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FastPlans/Spring in Galena

A cannon in Galena.

Everybody loves Galena, the cute little "town that time forgot.'' And because everybody can be a lot of people, spring is the best time to enjoy it.

Tulips and daffodils bloom on the terraces, weather is mild and streets are not too crowded. And there's always lots to do in this northwest Illinois town.

What to do: Take a trolley tour. Shop on Main Street. Tour the Ulysses S. Grant Home

Details: See Galena getaway and Outdoors in Galena.

A John Muir tour in Wisconsin

Aldo Leopold's shack.

Celebrate John Muir's April birthday with a trip to the sand plains of central Wisconsin, where Muir and Aldo Leopold began to shape the conservationist ethic that made them famous.

What to doTour Aldo Leopold's famous shack (pictured), the only chicken coop on the National Register of Historic Places, and the nearby International Crane Foundation.

North of Portage, visit John Muir's boyhood home, now John Muir Memorial Park.

South of Baraboo, hike in Devil's Lake State Park and Wisconsin's first natural area, Parfrey's Glen.

Details: For more, see Road trip: Wisconsin's Muir Tour.

Baseball in Milwaukee

Milwaukee's Miller Park.

When the Milwaukee Brewers play, no one shivers in the stands, thanks to the retractable roof of American Family Field, formerly Miller Park. 

There's also a lot to do downtown, and you can get a good rate at hotels, which are expensive during the summer festival season.

What else to do: See the new "Mandela'' exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum. On the lakefront, visit Discovery World and the Milwaukee Art Museum, whose "wings'' open at 10 a.m., flap at noon and close at 5 p.m. Reserve in advance.

Details: For more, see Playtime in Milwaukee.

A spin around Lake Pepin

The view from Maiden Rock Bluff.

On this wide spot of the Mississippi, villages emerge from their winter slumber with the reopening of the popular Harbor View Cafe, which marks the start of tourist season.

Where to start: It's a 70-mile loop from Red Wing, Minn., in the north and Nelson, Wis., in the south.

What to do:  Explore the artsy shops in Stockholm. Visit the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. See downtown Red Wing or climb Barn Bluff. Admire the view from Maiden Rock Bluff state natural area (pictured).

In Pepin, the Harbor View Cafe is open for lunch and dinner Fridays-Sundays in early spring. No reservations.

Details: For more, see A spin around Lake Pepin.

Spotting eagles

An eagle looks for fish at the lock and dam in Genoa, Wis.

Along the Mississippi River, it's a good time to go bird-watching, as migrating eagles begin to return to summer haunts.

What to do: In Wabasha, visit the National Eagle Center. It's open Friday through Sunday; advance reservations for time slots are required.

Look for eagles across from the mouth of the Chippewa in Reads Landing, Minn., or in La Crosse and below dams (pictured, the dam in Genoa, Wis.).

Find eagles by hiking into sloughs along the Mississippi, Chippewa or Black rivers near Trempealeau and Alma, Wis. 

Details: For more, see All eyes on Wabasha.