April 15, 2019

Have you ever experienced something and just couldn’t explain it? Words just didn’t do it justice and even the photos you took didn’t quite capture what you just experienced? Well, that’s the way this past week has been. The beauty of Wisconsin is so hard to capture…but I’ll try my best.

CAVE OF THE MOUNDS: Earlier this week, we visited Cave of the Mounds,a Natural National Landmark located in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin to the west of Madison. According to their web page: “Cave of the Mounds was accidentally discovered on August 4, 1939. Workers, who were removing high quality limestone from a quarry on the Brigham Farm, blasted into the Cave. The blast tore the face off the quarry and revealed a great underground cavern. All quarrying stopped and never resumed. The dynamite blast revealed a limestone cave more than twenty feet high opening into other rooms and galleries, all containing numerous mineral formations.”

Emile in the ticket office answered tons of questions beforehand and our tour guide, Julia, was simply amazing. Her passion for the Mounds was totally evident in her presentation. She knew EVERYTHING about the place! And we lucked out and were the only folks on the tour. We met Jeremy and his teammate after the tour who were instrumental in making sure everything in the cave was working properly, from the lights at every turn to the extensive wiring throughout the caves to meld it all together. Great bunch of folks that made the day unforgettable. If you get the opportunity, you definitely need to check out the Cave of the Mounds,

Here are the many photos we took.

THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK: I would have to say that the highlight of the week for me was our trip to The House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin. For 18 years, Joe has told me stories and about this place and now I FINALLY am able to see what all the hoopla was about. And he was right!! From the moment we we arrived, my mouth was open like a big mouth bass. And every word out of my mouth was “holy crap!” or “oh my gosh!” or “look at this!” Again, words and photos cannot do the place justice. The website says: “For over 60 years, the House on the Rock has been a majestic work in progress. It began in 1945, when a man named Alex Jordan had a towering goal: to build a man-made retreat as awe-inspiring as the view from the rock upon which the house would eventually be built. From that spark of imagination, the House on the Rock has evolved to include displays and collections of the exotic, the unusual and the amazing that can be viewed as three separate tours.” We took the “ultimate experience” package which included the segments below.

One thing we noticed about the experience is that the younger folks, under 30, just didn’t seem to enjoy the place as us older folks did. The items on display are dolls, trains, trucks, cars, boats, carousels, airplanes, sea creatures, historical items, doll houses, weapons, knights, replicas of old towns, and much more. Kids and young adults today can’t relate to the items on display…they are not video games, TV, movies or other technological stuff. They just walked on by the displays, didn’t even care to stop and check out all the neat stuff. Heck, I was totally enthralled and overwhelmed at everything I saw. It symbolizes the age of wonderment; a time of my youth; stuff I could relate to and experienced at a kid. We were there for almost 5 hours and I can bet the under-30 crowd were out in less than two hours. We could’ve easily stayed longer to soak more in, but were just plumb wore out physically and emotionally. Being old is not for sissies! LOL! What’s sad is that 30 years ago, House on the Rock was the leading attraction in the upper mid-west; now it’s theme and water parks like Wisconsin Dells. Our entire visit cost less than it would to go to a water park.

And while we were visiting House on the Rock, Abigail and Agnes had a playdate at Shadyside Kennels in Spring Green. They loved it! They saw cats and horses and made friends with other pups staying there. Of course, they were excited to see us when we picked them up and we were excited to see them as well. They heard our voices as soon as we arrived and went crazy!! And I must add that Missy does a great job running that place. The price was much lower than anyplace in Central Arkansas. Can’t beat the great service for a great price!

Below are some photos and videos that we took, but you really have to visit it for yourself to get the whole effect. I promise, that if you are over 30, this place will move you like none other.

Check out our photos below.

MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS

  • The town of Mount Horeb has the friendliest folks. We stopped and ate at the Subway there and had the best service from the nicest folks.
  • Wisconsin is full to the brim with apartment buildings and townhomes. Everywhere you look, a new building is going up. But that doesn’t mean that single-family homes aren’t around. They are. And folks have a lot of pride in their property. Clean yards, no junk cars or trash piled up, freshly painted; just downright nice places. Not necessarily expensive, just well maintained. So unlike the property you see else where.
  • There is a bar in EVERY single town, no matter how small. I guess, in the winter when snow is up to your ears, everyone heads to the bar to hang out.
  • Surprise! There is NOT a WalMart, Dollar Tree or Dollar General in every town. Yes, you heard right! Heck the nearest WalMart from DeForest where we are staying is about 30 miles away in Sun Prairie. I’ve only seen one Dollar Tree and maybe two Dollar Generals since we arrived April 2.
  • If you are a Coke fan, Wisconsin is not the place for you. Pepsi is the drink of choice here. Every fast-food joint, gas station or restaurant serves Pepsi. NOT COKE! Now, root beer IS a big favorite here also. Love me some root beer!!
  • We travel mostly the rural roads and about one in five farms has a large quilt square displayed proudly on their barn. I posted some photos last week of these beautiful barn quilts and more are displayed below. No two are alike.
  • In Beaver Dam there is a place called Shultz’s Cheese Haus. And the proprietor is none other than Deb Moen. Yes, a Moen! Did I tell you that Moen is a common name up here? This is the root of Joe’s family. And there are even streets named Moen. Go figure!
  • Unlike other places we lived, churches are sparse up here. Instead of one on every block, you may find just one in each town or every mile or so in the cities. And the religions are predominantly Catholic, Lutheran or Episcopal. We’ve only seen one Baptist church in all our travels.

Now in the time it took for me to write this post, Joe has done all our weekly laundry in our handy-dandy washer/spin dryer and they are all hanging out to dry on this lovely Wisconsin sunny Spring day.

Check out these other photos.

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