"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 :)
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!
It was just as beautiful from the bottom looking up. We found an especially good view with a horse in someone’s yard.
And the view from Erin, we got both points of view here!
A stand of beautiful trees to the right of this view on the road below.
We saw the historic Messer/Mayer Mill. They are raising funds for restoration of the mill.
Other views in the park.
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.
The view on the right side of the bridge, Rotary Park.
Downtown the tree by the clock was looking especially pretty, it was barely leafing out when we visited in May.
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.
Finished up the month with color at my workplace grounds and near our home.
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.
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.
Quite a beautiful and long autumn this year. One for the books!
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.
And Rotary Park on the other side, where my friend’s wedding was held. A beautiful setting!
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.
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.
After that we had lunch at Urban’s Place, Jefferson’s Packer Place.
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!
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!
This is the cake, it was beautiful!
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.
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.
We enjoyed our visit to Jefferson, beautiful in all seasons!
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. 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. 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! 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.
Next door was the Moravian Church-1861. It was not open but was able to get a view through the window.
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.
Next was the Bornell cabin, set up like a general store.
The Pettey cabin once housed a family of 8!
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.
Hansen’s Granary, inside were many woodworking tools of days gone by.
The last building on the site was the schoolhouse. Very interesting to see how school used to be.
We had a great visit at the museum, we will be back later, hopefully to help them out as volunteers.