Tag Archive | Driftless Area

Cross Plains – Famous for Friendliness


Cross Plains Sign


Cross Plains is a community of 3500 in Dane County, incorporated in 1920. It is also known as the “Gateway to the Driftless Area” of Wisconsin. It was named by one of the early settlers named Berry Haney.  He was from Cross Plains, Tennessee and named the community after his hometown. On the east edge of town is a marker honoring Haney and his business, Haney Tavern.

Haney's Tavern Marker in Cross Plains

We began our tour with breakfast at the Cross Plains Family Restaurant.  Friendliness and good food is the cornerstone of this great restaurant, open in June 2014.  Stop by for a great meal if you are visiting the area! The restaurant is in Glacier’s Edge Square Shopping Center on the eastern edge of town. Piggly Wiggly is the anchor business here.


Cross Plains Family Restaurant


Glacier's Edge Shopping Center

After breakfast we took a look at the Cross Plains Historical Society Museum building, the former St. Martin church. We will have to come back when it is open. It is just behind the shopping center.

Cross Plains Historical SocietyCross Plains Historical Museum hours

 We continue down Main St. and see many thriving businesses and historic buildings. On our left is the Crossroads Coffee House, waking up Cross Plains since 2007.

Cross Plains Downtown

Kurt’s on Main bar and volleyball in the summer. Also True Value.

Kurt's in Cross Plains

Just off of Main is the American Legion -Post 245  and a Veteran’s Memorial. I went to a wedding reception there in 1998.

Cross Plains American Legion and Vets Memorial


Back on Main is one of the oldest buildings in the town, a former general store called the Plain Good building.

The Plain Good Building in Cross Plains


Plain Good Building plaque in Cross Plains


Another historic building across from the Plain Good building. We do not yet know of its history.

Historic building in Cross Plains

 Further down the street is Jodie’s Bar and Grill.

Jodie's Bar and Grill in Cross Plains

 Get your dog groomed at Salon Fido.

Salon Fido in Cross Plains

 Enjoy some bowling at Main Street Lanes.

Main Street Lanes

 Behind Main St. flows the Black Earth Creek with a bridge going across and a recreational path.

Black Earth Creek and bridge in Cross Plains

And here is one of the town’s favorite places to eat, Coach’s Club.  We will eat there the next time we visit.

Coach's Club in Cross Plains

Now we reach the end of Main St. before leaving town.  Before we do, there are some other places to see first.

Main Street end in Cross Plains

 We saw a couple other historic buildings. We don’t know the history of this one yet.

Cross Plains historic house


The Old Stone Dental Building is quite beautiful. It was constructed in 1849 by Peter Hill. It has been many things over time, but became a dental office by 2002.

Old Stone Dental Building in Cross Plains

 Visit the Cross Plains Brewery also.  A proud history going back to  1852. Read this recent article about the brewer. Get Esser’s Best beer here.

Cross Plains Brewery

When the Historical Society Museum isn’t open, you can learn more about Cross Plains at the Rosemary Garfoot Public Library.  It also holds the distinction of being the first “green” library in Wisconsin. They always have something going on there, check their website for the latest events!

Rosemary Garfoot Library collage in Cross Plains

Cross Plains also has a supper club called The Hilltop at 4173 County Rd. P. They have been there over 40 years! A great place to celebrate a special event or Wednesday AND Friday Fish Fry! They came under new ownership in January of 2016, Steve and Vanessa took over from Jerry and Mary Thompson to keep this Cross Plains institution open. They opened and owned the restaurant in 1976, 40 years. The new owners changed the name from The Hilltop Inn to just The Hilltop because the original name made people think they also offered lodging which they do not. They look forward to serving you beginning March 16, 2016. They are a supper club, open 4-9 PM.

The Hilltop Inn in Cross Plains

 We had a great visit to Cross Plains and hope to make it to one of their many festivals this year.



Hillsboro – Czech Capitol of Wisconsin

6-15-14 and future visits

“Vitame Vas”  We Welcome You to Hillsboro

Hillsboro signCzech Capitol crest

Hillsboro is a secluded community of just under 1500 in Vernon County, about 90 minutes north of Madison. It is located in the Driftless Area, meaning the glacier missed this area. The town is in what is known as the Cheyenne Valley, a place rich in history.  The Czech immigrants descendants take great pride in their heritage. On the 2nd weekend in June they put on the Cesky Den Festival, complete with Czech food, music and other traditions.  We came to attend this festival and see their historical museum, open Sundays from 1-3 from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.  Upon entering town we saw Hillsboro Riverview Dairy and The Natural Choice Cheese Store.

Hillsboro Riverview Dairy in Hillsboro

Cheese Store sign Hillsboro

Cheese House in Hillsboro

On our right is the historic Municipal building.

Hillsboro Municipal Building

Let’s explore downtown on Water Ave, their main street.

Hillsboro downtown

One of the first things we saw was a display of local art, depicting Hillsboro’s countryside.

Hillsboro Art

Hillsboro art


Quite a few businesses downtown, a Ben Franklin. Also Hillsboro Floral, and Barbie’s Kitchen.

Hillsboro FloralBarbie's Kitchen in Hillsboro, WI

Also Hillsboro Brewing Company, open since 2012.

Hillsboro Brewing Company

Hillsboro is a very patriotic community and honors its veterans with a memorial at Memorial Lake at the edge of town.

Field Vets Memorial Lake plaque in Hillsboro

Hillsboro Vets Memorial


Mt. Vernon Cemetery has a Civil War Memorial.

Civil War Memorial in Hillsboro


A famous Navy Admiral was also born here.

Hillsboro Navy Admiral

Hillsboro also has a proud history of standing up for civil rights. Just across the street from the memorial is a historic marker showing this area also had a settlement of African-Americans in Heritage Park. This area’s isolation allowed them to prosper without fear of persecution.

Cheyenne Settler's Heritage Park

African-American Settlers of Hillsboro


 There is a Cheyenne Valley Heritage Road Tour available if time allows.   We did happen upon a round barn on the way home though. Here is the map of the self-guided tour that you can do. Cheyenne Valley Heritage Road Tour-Hillsboro

Round Barn

We sure had a great day in Hillsboro. The Cesky Den Festival and Museum were wonderful too!



Argyle – Gateway to Yellowstone Lake


Argyle signArgyle Water Tower

Argyle is Village of 857 people nestled in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, a hilly land untouched by glaciers. It was founded in 1844 , named after by the Duke of Argyll of Scotland.   Scottish settlers took a liking to this part of Wisconsin, the large hills probably reminded them of the Scottish Highlands.   We saw a historic marker attesting this fact not far from Argyle.

Pioneer Scottish Settlement marker

Running through the heart is the Pecatonica River. This provides a scenic backdrop upon entering town.  It is now spring thaw, and the water flowed over the spillway from the dam.  On a rock nearby is a plaque giving a brief history of Argyle.  Read here to learn more about Argyle businesses and events.

Argyle Bridge plaque

This beautiful view is not just for looks, this is a fully operational power plant, providing most of the electrical needs for the village.  They so kindly provided info to visitors like us. The red brick building was formerly a grist mill.

Argyle Power Plant info

No visit to Argyle is complete without going to the Argyle Legion Community Park, dedicated to soldiers of Argyle in 2008.

Argyle Legion Community Park

We head downtown just beyond the power plant..

Downtown Argyle WI

For enthusiasts of the fiber arts, the Argyle Fiber Mill features locally- sourced wool, within 50 miles of Argyle. They make the yarn on site.

Argyle Fiber Mill store

We also saw two murals on buildings.

Argyle Sesquicentennial mural

Argyle mural

This is historic Partridge Hall, a center for social functions in Argyle since 1878. They serve food Friday through Sunday.

Partridge HallPartridge Hall side

Liked this cute stone building housing the Argyle Dental Office. I am not sure if it is historic or not.

Argyle Dental Office

We soon come upon the former Waddington Hall, now the city Municipal building, police and Public Library. it was built in 1924, commisioned by James Seymor Waddington.

Argyle Community Center-Waddington Hall

Waddington also founded the Argyle State bank, the building now houses apartments.

Former Argyle State bank

Argyle’s most distinguished past resident was “Fighting Bob” La Follette.  He spent the second half of his childhood here. The Argyle Historic Society is in the process of restoring the site of his boyhood home, the Saxton House.  Contributions are welcome!  The Wisconsin Historic Society Museum in Madison has a display featuring this distinguished Wisconsin politician.

Saxton House in Aryle

Saxton House marker

All this exploring led us to lunch at Irma’s Kitchen, established in 1976 by Irma Collins and recommended to us by local residents.  The lunch crowd was arriving, we enjoyed the fish fry, yum!  Wish we had room for their famous pie, perhaps on our next visit.


Irma's Kitchen Fish FryIrma Collins of Irma's Kitchen

Our last stop in Argyle was the Toy Train Barn Museum, a lot of fun!

Toy Train Barn Museum

We had a great time in Argyle, and plan on returning on June 28, 2014 for their 75 Annual Fish Fry festival. You will enjoy the friendly atmosphere in this village on the Pecatonica River.

Argyle sign back

Downtown Argyle 2

Richland Center- Purple Heart Memorial City


We got going shortly before sunrise to maximize the daylight available. Richland Center is in the “Driftless Area” of Wisconsin, untouched by the glacier.  As a result, the town is nestled in a valley with large beautiful hills surrounding it.  There was more fall color by then, and it was our last adventure of the year in the 70’s.  Richland Center earned the distinctive name “Purple Heart Memorial City” in 2002 and has a yearly ceremony honoring those soldiers.  It was also the birthplace of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Our first stop was the restored depot and Chamber of Commerce to learn where to find everything.  Sherry Klatt and Bev Laue were ready to assist and provided us with all the info we needed on the town and county. They tell us Richland Center would welcome more new businesses in the area. Thanks so much!

Richland Center Depot

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We also took a look at the caboose behind the depot.

Richland Center caboose

After that we explored downtown, the most distinctive building  was designed by native Frank Lloyd Wright . It was the A.D. German Warehouse.  It has been vacant for many years. It has just been bought recently and is being renovated.

A.D. German Warehouse in Richland Center

The beautiful courthouse downtown.

Richland Center courthouse

If you need some remodeling done, Owners Travis and Andrea Wertz can help you, Wertz Floor and Home is at the Edward’s Block building . www.wertzfloorandhome.com 

Edwards Block Building

Former First National Band building, now a BMO.

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For a good book and wine, stop by Ocooch Books and Libations.

Ocooch Books & Libations

The Brewer Library is another great place to check out a book. There you can also visit the History Room to learn more about Richland Center and county.

Brewer Library in Richland Center

It was time for lunch!  We went to a great place on 212 North Main St. called Gables. Gables closed 6-25-14.  Good news, it is re-opening under new ownership March 16, 2016 with a new menu.

Gables Restaurant in Richland Center

After lunch it was time for a hike on nearby Miner Hill, which overlooks the city.

Miner Hill

To get there, go to the east end of Court St, park on the side of the road in front of the trail, Not this circle at the end of the street, but the roadside on the right looking down the hill.Miner Hill parking

The view of the city below was breathtaking! Center-left is the courthouse.

Downtown Richland Center from Miner Hill

You could also see the warehouse roof from here. The noise I heard from below was someone doing work on the roof!

A.G. German Warehouse roof

Close up view.

working on roof of Miner Hill

It was time to come down from the hill and view the Purple Heart Memorial before going home.  The sight of all the flags and the beautiful monument is a fine tribute to soldiers of all the branches of military.

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Richland Center is the Wright place to come for many activities for folks of all ages.