Tag Archive | Jefferson

Fall Color Tour 2015 – Holy Hill, Richfield, Jefferson and Home!

October 2015

Due to a warm September, the colors peaked a week or so later than usual.  Our first trip was to Holy Hill Basilica on Monday, October 12. We have not been there during fall’s peak before.  It was Columbus Day so it was quite crowded when we arrived around noon. Holy Hill offers a great view anytime you go. Be sure you pick a good weather day, since they close the tower if there are high winds or other inclement weather.

We climbed up the 128 stairs to the top of the right steeple to take in the countryside colors. They were brilliant!

Holy Hill Green Steeple


It was just as beautiful from the bottom looking up. We found an especially good view with a horse in someone’s yard.

Holy Hill and Horse

And the view from Erin, we got both points of view here!

Holy Hill from Erin


A stand of beautiful trees to the right of this view on the road below.


A beautiful hill we found on the way.

Colorful Hill

Earlier in the morning we went to Richfield Historic and Nature Park, just a few miles from Holy Hill.

Richfield Sign and Fall Colors


We saw the historic Messer/Mayer Mill. They are raising funds for restoration of the mill.

Richfield Mill marker


Other views in the park.



Richfield Park History

Richfield Park cabins


October 16

We were in Jefferson for a wedding photo shoot but came early to get some fall color pictures. They have some beautiful trees and views here.  This is the river from the bridge.

Rock River Fall Colors in Jefferson

The view on the right side of the bridge, Rotary Park.

Rotary Park and Bridge in Jefferson

Downtown the tree by the clock was looking especially pretty, it was barely leafing out when we visited in May.

City Clock in Jefferson

Jefferson Land Office City Clock

There are many beautiful houses in Jefferson, many of them with beautiful trees setting them off in a blaze of yellow and orange. Some had ivy too, adding a special touch.

Ivy House in Jefferson

House with Yellow Tree in Jefferson

Orange Maple in Jefferson

Historic House and trees in Jefferson


October 21-30

Finished up the month with color at my workplace grounds and near our home.

Fall Color at Work

Our neighborhood looked especially pretty this year.  Our red maple was really showing off (the one on the left)!  A couple leaves were not so happy about the end of summer.

Our red Maple at home

Lone Green Leaf word balloon not changing color

My favorite view was at the train track that goes by our condo community. The colors were peaking the day I got a picture of the Canada Pacific train that runs from Portage to Madison. Here is some video of that train in Portage.

Fall Train CP to Portage

Quite a beautiful and long autumn this year. One for the books!

Jefferson-The Gemuetlichkeit City

5-14-15 and October 16 & 17

Jefferson Sign

Gemüetlichkeit means “warmth, friendliness, belonging” in German, and that is exactly what we experienced visiting with the people of Jefferson this spring. It’s also known as the “Biggest Little Town You’ll Ever Love”. It’s the county seat of  Jefferson County with a population of 7,973. Jefferson was first settled in 1836, and was incorporated as a city in 1978. As per the motto, it was first settled by mainly German people. The city continues to celebrate its heritage with their Gemüetlichkeit Days festival every September.

Jefferson is located on the confluence of the Rock and Crawfish Rivers, which made it a natural place to build a community to take advantage of all that water power. Take a look here of water going over the dam. People like fishing here as you can see.

The dam used to power a sawmill. Also a Woolen Mill, which still stands and has been re-purposed to house a variety of shops.

Jefferson Woolen Mill building

On this side of the river nearby is also The Heron’s Landing restaurant.

The Heron's Landing in Jefferson

On the other side is the beautiful Rotary Park, complete with a bandshell for outdoor performances of live music.

Rotary Park Bandshell in Jefferson

A beautiful pedestrian bridge was also built to cross easily on foot or bike to either side of the river. Great view!

Jefferson Skyline and Bridge Facebook

The views from the vehicle bridge were great too. On one side you see further down the river.

Rock River Fall Colors in Jefferson

View of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on this same side.

Church in Jefferson

And Rotary Park on the other side, where my friend’s wedding was held. A beautiful setting!

Rotary Park and Bridge in Jefferson

We crossed and saw the former train depot, now AJ’s Place, Pub and Eatery. It was not yet occupied on our May visit. Things change fast around here.

Jefferson DepotAJ's Pub and Eatery sign

 We could hear bagpipes not far from here and found out they were coming from the Jefferson County Courthouse grounds. It was National Police and they were honoring fallen comrades.  What a moving ceremony.

Jefferson County Courthouse

After that we had lunch at Urban’s Place, Jefferson’s Packer Place.

Urban's Place in Jefferson

 Wedl’s Hamburger Stand has been famous in Jefferson since 1919. We will stop there next time. And we did, on our October visit. Delicious hamburgers, the stand closes for the season after November 1st so we are glad we made it in time!

Wedl's Hamburger Stand in Jefferson

Wedl's Hamburger Stand Collage

For a sweet treat, stop by the Bon Ton Bakery. A friend of mine is getting her wedding cake from here. Five generations serving great cakes and other treats for nearly 100 years!

Bon Ton Bakery in Jefferson

This is the cake, it was beautiful!

Bon Ton Bakery Wedding Cake

See this great video review of the bakery.

If you like honey, you can even pick that up at the Bon Ton. Doug and Yvette Jenks of Honey and Beeswax Products provide delicious honey to complement your bakery treats!  They are from Lake Mills, another favorite community. Here they are also at Madison’s Northside Farmers Market in March 2016.

Honey and Bees Wax Products 20160306_103418


 Jefferson has preserved many historic buildings in the downtown area.  The Downtown Historic District and many other sites.

Downtown Historic District in Jefferson

On the left is the old Fire Station on 143 East Milwaukee St. The siren on top still sounds at noon.

Old Fire Station in Jefferson

We had lunch here at the Brickhaus Café (blue trim) on Oct. 17. Relaxing atmosphere and great sandwiches, their specialty.

Brickhaus Cafe Collage

 Frank Lloyd Wright even designed a house for someone here, The Richard C. Smith House, built in 1950.

Richard M. Smith House (Wright)

It was quite enjoyable walking around the neighborhood, many mature trees in their fall finest.

Historic House and trees in Jefferson

Orange Maple in Jefferson

House with Yellow Tree in Jefferson

Ivy House in Jefferson

This house is amazing too, the gold trim was being painted on the house on our October visit. Its is across the street from Wedl’s.


This mansion is on the other side of this house. From our spring visit.


 The towering Hager Bottle House and adjoining A.W. Haibenschield Blacksmith shop.

Hager Bottle House and A.W. Haubenschield Blacksmith bldg

 We even saw a former vintage Mobile station, no longer occupied.

Former Vintage Mobile Station in Jefferson

Enjoy bowling at the Rock and Bowl Hall of Lane.

Rock and Bowl Hall of Lane in Jefferson

Also the high school overlooks the city.

Historic Jefferson High School

Don’t leave Jefferson without picking up a few bottles of wine from Vetro Winery. They let us taste some before buying. We brought two bottles home. Great wine and friendly service! They also are big supporters of Special Olympics due to a family member being a part of the program.

Vetro Winery in Jefferson

Wine Display at Vetro Winery in Jefferson

We enjoyed our visit to Jefferson, beautiful in all seasons!

City Clock in JeffersonJefferson Land Office City Clock

Aztalan Museum in Jefferson

10-6-12 and 5-16-14

You would never believe it, but a great city of Native Americans once lived in Wisconsin about 900 years ago.  We took a trip to Aztalan Museum  to learn more. Let’s visit the museum first.  It had just opened for the season only the day before, May 15.  It’s open between mid-May through September Thursday through Sunday from 12-4. Aztalan Historic Museum sign   Aztalan Historic site Aztalan Buildings right side The top photo is the buildings on the left as you enter the parking lot, bottom photo are buildings on the right.  The Aztalan Schoolhouse is across the street, we saw that last. Aztalan Schoolhouse We began our visit in the admissions building to pay our small admissions fee of $5 each to explore the site.  Deb Conlan, who was the docent there that day, said we we among the first visitors of the season, yaay! Deb Conlan and us She told us that the Lake Mills-Aztalan Historic Society would love more people to join them.  Also, more volunteers are needed to maintain the grounds on the site during the summer, or even just man the desk in the admissions building. Call 920-648-4632 for more details. We began our self-guided tour in the former Baptist Church (1852),  a museum since 1942.  Many interesting artifacts inside. Outside is a historic marker. Aztalan marker Aztalan Museum inside cropCrazy JugBeethoven bust

Next door was the Moravian Church-1861. It was not open but was able to get a view through the window.

Moravian Church   Moravian church marker Moravian Church inside   Just outside of the church is the “Princess” burial mound.  An Indian princess from the nearby Aztalan settlement was theorized to have been buried here.

Princess Burial Mound


Next was the Bornell cabin, set up like a general store.

Bornell Cabin

Bornell Cabin inside

The Pettey cabin once housed a family of 8!

Pettey Cabin 1843

Pettey cabin inside

Next to this home is the larger Zickert house (after 1867). Inside was an 1800’s kitchen display, also a bedroom. On a rock outside is a marker dedicated to Anne Pickett, founder of the first dairy co-op in Jefferson Co.

Zickert House

Anne Pickett marker


Zickert House kitchen

Zickert House bedroom


Hansen’s Granary, inside were many woodworking tools of days gone by.

Hansen's Granary


Hansen's Granary inside

The last building on the site was the schoolhouse. Very interesting to see how school used to be.

Aztalan schoolhouse inside

We had a great visit at the museum, we will be back later, hopefully to help them out as volunteers.