Inn at Lonesome Hollow
Rural Shopping for the Holidays 19 Nov 2015, 3:00 am
Crisp, cool nights have fallen on the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. As these cool nights settle in around us and the trees lose the final remnants of their colorful fall displays, we welcome the first snows of winter. With those beautiful first flakes of glistening white snow, we know, too, that the magic of another holiday season is upon us. Though it may be cold outside, the holiday festivities in the charming towns of the Driftless Area and the warm glow from our fires are enough to keep us warm even on the coldest of winter days. Treat yourself to a winter getaway to Driftless Wisconsin this year, and you’ll find that time spent here is a wonderful and relaxing way to kickoff the busy holiday season. You may even find that the rural shopping opportunities found throughout the area will help you with your holiday shopping list. Book your room at our Driftless Area Bed and Breakfast today, and discover a quieter Christmas in the Country.
Rural Shopping in the Driftless Area
Though the holidays bring with them their own kind of busy, this is a time to break from our chaotic schedules, and to get together with friends and family as we celebrate the traditions that have been bringing us closer together for years. It may even be time to start new traditions, such as a rural shopping getaway to the Driftless Area, just in time to beat the true busy rush of the holidays. Here, you won’t find the traditional big box stores. Instead, you’ll find festively decorated, quaint shops waiting to sell you the often hand-crafted, locally made goods that our region takes such pride in. Nearby Viroqua is a wonderful shopping destination. Popular places to find exquisite holiday gifts include VIVA Artists Cooperative, the fair-trade emporium, and the local bookstore. Continue through the historic downtown, and you’ll also find antique stores, a knit shop, a fly shop for your favorite fisherman, a music store, and so much more. A stroll along main street in Prairie du Chien will also reveal much-loved traditional shops, as well as new creative additions that will surely complete your Driftless Area holiday shopping experience.
The wonderful rural shopping experience doesn’t stop in the local towns, though. Browse local farms or food cooperatives, and you’ll find some delicious local maple syrup, local honey, and home-canned jellies, jams, chutneys, salsas, and sauces. A discussion of rural shopping in Driftless Wisconsin isn’t complete without mention of the Amish goods that can be found nearby. Take a drive through the scenic winter landscapes of Driftless Wisconsin in search of the Amish Farms, where you’ll be rewarded with a variety of goods for sale, including quilts, oak and willow furniture, rugs, other handmade goods and delicious candies. You can also head to the village of shops just outside of Cashton on State Highway 33. While you’re up there, you might as well pick up some delicious Wisconsin cheese at Pasture Pride Cheese. Finally, there is perhaps no better way to share the joy of a Driftless Area holiday with someone you love, than to give them their own piece of Driftless Wisconsin. Buy a gift certificate for the Inn at Lonesome Hollow now, and help your friends and family discover the magic that awaits them any time of the year in the Driftless Area. Book your winter shopping getaway with us today.
Take Scenic Drives Through the Driftless Area 30 Oct 2015, 3:00 am
Sometimes in the cooler months of fall, there’s nothing better than taking a scenic drive through the picturesque countryside, or winding your way through small towns, farmsteads, and the perfectly preserved wilderness. Scenic drives are a spectacular way to experience an area and to discover new places for future explorations. There is no better place in Wisconsin for scenic drives than in the beautiful and rugged lands of the Driftless Area. As you wind your way from town to town, enjoy a little shopping, stop in at local farm stands to sample their fresh food and handmade crafts, or simply explore the regional rivers, enjoy the rugged topography, and take in the beautiful colors and wildlife along the way. Plan the route for your scenic drives after you book your room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast.
Scenic Drives in Wisconsin
Of the many beautiful roads and byways in Wisconsin, there are none perhaps more beautiful than Wisconsin’s Great River Road. Here, all you have to do is drive beside the soaring bluffs along Wisconsin’s only National Scenic Byway to know why the Driftless Area is so loved by everyone who discovers it. This drive flanks the majestic and magnificent Mississippi River for 250 miles, and winds its way through some of the regions most stunning and protected natural areas. It is also an unbeatable destination for birdwatching this fall, as a tremendous variety of waterfowl and other birds travel down the Mississippi Flyway towards their winter homes. Another majestic place to spend the day is driving along Scenic Byway 60, also called Wisconsin’s Lower River Road. Along this 100 mile stretch of road, you’ll admire the the sandbars of the Wisconsin River and the gently rolling hills and steep bluffs of the Driftless Area landscape.
Other popular and easily accessible scenic drives are the Rustic Roads, which were established by the state in 1973. Two of these roads, which have been preserved by the state to maintain their charm and character, happen to be in the Driftless Area. These roads, Rustic Road 55 and Rustic Road 56, probably won’t take you an entire day and should not be missed. Though only 2.8 miles long, Rustic Road 55 will take you along Tunnelville road in Vernon County, where you can take some time to explore Tunnelville Cliffs Natural Area. Rustic Road 56 is slightly longer, and will take you through many scenes quintessential to the Driftless Area. Not only will you enjoy the characteristic bluffs and valleys of Wildcat Mountain State Park, but you’ll see Amish Farms, log cabins, round barns, and examples of regional contour farming. As you can see, any of the scenic drives in the Driftless Area will reward you with majestic views. All of this beauty and more is at your fingertips when you stay with us at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast.
Scenic Fall Hiking in the Driftless Area 21 Oct 2015, 3:00 am
Fall is truly one of our favorite seasons in the Driftless Area. So many of the activities that we enjoy this time of year, such as birding, hiking, and biking, get us outside in one final push before winter sets in. It’s undeniably beautiful outside right now, with the hills and valleys brightly painted in hues of red, orange, and yellow. With no shortage of activities to enjoy during the fall, there is also no shortage of things for us to blog about during the fall. We love to go hiking in the Driftless Area throughout the year, but fall is an exquisite time of year to explore trails both new and old. Book your room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today, and get outside and enjoy some beautiful fall hiking in the Driftless Area.
Fall Hiking Driftless Region
We’ve talked about hiking throughout the Driftless Region many times on our blog. Hiking is a wonderful way to explore the Driftless Area, and to see parts of this stunning region that would otherwise remain hidden. Options truly are endless, and can be as simple as strolling along a nature trail or well-developed hiking trail, or can be as advanced as picking your own way through one of the many natural areas found in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. No matter where you go, you’re sure to encounter incredible scenery and plenty of wildlife. If this is your first time to our area, you might want to stick to the more common hiking areas, which include Wyalusing State Park, Effigy Mounds National Monument, Pikes Peak State Park, Wildcat Mountain State Park, and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. Within these parks, you’ll discover some of the best views over the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, and will gain a larger appreciation for the geological forces that left these lands untouched so many years ago, earning us the name Driftless Wisconsin.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with a little fall hiking through the areas listed above, there are also plenty of lesser known trails within the Driftless Area worth exploring. In Vernon County alone, there are 4 county parks and 2 county forests with miles of hiking trails worth exploring this fall. One of our favorites in this area is the 520 acres of beautiful Sidie Hollow County Park, where you’ll find hiking trails and the Sidie Hollow Lake. During fall, this lake is a great place to witness the stunning swans migrating through the Driftless Region. Another fascinating place to explore in the Driftless Region is the Battle Bluff Prairie, which was once the site of Black Hawk War battles. The bluffs here rise over 480 feet into the air, and from the top you’ll enjoy a clear view to the south across the Mississippi River. Other beautiful natural areas in the Driftless Region worth exploring, especially if you’d like to do a little birdwatching, include the Bergen Bluffs, Coon Creek Cliffs, the Limery Ridge Savannah, and the Wauzeka Bottoms. Though you won’t always find well-developed trails in these areas, you will find some of the remaining undeveloped bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, incredible forested areas with thriving wild bird populations, and the rocky outcrops characteristic of Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. Book your room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today, and head into the wild and undeveloped world of Driftless Area hiking this fall.
Birding in the Driftless Area This Fall 12 Oct 2015, 3:00 am
The beauty of fall in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area is evident along every ridge, valley, and bend in the road. If you can take your eyes off the vibrant fall colors, a quick glance to the skies will reveal the many flocks of birds heading south in search of warmer winter weather. The steeply rising bluffs and beautiful river valleys that characterize our unique region of southwestern Wisconsin happen to be the perfect place to witness the fall bird migration. The Driftless Area truly is a birding paradise during the fall, coupling unbelievably beautiful vistas and a tremendous diversity of bird species together into one enjoyable experience. With over 300 bird species taking flight, fall is a great time to come search the skies with us. Book your room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast, which is located near some of the best birding destinations in the state of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s Best Birding Locations
The Driftless region of Wisconsin is situated along the Great River Road and the heavily-traveled Mississippi Flyway. Over 300 species of birds frequent the migration routes here, including popular waterfowl species such as the Canadian geese, mallards, tundra swans, wood ducks, canvasbacks, and diving ducks such as redheads, buffleheads, and ruddy ducks. In the Driftless Area, you’ll find over 250 miles of incredible scenery and protected natural areas that provide the perfect habitat for birding. In fact, the scenic overlooks along the Mississippi River offer some of the best places in North America to view majestic bald eagles. Head to the forested trails of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve or the Kickapoo River Wildlife Area to spot some of the forest birds migrating through the area, such as the red-shouldered hawk, Acadian flycatcher, wood thrush, cerulean warbler, and the Kentucky warbler. Other popular, and highly scenic places to spend your day birding include Wildcat Mountain State Park, Wyalusing State Park over looking the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, and the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
Our discussion of fall birding in the Driftless Area would be incomplete without mention of the stunning Tundra Swan Migration that happens each fall. Tundra Swans are one of the worlds most majestic creatures. It’s a treat to watch them floating on regional waters, listening for the tell-tale flap of their wings as they take flight. Though these birds breed in the arctic, they winter in warm southern clients, sometimes flying as much as 3,725 miles between their two homes. The Tundra Swan migration, highly regarded as one of the most beautiful birding events of the year, begins in October and generally peaks around mid-November. Don’t miss these incredible birding opportunities in the Driftless Area. Book your room with us this fall at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast, and enjoy what is sure to be another spectacular fall bird migration.
Fall Color in the Driftless Area 28 Sep 2015, 3:00 am
The sights and sounds of Autumn are underway in Wisconsin, bringing with it the excitement of watching the dramatic unfolding of colors that happens each fall. Though not an exact science, the fall foliage season begins as the nightly temperatures dip and the days get shorter. This rhythmic change of seasons acts as a signal to decidious trees to set themselves aglow in the gorgeous shades of fall. Though there are a variety of fun an interesting ways to see these vibrant displays of color, there is perhaps no better place to enjoy fall in the Driftless Area than right here on our 100+ private acres in the Kickapoo River Valley. Before you know it, another fall foliage season will be gone, so book your getaway to our peaceful Bed and Breakfast in the heart of Wisconsin’s Driftless Area today.
See the Fall Color
Wisconsin’s fall color typically peaks towards mid-October, but the fall foliage show can be enjoyed anytime between now and the end of October. Though there are many places from which to enjoy these stunning colors, our favorite fall activity, and probably your best bet to maximize your intake of fall color, is to map out a driving route around the Driftless Area. A particularly pretty drive involves the shores of the Mississippi River along the Great River Road. Right now, you’ll find about 30% of the area showing fall color. As you travel along the roadway, you’ll find gold and red maples lighting the hillsides ablaze, while the twisted oak and wild hickory glow orange and yellow along the river valleys. Other pretty drives include the Rustic Road of Highway 56 and Highway 131, which passes right through our beautiful town of Soldiers Grove. While you’re touring the Driftless Area, you’ll also be witness to the spectacular fall bird migration from places such as Wyalusing State Park, Pikes Peak State Park, Wildcat Mountain State Park, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, and Effigy Mounds National Monument. These areas also happen to be wonderful places to take a little hike, stretch your legs, and enjoy the dramatic views out over the river valleys of Driftless Wisconsin.
Other than driving along country roads, you can see the spectacular fall color in a variety of ways. Take in the stunning vistas below the apple orchards in Gays Mills, all while enjoying fresh, seasonal produce from local farms. There are also a great variety of biking routes through the Driftless Area, whether on road or in the hills of our parks, that will undoubtedly take you through some stunning displays of fall foliage. If you’d like to try something a little more unique, take a fall paddle down the notoriously beautiful Kickapoo River. It’s unbeatable in fall. It won’t matter what you choose to do when in the Driftless Area, because Autumn in Wisconsin is all about the color. Book your room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today, so you can relax, and enjoy fall color at its most beautiful.
Fall Activities in the Driftless Area 18 Sep 2015, 3:00 am
With the official arrival of fall just days away, we have a whole new set of reasons to head out into the forested hills and river valleys of the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. Whether you choose to get outside for some scenic fall hiking or biking, embark on a scenic drive through the region, enjoy some spectacular wine or beer at local wineries and breweries, or whether you choose to enjoy the season in an entirely different way, Fall is a wonderful season to visit the Driftless Area. It is both less crowded and uniquely beautiful, with a wide variety of fun fall activities throughout the Driftless Area to enjoy. Book your room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today.
Fall Activites to Enjoy
Each season in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area is so different and enjoyable that it’s hard to pick a favorite. There is something special about the fall months though, as we slowly transition away from the warm, sunny days of summer into the cooler, more colorful days of fall. It’s not yet time to bundle up in front of the fire indoors though. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, there are plenty of fun fall activities and events throughout the region to enjoy. Coming up in 1 week is the always popular Gays Mills Apple Festival in the nearby town of Gays Mills. This great event includes an arts & crafts fair, huge flea market, 2K & 5K run and walk, horseshoe tournament, numerous food stands, music, and a parade. After you’ve had your fill of fun, don’t miss your chance to visit regional apple orchards first hand. If you miss the Gays Mills Apple Festival, the Shihata Orchard Fest happens the following weekend.
History buffs will love a fall visit to the Driftless Area during Norskadalen Nature & History Center’s annual Civil War Immersion Weekend. History will come to life over the weekend on Norskadalen’s grounds, which will feature drills, skirmishes and even authentic demonstrations of life in 1863. Other fun fall activities in the Driftless Area this year include the Haunted Halls of Terror, Oktoberfest at St. Feriole Island, and of course the popular Ghoulees in the Coulees hikes at Norskadalen. Come enjoy this quieter time of year at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast, and try to enjoy at least one of these fun fall activities while here.
Explore Farmers Markets in the Driftless Area 8 Sep 2015, 3:00 am
Wisconsin’s Driftless Area is characterized by miles of beautiful rolling farmland, criss-crossed by cold streams and rivers, and set against dramatically rising bluffs. Agriculture has been a fixture of Driftless Wisconsin’s identity for hundreds of years, so it should come as no surprise that it’s still an integral part of life today. In fact, Wisconsin is a top producer of organic goods, and one of the keystone businesses to the industry, Organic Valley, is right here in the Driftless Area. In the Driftless Area, you’ll find plenty of wonderful farmers markets selling this top-notch local produce, and can even dine at local establishments that feature locally sourced and mostly organic ingredients as well. Book your room at our Driftless Area Bed and Breakfast today, so you can enjoy fall’s bounty at local farmers markets.
Farmers Markets in Driftless Wisconsin
One of the most popular Farmers Markets in the Driftless Area is the Viroqua Farmers Market, which brings new meaning to the term buying local. Here, all of the 50+ vendors come from a 100-mile radius of the market, highlighting the abundance of fresh produce from Driftless Wisconsin farms. Not only will you find abundant organic produce here, but you’ll also find things like maple syrup, canned goods, honey, soap, meat, jewelry, art, furniture, fresh flowers, Amish rugs and quilts, baked goods, lotions and other seasonal goods. Open May through October, we can’t think of a better place to explore on a Saturday in the Driftless Area. The Prairie Street Farmers Market in Prairie du Chien is also a popular place to browse, where they feature free local entertainment and a great variety of local goods as well.
Other regional farmers markets throughout the Driftless Area are the Gays Mills Farmers Market, located just a short distance from our Bed and Breakfast Inn, and the Market in the Park in Ferryville. Known for the variety of apples grown by sevel local orchards, the Gays Mills Farmers Market is a good place to find your favorite varietal. The market in Ferryville is a wonderful place to find garden plants, nursery items, home made preserves, crafts items, flea market items and a great selection of Amish craft items, such as baskets, throw rugs, and toys. Farmers Markets truly are amongst the best places to get a true feeling for the people and the culture of a certain place, and that couldn’t be more true about the varied markets of the Driftless Area. Book your room with us today, and explore the tremendous selection of goods at our regional farmers markets this fall.
Biking the Annual Kickapoo BRAVE Ride 25 Aug 2015, 3:00 am
Biking is a favorite pasttime for both visitors to and residents of Driftless Wisconsin. Biking adventurists come from all over the state and country for the great variety of biking options found here, which include rugged mountain trails, challenging or leisurely on-road routes, as well as constructed bike trails. If that’s not enough to entice you to a biking adventure in Driftless Wisconsin, then maybe the beautiful scenery you’ll encounter along the way will be. If you’re a true biking enthusiast, then consider joining fellow riders in the 7th annual Kickapoo BRAVE Ride, which happens on the same weekend as the popular Driftless Area Art Festival. To join in the fun at both of these spectacular events, book you room at our Driftless Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today.
Kickapoo BRAVE Biking Adventures
The Kickapoo BRAVE Ride, which stands for the Bluffs, Rivers, And Valleys Event, is an exciting opportunity to bike the backroads of Driftless Wisconsin. This year, the ride again takes place on the same weekend as the Driftless Area Art Festival, on September 19th. Starting and ending in nearby Gays Mills, the Kickapoo BRAVE Ride will take riders on a tour through breathtaking scenery, along ridge tops with distinctive panoramic views and deep, lush valley roads. Featuring a cloverleaf route system, cyclists can choose which route is best from them between beginner, intermediate, and advanced routes ranging from 15 – 100 miles in length.
If you aren’t up for the Kickapoo BRAVE Ride this year, there are still plenty of other beautiful ways to enjoy biking through Driftless Wisconsin. For your convenience, Crawford County has mapped out nine different routes using a combination of country and township roads. These loops are anywhere from 14 – 44 miles in length, and will take you through some of the most scenic portions of Driftless Wisconsin. In addition to this, Vernon County has mapped out five different routes leaving from Westby: the Amish Tour; Ski Jump Tour; Kickapoo Valley Tour; West Fork Tour; and Small Town Charm. Mountain Bikers will enjoy the trails in both the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, Wyalusing State Park, and newly created Sidie Hollow County Park. Whether it’s biking the Kickapoo BRAVE or one of these other great trails in Driftless Wisconsin, it won’t take you long to see why biking has remained a popular regional pasttime. Pack your cycling gear, and book your room at our Driftless Area Bed and Breakfast today.
Get Inspired at the Driftless Area Art Festival 17 Aug 2015, 3:00 am
We’ve talked many times about how important and beautiful the sculpted lands of the Driftless Area are. The forested hillsides and steep bluffs that characterize the Driftless Area stand in sharp contrast to the typically flat lands of America’s Midwest, which were flattened by retreating glaciers in the last ice age. These untouched lands have been a lasting source of inspiration to the many artists that call this region home, including painters, potters, woodworkers, weavers, metalsmiths, musicians, and more. While it’s possible to experience their art in various regional studios, galleries, and stores, these artists come together once a year to celebrate their art at the popular Driftless Area Art Festival in our hometown of Soldiers Grove. To experience this artistic world at its best, book your room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today.
Driftless Area Art Festival
The Driftless Area Art Festival is a must-do activity for anyone that appreciates local art and artisans. This event only happens once a year, during the third weekend in September, and is a fantastic opportunity to explore the exceptional variety of art produced in the Driftless Area. To experience art at this magnitude, you’d have to otherwise spend countless days exploring regional studios and galleries. At the Driftless Area Art Festival, you’ll find traditional visual arts produced by a variety of artisans, including paintings and pieces made with clay, glass, wood, or metal. Another popular feature of the Driftless Area Art Festival is the KidsArt and Teen Art Gallery. Here, you’ll find the creative works of elementary and middle school students from all parts of the Driftless Area, in an effort to encourage the next generation of Driftless Area artists. All said, this spectacular event includes over 80 visual arts exhibitors, in addition to live performing artists and great local foods.
The Driftless Area Art Festival is a wonderful place to sample the flavors of the Driftless Area. All offerings in the culinary arts are made with locally grown and/or organic ingredients whenever possible. Local favorites featured at this event are Kickapoo Coffee, Crepe Jean Luc, Driftless Brewing Company, Home Grown Pizza, and more. You’ll also find the new edible arts exhibit, where these artisans will exhibit, offer samples, and sell their creations. Vendors included here are Austin’s Rush Creek Farm, Del Sol Chocolates, Driftless Wisconsin Grown, Got2HavPie, Sugar Creek Winery, and Tea for the People. See this and more at the Driftless Area Art Festival when you book your room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast.
Old Fashioned Fun at Driftless Area County Fairs 11 Aug 2015, 3:00 am
There is something magical about the slower pace of life found in the Driftless Area. Our unique region of Southwest Wisconsin, where the landscapes were left untouched by ice-age glaciers that otherwise flattened the Midwest, is undeniably beautiful. From the forested hillsides teeming with wildlife to the steep limestone bluffs that plunge down to the cold-water streams along the valley floors, it’s easy to see why this area is so popular with tourists. Whether you crave adventure in the outdoors, are looking to relax and rejuvenate away from the busy stress of modern life, or want to explore the quaint and historic region in another way, there is something for you to enjoy in the Driftless Area. For a special throwback to simpler days gone by, join us this summer for one of our two exciting county fairs; the Crawford County Fair in August, and the Vernon County Fair in September. There is no better way to discover this magical region than to book your stay at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today.
County Fairs of the Driftless Area
It’s no secret that Wisconsinsites love a good fair or festival. In the Driftless Area, we are lucky enough to enjoy two spectacular county fairs throughout the summer months. The first of these is the Crawford County Fair, which takes place later this month in the charming town of Gays Mills. From August 26th-30th, you’ll be able to enjoy a healthy dose of old fashioned fun at the Crawford County Fair. Fun events include The Kickapoo Taste on August 26th, featuring local foods from the region, the Tractor and Truck Pull Show on the 27th, Blessed FMX Sport Stunt Show featuring live Music by Menace on the 28th, an Antique Tractor Pull and Demolition Derby on the 29th, and the Ranch Rodeo & Bull Riding on the 30th.
The second of the county fairs worth seeing in the Driftless Area this summer is the Vernon County Fair. The Vernon County Fair dates back to 1856, and is cited as one of the oldest county fairs in the state of Wisconsin. This year, the fair takes place from September 16th-20th in the beautiful town of Viroqua, Wisconsin. The fun kicks off on the 16th with an Antiques & Farm Tractor Pull, followed by several exciting events throughout the fair. Events at the grandstands include the Modified Farm Tractors & Truck Pull, the Draft Horse Show, the Kids Tractor Pull, Harness Racing, and of course the Demolition Derby. Don’t miss these exciting opportunities for old fashioned fun in the Driftless Area. Book your room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today.