Snowshoers racing down a trail
Snowshoeing in the Navarino Wildlife Area near Appleton, Wisconsin

White Nights

Fact: Snow has a different personality at night. By day, it’s the sodden, misery-inducing stuff that requires shoveling. By night, it’s winter-wonderlandesque. This weekend, two spots in Wisconsin are making the most of midwinter moonlight with evening excursions through the drifts.

  1. The Navarino Wildlife Area near Appleton, Wisconsin hosts a candlelight snowshoe/cross country ski hike from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 28th. The route is a one-mile loop across the boardwalk and back to the Navarino Nature Center. (There’s also a daylight snowshoe/ski trek that steps off at 9 a.m. on Saturday and heads toward the beaver lodge on Pike’s Peak’s Flowage.) You can see a map of the area here. Snowshoe rentals are available in the Nature Center. Night treks are $5 per person, $12 per family.
    GO Navarino Wildlife Area, W5646 Lindsten Road, Shiocton, Wisconsin; 715-758-6999,
  2. Up for a road trip? Go farther east to Menomonie, Wisconsin, where the Red Cedar State Trail will be lit by hundreds of candles from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, January 28th. Three different trails—for hikers, skiers, and snowshoers—will be illuminated. The 1.5-mile ski trail ends with a stunning view of an illuminated ice wall—a 25-foot rock formation that ices over in the winter.
    GO Red Cedar State Trail; all treks start at the Depot Visitor Center area, off highway 29, west side of Menomonie, Wisconsin; 715-232-1242,

Where to stay: In Appleton, the Copperleaf Hotel (300 W. College Ave.; 877-303-0303, has a “winter warmer package” that includes such goodies as a $50 gift certificate to the hotel spa or the Black & Tan Grille, a basket filled with the makings for spiked hot chocolate, a hand-made coffee mug, and breakfast; rates start at $179. Near the Red Cedar Trail, the Oaklawn Bed & Breakfast (423 Technology Drive E., Menomonie; 715-235-6155, has spacious rooms in a converted Victorian farmhouse; rooms start at $99 a night.

Where to eat: In Menomonie, The Raw Deal (603 S. Broadway, 715-231-3255, is a small-town mecca of wholesome, locally sourced (and vegan) fare, including lasagna and chocolate pie. Bonus #1: The place is also an art gallery; works on paper by a quartet of local artists are on exhibit through January. Bonus #2: From 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, January 28th, indie rockers People of the Glass House will perform. In Appleton, The Seasons (213 S Nicolet Road, 920- 993-9860, is popular for both classics (filet mignon with garlic potatoes) and its Asian-influenced dishes (red, green, and yellow curry entrees prepared for both meat-eaters and vegetarians).