Inn at Lonesome Hollow
Birding Destinations in the Driftless Region 11 May 2015, 3:00 am
If there’s one thing visitors to the Driftless Region love more than anything else, it’s the beautiful outdoors. This unique region of southwest Wisconsin is a birding paradise, thanks largely to the characteristic bluffs and valleys, the dense thickets of trees covering the hills, and the many rivers that wind along our valley floors. Wisconsin alone is home to more than 300 species of birds. The Driftless Region is located along a portion of the Mississippi Flyway, which is used by over 40% of America’s migrating birds each year. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, book your room at our Bed and Breakfast today, and spend some time birding in the beautiful Driftless Region.
Driftless Region’s Top Birding Destinations
If you missed the outdoors over the winter, this spring is a great time to get back outside and enjoy the refreshing world awaiting you in the Driftless Region. In recent years, birding has become a popular way to enjoy the outdoors, which can be contributed to the state’s commitment to the natural environment. Wisconsin boasts an extensive network of wetlands, millions of acres of wild places and parks to enjoy, and a diverse array of natural habitats to explore. Head into one of the many popular birdwatching locations around the Driftless Region this spring, and you’ll likely see a great variety of birds and other wildlife. Commonly sighted birds include bald eagles, a variety of shorebirds and waterfowl, redtail hawks, Eastern bluebirds, indigo buntings, Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, goldfinches, and ruby-throated hummingbirds, but birding enthusiasts love this area for their opporunity to see the over 30 species of warblers as well.
If you’re new to birding, a great place to begin your adventure is the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail, which offers visitors full-color viewing guides, complete with maps and descriptions of the birds you’re likely to find. Along this trail, you’ll find many of our favorite bird-watching destinations, including Wildcat Mountain State Park and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, where many interesting and hard to find species of birds can be found, as well as Wyalusing State Park, which is one of the best places along the Mississippi River for birding. Visitors to the Driftless Region can also enjoy a stunning drive filled with beautiful waterscapes and bluff-top views along the Great River Road, which serves as a great connector to some of the premier birding destinations in the world like the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge. Don’t miss out on these great birding opportunities this spring. Book your vacation to the Driftless Region today.
See the Apple Blossoms in Driftless Wisconsin 30 Apr 2015, 3:00 am
Spring has arrived in Driftless Wisconsin, and the beauty of this season is hard, if not impossible, to ignore. Oftentimes, we are asked what our favorite things to do in the area are. Time and time again, we come back to the same basic premise, and that is to get out and enjoy the beauty that makes this area so unique. It doesn’t matter how you enjoy it, whether on a bike, hiking through the woods, or driving the country roads taking in all the sights. What matters is that you relax and enjoy the wonder that is Driftless Wisconsin. Previously, we wrote about an inspiring spring day spent in the woods in search of newly cropping wildflowers. This time, let the beautiful spring apple blossoms be your inspiration, as you get lost for a day in the beauty of Driftless Wisconsin. Book your room at our beautiful Drifltless Area Bed and Breakfast today, and let the apple blossoms lead the way.
Spring Apple Blossoms in Driftless Wisconsin
One of the best ways to see the apple blossoms throughout Driftless Wisconsin is by touring the country roads on a bike. One of the most popular biking routes, called the Apple Blossom Loop, is a particularly beautiful stretch of road to explore. This 35 mile loop takes you near many of the apple orchards in the LaCrosse area, and also offers riders beautiful vistas of the Mississippi River. Highway 171 near Gays Mills is also an incredibly beautiful stretch of road to tour. This should come as no surprise, as Gays Mills is the site of the popular Gays Mill Apple Festival in the fall, and the area is home to many beautiful apple orchards that have been growing apples since 1905. This particular ride rewards riders with a stunning view out over the Kickapoo River Valley from high atop one of the Driftless Area’s many ridges.
If you’re really up for putting the miles on your legs, extend your trip from highway 171 back to LaCrosse along highway 61. Here, you’ll enjoy the hallmark scenery of the driftless area, with steep bluffs rising out of beautiful valleys criss-crossed with many streams and brooks. The town of Viroqua itself makes for an excellent stopping over point, as it has plenty of fun shops to explore, and one of the best restaurants in the Driftless Area. You can’t go wrong with lunch at the local favorite Driftless Café. As of April 29th, local orchards updated that pink buds are present, but the showy white flowers have yet to come out in force, due to the cold evening temperatures. Now is the time to book your room at our Driftless Area Bed and Breakfast, so you can fully enjoy the sights of the apple blossoms.
The Best Amish Goods Are Found in the Driftless Area 20 Apr 2015, 3:00 am
The traditional Amish culture in America, which emphasizes simple living, plain dress, and resistance to modern conveniences like electricity, dates back to as early as the 16th century. Amish families have been a feature of the Driftless Area since the mid 1960’s, and their horse-drawn buggies are often seen along the roadside throughout Driftless Wisconsin. One of the many benefits of spending some time in the Driftless Area is being able to take home beautiful and delicious Amish-made goods. These families have kept up with once-commonplace traditions, such as wood working, furniture making, quilt making, basket weaving, baking, and candy making. Book your room at our Driftless Area Bed and Breakfast today, and set aside a day of shopping for the best Amish Goods Wisconsin has to offer.
A Country Tour for Amish Goods
Though Amish goods can be found at both the Viroqua and Ferryville Farmer’s Markets, we think a better way to discover the Amish heritage is by driving through the country roads of Driftless Wisconsin. Not only will you be treated to beautiful vistas along the way, but if you keep your eyes open for handmade signs advertising Amish goods, you’ll be in for a treat as well. Cashton is an easy hour long road trip from our Bed and Breakfast, and is by far the place to be if you’re in search of the finest homemade Amish goods. Just outside of Cashton, you’ll find one of the largest American Amish settlements, which is currently home to over 300 Amish families.
To get to Cashton, head north from our Inn towards Westby. Along the way, you’ll pass through the charming town of Viroqua, which would be a great place to stop for some early shopping. Fun places to explore here are the Ewetopia Fiber Shop, Bramble Book Store, Simply Country, and Viva Art Gallery. Consider staying in Viroqua for lunch, and dining at the exquisite Driftless Cafe, where fresh local food is always on the menu. Afterwards, continue north through the Scandinavian town of Westby, and on to Cashton. Along the way, enjoy the rugged hills and scenic farms that make this area so attractive. Once in the Cashton area, keep on the lookout for handmade signs along Highway 33 advertising those sought after Amish goods. An excellent place to begin your exploration of Amish Country is Down A Country Road, where you’ll find Amish goods and plenty of information. Make sure you don’t travel to Cashton on a Sunday though, as the Amish farms and stores won’t be open to you then. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping for the day, head back home by way of Wildcat Mountain State Park, where you’ll find beautiful views overlooking the scenic Kickapoo River Valley, before once again settling into your room at our beautiful Driftless Area Bed and Breakfast.
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Find These Spring Wildflowers in the Driftless Area 10 Apr 2015, 3:00 am
The Driftless Wisconsin Area is known for it’s unique and beautiful geography, characterized by steeply rising limestone bluffs and cold-water streams flowing through deeply cut valleys. In the thriving forests, prairies, wetlands, and grasslands of the Driftless Area, you’ll find a large number and variety of wildflowers and animals. The springs months in the Driftless Area are particularly beautiful, as woodland spring wildflowers push their way up to the surface, laying a carpet of vibrant colors across the forest floor. Book your spring retreat with us today, and see life start anew this spring in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin.
Eye-Catching Spring Wildflowers
With over 160 acres to explore on our property and a dozen major parks and state natural areas nearby, the possibilities for enjoying the woodland varieties of spring wildflowers are limitless. One of the best ways to enjoy nature’s show this spring is by getting outside to one of the many hiking trails in the Driftless Area. Not only will you be rewarded by spring’s stunning beauty, but if you look closely enough you’ll also find an assortment of spring delicacies, including morel mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns, and ramps. Bloodroot and Dutchman’s Britches are blooming on our property now, soon to be followed by Spring Beauty and Bellwort. Among the 300+ varieties of wildflowers you could see are purple and yellow violets, wood anemone, pussytoes, trillium, Greek valerian, and many more.
The beautiful state parks found in the Driftless Area offer visitors a unique vantage point from which to watch spring unfold at their feet. Take a stroll through these beautiful areas, where you’ll find wildflowers blooming under the warm spring sun, soon to be blocked out by fully tree canopies. We highly recommend the trails found at either Wildcat Mountain State Park, Wyalusing State Park, or the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. The Hemlock Trail in Wildcat Mountain State Park has been listed as one of the top 10 wildflower walks in Wisconsin. Along this route, you’ll find wild-ginger, showy orchids, declined trillium, and Virginia bluebells. Choose your trail, grab an identification book, and see just how many beautiful varieties of spring wildflowers you come across on your trek through the Driftless Area. Afterwards, stop by the Driftless Cafe in Viroqua, for the best meal you’ll have in the Driftless Area. The food found here will be seasonally fresh, local, and delicious. With prime spring wildflower viewing upon us, don’t hesitate to book your stay at our Driftless Area Bed and Breakfast today.
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Driftless Wisconsin Hiking is Calling Your Name 30 Mar 2015, 3:00 am
A perennial favorite activity in the Driftless Area is spending time in the beautiful outdoors, exploring the tremendous beauty that our region is known for. Driftless Wisconsin, so named for its its unique, starkly contrasting and beautiful landscapes, is home to some of the most popular hiking in the state of Wisconsin. We can’t think of a better way to experience the stunning landscapes of the Driftless Area than by spending a day hiking these hills. At this time of year, you’ll also be rewarded with glimpses of rare birds, animals, and of course spectacular spring wildflowers. With abundant state parks, nature reserves and natural areas, the difficulty lies not in finding the motivation to get outside, but in choosing the best place to hike. Book your room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast, and embark on a hiking journey through the Driftless Area that will leave you yearning for more of this little piece of Wisconsin paradise.
Driftless Wisconsin Hiking
With five large parks located between the Prairie du Chien area and the northern end of the Kickapoo River, there are no shortage of wonderful Driftless Wisconsin hiking trails to explore. Wyalusing State Park features the showy and dramatic confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers from high above. Along the 23.7 miles of trails here, you’ll find beautiful river bluffs, breathtaking vistas, and even limestone caves begging for exploration, with the 1.6 miles of Sentinel Ridge Trail being the most scenic. It can be reached from Point Lookout, and follows the bluff all the way down to the Mississippi River (a drop of about 500 feet). Another wildly popular hiking destination in Driftless Wisconsin is Wildcat Mountain State Park, which is situated on a steep ridge overlooking the scenic Kickapoo River Valley.
For something a little different, head into the Pikes Peak State Park, known as the most photographed park in Iowa. Two beautiful hiking destinations to see here are the picturesque Bridal Veil Falls, and Point Ann at the end of a remote 4-mile long hiking trail. Our personal favorite nearby hiking area is at Effigy Mounds National Monument. We suggest you start off at the visitor center to learn about the different sacred Native American mounds preserved here before continuing along the Ridge Trail. Book your room at our relaxing Bed and Breakfast Inn today, and let Driftless Wisconsin hiking inspire you this spring.
It’s Trout Fishing Seasons Once Again 17 Mar 2015, 3:00 am
Even though Wisconsin has a long and variable fishing
season for a variety of species, some of which last the entire
year, there is nothing quite like the celebrated trout fishing
season along the many streams and rivers in the Driftless Region of
Wisconsin. With spring on our doorstep, it’s time to start
enjoying some warmer weather, some new flower blossoms peeking out
of the ground, and plenty of fish in the streams. Wisconsin
has a long trout fishing history, and features more
than 10,000 miles of trout streams, creeks, and rivers.
Statewide, you won’t find any better trout fishing waters
than those in the Driftless Area. If you are a true Wisconsin
trout fishing enthusiast, then don’t miss your chance to fish at
the start of this year’s trout fishing season. Book
your room at our peaceful Bed and Breakfast now, and get ready for
a peaceful day on Driftless Wisconsin’s rivers and
Driftless Area Trout Fishing
The Driftless Area is known for its cold-water trout streams. Here, you’ll find the Class I streams that have the type of fast and cold-moving waters that are needed to sustain large populations of brown, rainbow, and brook trout. Our favorite local creek is Tainter Creek, which takes a beautiful journey through woodlands and farm fields as it winds its 12-15 mile course to the Kickapoo River. While the upper reaches of Tainter Creek are unimproved, the lower 5-6 miles of water offer plenty of open shoreline for fishing. Other popular fishing destinations in the area include Timber Coulee Creek or the West Fork of the Kickapoo River, both of which have undergone extensive habitat restoration for the health and continued longevity of their local trout populations. You can also find plenty of anglers in the lower Wisconsin River, and there are a lot of other game fish in the main river as well.
If you’re new to trout fishing, or fishing in the Driftless Area itself, then we recommend you hire a fishing guide for the duration of your fishing trip. Not only are our local guides incredibly knowledgeable about the ins and outs of local trout fishing, but they also know all the best spots, and often have access to private land that would otherewise be inaccessible to you. The Driftless Angler is a full service fly shop located on the historic main street in Viroqua, Wisconsin, where you can find all of the gear you need, wonderful information on local waters, as well as local guides that can help you have the fishing experience of a lifetime. Other reputable guides in the region are Silver Doctor Fly Fishing, and Spring Creek Specialties. You don’t need to wait for late spring to take advantage of Wisconsin trout fishing. The early catch and release trout fishing season is officially underway, and continues through April. Book your room at our wonderful Bed and Breakfast now, and start making your list of streams and rivers you’d like to fish.
Come See How We Make Wisconsin Maple Syrup 10 Mar 2015, 3:00 am
This winter may have seemed long and cold to most of us in the Midwest, but it really is coming to an end soon. One of the hallmark events that marks the transition from winter to spring in the Driftless Area is the tapping of the sugar maple trees, to produce some of the finest Wisconsin Maple Syrup. We take great pride in the locally produced foods found here, and look forward to this tantalizing treat every year. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing the sap harvest, now is a wonderful time to getaway to the Driftless Area. Take a stroll through the woods, visit our neighbors, see how many taps you can spot in the area, and wake up to a delicious breakfast featuring some of the finest Wisconsin Maple Syrup we have to offer, all when you stay at our beautiful Bed and Breakfast in the heart of the Driftless Area.
Delicious Wisconsin Maple Syrup
The combination of warmer spring days and cool wintry nights is an indicator of things to come, but this weather pattern also plays a critical role in sugaring, an important process in the production of delicious Wisconsin Maple Syrup. The best conditions for sugaring are cool nights, just below freezing, and fairly warm days. This particular weather pattern causes pressure changes in the tree, and the sap to flow. Walk through any forest of Sugar Maple trees in the area, and you’re bound to see taps in the tree, connected to hoses and buckets for collection of the sweet sap. Once the sap is collected, it is boiled and concentrated, resulting in the sweet breakfast accompanient we all know and love.
At the Inn at Lonesome Hollow, we join in with neighbors and friends in this time-honored Wisconsin tradition, and each year we tap 30-40 local maple trees. With our highly unpredictable midwest springs, this can happen as early as January, or as late as April. This year, it looks like we’re sitting in that sweet spot where the sugaring can begin. Once the sap runs start, together with friends we will collect approximately 1200 gallons of sap, which ultimately produces about 30 gallons of carefully finished Wisconsin maple syrup. Our scrumptios breakfasts at the Inn at Lonesome Hollow are the perfect place to taste this syrup for yourself, but you can also buy some of your own from these two excellent certified organic companies; Maple Valley organic maple cooperative based in Cashton, Wisconsin, and Kickapoo Gold based in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Book now for a mouthwatering visit to Driftless Wisconsin.
A Driftless Area Spring is on its Way! 12 Feb 2015, 3:00 am
It’s kind of hard to believe that we’re blogging about the upcoming spring in the Driftless Area, but the optimism of all that spring brings is hard to ignore during these dreary days of winter. Before we know it, the snow will yet again be a thing of the past, wildflowers will start poking up out of the ground, and the hustle and bustle will return to the Driftless Area. Soon, fisherman will again begin their pursuit of trout in local streams, hikers will return to the hills with enthusiasm, and the valley will fill with the sights and sounds of Spring. Book your stay at our Driftless Area Bed and Breakfast early, and start dreaming of your return to spring.
Spring in the Driftless Area
Among the things we are looking forward to most about another spring in the Driftless Area are tapping the maple trees, fishing the local streams and rivers, bird watching, and enjoying nature through the abundant hiking and biking trails available to us as the weather improves. Fishermen are getting excited, because the early catch trout fishing season will begin in just a few short weeks. As the weather improves, it’ll also be time to head into the hills for days filled with hiking, biking, and enjoying the newly blossoming flora of the Driftless Area. Popular places to enjoy the wildlife and wildflowers of the Driftless Area are the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, Wyalusing State Park, Wildcat Mountain State Park, Pikes Peak State Park, Effigy Mounds National Monument, or along the banks of the beautiful Wisconsin, Mississippi, or Kickapoo rivers.
Spring in the Driftless Area is also a wonderful time for birding enthusiasts to visit. Though winter bird patterns have set in, spring bird movement of some species may only be weeks away, providing wonderful opportunities for bird watching in the Driftless Area. The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge provides ample habitat for the regions migrating birds. Each year, nearly 1/3 of the North American population of migrating Canvasback, which is up to 100,000 birds, use this habitat during their journey. In addition to that, it’s a great place to watch for songbirds. Although they come a little later in the season when the insects are out, Warblers are perhaps the most colorful and varied of migrating songbirds. A great place to watch for warblers, especially in late spring, is Wyalusing State Park, which overlooks the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers. Spring in the Driftless Area is a beautiful time of year, and shouldn’t be missed. Book your stay with us now, and get a jump on planning those spring getaways to this beautiful corner of Wisconsin.
Winter Events in the Driftless Area 25 Jan 2015, 3:00 am
Fortunately for those of us in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, the fun doesn’t stop just because the winter months are here. There is plenty of outdoor recreaction, including snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and ice fishing. There is also a lot of great shopping, including specialty and Amish goods, as well as a wide variety of fun cultural and historical activities to enjoy in the cities of Driftless Wisconsin. If you’re looking for something a little different, there are also a wonderful variety of winter events happening at various locations around the area that are fun for residents and visitors to the Driftless Area alike. These winter months are a great time to dive into the atmosphere of Driftless Wisconsin, where you can see or try something new at one of our exciting winter events held throughout the region. Book your stay at our peaceful Bed and Breakfast Inn in Soldier’s Grove, and get a unique taste of the Driftless Wisconsin experience.
Winter Events to Enjoy in Driftless Wisconsin
If you’ve seen those brave ice fishers out on the local waters but have yet to try your hand at this exciting winter sport, then now is a great time to come to the Driftless Area. This year, from February 6-8th, join us in Prairie du Chien for the the 65th annual Ice Fisheree. If you hold a valid Wisconsin fishing license, then join us in fishing any of the waters in the area, then enter your catch into the competition. There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for Walleye, Northern Pike, Large & Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Sunfish, and Crappie. There’s also a wonderful ice cave hiking series through February being held at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, featuring beautiful hikes to rarely seen ice caves and frozen waterfalls. While on this exciting adventure, you’ll be able to try out snowshoes, and learn about local winter wildlife ecology, geology, biology, and the history of the Kickapoo Reserve.
If you’re a birdwatching enthusiasts, or just simply enjoy watching majestic bald eagles take to the sky, then visiting Prairie du Chien this winter is a must. The charming town of Prairie du Chien, located in the Driftless Area, is situated along the migration route of the Mississippi River Valley, and is a wintering destination for bald eagles. This year, the 10th annual Bald Eagle Appreciaton Days will be held in Prairie du Chien from February 27-28th. This event will feature a wide variety of birding displays and educational events for visitors to enjoy, as well as outdoor viewing of bald eagles through spotting scopes. Also, for you birding enthusiasts, February 13th-16th is the next Great Backyard Bird Count, a wonderful citizen-science program sponsored by the National Audobon society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that helps gather an idea of the current bird distribution around the world. Join us in Driftless Wisconsin during this time, and help us count our birds, while enjoying a relaxing day in the Driftless Area.
Get Into the Winter Activities in Driftless Wisconsin 16 Dec 2014, 3:00 am
Oftentimes, people relegate outdoor activities to the spring, summer, and even fall months when the weather outside is mild and pleasurable. However, Driftless Wisconsin is a virtual playground any time of year, including the cold, snowy winter months. Winter activities, including hiking/snowshoeing, ice fishing, and cross country skiing in the Driftless Area are wonderous and beautiful experiences, suitable for people of all ages and experience levels. Head outside in the Driftless Area this winter and explore ice caves, enjoy the quiet solitude of ice fishing, or explore new landscapes atop a pair of skies or snowshoes. Book your room at our Driftless Area Bed and Breakfast this winter, and discover just how much fun the winter activities can be in Driftless Wisconsin.
Explore Winter Activities in the Driftless Area
Instead of staying indoors this winter dreaming of the far off days of a hiking-filled spring or summer, strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the trails in a whole new way. The many miles of designated trails at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve are a great place for snowshoers and cross country skiiers to discover the wonderous solititude of the Driftless Area during the winter. While there, don’t miss your chance to explore the beautiful ice caves. Old Highway 131 is a popular place for cross country skiiers, and you’ll find plenty of self-made trails through nearby wooded areas as well. Wildcat Mountain State Park, Wyalusing State Park, and nearby La Riviere Park in Prairie du Chien also all feature several miles of groomed and designated cross country ski trails and would make for a wonderful winter outing in the Driftless Area.
As the season progresses, and once the cold winter weather settles firmly upon us, it will be time to enjoy another ice fishing season in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. Avid fishermen who don’t want to wait until the spring trout runs will huddle along the Great River Road’s Highway 35, in search of their ideal ice-fishing spots for the winter. Mississippi’s backwater areas that make for excellent ice fishing include Blackhawk Park near Desoto, along Hwy 82, just east of the Lansing bridge over the Mississippi, and along Hwy 35 between Lynxville and Prairie du Chien. Fisherman along the Mississippi will find walleye, northern pike, bass, and panfish. As you can see, Driftless Wisconsin in the winter is a playgrond for the avid outdoorsmen. Book your stay with us this winter, and bring pleny of warm gear so you can enjoy the full range of winter activities the Driftless Area.
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