Welcome to the Only Waunakee In The World

Waunakee

The first town is Waunakee (pop. 8,995). the “only Waunankee in the world”, as they like to point out. It was founded as Leicester in 1870; the following year, two early settlers persuaded the St. Paul Railroad, via cash and land, to relocate through their property instead of the original intended location two miles north….

View of Angell Park Speedway

Sun Prairie

The development boom coming in from Madison is very evident along this stretch, passing U.S. Highway 151 (now an expressway from Madison all the way to Fond du Lac) and going into the heart of Sun Prairie (pop. 24,219), one of the fastest-growing cities in Wisconsin. Forget Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania: Sun Prairie holds the official title…

Colorful Farm Building in Marshall, WI

Marshall

Marshall (pop. 3,432) located along Highways 19 and 73, was known in previous incarnations as Bird’s Ruins (after fire destroyed buildings during in 1838 as the village was getting established) and Medina. Located along the Maunesha River, Marshall is tucked into the northeastern corner of Dane County and is increasingly headed towards “suburban bedroom community” status….

Wisconsin Korean War Veterans Memorial

Wisconsin’s Korean War Veterans Memorial is in Plover, just south of Stevens Point along I-39/U.S. 51 at the County B exit. It rises on an island in Lake Pacawa is a small park known as Worzella Pines Park. The Gateway area features an “Isle of Honor” commemorating the 132,000 Wisconsin residents who served in the…

Herb and Helen Haydock World of Beer Memorabilia Museum

Located in the lower level of the Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, the Herb and Helen Haydock World of Beer Memorabilia Museum claims to be the largest museum of its kind. You’ll find hundreds of brewery advertisements, lithographs and prints dating all the way back to the mid-1800s. An impressive collection of tap handles, growlers,…

Baumgartner’s Cheese Store & Tavern

Baumgartner’s Cheese Store & Tavern in Monroe is a State Trunk Tour favorite! A cheese shop and tavern established in 1931, Baumgartner’s is a highlight of any road trip, serving up selections of cheese, sausage, beer, and some terrific fresh sandwiches. Our favorite is the brick cheese and summer sausage on rye; the house specialty…

Historic Washington House, home of the ice cream sundae

Built as an immigrant hotel and saloon in the 1850s, the Historic Washington House lays claim to inventing the ice cream sundae.  There are seven rooms and an old ballroom to explore, all filled with items of historic interest.   You’ll find the Washington House one block east of Highway 42 along Jefferson Street; the…

World’s Largest Grandfather Clock

Towering 36 feet above downtown Kewaunee, this (working) Colonial-style redwood grandfather clock was originally constructed in 1976 for the nation’s bicentennial and moved to its current location at the head of the Ahnapee State Trail in 2014. You’ll find it just north of Highway 29, at the intersection of Highway 42 and Miller Street.

Indian Mounds Park, Whitewater

Also known as the Whitewater Effigy Mounds Preserve, this 22-acre park preserves a prehistoric, Native American ceremonial and burial site dating back to between 200 and 1000 A.D. You’ll find a collection of animal and geometric mounds, and along the east bank of an old river bed, a former community area that once held 30…

Rock Island Resort

Just north of Merrill along Highway 107 on Alexander Lake (yes, part of the Wisconsin River), “The Rock” has been drawing in travelers since 1928. Today, this bar hosts plenty of bands, offers camping and a boat launch, features a small beach, and has plenty of unique stuff to look at – including on top…

Timms Hill, Wisconsin’s highest natural point

At 1,951.5 feet above sea level, Timms Hill is Wisconsin’s highest natural point. Located in Price County, it’s in the Town of – wait for it – Hill (clever, no??) just south of Highway 86 and also bounded by Highways 13 and 102. The small town of Ogema is just to the west, and Tomhawk…

Mars Cheese Castle

One of our favorite places that just screams “Wisconsin!” is the Mars Cheese Castle. This Wisconsin cheese shop, deli, bar, bakery and more is popular purveyor of cheeses, meats, hot sauce, bakery, and Wisconsin kick-knacks is a widely recognized landmark on the busy Milwaukee-Chicago corridor, with its iconic sign beckoning travelers. Originally opened in 1947…

The Brick House Cafe, Cable

The Brick House Cafe occupies one of the oldest buildings in Cable, dating back to the late 1800’s. The building itself has been a Church parsonage, a private residence, apartments, business offices, and interior design shop. Now it’s a cafe that’s even drawn the attention of TV’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Stories abound with the…

The Pearl Ice Cream Parlor & Confectionery

One step into this old-fashioned soda fountain and ice cream parlor, and you’re whisked back to an earlier, sweeter era. Everything from home-mixed ice cream in waffle cones made right in the store to scratch-made flavored soads and rich, tasty malts from the old-school Hamilton Beach mixer and the metal cup delights the senses. A…

Colonial Cheese House

Situated where Highways 21 & 116 cross the Fox River in downtown Omro, the Colonial Cheese House specializes in aged cheeses, including “super aged cheddars,” and also features fruit cheddars (like cranberry cheddar), nut cheddars, curds, beef sticks, and a variety of sausages and cheese spreads. It’s also a popular place for sandwiches, subs, and…

Widmer’s Cheese Cellars

Located in Theresa at the northeast corner of Dodge County, Widmer’s makes brick, cheddar, and colby cheeses that are popular around the state and much of the country. The factory in downtown Theresa dates back to 1922 and today they crank out over 360,000 pounds of cheese per year – so yeah, about 1,000 pounds…

World’s Largest Can of Chili

At the busy interchange where I-39/90, I-43, and Wisconsin Highway 81 meet in Beloit just north of the Wisconsin-Illinois state line, you’ll find the “World’s Largest Can of Chili.” The “can” is part of the large Hormel plant in Beloit, which cranks out plenty of chili and other meat products here. How much chili can…

Tiffany Stone Bridge

This graceful, beautiful railroad crossing over Turtle Creek in rural Rock County just might be the oldest stone arch bridge in Wisconsin. Built in 1869, Union Pacific Railroad still uses the bridge on one of its main lines between Chicago and Madison. The bridge is 387 feet long and was added to the National Register…

Beckman Mill County Park

Centered on an original grist mill constructed in 1868 along Racoon Creek, the 52-acre grounds of Beckman Mill Park offer both historical education and recreation near the Illinois border west of Beloit. The mill has been fully restored and continues to work. You can learn about the mill, explore the dam, have a picnic, stroll…

World’s Largest Corkscrew

Some places in Vienna, Austria and Bangkok, Thailand may beg to differ, but Hurley, Wisconsin lays claim to the World’s Largest Corkscrew. It’s located along U.S. Highway 2 just west of the Wisconsin-Michigan border by about one mile on the northern side of Hurley. It’s also just west of northern terminus of U.S. 51 and…

Marshfield, World's Largest Round Barn near Highway 13

World’s Largest Round Barn

Officially called the Central Wisconsin State Fair Round Barn, this record-holder is the focal point of the fairgrounds in Marshfield. Round barns had a “boom period” between 1880 and 1920, particularly in the Midwest, as “progressive” farming methods built of principles of industrial efficiency were being implemented. Wind resistance and better air flow inside for…

Temple Theater, Viroqua

The Temple Theater sits inside a classical revival building constructed in 1922 along Viroqua’s Main Street. This elegant venue entertained people from across the area with vaudeville shows, silent movies, musical productions, and other civic events during the mid-20th century. Like most theaters, it closed for a while. A 2002 renovation gave the Temple Theater…

Eau Claire River Dells Park

Located off Highway 52 via County Road Y near Aniwa, the Eau Claire River Dells is one of the special jewels in Marathon County’s park system. The Dells of the Eau Claire River Park encompasses fantastic geological features created by the Eau Claire River. Ancient volcanic rock palisades and potholes carved in the rock by…

Larry the Logroller along Highway 32 in Wabeno

Larry the Logroller

Driving along Highway 32 through Wabeno? You can’t miss Larry the Logroller, a 22’4″ lumberjack who serves as this town’s answer to Paul Bunyan. Instead of an ax, Larry brandishes a logging tool. He stands guard over the Wabeno Logging Museum and a 1901 Phoenix Log Hauler, a steam locomotive that once helped haul logs…

World's Largest Soup Kettle, Laona

World’s Largest Soup Kettle

Laona is known to many for its Lumberjack Steam Train, but did you also know they have the World’s Largest Soup Kettle? This tiny burg in Forest County where U.S. 8 and Highway 32 features this large gray pot, dangling by a tripod wood supports in a town park. The kettle has a seven-foot circumference…

Mickey-Lu Bar-B-Q, Marinette, along U.S. 41

Classic “burger and a shake” deliciousness awaits at Mickey-Lu Bar-B-Q. Delighting Marinette residents and visitors alike since 1942, the “Bar-B-Q” in the name refers to the charcoal grilling technique they use for cooking burgers and grilling brats – you won’t find pulled pork or brisket here. But that’s okay, because these are some of the…

World’s Largest Muskie

Hayward hosts the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, an “international headquarters for education, recognition, and promotion of freshwater sport fishing” (their words from their website.) So it’s only fitting that this Hall of Fame would host the World’s Largest Fiberglass Sculpture, which is also the World’s Largest Muskie. Standing 143 feet long and 41…

World's Largest Muskie in Hayward

World’s Largest Muskie

Hayward hosts the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, so it’s only natural they would also have the World’s Largest Muskie. Standing 143 feet long and 41 feet tall, the muskie holds names of world record-holders in fishing across the world – over 3,000 entries. You can check out the names and climb the steps…

Big Manitou Falls and some of the spectacular rock formations near it.

Big Manitou Falls, Wisconsin’s highest waterfall

With an oft-brownish tint in the water – which is just from the natural minerals in area – Big Manitou Falls sends the Black River tumbling 165 feet over a rocky drop on its way to the St. Louis River delta. Big Manitou is Wisconsin’s highest waterfall and fourth highest east of the Rockies. Much…

Northern Wisconsin Tobacco Pool Warehouse

Northern Wisconsin Co-op Tobacco Pool Warehouse

In Viroqua just east of downtown along Highways 56 & 82 you’ll find the Northern Wisconsin Co-op Tobacco Pool Warehouse. It was originally built in 1906 by Martin Bekkedal, who immigrated to Wisconsin in the 1880s and became the largest tobacco wholesaler in the state at a time when tobacco was one of Wisconsin’s biggest…

US Bank Tower, Milwaukee

US Bank Tower, Milwaukee

The US Bank Tower has been Wisconsin’s tallest building since 1973. Once Milwaukee’s tallest by far for decades, several newer 30 story-plus buildings give it some company and created a fuller skyline that the US Bank Tower highlights rather than dominates. The US Bank Tower rises 42 stories; it is 601 feet from street level…

Wind Poit Lighthouse

Wind Point Lighthouse

Wind Point Lighthouse is one the tallest and oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes. It reaches 108 feet above the wavy waters of Lake Michigan, helping ships navigate the coast since 1880. The original fog house, walkways to the water, and parkland surrounding the lighthouse itself are all accessible year ’round. Tours of the lighthouse…

First Kindergarten in Watertown

America’s First Kindergarten

Watertown is officially recognized as the site of America’s first kindergarten. In 1856, Watertown was Wisconsin’s second largest city, sitting at the western end of the famous Watertown Plank Road from Milwaukee. Watertown resident Margarethe Meyer Schurz, wife of the famous German-American statesman Carl Schurz, learned about children’s education in her native Hamburg, Germany. She…

Fort Winnebago

Fort Winnebago Surgeon’s Quarters Historic Site

Fort Winnebago was constructed at the portage between the strategically important Fox and Wisconsin Rivers at the city of Portage in Columbia County. It was one of three forts built to protect settlers and commerce along the crucial Fox-Wisconsin Waterway; the other two were Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien at the Mississippi River and…

Brat Stop exterior sign

Brat Stop

Wisconsin loves brats, and Kenosha’s “World Famous” Brat Stop is among the best places in the state to enjoy them! This iconic location has been in business since 1961, when it was pretty much the only major place to eat along the rural U.S. 41, newly-minted I-94 at Highway 50. And they sell a ton…

Ben Bikin statue in Sparta

Ben Bikin, the World’s Largest Bicyclist

Ben Bikin is the crown jewel in Sparta’s crown as the “Bicycling Capital of America.” Sparta is the northern terminus of the Elroy-Sparta Trail, the first rail-to-trail project in the United States. Other major trails, including the La Crosse River Trail, converge here. The city celebrates bicycling throughout the year, although summer and fall is…

Rookies

Upper deck: Highway 19 basically starts right at Rookies; this view is from their parking lot. Turn around, and you see an authentic regulation whiffle ball field with a great ballpark look and a rather nice view behind it. Lower deck: The bar is in the front, the restaurant (pictured) is in the back and…

Springfield Corners

After running with Highway 78 for a brief spell, Highway 19 heads east on its own and winds through a beautiful rural setting which, considering Dane County’s growth, may change over the next decade or so. Farms and hills – and a fairly narrow, twisty road at times – define this part of Highway 19….

Mazomanie

The Drive (West to East): Highway 19 begins along U.S. Highway 14 where Highway 78 turns off, just east of Mazomanie (pop. 1,578). It’s a good idea to start by checking out Mazomanie, a lovely little burg that was recently voted one of “America’s Coolest Small Towns” by Budget Travel magazine. Highway 19’s start takes…