Just an hour west of Madison lies a charming little town nestled among the hills of the Driftless Area. Its rich history and numerous art galleries and shops are reasons alone to check out Mineral Point, but the allure of this community goes beyond its tangible features. The passionate people and artists that call this place home create a welcoming atmosphere, and from the moment you step out of the car, Mineral Point just feels different – historic, picturesque, even a bit e
nchanting. While the best way to really get to know this town is to simply wander and see what you find, here are a few suggestions of ways you can discover the magic of Mineral Point.
Pendarvis – One of 12 Wisconsin Historic Sites, Pendarvis is a fully restored, Cornish mining village.Take a tour throughout the many buildings, including Pendarvis House, which once was the site of the Pendarvis House Restaurant, once considered one of the top seven restaurants in the United States.
Orchard Lawn – Built in 1868 for William Gundry, a prominent Mineral Point businessman and his family, Orchard Lawn is one of the town’s most beloved restoration stories. A group of Mineral Point locals raised enough money to purchase the home on the day it was scheduled to be demolished. Today, it is open to the public for tours and hosts a summer concert series on the grounds called Jammin’ on the Porch.
Art Scene – It’s all about the art in Mineral Point,as seen by the dozens of art galleries and studios downtown and throughout the area. Find everything from pottery to painting, sculpture, tactile arts, woodworking, and more! And don’t be afraid to do a little exploring. Most artists work right in their studios and will be more than happy to show you around.
Mayday Press – For a unique experience you won’t find many other places, be sure to check out Mayday Press. This letterpress workshop and boutique features handmade cards, prints and more all meticulously and lovingly crafted by hand. You can even sign up for a letterpress workshop and make a print of your own!
Fall Art Tour – One of the best ways to explore the art scene in Mineral Point is during the Fall Art Tour every October. Artists in Mineral Point and other nearby communities open their studios and galleries to give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at how they create their work.
Driftless Film Festival – If the visual arts are more your style, then the Driftless Film Festival is definitely worth checking out. Held at the historic Mineral Point Opera House, this celebration of independent film features short and feature film submissions from all over the world (but with a special emphasis on Wisconsin filmmakers!).
Shake Rag Alley – This arts education center is housed in a village of historic buildings and offers hundreds of different art classes for any skill level. Try everything from painting and jewelry making to blacksmithing and photography.
Candlelight Shopping – Mineral Point is even more magical during the holidays with sparkling decorations throughout downtown. And on the second weekend of December, the town is illuminated with candles that line the streets for a special night of shopping and entertainment.
Mineral Point Restaurants – A trip to Mineral Point isn’t complete without sampling some of the local cuisine! Indulge in a delicious pizza at Popolo, made from local, farm-fresh ingredients. For a traditional Mineral Point dish, head over to the Red Rooster Café and try a Cornish pasty.
Guest Houses – While there aren’t many hotels in Mineral Point, there are plenty of guest houses to choose from if you’re staying the night. Each beautifully restored, historic home has its own unique personality and offers a new twist on a weekend away.
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Jennifer Ingish is the series producer for Discover Wisconsin. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Jennifer is a proud UW-Madison graduate and an avid Wisconsin sports fan (Go Pack Go!). Stream Discover Wisconsin online at discoverwisconsin.com or tune in every Saturday morning at 10 on Fox Sports Wisconsin.