The “Everything-Everywhere” Guide to Appleton, Wisconsin

Written by  Gary Arndt

In March 2007 Gary Arndt sold his house, put his possessions in storage and headed out on an open road adventure.  But he's a generous adventurer, he's been sharing a photo and a snippet (or so) a day (or so) on his blog Everything Everywhere.

We got in touch recently to ask him what he left behind for our series of insights into the home towns of our Experts, Bloggers and other Travel Knowledgables.

More things to see when you visit Wisconsin.

Where's your home town, and what's the main reason people visit?

My hometown is Appleton, Wisconsin. There are two reasons why people visit Appleton that I canthink of:

1) it is the birthplace of magician Harry Houdini, and 2) It is close to Green Bay which is where the Green Bay Packers play. All the visiting teams stay in Appleton when they play in Green Bay.

What's the main reason you think people SHOULD be visiting?

Well, if you are a history buff you might want to visit the grave of Senator Joe McCarthy who is buried in Appleton. His bust is also on display in the Outagamie County Courthouse (he was a judge before he was a senator). Appleton is also the birthplace of author Edna Ferber, actor Willem Dafoe, and the fictional hometown of Mrs Garret from the Facts of Life.

If you had to recommend to the friend of a friend one unmissable to do in your hometown what would it be?

I'd go and see the Vulcan Street hydroelectric plant. It was the first working commercial hydroelectric plant in the world and was designed by Thomas Edison. You can also visit Hearthstone, which is the first home in the world to be built with electrical wiring built in. -ED: This is actually really cool, it might make me sound geeky to say it but I think that would be really interesting - check out the photo above.

If they had a whole day in town what would you recommend they do?

I'd spend some time walking down near the Fox River. I'd also go eat at JD's Drive In, which is my favorite place in Appleton.

What if they had three days?

If they had 3 days I'd suggest they spend some time visiting other communities around Appleton. This would include Lambeau Field and the Packer Hall of Fame in Green Bay as well as the Experimental Aircraft Museum in Oshkosh.

What will you never catch a local doing?

Wearing a Chicago Bears or Minnesota Vikings jersey!

What WILL you catch a local doing?

Driving up and down College Avenue during the evening.

And what local delicacies would visitors be fools not to try while they're there?

Bratwurst and cheese curds. Make sure to get fresh cheese curds at room temperature. They should squeak when you eat them.

In 140 characters, how would you sum up your home town as a great destination?

Appleton is a quintessential midwestern city. If you want to visit a place that isn't in the slightest bit touristy and captures the essence of middle America, visit Appleton.

Thanks Gary - Appleton sounds cooler than you probably think it does.  Go Packers!

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