Tag Archive | Ice Age Trail

Verona – Hometown U.S.A.

10-9-14 /10-19-17

Verona sign

Verona‘s nickname was coined in 1966 since it was chosen by a detachment of men fighting in Vietnam as “the perfect example of Hometown, U.S.A.” It was originally a Native American settlement, it was ceded to the US government between 1829-32. It 1844 had a mill called Badger Mill, the first in Dane county. It was named after Verona, NY by some settlers from there. It was incorporated into a city on April 18, 1978. Today Verona is a vibrant community of over 10,000 a short distance south of Madison.

What first caught our eyes on the way was this covered bridge. It is located here.

UW Turfgrass Facility in Verona

Covered Bridge in Verona

The Ice Age Trail runs through this part of Verona and you can pick it up here. The trail is essentially following the edge of the glacier boundaries when it was in Wisconsin thousands of years ago.

Ice Age Trail sign in Verona

Another trail running through Verona is the Military Ridge Trail. We stopped at the trailhead in Verona and also saw this historic marker.

Military Ridge Trailhead in Verona

Dane County Home marker


For more information about Verona we stopped at their Chamber of Commerce downtown. We learned plenty from the friendly staff there.

Verona Area Chamber of Commerce

One thing we learned was a large house near here is the oldest standing house in Verona. It was the  Josiah H. B. Matt’s home, built in 1848. The building is for sale and also needs to be moved.  It is the first brick house built in Verona, and the last remaining original building left.

Joseph H.P. Matt's home in Verona


The house was not sold or moved, thank goodness.  The latest plan is to restore the home and open it as a museum. Many funds need to be raised first before this is done. Read here the plan to make this dream come true!


The Matts House is now in the process of being restored. We attended at meeting in town about the house, presented by the Verona Historical Society. You can watch the meeting and slide show below. The picture I took is at 13:46.  It is now part of Verona’s historical archives.

This is the house now, looking good!

Downtown yielded another historic building, The Auditorium. Now its Cahoots Bar. This was once a stagecoach stop and many performances were held there, hence the nickname “Auditorium”.

The Auditorium aka Cahoots Bar in Verona


You might call this grocery store in Verona historic also, Miller & Sons Supermarket. It has been in the same spot for 112 years, it has expanded larger more than once! A real nice store with 5 generations of the same family passing the torch. They also have a 2nd store in Mt. Horeb.

Miller & Sons Supermarket in Verona

In this same block are two other stores, Hometown Pharmacy and Greg’s Card Locker.

Greg's card Locker and Hometown Pharmacy in Verona

Our other favorite businesses in Verona, besides Miller’s, is The Sow’s Ear. The Sows Ear is a combination of a café and knitters’ yarn shop.  My friends who knit love the place. It has been in Verona for 14 years. Stop in, even if you don’t knit.

The Sows Ear in VeronaThe Sow's Ear inside in Verona

The Sow's Ear Mug in Verona


We enjoyed a wonderful lunch on today’s visit at Pasqual’s Cantina, great Mexican food in a new restaurant at the north edge of town.

Pasquales in Verona

These businesses are located in the heart of downtown Verona, and so is the Hometown Junction shelter, a shelter right on the Military Ridge Trail. A Veteran’s Memorial is also here.

Hometown Junction in Verona

Veteran's Memorial in Verona

Make yourself at home in Verona, Hometown U.S.A.!

Verona Watertower and banner

Montello (Mont L’eau) – Granite Waterfall City

11-6-11 and 8-12-15

Downtown Montello

Montello mural

Our first trip to Montello, WI was not a complete view, so we returned August 2015 for updates and to see it on a sunny day.  This town is famous for its granite waterfalls, formerly a quarry  in the 19th century.   The granite in Montello has been proven to be especially durable over time. Near the falls is a small parking lot with some historical signs. The one in the middle has been repainted. Here is the early history of the community and the city clock.

City Clock in Montellomontello history park

Montello History

Montello History 2

Montello History 3

Also this beautiful piece of artwork by the signs. Painted by Pamela (C.J.) Sell.  The frame by Tom Stickler. Visit her website here and buy her artwork too!

C.J. Sell Jacob Ladder Quilt and Heron Art in Montello

There is another small waterfall close to the street, maintained by the Montello Lions Club. This was their first community project in Montello.  The falls were dedicated June 25, 1966.  Learn more from the Montello Historic Preservation Society.

Montello Lions Club Waterfall


The falls in action.

The west side of the larger falls on our 2011 visit.

Montello falls


 Here is the same view in 2015, a large bird alighted atop the cross on the chapel. It turns out it was an Osprey.

Montello Falls West ViewBird of Prey on cross in Montello

 Pieces of the quarry equipment are still around in this area.

Mining Equipment in Montello

The front of the falls as seen from Daggett Memorial Park, this historical marker posts are made from the Montello granite.  Along the path are several benches for viewing the falls. Enjoy video of both sides of the falls.

Daggett Memorial Park sign in Montello

Panoramic Montello Falls View from Daggett Park

Granite Falls of Montello


We were prepared for this trip, bring a tripod if you want a real good selfie in front of the falls.

Greetings from Montello selfie

After exploring the falls in 2011 we had lunch in town at Jeff’s River’s Edge restaurant. We had a good view of the Fox River through the window there. On our return visit in 2015 we went to Drews Lakeside Bar and Grill. Kory Drew and Marci greet you like family when you walk in the door. Such a warm and inviting place to relax. The food tasted great after a morning of exploring beautiful Montello.Drew's Lakeside Bar and Grill in Montello

Drews inside in Montello

Buffalo Lake from Drews Lakeside Bar and Grill pier in Montello

Drews is on the edge of Buffalo Lake, they are on the high side so you have to walk down a long flight of stairs first to get to the pier below.  The view is worth it though. You can see the Montello water tower from here.  We also saw the lake from a view across from here in the morning.

Buffalo Lake from launch in Montello

We also visited the dam on the other side of the lake at Krakow Park. It was restored after the floods of 2208, which also damaged the dam. A fine job was done, and it now is a great place for people to fish or just enjoy viewing the water.

Buffalo Lake Krakow Park in Montello

Montello Dam and fisherman in Montello

You can hear the power of the water rushing over the dam. There is a two-sided sign there.

Buffalo Lake sign side 1

Buffalo Lake sign side 2

Let’s see some of the other fine businesses in Montello.

Shirley’s Old Time Barber Shop is across from the River’s Edge.

Shirley's Old Time Barbershop in Montello

Jeff's River's Edge in Montello

View out our Rivers Edge Window in Montello

This view has changed a bit. You are seeing the back of More Healthy Foods and Café outdoor patio.

More Healthy Foods and Cafe between River in Montello

And the front of More Healthy Foods.

More Healthy Food and Cafe

The beautiful Montello Movie Theatre used to be the Opera House, built around 1878. Read about it’s history here.

Montello Theatre

Granite Falls Supper Club for night dining. The front was being repainted when we came back in 2015 by Kel’s Painting.

Granite Falls Supper Club in Montello

B & B’s Country Store for old-fashioned treats.


On our right is Fox Antiques and Nostalgic Gifts. We stopped inside,  what a lot of great items here for the home, including furniture.

Fox Antiques and Nostalgic Gifts in MontelloFox Antiques hours


Historic Vaughn Hall, built in 1912.  On the right side is a mural too.

Vaughn Hall plaque in MontelloVaughn Hall in Montello

Vaughn Hall Mural in Montello

Fairbanks Emporium, it is no longer here in this spot, this building is now undergoing renovation. We believe it moved just outside of downtown, across from the courthouse. There was no identifiable sign on the new building naming the business that I could find.

Fairbanks Emporium in Montello

Fairbanks Emporium in Montello in 2011

Fairbanks Emporium New Building 2015

2011 view from Vaughn Hall looking towards the falls.


And in 2015.

Downtown Montello 2015

While we are at this end of the street, we took a look at the Courthouse.

Montello Courthouse

The Courthouse is on a hill, and just around the hill from here is the historic Charles Samuel Richter House. He was the president of the Montello Granite Company.

Charles Samuel Richter House in Montello

From here you can see the huge historic Cottonwood tree, between 200 and 300 years old. It towers over the landscape. Beautiful! There is a place you can pull over your vehicle to get out and take a closer look. It is Wisconsin’s largest tree.

Historic Cottonwood in Montello

We had a great visit in Montello, a very family-friendly community. Be sure to go to Observatory Hill nearby for a great view of the countyside from above.

Observatory Hill near MontelloObservatory Hill view

Observatory Hill plaque near Montello

Observatory Hill near Montello

Famous Naturalist John Muir grew up near Montello, and you can also visit John Muir Memorial Park to learn more about him. Also watch this video.

11-6-11 John Muir Land of My Youth

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Ennis Lake. The Ice Age Trail goes through this park also.

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