Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Dells

How the Dells have changed!
by Charlie Leck

Very little interrupts my blogging, but the grandkids always get that right. They come first. Right now I'm down in the Wisconsin Dells, a very touristy spot just about midway between Minneapolis and Chicago -- a perfect spot for meeting up with the Chicago grandkids.

Years and years ago, when the boys were little, they loved coming here because there were all kinds of boat rides and go cart tracks. On trips to or from the East, we'd plan a stop in the Dells so that boys could have some fun. There were a couple of old motels and a pancake house and another cafe or so.

Well, the Dells is different these days. It's a monster entertainment spot for children and families with one giant water park after another where hundreds of families can check in for a weekend or, as in the case of the current spot on the calendar, for spring break from school.

There are at least 20 different movie screens within walking distance of the mega lodge where we're staying -- the Great Wolf Lodge. There are also better than 30 restaurants and cafes from which to choose.

Frankly, it's too much. They took one of the most beautiful spots in the upper Midwest and turned it strictly touristy and tacky. Yet, the chill'n love it and that's the most important thing, I guess. The old Dells tourist stop was strictly a summer place and now, with the vast indoor water play spots, it is year 'round.

I and my life's partner drove into old, dowtown Baraboo yesterday and found it quite unchanged from twenty and thirty years ago. An 0ld friend was still operating her bookstore across from the town square park and she was still making an acceptable living at it. I walked into the place grumbling and growling like any ordinary tourist and she didn't recognize me (who could with the way I've aged?) and she asked if she could help me, "sir?"

"I'd like a hug," I said.

She rolled her eyes and figured, "Oh, what the hell?" And she gave this old fella a big hug. As we were hugging I told her who I was and she yelped and gave me a genuine draft hug, indeed.

I bought a couple of novels (used books) from her and a children's book to take back to the grandkids. It was nice to get a wiff of the old times in the area before going back to the mega-hotel.

All this to say that my blogging's been interrupted by a day or two, but I'll be back on line on a regular basis on Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget to visit the Circus Museum with the grandkids.