Wonderful Wisconsin Part II: Madison and The Dells

Lake Monona • Madison, WI

Plan a trip to Wisconsin and take in the state’s capital, and the state’s capital of water fun in one fell swoop. This can be accomplished by visiting Madison and the nearby Wisconsin Dells, which are a little less than 50 miles apart.

Let’s start with the state’s capital city – Madison. The town Madison is an isthmus, as it sits on the land between two lakes, Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. In addition to being the state capital, Madison is routinely ranked as one of the best college towns in the US, as it is home to the University of Wisconsin, which gives it a cool vibe as well.

One of Madison’s main draws in the summer is the Saturday Farmer’s Market, which is set up in Capitol Square (located outside the domed capitol building) and runs from mid-April until November. Meats, flowers, plants, hand-crafted soaps, produce, and of course, Wisconsin cheeses, are all on display and available for purchase.

A unique Madison attraction (it’s in Middleton, just about 6 miles from downtown Madison) is the National Mustard Museum which houses a collection of more than 6,000 mustards from the US and 70 other countries. Free admission adds spice to a visit to this museum which also houses mustard pots, other antique mustard jars, holders, as well as vintage mustard-related advertising. For hours of operation and more information, visit www.mustardmuseum.com.

Thai Pavilion • Olbrich Botanical Gardens • Madison, WI

Both Lake Monona and Lake Mendota provide an outlet for water sports including canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddling, and lakeside walks and jogs. Ranked by Livability.com as one of the healthiest cities thanks to its wealth of outdoor activities, another great way to see Madison is by bike. There’s the UW-Madison Arboretum Trail, or a two-hour ride around Lake Monona that will take you past the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Speaking of water, less than an hour from Madison, you will find the Wisconsin Dells, often called “The Waterpark Capital of the World,” thanks to the multitude of locations dedicated to water fun that include Noah’s Ark Waterpark, which is America’s largest waterpark at 70 acres, and The Wilderness, which with its combined indoor and outdoor waterparks, is considered the largest combined waterpark in the country. There are more than just waterparks here, though. There is the downtown Dells, with its sometime kitschy, sometimes quaint array of shop along Main Street. There’s also the Dells Boat Tours, which takes you by water to explore the amazing rock formations, or dells, which gave the area its name and first attraction before the waterparks took over.

There are two wineries to check out – the Baraboo Bluff Winery, the Broken Bottle Winery, and the Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater provides a bit of nostalgia while you take in one of today’s popular movies on one of two big screens. Adventure seekers will be happy to note there is zip-lining, a ropes course, axe-throwing, go-carts, and escape rooms in the Dells, and serenity seekers should be happy with the miles of scenic trails for hiking, birding, and taking some great pictures.

Cozy Cabin • Yukon Trails RV & Camping Resort

Yukon Trails RV Campground is your best choice to make camp while exploring both Madison, and the Dells area. Onsite fun at this wooded Wisconsin retreat includes disc golf, horseshows, a free movie theater, and cornhole.

Reserve your Wisconsin getaway today at www.RVontheGo.com.

Wonderful Wisconsin: Door County

Sunset • Wisconsin’s Door County

Wisconsin’s Door County has five state parks and over 250 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan. It is also home to iconic Wisconsin fish boils, a restaurant with goats on the roof, and 11 quaint towns with cute names like Fish Creek, Egg Harbor, and Sturgeon Bay.

Come discover this 75-mile long peninsula and stay with us at Tranquil Timbers and choose one of the unique accommodations offered here, including cabins, cottages, and yurts! It’s a true glamper’s paradise.

Yurt • Tranquil Timbers Camping Resort • Sturgeon Bay, WI

Regular summer events in Door County include the Egg Harbor Farmer’s Market which is held in Harbor View Market every Friday (May 24-October 25) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (weather permitting). Fish boils are regular events at least five of Door County’s restaurants. If you haven’t experienced a fish boil, please make this a must-do – it’s a local tradition not to be missed. And, with more than 250 miles of shoreline, there’s always a beach calling your name.  In fact, there are 53 public beaches in Door County. The beach in Egg Harbor is arguably the most popular on the peninsula and Schoolhouse Beach was recently named “most romantic.”

June is jam-packed with fun as the Door hosts several events including Goat Fest, the Steel Bridge Songfest, the Door County Beer Festival, and the Fyr Bal Festival (not to be confused with Fyre Festival).

On Saturday, June 8, it’s all about the aforementioned goats. The fun kicks off with the Roofing of the Goats, as the goats are led to Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant where they will take up residence for the summer season on the restaurant’s roof. Yes, you read that right. The festivities will also include live music, children’s events, food and beverages, and a Swedish Pancake eating contest.

A songwriting and performance festival that benefits the preservation of historic Sturgeon Bay, the Steel Bridge Songfest is an annual favorite and a one-of-a-kind experience. In fact, it all began to raise funds to save the Michigan Street Steel Bridge, a Veteran’s Memorial in Door County. The bridge is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The fest itself brings together singers and songwriters to the Holiday Motel, Door’s County first ever motel, where they occupy the rooms and collaborate to create music. It all culminates with live performances. The Holiday Motel is now the world’s only fully operational motel featuring live music, collaborative songwriting retreats, and a radio station that broadcasts from the hotel.  This year’s event is scheduled for June 14-15. For information, visit www.steelbridgesongfest.org.

The Door County Beer Fest on Saturday, June 15, celebrates craft beer. The event will also include local foods, live music, and culinary artisans all gathered to say cheers to Wisconsin’s more than 150 craft beers.

The Fyr Bal, also set for June 15, celebrates the Scandinavian heritage of the town of Eprhaim, as well as the arrival of summer.  The event will include a bonfire to burn the “Winter Witch” as well as fireworks over the harbor. There will also be food booths, live music, and artisans.

July brings fireworks displays throughout the towns to celebrate Independence Day as well as the Door County Folk Festival July 12-16 and the Plein Air Festival, July 24-29. Presented by the Peninsula School of Art, this festival gives attendees an inside look at the galleries and artists who make painting the landscape of Door County a beautiful experience.

Autumn Classics in Wisconsin

Neshonoc Lakeside Camping Resort | Salem, WI
Neshonoc Lakeside Camping Resort | Salem, WI

The fall leaves crunching beneath your boots as you search for the perfect pumpkin in the patch. Getting an eyeful of magnificent changing colors as you drive the winding roads beneath the forest trees. The crisp air greets you as you step outside onto the porch of your cozy cabin before heading out to taste cider donuts and hike the trails. If there’s anywhere that just exemplifies everything awesome about that precious time between hot summers and frigid winters, it’s Wisconsin, the place for the ultimate fall getaway! Check out some of our favorite excursions below…  

Apple & Pumpkin Picking at Country Bumpkin Farm; Open April until Oct 31

Visit the Country Bumpkin Farm for a classic fall excursion! The Country Bumpkin Farm is a family-owned farm in the Wisconsin Dells with plenty of activities for kids of all ages. The farm is open from April until the end of October for guests to visit the petting zoo or pick the best apples and pumpkins of the season to make favorite recipes. They also host a variety of seasonal events like special moonlight hayrides in October and “u-pick” berries in the summer. The Country Bumpkin Farm also has a wide variety of seasonal produce available daily at their store! In September, you can pick up a variety of different peppers, potatoes, squash, and more. For more information about the Country Bumpkin Farm visit countrybumpkinfarm.com.

Yurt Interior, Tranquil Timbers | Door County, WI
Yurt Interior, Tranquil Timbers | Door County, WI

Leaf-Peeping Along Door County Coastal Byway

There are plenty of ways to see the fall foliage in Wisconsin – it’s some of the most beautiful in the country! Hop in your car and drive along the Door County Coastal Byway, which stretches over 66 miles on the Door Peninsula, from the City of Sturgeon Bay from Highway 57 down south to Highway 42. As you drive along, expect to see beautiful scenic vistas of Lake Michigan, Green Bay, and the Niagara Escarpment bluffs. Forests, wide open farmlands, and quaint villages situated on the shore. Lighthouses, parks, plus plenty of places to stop and shop, experience live music or theater, hiking trails, golf courses, and much more! Whether you just drive out to leaf-peep and take photos of the foliage, or stop to explore, the highway driving in Wisconsin is a fall season experience not to be skipped.

Fruit Wines & Fall Festivals at Lautenbach’s Orchard Country

Get a taste of something different when you visit Lautenbach’s Orchard Country. This family-owned winery and market in Door County offer specialty foods and over 30 styles of wine made from the fruits grown at the farm. In the fall, visitors from all over come to Lautenbach’s to taste the fruit wines and eat the apple cider donuts! Lautenbach’s also hosts special seasonal festivals to celebrate the seasonal fruit and enjoy the outdoors. This year’s Fall Harvest Fest takes place on Saturday, September 22, 2018, and features free guided winery tours, horse-drawn wagon rides, live music, apple picking, apple cider donut eating contest, and more! Be sure to dress warmly for the Winter Wine & Cherry Fest on February 2, 2019, where you can enjoy lots of wine and food tastings, and horse-drawn sleigh rides to really get in the winter spirit. Visit orchardcountry.com for more information.

Cozy Cabins at Yukon Trails | Lyndon Station, WI
Cozy Cabins at Yukon Trails | Lyndon Station, WI

Navigating a Corn Maze at Treinen Farm

It’s not really Fall in the midwest without navigating your way out of a corn maze! Visit Treinen Farm, a working 200-acre farm with an award winning 15-acre corn maze! Every year is a different theme for the maze, and this year’s theme is “The Elephant’s Child,” which is based on a tale written by Rudyard Kipling. This farm also grows hay, soybeans, corn, and pumpkins. Treinen Farm also hosts private events, and special events like the Zompocalypse – a zombie-themed evening where participants are encouraged to dress up as zombies or come as a “human survivor” in the “zombie-infested cornfield.” Be sure to visit their pumpkin patch as well! Visit treinenfarm.com for more information.

While you’re leaf-peeping and apple-picking, stay in a cozy cabin at one of our Petite Retreats locations in Wisconsin:

Arrowhead RV Resort, Wisconsin Dells, WI

Jellystone Park – Fremont, WI

Neshonoc Lakeside – Neshonoc, WI

Plymouth Rock – Plymouth, WI

Tranquil Timbers – Sturgeon Bay, WI

Yukon Trails – Lyndon Station, WI

Make your reservations today and visit petiteretreats.com!