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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast

Paul Bunyan's is Mandatory Dells/Minocqua Stop

CREATED Jul 18, 2011
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WISCONSIN DELLS  It's both disturbing and heartening to know there are still "gift shops" where kids can buy slingshots and bebe guns.

On a recent trip to the Dells with my family, we enjoyed one of the great Wisconsin vacation restaurant experiences of all time. I will never drive by a Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty without making a strong effort to visit. Every meal is good there, but breakfast can't be beat!

We first discovered Bunyan's on visits to my aunt's cottage in Boulder Junction (that's way the heck up North if you're keeping score). There's one on HWY 51 in Minocqua, or maybe it's Woodruff at that point. I don't remember. What I do remember as a kid was waiting in long lines in the shadow of a massive likeness of Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Donuts first... still warm.

We took my kids for their first Cook Shanty experience at the Wisconsin Dells location. What I appreciated this time, as much as the food and ambience which was just as I remembered, was watching them dart through the gift shop begging to make ill-advised purchases.

It was the first time I'd looked upon the shop through the eyes of a parent, and it was frightening!

"Dad, what's this?" the boy asked.

"That's a slingshot," I responded.

"What's it for?"

"Nothing good."

Seriously? They still market slingshots to kids? How many times has this been stated by a concerned, but not near stern enough parent, "Okay... but only if you promise not to shoot at and windows or living things."

Right.

If you've never been, it's worth the trip. If you haven't been for a long time, it's more worth it now than ever. Here are a few pictures. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAh-iF8Q-YQ Yes, that is my sister, Young Emily, in the hat.

On Wisconsin!

vvitrano@todaystmj4.com

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