With my association's annual meeting being held in Green Bay this year, I thought I owed them a journal of their own.
by MilwVon on October 22, 2011
My friend Alice got tickets for us to attend the Green Bay Packers' home game against the Denver Broncos this month. I was very excited to be going to the game with her . . . and almost as excited to finally get to go see the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, located inside the Atrium of Lambeau Field. I had bought the tickets back in March when my soccer organization held some meetings there, but never found the time to actually go see the Hall of Fame. This was the perfect opportunity to do so.We arrived at the field as the parking lots opened at 11:15a (it was a 3:15p game time). We parked and opted for lunch first at Curly's Pub. Afterwards we returned to the first floor to take in the Hall of Fame, which is also a bit of a museum chronicling the history of the most storied franchise in the NFL.There were several side rooms with exhibits and stories dating back to the times of Acme Meat Packing. (If you saw the Packers play on Sunday 10/17/11 you saw their throwback era jerseys from the Meat Packers' era.) I really enjoyed the exhibit that told Vince Lombardi's story, to include a small bit about his time as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. I'm old enough to remember Vince coming to DC and trying to make a go out of the hapless Redskins. His legacy and culture remains in Titletown even today!Of course, no hall of fame would be complete without tributes to the team's stars over the years. Today there are 147 individuals in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. Most are players, but some are administrators and other key people from the Packers' organization. Each player enshrined into the hall has a personal exhibit featuring personal items from their playing days with the Packers. I couldn't help but to shed a tear or two for Reggie White #92 who was inducted posthumously in 2006. RIP Reggie!With the Packers' winning Super Bowl XLV in February 2011, there has been a lot of hubbub over their bringing HOME the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The trophy room where all four of their Super Bowl trophies reside is also open to those visiting the Hall of Fame. There was a short line, maybe 15-20 minutes, to get into the trophy room, but it was well worth the wait. We had our photo taken in front of them . . . very cool!If you are planning for a visit to the Green Bay Packers' Hall of Fame before a game, allow yourself at least 90 minutes for the self guided walking tour. If you're a diehard Packers' fan, you may want to give yourself a couple of hours. For those unable to make the trip to Wisconsin, you can check out the Packers' Hall of Fame through their digital Hall of Fame, online: http://packershalloffame.com/hall-of-famers/ .Because of special events, you should check out their website for daily hours of operations. Also, if you are planning a visit on a home game date, you will have to have a game ticket to enter Lambeau Field and purchase an admission ticket to the Hall of Fame.Tickets are $10 (adults 12-62), seniors (over 62) are $8 and kids under 12 are $5.
Curly's Pub is named for the Packers' founder Curly Lambeau and is located inside the Atrium of Lambeau Field. Since we arrived to the stadium four hours early, we had plenty of time to take in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame plus grab a bite to eat beforehand. I'm glad we arrived early and opted for lunch first. We got inside Curly's around 11:45p and by the time we were leaving at 12:45p, they already had a lengthy wait for a table.When you arrive you will have a choice of dining in the bar area, which is very large and serves the same menu as your other option, the dining room. We chose the dining room for comfort, nice tables with regular chairs (rather than the high bar chairs or stools). Once seated, we were immediately greeted by our server Ryan who took our drink orders.In reviewing the menu, no surprise that it was pretty standard Wisconsin bar food . . . salads, brats, chicken fingers, hamburgers, soups, sandwiches, etc. and of course, cheese curds. For their full menu, check them out at http://prod.static.packers.clubs.nfl.com//assets/docs/lambeau-field/2011curlysmenu.pdf . We decided to split the double brat platter along with soup for Alice and chili for me. I was surprised at how good the chili was, as I expected some canned Hormel variation. It really did exceed my expectations! The brats were also very good, but I have to admit, my husband makes THE BEST brats so I didn't expect these to be better than what I have at home. The brats platter came with french fries and cole slaw, also enough to share. Our lunch including soft drinks came to $27 including tax & tip.Curly's is open seven days a week, and offers daily specials to entice folks to come to Lambeau Field even when the Packers are not playing. I have to give it to them, they are very creative in finding ways to connect fans to the team through food. Check this out:"Eat Like the Packers at Curly's Pub: The only place where you can eat what the players are eating in the team dining room! Check out the weekly menu for October 17-23 (PDF). Eating smart and healthy off the field is a key component to the Packers' success on the field. Be a part of the team!"How cool is that? This week featured chicken pot pie . . . mmmm good!One down comment about Curly's Pub - this is not the place to go if you're in Green Bay and looking for a fish fry. Their prices are outrageous and you should be able to find something in town for around $10-$12 all you can eat.As with any decent sports bar, there are televisions everywhere throughout Curly's. I can see this as a fun place to come to watch a game, whether that would be a Packers' away game or just any other sports event.While Curly's Pub is open seven days a week, you must have a game ticket to enter Lambeau Field on home game days before or during the game. Therefore those without game tickets may only dine at Curly's after the conclusion of the game (45 minutes afterwards).For more information regarding hours of operation, check them out at: http://prod.www.packers.clubs.nfl.com/lambeau-field/curlys-pub.html .
by MilwVon on March 26, 2011
I'm not really sure what to say about my feelings regarding the legendary quarterback and a most certain future NFL Hall of Famer. Brett Favre was the stud of the Green Bay Packers for many years and as it turns out, not only figuratively but perhaps literally too if the stories of the past couple of years prove true.He set many NFL records including most consecutive games started, most career touchdown passes and most career interceptions. I think if there isn't a note in the record books for most retirements, there should be, because Mr. Favre would earn that distinction as well.I have angst still today over how Favre acted in the limelight that is the media circus of the NFL. The teary eyed "I'm retiring" . . . the defiant "no I'm not" . . . to the reported request to Chicago Bears’ defensive end Julius Peppers "Beat the Packers" . . . Brett Favre seemed to be all about Brett Favre and not much of a team player.The restaurant that bears his name in Green Bay is obviously a shrine to the legendary quarterback from Mississippi. The good news is that they also have a commitment to providing a nice dining experience at relatively reasonable prices.This particular visit to Brett Favre's Steakhouse was for our staff dinner the night prior to our association's annual meeting. There were 12 of us, including some of our officers and their wives and we had the "Trophy Room" for the evening. While the award case was interesting, I enjoyed the life-size art on the wall, chronicling Favre's touchdown reception timeline into the record books.OK enough about Mr. Favre. Prior to ordering dinner, we were provided with two things that would set the tone for the evening . . . a martini menu with 140 choices . . . and a viewing of the beef tray. Abundance is the operative word here; too many choices and humongous portions.I thoroughly enjoyed my almost too strong raspberry martini (sorry I can't recall the cutsie name they had for it) as I pondered the menu selections. I ended up going with their $25 trio special that included soup or salad, entree with potato and a dessert of your choice from the dessert offerings.My dinner salad was very nice, nothing special but a decent size. (Who wants to fill up on salad at a prime steak house?) For my dinner entree selection I opted for the prime rib which was to be a 14 oz cut. I'm certain in asking for the end cut, I got over a pound of prime succulent beef. Enough for dinner, plus for sandwiches . . . four of them on the nice sour dough rolls served with dinner . . . the next day.When they say "jumbo baked potato" they mean it. That thing was twice the size of my fist. I think I could only eat about half of that too. While I thought I was pacing myself for the final course, I had no chance of eating another thing so I just had our server box my carrot cake to go. Since I had a fridge in my hotel room and would be in town for a couple of days, the left over steak plus rolls and dessert would make for a nice snack later.I could spend space here writing about all of the dining choices, but I think I'll let their website do the story telling (www.brettfavresteakhouse.com) along with my photos attached to this review.Our server was very attentive and from what everyone else said, our meals prepared perfectly. If they are offering the $25 trio special, I think that is the best deal going since I know my meal if ordered separately would have come to well over $30. Others in our group did this special as well, selecting the rib eye or NY strip steak as their entree.My only regret was that this restaurant seemed a bit too nice to play tourist, snapping up photos throughout of the trophies, murals, press clipping and photographs of Favre. OK - actually I have two regrets. My other is that I hadn't had this opportunity to dine at Brett Favre's Steakhouse during his career in Green Bay when I still thought he was an OK guy.
One of the more interesting things to do is take a leisurely stroll along the mile long loop near Lambeau Field known as the "Oneida Walk of Legends". The walk has 24 granite and steel statue monuments featuring 13 tributes to past Packers' greats including Reggie White, Ray Nitschke, Brett Favre and Bart Starr.Created by the Oneida Nation as a historical tribute not only to the legacy of the Green Bay Packers, the monuments also serve as an educational opportunity for tourists to learn about the culture and history of the Oneida Nation Tribe of Indians of Green Bay who have deep ties to the early professional football in the community.Here is the complete list and location of the 13 monuments:Vince Lombardi, at Brown County Veterans Arena/Former Packers Hall of Fame Building, 1901 S. Oneida St.Bart Starr, at Brown County Veterans Arena/Former Packers Hall of Fame Building, 1901 S. Oneida St.Jerry Kramer, WLUK/Fox 11 Studios, 787 Lombardi Ave. Don Hutson, Saranac Glove Co., 999 Lombardi Ave. Fuzzy Thurston, Hudson-Sharp Machine Co., 975 Lombardi Ave. Max McGee, Hudson-Sharp Machine Co., 975 Lombardi Ave.Reggie White, corner of Reggie White Way and Lombardi Avenue Jim Taylor, near corner of Bart Starr Drive and Tony Canadeo RunJohnny Blood McNally, near corner of Reggie White Way and Tony Canadeo Run Paul Hornung, in front of Champions Sports Bar & Grill ,1007 Tony Canadeo Run Ray Nitschke, in front of the Cambria Suites, 1011 Tony Canadeo RunTony Canadeo, on Tony Canadeo Run, behind Brett Favre’s Steakhouse, 1004 Brett Favre PassBrett Favre, Brett Favre’s Steakhouse, 1004 Brett Favre PassThe remaining 11 moments recognize the "eras" of Packers' football, each recognized for the attribute of that period in team history and here are their titles and locations:Pride (1895-1918), at Brown County Veterans Arena/Former Packers Hall of Fame Building, 1901 S. Oneida St.Drive (1919-28), outside Hilton Garden Inn, 1015 Lombardi Ave. Power (1929-33), outside Hilton Garden Inn, 1015 Lombardi Ave.Talent (1934-38), will be installed in September at Saranac Glove Co., 999 Lombardi Ave.Valor (1939-48), Prestige Office Center, 935 Lombardi Ave.Vision (1949-58), Prestige Office Center, 935 Lombardi Ave.Glory (1959-68), outside Marty’s Boston Crab, 875 Lombardi Ave. Honor (1969-78), outside Marty’s Boston Crab, 875 Lombardi Ave. Faith (1979-88), near the Lombardi Avenue entrance to the Tundra Lodge Resort and Waterpark, 865 Lombardi Ave. Esteem (1989-1998), on the west side of Pizza Hut, 859 Lombardi Ave.Spirit (1999-present), on the west side of Pizza Hut, 859 Lombardi Ave.Allow two hours to full enjoy the mile-long walk, starting at the corner of Lombardi and Oneida.
Right in the middle of Titletown USA on Lombardi Avenue is the Tundra Lodge Resort, Waterpark and Conference Center (their full name). Located just blocks from Lambeau Field, it is the perfect location for a family trip that takes in all that Green Bay is about . . . namely the reigning Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.This resort hotel was one of the two we used for our group's housing needs for our annual meeting. You wouldn't think it, but March is actually a very busy time for resort properties that have indoor waterpark facilities. Tundra Lodge is much like what you would find in the Wisconsin Dells area but is closer and more convenient not only for those living in the Fox Cities Area (Appleton, Oshkosh, etc) but also for those who are UPPPers (living on the U P aka Upper Peninsula of Michigan).Our group occupied roughly 35 of the 162 total suite style rooms at the resort, with the rest of the property filled to capacity for the weekend. When you consider this is truly a possible "close to home" vacation destination, it is little wonder the place was packed.For the price of your "Northwoods-style" suite, guests receive waterpark access passes for all registered guests and full access to their other onsite features including the Gold Rush Arcade.Each room is a suite set up with a nice living area in addition to the sleep area. I have stayed here twice, the first time in a standard double queen suite and most recently in a family suite. The difference is that the family suite is actually like a one bedroom suite with a private bedroom plus a separate living area with another queen bed and a sleeper sofa. The standard double queen suite sleeps four, where the family suite sleeps six.The rooms are nicely decorated with a rustic outdoors feel, and also have mini fridges and microwaves making them perfect for the family who is budget conscious and looking to avoid dining out. If dining out is your preference, they do have a couple of on-site options including the Caribou Restaurant where they feature a nice breakfast buffet or the Polar Bear Cub concession area at the waterpark. For the adults in your group, enjoy an end of the day cocktail at the Yukon Jax Bar & Grille off the lobby.Guests will no doubt enjoy the other features including complimentary in-room WiFi, room service and airport shuttle. They also have an on-site business center for those in need of such services.While they largely cater to families, they also have the business features necessary to bring in groups for meetings and conferences. With over 20,000 square feet of meeting space (ballrooms, conference & board rooms), many associations would find this a perfect destination for that meeting that encourages family attendance.Because of the seven variations of suite accommodations and the seasonality of their business, I cannot really provide you with pricing. It is best that you go to their website (www.tundralodge.com) with your dates and see what you can find. I will say that for our group, the rate provided was an outstanding value and comparable to standard business hotels we have used in the past for our annual meetings in Milwaukee and Madison.
by MilwVon on October 16, 2008
I was fortunate to experience a Packers football game on a crisp fall Sunday evening about ten years ago. The green & gold won over the visiting Detroit Lions that night but that was just the icing on the cake. Even with our nosebleed seats, we were at the legendary Lambeau Field, watching Brett Favre and company playing America’s Game. As much as John Madden may gush about Green Bay’s football stadium, I assure you, words and photos cannot do this place justice.Since that time, they have done a full renovation and facelift, not only on the stadium inside, but also the exterior, creating a real year-round tourist destination here in the small market home that is the Mecca for cheeseheads around the world! It was nice to have the opportunity to make a summertime visit to Lambeau even though we were too late to take part in their stadium tour or the stroll through the Packers’ Hall of Fame. (See note below about knowing when tours are available and buying tickets for tours.)As you approach the entrance to the five story Lambeau Field Atrium, visitors are greeted by bronze sculptures memorializing Packers’ founder Curly Lambeau and legendary coach Vince Lombardi. The Atrium is also home to Curly’s Pub on the second level, a dining option that is open throughout the year and not just during football season, plus the Packer’s Pro Shop for all your Packerwear and souvenir needs. The stadium tour is generally available seven days a week, with the exception of when the team’s playing at home, when the stadium is as you might expect . . . busy playing NFL host! Tours generally start sometime between 10:00 and 11:00 in the morning and run through late afternoon (4:00 or 5:00). You should check their web site before heading out to make sure you know what their hours are for the day you want to visit: http://www.lambeaufield.com/stadium_info/stadium_tours/times/ . Tickets are $19 if you also want to do the Hall of Fame. Otherwise, it is $11 for adults (ages 12-62) and $10 for seniors (over 62) and $8 for kids under the age of 12. They advise that tours do sell out so plan early; tickets go on sale at 9:00am.To do the Hall of Fame only, tickets are $10 (adults 12-62), seniors (over 62) are $8 and kids under 12 are $5. If you are attending a afternoon home game, the Hall of Fame is open before the game for game day ticket holders only . . . and they must still purchase an admission ticket. For evening games (7:00pm kick-off) the Hall of Fame is also open to the general public earlier in the day. After 5:00pm, however, only game day ticket holders may purchase admission to the Hall of Fame.
For this trip, I was the meeting planner for our association's annual meeting. Our event was a relatively small affair for an association, with just 150-175 attendees. That mattered not, however, as the staff of Lambeau Field and Levy Foods (their food/beverage company) were exceptional.As I documented back in 2008, Lambeau Field underwent a vast expansion which included creating the social and meeting space known as "The Atrium". Located on the fourth level of the actual stadium, it is a very lovely space for meetings, receptions and other gatherings of people.The "Legends Room" is actually a collection of four breakout rooms that can be used together to form one large function space. For our main meeting, we used three of the four rooms and set the room in a very comfy arrangement for our 150 delegates. Later that evening the Wisc. Soccer Coaches Assoc. held their Hall of Fame Banquet in this area using all four sections . . . serving nearly 300 for a nice plated dinner.The Atrium itself is a very expansive and wide open pre-function space, with two bars for those wishing to serve adult beverages during their event. For our meeting, we used this area for our registration, 15 table style exhibit areas, our continental breakfast, beverage service (coffee and sodas) and our lunch buffet with seating for 150. It really was a lovely area . . . wide open, spacious and bright!As I mentioned, the staff was extraordinarily helpful and attentive to every detail on the preplanning and execution side of things. I could not have asked for, or needed, more.I found the pricing to be very fair on the food/beverage side of things, and their policies reasonable in terms of preparing the "BEO's" and providing final counts, etc. The meal choices we made were no more expensive that what we've experienced at other meeting facilities in hotels around the state.There is a facilities rental fee that some may balk at, as it seemed to be a bit steep at first glance. If you consider, however, just how much space you have access to and the functionality of the space, I think meeting planners can easily get past the fee. Also, for non/not-for-profit organizations (such as ours) there is the possibility of obtaining a grant to help offset or eliminate the rental fee. We were fortunate to have received one such grant taking care of the entire $1,700 fee.I cannot say enough positive things about the contributions to the success of our event, thanks in large measure to the facility and its staff. It was truly a championship effort.
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