Ever since I watched the classic fantasy movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as a child, I’ve dreamed of one day having the chance to explore an actual chocolate factory. This childhood dream was recently realized when I had the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of the Baraboo Candy Company, home to numerous chocolaty confections.

Interview with Baraboo Candy Company plant manager Tina David

Baraboo Candy Company has been producing chocolate goodness since 1981. Home to The Original Cow Pie, a delicious treat consisting of pecans covered with caramel and smothered with rich milk chocolate, Baraboo Candy also produces over one hundred varieties of delightful treats.

Recently, I had the chance to spend the morning with Baraboo Candy plant manager Tina David, who showed me around the plant, and shared some of her experiences while producing such tasty products.

DELLS BUCKET LIST #17- Going behind-the-scenes of PAINT IT! POTTERY SHOP

Getting my hands dirty is usually something I find rather unpleasant, but when recently given the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of the Paint It! Pottery Shop, I found getting messy while transforming a spinning lump of clay can actually be quite fun.

Interview with Paint It! Pottery Shop - manager Debra Wolterstorff, clay thrower instructor Joshua Haney, and owner Randy Thompson

The Paint It! Pottery Shop is a create-your-own studio that provides the opportunity for Dells residents and visitors of all ages to make one-of-a-kind gifts and keepsakes. Open year-round on the downtown strip, owners Randy and Nicole Thompson started the shop in 2003, and for the past nine years has given people with any artistic ability the chance to create unique pieces of art.

Recently, I spent a morning at the shop with manager Debra Wolterstorff and clay thrower instructor Joshua Haney, where they showed me around and walked me through the ins and outs of transforming mud into my very own masterpiece (well, at least my grandmother thought so.) I also had the opportunity to ask Randy about his experiences owning this ever changing studio.


The Dells Bucket List was featured on www.dells.com in a very nicely written article yesterday! Please check out their blog at www.dells.com/blog to give it a read and share it with your friends.

DELLS BUCKET LIST #16 - Going behind-the-scenes of DELLS RACEWAY PARK

On a Saturday afternoon last month I had opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of a Dells attraction that until recently, I never even knew existed. Dells Raceway Park has been home to thrilling stock car racing for the past fifty years, and while it might not be as well known as some of the other Dells mainstays, I found that it offers just as much excitement, if not more.

Interview with Dells Raceway Park owner - Wayne Lensing

For most of his life Wayne Lensing has associated himself with automobiles. His love affair with the auto industry began by working at a garage after school as a child, which provided his introduction to race cars. Eventually becoming a successful race car driver himself, he now is the owner of multiple automotive related businesses including: Lefthander Chassis, which builds race cars, Historic Auto Attractions, a museum that has many well-known vehicles, and this past March bought the Dells Raceway Park, which has stock car racing every Saturday night during the season.

 Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Wayne to discuss his life, his businesses, and what his plans are for the future.




Finding myself behind the wheel of a thirty-six foot long, twelve hundred horsepower jet boat speeding across the scenic Upper Dells Wisconsin River is something I’ll never forget.

Having the opportunity for such a memorable experience was made possible by the generosity of Ron Yohn, who for my latest Dells Bucket List adventure, taught me how to do exhilarating spins, splashes, and power stops in one of the Captain Ron’s Original and WildThing Jet Boats.

Interview with owner/partner of Captain Ron's Original & WildThing Jet Boats - Ron Yohn

For more than a decade Ron Yohn has been bringing the joy of jet boat tours on the Wisconsin River to thousands of Dells visitors annually on his Captain Ron’s Original Jet Boats. Being the first to do in the Midwest starting back in 1997, his jet boat tours give both a relaxing scenic excursion of the Upper Dells, along with an exhilarating fast paced ride of spins and power stops that quite possibly will get you refreshingly drenched on hot summer days.
Recently, I had the chance to meet with Captain Ron to discuss the history of his business, how his new partnership with WildThing Jet Boats came about, as well as getting a personal tour of the river where he let me take the wheel and taught me how to execute some of the tricks of the jet boat trade.

DELLS BUCKET LIST #14 - Carving a wood sculpture at WATSON WOODS

Usually, using power tools is something I try to avoid whenever possible, but during my latest Dells Bucket List adventure not only did I find myself wielding a chainsaw, I realized that it can be rather fun as well.

Interview with wood carver - Dave Watson

For more than two decades Dave Watson has been carving wood sculptures with a chainsaw on his forty acre property in the Wisconsin Dells that he calls Watson Woods. Most notable for his of whimsical bears, Dave uses his creative talents to take plain wooden stumps and turn them into a large variety of functional works of art. Dave and his wife Annette were kind enough to invite me into their home recently where they shared incite to what brought them to the Dells, how Dave got into the craft of wood sculpturing, and what his average day of carving entails.

DELLS BUCKET LIST #13 - Going behind-the-scenes of the BRAT HOUSE GRILL

The tradition of eating bratwurst while drinking a beer has been an appetizing combination for almost a century. While this combo can be consumed in many Wisconsin bars and restaurants, having the opportunity to do so in a one hundred and sixty-two year old former church that some say is haunted most likely can only take place at Lake Delton’s Brat House Grill.

Interview with The Brat House owner - Steve Haupt & General Manager Ted Kaminski

For the last five years The Brat House has been serving a large selection of locally made custom brats, along with a full menu of other tasty items ranging burgers and steaks, to soups, salads and specialty sandwiches.

Owner Steve Haupt, along with chef and general manager Ted Kaminski were kind enough to spend some time recently telling me about their delicious food, the unique history of the area’s oldest public accessible building, and how The Brat House came to be a favorite to both locals and tourists alike.  




Sampling a variety of different beers before breakfast is not something I do often since my college years, but being I recently got to go behind-the-scenes of Moosejaw Pizza and Dells Brewing Company for my latest Dells Bucket List adventure, I wasn’t about to let the opportunity to partake freshly brewed beer in the morning slip away.

Interview with Moosejaw Pizza & Dells Brewing Co. brewmaster - Jamie Baertsch

For the past decade Moosejaw Pizza and Brewery has been the home to the Dells only microbrewery. Serving ten different styles of hand-crafted beer at all times, keeping both visitors and locals alike coming back often for the chance to drink beer that is extremely fresh.

Jamie Baertsch, who holds the title as the “Only Female Brewmaster in Wisconsin,” is the one to bring Moosejaw’s beer to fruition, and was gracious to spend a few hours showing me the process of brewing, as well as letting me sample some of her delicious liquid wares.


It’s not every day you have 100,000 volts of static electricity shot through your body, get to see your shadow frozen in time upon a wall, and have a sense of what it was like to be on the Russian Space Station Mir, but all of these cool and unique sensations were experienced during my recent behind-the-scenes visit to The Tommy Bartlett Exploratory.

Interview with Sr. V.P. & Director of Operations for Tommy Bartlett Explorartory - Mark Schilling

Mark Schilling has worked for Tommy Bartlett, Inc. for over forty years. Starting off parking cars and operating the snack bar for the famous ski show, Mark is now vice president and director of operations for the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory - but will still pitch a hand in doing his originally duties whenever needed. Almost kid-like in his joy of working at a place that is filled with wonder, Mark was gracious to spend a couple hours giving me a tour of the facilities and impart some entertaining stories, as well as some of its long history.

DELLS BUCKET LIST #10 - Going behind-the-scenes of DENNY'S DINER

Eating a meal next to a telephone booth that has a Superman mannequin inside, or with a life-sized gorilla riding a motorbike hanging above you from the ceiling, is not something you’ll get to experience at your average everyday restaurant. Luckily, if you want to eat breakfast or lunch while getting some fun sensory stimuli, you’ll find that the Lake Delton mainstay Denny’s Diner is the perfect place to visit - as it is anything but average.

Interview with Denny's Diner owner & son - Molly Van Schoyck and Chad Van Schoyck

Visitors and locals alike know and love the one-of-a-kind restaurant in Lake Delton that's called Denny's Diner. Owned for over thirty years by Dennis and Molly Van Schoyck, what started off as a simple deli has transformed over the years into a diner that now houses an eclectic collection of items ranging from the nostalgic and historical, to the silly and absurd. Recently I had the pleasure to sit down with Molly and her son Chad to learn about the history of the diner, as well as how the unique d├ęcor came to be.