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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Fish Boil - A Wisconsin Tradition

6:51 AM 0 Comments

My introduction to the great state of Wisconsin began with a pre AGLOW conference media  opportunity trip (AKA a FAM or Familiarization tour) in beautiful Walworth County for three days.

I can't think of a better way to begin a trip to Wisconsin than by going to an authentic Wisconsin style fish boil. While Door county is perhaps better known as the home of fish boils - Fitzgerald's Genoa Junction restaurant offers visitors not just their own tasty version of a fish boil, but rather an entire dining experience.

~ Kevin graciously provided us with a handout regarding the most interesting history of the octagon house and the property - to learn more about the history of one of the few octagon houses that  remain, click here. Can you believe this gorgeous building was once part of a thriving complex that housed a wagon and carriage making company? 

This beautifully restored octagon house is home for Fitzgerald's Genoa Junction    

Kevin Fitzgerald explained that the biggest difference between the Door County fish boils and the Fitzgerald's method is the type of fish used. Historically the Door County boils utilize trout or whitefish, and often one finds  skin and bones still with the fish. "Here we use North atlantic cod - no bones, no skin, and a remarkably lobster like sweet taste. That's what our customers prefer, and that's what keeps them coming back" said Fitzgerlad.
Kevin Fitzgerald ~ manning the kettles daily during the summer season and Thursday through Sunday from November through March.

During the big "boil over" moment

Fish kettles boiling away
 The menu is simple and straightforward at Fitzgerald's - a unique all-you-care-to-eat dining experience. Guests enjoy fish boil combinations including honey-BBQ chicken and BBQ pork ribs with a legendary secret whiskey-based sauce. Other accompaniments include award-winning coleslaw and fresh rye bread, sweet red potatoes and onions which are boiled in the pots with the fish. For dessert a frosted apple square nicely rounds out the meal.  Fitzgerald's also offers a full service bar featuring a full selection of martinis, highballs, red and white wines, coffee drinks, cordials and more.

There's not a single corner of Fitzgerald's that  isn't an interesting and welcoming spot! 

I was anxious to try this Wisconsin tradition. While I was wandering about Fitzgeral's snapping photos and visiting with other diners, each and every other guest there simply raved about the food, the atmosphere, and the service. For many diners it's a set date night, a regular weekly dining out experience, or for that many that travel from the Chicago area to enjoy Fitzgerald's a family tradition for special occasions.

The standard plate from Fitzgerald's, sweet boiled cod, potatoes, onions all swimming in drawn butter accompanied by rye bread and  slaw . Of course I had to also try the delicious grilled BBQ ribs and chicken as well!

The meal was a  great hit and wonderful welcome for the group of outdoor writers. Nary a crumb was left behind by our group from AGLOW!


Fitzgerald's Genoa Junction is a  must do activity when visiting Walworth County, or the southeastern region of Wisconsin. The warm welcome from the Fitzgerald family, the outstanding food, the charming and interesting use of the octagon house all add up to a dining experience you do not want to miss!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Renewed, Revitalized, and Ready to Rock and Roll

10:12 AM 3 Comments

Lake Lawn Resort - what a wonderful introduction to Walworth County and Wisconsin!

Ah yes – looking back at my last post date, it is apparent that I abandoned the ship for a while. In all honesty, I was giving serious thought to just calling it quits.  Just call it a midlife crisis, and identity crisis, or a huge period of self-doubt.

I began to feel that my words and my images just weren’t all that I hoped they would be. When discussing this with fellow outdoor communicators and blogging mentors Jody Narrantic of The Hunter’s Wife, and Carrie Zylka of The Wild World of Carrie Z , both counseled me not to make any decisions until after I returned from the AGLOW (Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers) conference.

I am so glad that I listened to them.

I started my “Week in Wisconsin” courtesy of the Walworth County CVB, exploring the wonderful outdoor, historic, and just plain fun things that Walworth County has to offer. I was joined by several other AGLOW members for the weekend of fun.  The other AGLOW members that weekend filled my head with tales of other AGLOW conferences, opportunities, and most of all support, friendship, and fun.

Kathleen Seeburg, Executive Director of Walworth County CVB made sure that my first experiences in Wisconsin were indeed wonderful!

From the moment I walked into the lobby of the hotel in Fond du Lac, WI I felt welcomed, valuable and accepted.  This was my first AGLOW conference and I was nervous as a cat in room full of rockers. I was going to be meeting other writers and photographers that were in my mind, the rock stars of our industry. Folks that I follow, admire and respect. The entire drive north from Southern Illinois I had that country mouse going to the city anxiety.

I can't imagine a better location for outdoor communicators to gather than Lakeside Park in  Fond du Lac, WI

The fine folks from AGLOW instantly put that anxiety to rest.  The days were packed with so many activities, seminars, as well as time to make new friends and catch up with old friends.

I discovered that gee whiz – I wasn’t the only one struggling with how to proceed in the world of outdoor communicators, I discovered that with the AGLOW members there is genuine desire to help each other succeed and thrive.

I discovered I still had it in me to write, to photograph, to communicate.  I can never thank AGLOW and it’s wonderful members enough for renewing, revitalizing, and bringing  back the passion I have for communicating the great things the outdoors has to offer all of us.

I was especially tickled to get to see my friends Marjorie Beenders and Steve Walker from The Beenders-Walker Group. TBWG knows all there is to know and then some about great outdoor destinations in Missouri and the Gulf Shore!

Stay tuned, I have plenty of photos and stories to share from my “Week in Wisconsin”!