"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
The line was long, but it was a warm night and there was a fire to keep us warm while waiting.
Each year, there is a soundtrack you can listen to as you drive through the park transmitted by a LP (low power) radio station. There are actually two stations now. Tune in to 95.3 FM for the main audio, 95.1 for the Dancing Trees.
There were two wagons continuously going around after getting loaded. The atmosphere was filled with excitement for the upcoming holidays and the kids in the group were so excited!
It’s our turn! Soon, we were on our way, watch the video of the hayride.
I returned on the 25th and drove through on my own. If you want to see the displays without other people around, come early in the morning before dawn. Enjoy the Dancing trees, synchronized to Nutcracker music.
2018 will be the 30th Anniversary of Holiday Fantasy in Lights, I look forward to that! I will do the hayride again, it was so much fun!
Janesville is a city of 63,575 with a rich history as well as being beautiful with having more than 2,500 acres of parks. Abraham Lincoln had even been here. He stayed at the Lincoln Tallman House on October 3, 1859. It is now a museum along with several other buildings on the campus.
Another great place to eat is the Milwaukee Grill, we enjoyed Friday Fish Fry there.
Janesville is in the process of establishing historic districts though building rehabilitation and restoration. This beautiful building is part of the Kent Block on 52 S. Main, it now has apartments. Read more about it here and other buildings.
Janesville also has a train depot and four-faced clock nearby. No longer being used for passenger trains, it is now a bus station.
We head back toward the car, we had a bit more to see outside of downtown. We saw a photo shoot taking place across the river, they saw us too!
We went to the “Janesville Oasis” area near the 90/94 exit to see Bessie the Cow. It is in the area near Arby’s, you can park in the lot nearby. Here is an archive photo from 2005. The oasis sign is no longer there, but the Arby’s is. This area was changed by the new owner Tom Lasse shortly after this picture was taken. You can even pretend to milk Bessie.
After paying homage to Bessie, we had another historical marker to see on Janesville’s south side. This marker is dedicated to the Blackhawk War and Black Hawk Grove. It has two sides. Blackhawk Credit Union sponsored this important marker.
Since there is so much to do in Janesville, staying overnight is a good idea. One hotel that helped some friends of ours after a fire was the Baymont. They gave them shelter while they looked for another place to stay.
Janesville was a lot of fun and has many activities for young and old alike. We plan on returning to the garden in May 2016 to see it in bloom.
Welcome to Waunakee! The village was first known as Leicester , and was incorporated in 1893. Today its a large village of 12,000 that honors its past while building a strong future. That included the train depot, lovingly restored to its former glory.
The village had passenger train service until 1963, and was closed for good in 1971. The village bought the depot from the railroad in 1977, it was restored and is now the Waunakee/Westport Chamber of Commerce. The Canadian Pacific train still rides by the depot daily, and I was fortunate to be there when it did.
Another historic building that is still in use is a former grist mill, now a quilting store called Mill House Quilts. Six Mile Creek runs through the village.
A great place to get meat is the Village Market. Their hamburgers are especially good, locally sourced beef. The also make their own bratwurst.
Waunakee also has a big festival held the last weekend in July called Waunafest. This is their biggest festival of the year and brings the community together as well as attracting many visitors. They have a fun run, baseball games, a parade and lots more! It’s held at Centennial Park. It’s called that because it had a time capsule that was sealed for 100 years.
The Christmas holiday season is quite a visual treat as well. The Waunakee Rotary Club decorates Waunakee Village Park on the East side of town with light displays every year. Very pretty! Waunakee Rotary in Lights is an annual tradition that is a must-see!
We hope you enjoyed your visit to Waunakee, the place you wauna be!