This Fall and Winter on Discover Wisconsin, Eric Paulsen takes us on a journey to four different Wisconsin communities for some chilly fun. As the shades of green morph into burnt oranges and blazing golds throughout the Wisconsin landscape, people button up their sweaters and head outside to enjoy the auburn-painted scenery. We head to Barron, Wisconsin where the Fall decor awaits bedazzled spectators. We begin at Country Lane Market and Pantry with owner Ezra Bender. Local pantry items as well as meats, cheeses and fudge line the shelves of the quaint store. Eric explores the Thursday farmer’s market held on the grounds of Country Market. With over one hundred art and food vendors, the hardest part of our day is picking between brick oven fired pizza and Navajo Fry Bread tacos! The Barron Fall festival brings us downtown where we enjoy live music and hand-crafted art. Lastly, we end our trip with a romantic evening of music and spirit tasting at the newly built Church Barn.
The fiery leaves make way to the earth which is soon blanketed with snow. Our winter begins in Menomonie where the community embraces the winter wonderland with outdoor activities and cozy campfires. A late night arrival, we join the locals in a candle light ski and snowshoe gathering right off the Red Cedar State Trail. We warm up with Mayor Randy Knaack over some hot cocoa and good conversation. After a good night’s sleep, we head out for an ice fishing adventure on Lake Menomin. Here we enjoy a bonfire on the ice with Donna and Steve, two Menomonie locals, and their grandson (and professional fisherman), Leo. The bonfires continue at Brewery Nønic, where we meet the owner, Brandon Vernon, to learn about his role in and love for Menomonie’s progressive community. We end our time in Menomonie at WoodWind Park. After transforming an old abandoned ski resort into a tubing hill, ice skating rink, and miles of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails, the owners Paul and Meagan Frank welcome the public to enjoy their now charming winter getaway.
As the frost moves in, we find warmth in family and friends and the calmness of serene winter landscapes. In the Driftless area of Wisconsin, Sauk County is one such place we experience total calm. On the edge of the county, White Mound County Park is home to a quiet ambience of natural beauty. We enjoy the heat from the wood burning stove at Prairie Smoke Terrace where we warm up while enjoying some games and a hearty meal. We end our evening stargazing in this no-light zone, making White Mound such a special and rare place to enjoy the night sky.
Finally as the end of Winter approaches, we head up north to the peaceful pines. First, however, Eric takes us on an action-filled day at Bent’s camp. After a meal at the Bent’s Camp Lodge we head off to experience The Radar Run and more importantly, the Bikini Run! Gotta watch to find out! After a long day of hanging with the locals (these guys know how to party), we sleep off our adrenaline and “cool down” with members of the frosty snowmobile alliance at Brew’s Pub. Located right off the gateway trail into Michigan, we head further up north to Bond Falls where the beauty was humbling to say the least.
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