Community chooses 33 ‘Best of Rhinelander’ people, places
Star Journal Report
Bragging rights were awarded last week to dozens of businesses, people, events, experiences and places as the first-ever Best of Rhinelander votes were tallied. Forward Rhinelander, the citizen group formed to encourage the betterment and improvement of the community, sponsored the friendly competition, and according to organization member Brett Aylesworth, the “Best of” contest will be an annual event.
The 2019 winners, as chosen by the community:
Best place for a walk in the woods: Hanson Lake. The two-mile walk around the entire lake provides a picturesque and peaceful stroll through nature. Honorable mention: Buck Lake/Almon Recreation Area and Holmboe Conifer State Natural Area.
Best media personality: Mike Michalak, morning host on WHDG radio, took the top prize. Honorable mention: Ben Meyer and Geoff Weller, both of WJFW-TV.
Best place to listen to music: ArtStart, recognized for its lunchtime music outside in the summer, the evening Roots series and special musical performances. Honorable mention: Nicolet College and WXPR public radio.
Best annual event: Hodag Country Festival, in its 42nd year, continues to attract thousands of people to enjoy four days of music and fun. Honorable mention: Fourth of July celebration and the Art Fair/Car Show/Bikes and Burgers event in June.
Best place to share a dessert: Briq’s Soft Serve at Jet’s Dairy Bar. Relax on the outdoor seating and take in a beautiful Northwoods evening while sharing a one-pound cone or one of the other cold treats. Honorable mention: Brown Street 151 and Culvers.
Best place to take out-of-towners: CT’s Deli, with Chef Tom’s smoked meats, unique and changing menu was the community’s choice. Honorable mention: Brown Street 151 and the Hodag statue at the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce.
Best activity for teens: Rouman Cinema, the city’s long-time family-owned theater has the latest movie releases, a game room and snacks for all movie goers. Honorable mention: YMCA of the Northwoods.
Best fish fry: Two favorites were chosen, Al Gen, a long-standing traditional Northwoods supper club, and the Beachcomber, a restaurant and bar on Clear Lake that provides unique fish fry options and homemade cheesecakes. Honorable mention: Henkel’s Town Pump and The Brick.
Best place to go boating/kayaking/canoeing: Boom Lake and the Wisconsin River, located in the heart of Rhinelander. Honorable mention: Pelican River and Crescent Lake.
Best place to go pontooning/partyboating: Boom Lake/Rhinelander Flowage has a total of 1,377 acres to cruise on the main lake, up the river. Honorable mention: Lake George and Lake Tomahawk.
Best place for a first kiss: Hodag Park, on the shores of Boom Lake. Honorable mention: Back of a Ford (or Chevy) truck and the Northwestern’s back booth.
Best sporting event to attend: RHS football games at Mike Webster Stadium. Honorable mention RHS basketball games at Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium and hockey games at the Rhinelander Ice Arena.
Best view of the Tiffany-domed courthouse: Davenport Street, looking east, was picked as the best place to view the 110-year old Oneida County Courthouse. Honorable mention: Davenport Street Bridge.
Best happy hour: Rhinelander Café and Pub, which has been a fixture in Rhinelander for more than a century, now with a taproom featuring 24 craft beers on tap. Honorable mention: CT’s Deli and Bucketheads.
Best place to go for a bike ride: Bearskin Trail, located just west of Rhinelander, stretches from Minocqua south to near Tomahawk. Honorable mention: Washburn Lake Trails and Hodag Park.
Best place for outdoor winter fun: Northwood Golf Course, was ranked number one for its nine miles of groomed cross country ski trails, and fat tire biking and snowshoeing events. Honorable mention: Sarocka Park and Camp 10.
Best day trip: Bond Falls, a series of waterfalls along the Ontonagon River is just over an hour’s drive north of Rhinelander. Honorable mention: Lake Superior and Minocqua.
Best first sign of spring: Sighting robins in the Northwoods. Honorable mention: Ice-out on local lakes and the tulips blooming at the post office.
Best place to celebrate a special occasion: Holiday Acres Three Coins Restaurant, located at one of Rhinelander’s generational resorts, features fine dining and is a popular venue for weddings and other celebrations. Honorable mention: Brown Street 151 and the Historic Davenport House.
Best Old Fashioned: Rhinelander Café and Pub was selected for making Wisconsin’s (un)official state cocktail better than anyone. Honorable mention: Beachcomber and Al Gen.
Best place to people watch: Walmart. Honorable mention: Hodag Country Festival and downtown Rhinelander.
Best place to meet someone for lunch: CT’s Deli wins again for providing the atmosphere for almost any lunch occasion. Honorable mention: Crimson Cup and Northwestern.
Best way to unwind: Chill out at home was the most popular way to relax according to voters. Honorable mention: Fishing or other water activities, drinking, working out at the YMCA of the Northwoods.
Best beach: Buck Lake, with its crystal clear water and soft sand is the place to spend a hot summer day. Honorable mention: Sugar Camp Lake, Two Sisters Lake, Hanson Lake.
Best radio station: WXPR public radio was selected for its one-of-a-kind programming located in the heart of downtown Rhinelander. Honorable mention: WHDG and 93.7 Coyote.
Best family-friendly event: Fourth of July festivities can be an all-day family event beginning with the downtown parade and ending with fireworks over Boom Lake. Honorable mention: Oneida County Fair and Lights of the Northwoods.
Best place to propose: Hodag Park, summer or winter. Honorable mention: the Hodag statue at the Chamber of Commerce.
Best place to eat with kids: Culver’s was picked number one for young and old alike. Honorable mention: Friendship House and Pizza Haven.
Best park or rec area: Once again, Hodag Park makes the list. It is home to Rhinelander Little League, the Hodag Water Show and offers pavilions, beach, playground, fishing pier and much more. Honorable mention: Pioneer Park and Buck Lake.
Best place to buy a gift: Lattitudes, in downtown Rhinelander, with its wide selection of unique clothing and other gifts. Honorable mention: Tricia’s Treasures, Mel’s Sporting Goods and Joe’s Pasty Shop.
Best bloody Mary: CT’s Deli is where you can get a Lunchbox Bloody Mary featuring 16 garnishes, or a regular one, too. Honorable mention: Northwestern and Cross Country Bar and Grill.
Best thing about Rhinelander: The friendly people willing to lend a helpful hand. Honorable mention: The Hodag and the many local non-profit groups.
What do you wish was in Rhinelander: Target is the retailer that voters want to see in the Northwoods. Honorable mention: Ethnic restaurants.