Spent a long ski weekend with Lisa up in Wausau Wisconsin. We had a great time and were very impressed with the city. Everybody was so enthusuastic about the city and its future and their part in it. The grocer Kevin with his new store he moonlighted with, having a day job as an architect. And Barry, the vietnam vet owner of the Rosenberry, Inn, terrific cook who regaled us with stories from the history of his Inn to his many confirmed kills in Vietnam during his 2+ tours, the last portion of which was spent off the battlefield as a cook for an important general. We enjoyed the delicious breakfasts at his Inn for two nights. The skiing was really impressive for the midwest, 700+ feet of vertical. And perfect for Lisa and her first time. I ended up teaching her and she did very well. It’s interesting that I have taught her to ski and climb now – she says I am better at teaching skiing – probably because I’ve taken so many formal ski lessons, climbing has been much more informal. Sunday was snowing heavily – got 8-10 inches, making for great conditions, more fresh than I got in either trip out west this season 🙂
Sunday we decided to switch B&Bs and stayed at the Everest Inn – walked in with an old man who chatted amiably with Lisa about Boston. When we got in it turned out they were having a pre-election rally for the Wausau mayor – and he was there! Jim Tipple, got to spend a bunch of time with him asking about the city, complimenting him on how prosperous and exciting the town seems, and the enthusiasm of all the residents we had met. Good guy, not a heavy politician type. Even walked an old fellow out to his car at the behest of his wife. Food was great, speeches were interesting, and the people were very warm and friendly, including a former mayor, John Richardson and his wife. How crazy is that? Met some other nice guests and enjoyed a chat with the owner around the fire later that night after dinner. I have to highly recommend the “Way Back Cafe” if you’re ever in town – delicious food. Also the health food store across the street run by Kevin – really great store, wish we had one here in Chicago that was similar.
The mayor told me one reason for the prosperity was a plethora of foundations in the area, some new, some dating back to the lumber era, and a tradition of giving back to the community. That alongside his efforts to work with other communities on jount projects to save everybody money at the same time increasing services, which everybody wants, and encouragement of new businesses and an entrepreneur incubation center, makes for a thriving community.