With the beginning of spring just one week away, it won’t be long before the cold is gone and the warm glow of summer arrives! If you haven’t begun planning for summer adventures, Travel Wisconsin has ideas to help find the joy in summer and create unexpected memories.
Oshkosh, WI (Winnebago County)
Tour an elegant 1920’s mansion with an extensive art collection and an enchanting English countryside garden at the Paine Art Center and Gardens. Revered as an “American Castle,” much of the estate’s architecture, décor, artwork, and landscaping derives from English country houses while using the natural resources and beauty of Wisconsin. The Paine features twenty interconnected garden areas that are a must see during the summer, each graced with perfectly groomed shrubbery, blooming perennials, sculptures, fountains and awe-inspiring views. The Paine is currently open to the public by reservation only, so make sure to plan your visit ahead of time! For indoor and outdoor patio dining with beautiful riverside views, head downtown Oshkosh to Becket’s, a modern American restaurant and bar. Becket’s sources its produce from urban farming partners in the area and makes each dish from scratch. Try one of their 15 rotating tap beers or an out-of-the-box cocktail like their signature special “The Welton Becket” – a citrus vodka martini made with muddled basil and topped with cracked black pepper. Experience modern luxury with historic style with a stay at Brayton Bed & Breakfast, a stunning 1860’s inn built by Oshkosh lumberman John Rich. With original features like 12 foot ceilings and 8 foot windows, this cozy B&B is in the heart of Oshkosh, just a block from downtown
Bayfield, WI (Bayfield County)
Venture to Wisconsin’s northern-most part of the state to experience the beauty of the Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway – recently designated as a National Scenic Byway! The 70-mile route features breathtaking scenic views of forests, pristine sandy beaches, and the clear waters of Lake Superior. Experience the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore firsthand by climbing aboard an Apostle Islands Cruise. If not a cruise, Embark on the Madeline Island Ferry Line to the island community of La Pointe to view the Apostle Islands from the shores of Madeline Island. Stay at The Bayfield Inn, Bayfield’s superior lodging and dining establishment on the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Half of the Inn’s modern boutique-style rooms offer beautiful harbor views, while The Deck (onsite bar and lunch restaurant) offers a full bar, lunch menu and lively atmosphere perfect for enjoying a cocktail on the waterfront. Enjoy a delicious meal at Good Thyme Restaurant and Catering, known for their Friday night fish frys, burgers and steaks. They also concoct one of the best Wisconsin Old Fashioneds that money can buy (so good you’ll have to get a second round).
Cassville, WI (Grant County)
Climb aboard the Cassville Ferry, the oldest operating ferry boat in Wisconsin that’s been floating cars and passengers along the Mississippi river from Cassville, WI to Turkey River, IA since 1833 (Ferry resumes operation starting May 7 – river conditions permitting). View the mighty Mississippi from above at Nelson Dewey State Park’s scenic overlook, also home to Native American burial mounds, hiking trails and campsites. Grab a bite to eat at Anker Inn Smokehouse, a classic Wisconsin supper club serving mouthwatering BBQ and other Wisconsin favorites. Try the Badger Balls – homemade meatballs stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, then smoked in-house. Pitch a tent, bring your trailer, or rent a cabin at Sandy Bottoms-Up Campground, located right along the Mississippi River. With private boat docks, UTV trails and a welcoming staff and community, you will feel right at home at this cozy campground.
We love helping listeners dream up their next Wisconsin adventure, but please call ahead to businesses to check if their hours or offerings have changed and learn what necessary health precautions are in place.
For more great travel ideas and resources, visit TravelWisconsin.com or call 1-800-432-TRIP.