Appleton Wisconsin is located on the northern shores of Lake Winnebago, about 25 miles south of the city of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. It was incorporated as a village in 1853, and named for Samuel Appleton from Boston. Appleton was the father-in-law of Amos Adams Lawrence who founded Lawrence University here when the community was first settled in 1847. This is one of the most prestigious small private universities in the country, and the city's growth matches that of the school.
Appleton and the university have a number of national firsts in their histories. The university was the first in the country to establish the concept of freshman studies in which all entering students are required to take the same eleven classic studies. The Fox River runs through the city, and the nation's first hydroelectric central station was located here. Additionally the first residence in the world powered by hydroelectric power is here. This is the Hearthstone House, a lovely Victorian mansion that is on the National Register of Historic Places and is today a museum.
Another historic Appleton Wisconsin museum is the Museum of History at the Castle. This is housed in a rather imposing former Masonic temple built in 1923 that does, indeed, resemble a castle. The museum focuses on the history of the Fox River Valley, but also has a fascinating area devoted to native son Harry Houdini, the famous magician. For urban green spaces, head for Appleton Memorial Park and the Gardens of the Fox Cities, botanic gardens featuring trees, plants, and flowers native to Wisconsin.
A great deal of the outdoor recreation in Appleton WI revolves around Lake Winnebago, where numerous summer festivals, concerts, and other special events are held. The lake is extremely popular for pleasure boating and fishing, including ice fishing in the winter when it is not unusual for 10,000 cars to be parked on the ice. Particularly popular is the February sturgeon spearing season. The lake has vigorously protected this species, which is extinct or endangered in many other places. The lake has the highest population of the fish in the United States, and spearing is the only allowed method of getting one.
Appleton Wisconsin is served by the Outagamie County Regional Airport with flights from Orlando, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. Unless you've booked one of the Appleton hotels with complimentary shuttles, your transportation is limited to taxis. There are a number of major outlets for car rentals at the airport, which is a good idea if you want to explore any of the surrounding area.
You have a wide choice for hotels as you do in most US cities. There are budget motels and numerous recognizable franchise names like Holiday Inn, Comfort Suites, Days Inn, Radisson, and Hampton Inn. If you want something with a bit more character, there are even a couple boutique hotels in town.
Image: Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau