It's the 9th largest city in the state, the Horseradish Capital of the World and was named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in 2015. And with a name like Eau Claire - it's French for "clear waters" - you know it's downright beautiful. Here are just 10 things I love most about this area of Wisconsin:
About a half-hour southeast of the city of Eau Claire is the Dells Mill and Museum. Witness this historic five-story grist mill turn as it has for three generations - deeming it both a state and national historic site. The magnificent Dells Mill also happens to be one of the most photographed sites in Wisconsin and for very good reason.
I could spend all day at The Local Store & Volume One Gallery because it's chock-full of one-of-a-kind items that represent Eau Claire and Wisconsin. Browse books, apparel, home decor, kitchenware and so much more.
Lush forests, flowing waters and unparalleled sunsets make the Chippewa Valley a truly gorgeous destination. Just upstream from Altoona, the Eau Claire River passes over a waterfall known as Big Falls. Take in the sights and sounds of this beaut and consider picnicking, tubing, canoeing or fishing!
If you haven't yet witnessed ski jumping in person, you ought to. Cheer on these brave souls as they launch themselves off the Silvermine Ski Hill and soar into the night sky. This year’s Silver Mine Ski Invitational is February 12-13.
Do you enjoy free, outdoor and interactive activities? Then you're going to love the Eau Claire Sculpture Tour, which is accessible year-round. Created by artists from across North America and even abroad, the sculpture tour features a vast variety of styles, materials and sizes. Bring your camera!
The Eau Claire area is dotted with more than a dozen parks that each have their own special charm. From music at Phoenix Park to baseball at Carson Park, it's no wonder why families love this city.
This past summer I learned of a story out of Eau Claire that really touched my heart. Babbette Jaquish was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in the spring of 2006. She lost her battle with cancer in November 2014. Before Babbette passed away, she had expressed one wish to her husband, Don: to plant a field of sunflowers dedicated to helping others living with cancer.This past summer, her husband fulfilled her wish and planted four miles of sunflowers along Highway 85. It's one of the most captivating and moving sights I've ever seen.
Mariah Haberman hosts the nation’s longest-running tourism TV show, Discover Wisconsin. She hails from Evansville, where she was brought up in a family of seven in a small farmhouse outside of town. Some of her favorite memories include Lake Michigan fishing trips with her Dad, showing sheep at the Rock County Fair and buzzing around the farm on an ATV with her little brother. Watch Discover Wisconsin Saturdays at 10 a.m. on FSN Wisconsin’s outdoor block. (Twitter: @DiscoverWI)