In Elkhorn, Walworth’s County Seat, you’ll find the home of composer Joseph Philbrick Webster, who songs were popular through the Civil War and beyond. The well-maintained Greek Revival-style cottage was constructed in 1836 and was originally located in Elkhorn’s public square (today’s Courthouse Square) and served as the federal land grant office, which sold land to Walworth County pioneers before Wisconsin’s 1848 statehood. It was also used as a temporary courthouse before a “real” one was constructed.
The Websters moved in after the house was moved to its current location at Rockwell & Washington Streets, where they added a kitchen and bedrooms while also creating a music room.
Webster’s descendants sold the house to the county in 1955; it opened a museum the following year. On August 8, 1970, the Webster House Museum was named a Wisconsin State Landmark and the official marker went in.
A tour of the museum shows off plenty of period items, including the square rosewood piano on which the composer created and played old classics like “Lorena” and “Sweet By and By.”
The Webster House Museum is just south of Elkhorn’s downtown and the junctions of Highways 11 and 67; U.S. 12 and I-43 are also nearby.
Mid-May through mid-OctoberWednesday through Saturday, 1-5pm or by appointment
9 E. Rockwell Street
Elkhorn, WI 53121
(262) 723-4248 Website
Following the Willow River and its beautiful valleys, Willow River State Park covers nearly 2,900 acres and offers terrific hiking, swimming, canoeing, camping, fishing, and more. The surroundings include forest and prairie grasslands with the river cutting through it all on its way to the St. Croix.
The park’s crowning glory is Willow Falls, a beautiful, cascading set of waterfalls in a rock- and tree-lined gorge nearly 200 feet deep. Trails bring you just above the falls and to the top of the rocks above; the views offer many angles, sounds, and sights.
Willow Falls from 200 feet above.
Willow River State Park is located just north of U.S. 12 along County A in St. Croix County, about 5 miles northeast of Hudson. I-94 is just to the south and Highway 35 is nearby to the west.
1034 County Road A
Hudson, WI 54016
(715) 386-5931 Website
Pitchfork Brewing was started by some local home brewers in Hudson who kept at it for nearly 20 years before opening their brewery in 2013. Located next to Paddy Ryan’s Irish Pub, Pitchfork’s Tap Room offers up their craft beer, TVs for game watching, and even chess boards to sharpen your strategic skills – while drinking beer.
Pitchfork’s list of available beers varies each week, but some include their Pitchfork Pale Ale, American Gothic IPA, Honey Bee Blonde, Sweet Mack Cherry Stout, Red Hen Amber, and Straw German Pilsner. Many more are regularly rotated.
They offer free tours on Sundays at 2pm (and that time moves around when the Packers play at noon) that include a 30-minute look at the brewery and brewing process as well as tap samples.
You’ll find Pitchfork just off I-94’s Exit 4 and U.S. 12 on the east side of Hudson, just east of where Highway 35 meets up with I-94, too. Rodeo Drive is just off U.S. 12 north of the freeway.
709 Rodeo Drive
(715) 245-3675 Website
Capital Brewery is just outside the state’s capital, in Madison’s highly-touted suburb of Middleton. Also highly touted are Capital’s beers: they’ve won over 200 awards including a Gold at the Great American Beer Fest.
Capital’s offerings include their flagship Wisconsin Amber, a very Sconnie lager called Supper Club, the Mutiny IPA, Capital Special Pilsner, a Munich Dark for dunkel lovers, a black ale called Dark Voyage, the patriotic U.S. Pale Ale, the unfiltered Ghost Ship (with spice and citrus including grapefruit), and Island Wheat, made with wheat brought down from Washington Island off the tip of Door County. In 2015, they debuted “Grateful Red,” a red IPA saluting the student section at Badger basketball games.
The brewery offers tours for $7 which include a 30-45 minutes tour of the facility (they call it a “BREW-VENTURE”), a commemorative glass and 4 samples or one pint of beer. Self-guided “tasting tours” can be done anytime at their Bier Garten or Stube, where you can load up on six samples for $8. During the warmer months, plenty of outdoor events take place at their Bier Garten. Accordions may be involved.
Capital Brewery is on the western edge of Middleton’s historic downtown, visible from the Beltline (U.S. 12/U.S. 14) and easily reached via Greenway Blvd (Exit 252) or University Avenue (Exit 251) exits. The National Mustard Museum is mere blocks away, too!
Capital Brewery Address:
7734 Terrace Avenue
Middleton, WI 53562
(608) 836-7100 Website