigan. Jump in, then turn around. You're there.) And questions like the following:
Q. The wife says I got no culture. Is she right?
A. Hmmm...she could be on to something. Rectify those subtle deficiencies on the Fall Art Tour, October 14-16. Local painters, sculptors, potters, weavers, jewelers and woodworkers demonstrate their skill and display and sell their works in their studios and homes around Spring Green, Dodgeville, Mineral Point and Baraboo. Visit Fall Art Tour or call (608) 987-3787. If you crave further exposure to artistic expression, take the Earth, Wood & Fire Artist's Tour on October 22 & 23. It's a self-guided tour of the studios and showrooms of 12 fine artists and craftspeople in Cambridge, Fort Atkinson, Johnson Creek and Lake Mills. (608) 423-4424.
Q. How can I pass my geometry final?
A. Square the circle in the Octagon at Pinecrest Historical Village in Manitowoc. On Saturday, October 15, Pinecrest hosts a Traditional Barn Dance in its octagonal dance hall, complete with a live band playing the tunes and a caller to walk everyone through the intricacies of a Perfect Diamond, a Triangle Grand Square, and Circle to a Line. You'll be best buddies with Euclid before the night is out. 7 p.m. $6 adults, $4 children. See Manitowoc County Historical Society or call (920) 684-4445.
Q. How can I spend Halloween getting down and dirty?
A. Generally TRAVELER does not entertain queries of a salacious nature, but for hedonists with an outdoor bent, exceptions will be made. The Ledge View Nature Center in Chilton gets way down to lead Halloween Candlelight Cave Tours on October 21 & 22, starting at 6 p.m. All participants are advised to wear old clothes and anticipate getting "a bit dirty" as they descend into Carolyn's Caverns (Please note visitors need to be able to use stairs and ladders to enter the cave). Catch up on local history, learn about the animal denizens of the dark cave – and wipe that dirt off your face before you give someone a real fright. Good clean family fun for children 5 and above. $5 admission includes popcorn and cider. Visit Ledge View Nature Center on the web or call (920) 849-7094.
Q. What has more frothy heads than a Paris Hilton look-a-like convention?
A. The 2005 Fall Fest of Ale, a celebration and competition to highlight the finest microbrews from Wisconsin and the U.S.A on Saturday, November 5 at Rotary Gardens, Janesville. All fest attendees will be given a complimentary tasting glass from which they can sample nearly 100 different ales, porters, stouts, pilsners, bocks and lagers made with quality ingredients and crafted with care. Brewmeisters will be on hand to extol the virtues of their beverages, which likely will go beyond mere thirst-slaking to include hair restoration, the banishment of rheumatism, and the rescue of Western civilization as we know it. If all the ferment proves overwhelming, there will also be 20 kinds of handcrafted sodas to sip, tasty snacks to munch, and live entertainment. Quaffers pay $30 in advance, $40 at the door. See Fall Fest of Ale or call (608) 345-1035.
Q. Where can I find enough Northern Spies to fill the apple barrel before winter sets in?
A. The 2005 Farm Fresh Atlas has your answer. It's a list of farms and food-related businesses selling direct to customers in southern Wisconsin, and features fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, honey and much more.