Tag Archive | Rock River

Newville-Gateway to Rock County

8-29-16 and previous visits

Newville is an unincorporated community of 5,461 located in both Fulton and Milton in Rock County.  It’s easy to get to, just off the I-90 exit.

I-90 in Newville

The first thing you see even before exiting is “The World’s Largest Culver’s“. It’s HUGE!


For old-timers like us, we remember when it wasn’t Culver’s, it was The Red Apple Restaurant.  The last time we ate there was in 2003. The owners wanted to retire and the restaurant was sold.  This is what The Red Apple looked like, I got some pictures of it then.


Red Apple Restaurant front 2003

On the right side.


The apple tower still stands though.




We remember how good their French Onion soup was, yum!


Back to the present, there are quite a few businesses here.  We recommend Newville Auto Salvage if you need vehicle parts. We needed a new tail light and they had exactly what we needed!


There are other eating establishments within walking distance from Culver’s.   Blue Gilly’s Pancake Pier is determined to serve everyone great food and they have a gluten-free menu for those allergic to it.  The owner is allergic to soy so her menu is free of soy also. Not many places like this! They are open from 6 AM-2 PM.


For the evening crowd, Emigail’s Roadhouse Bar and Grill is ready to serve you.  Cajun food is their specialty!


On the bank of the Rock River is the Anchor Inn, they also have a pier so you can get there by boat!



Great view of the water from here. A couple of jet skiers went under the bridge while I watched. Rosati’s Pizza Sports Pub is the low red building across the river.

Rock River from Newville

You can buy a new or used one or boat at the Rock River Marina and Motorsports.   Harbor Recreation is also nearby.


The Rock River Trail is also here.

Rock River Trail sign in Newville

Visit beautiful Newville!  We are glad we did!



Fort Atkinson – Intersectional Peony City of Wisconsin

11-11-15 (Veteran’s Day) 2-1-16, 3-18, 5-28

Fort Atkinson Bridge and Indian

Welcome to Fort Atkinson crop

 Fort Atkinson is a city of of over 12,000 with a proud history.  Fort Atkinson was built around the site of Fort Koshkonong during the Black Hawk War. It was also named after General Henry Atkinson.  The site has a marker, a monument and a cannonball.  This is the historic Eli May House on 407 East Milwaukee Ave, built in 1866.

Fort Koshkonong Marker at Eli May house in Ft. Atkinson


Fort Koshkonong site in Ft. Atkinson

This is a peaceful community now with many activities for visitors and residents to enjoy.  Our first stop on our November visit was to Evergreen Cemetery to see the Bellman Carillon Tower and Veterans Memorial.

Bellman Carillon Tower in Ft. Atkinson

Vets Memorial in Ft. Atkinson

The Chamber of Commerce is another great place to stop for info on Fort and the rest of Jefferson County.  See their video.

Ft. Atkinson Chamber of Commerce

We headed downtown to see other historic sites and markers. Nearby the Eli May house is the historic water tower. During the summer you can climb the stairs to have a good view of the city.  Here is a view provided by a previous visitor.

Ft. Atkinson Water Tower

Water Tower Markers in Ft. Atkinson

Long before Europeans lived here, Native Americans did.  The have many mounds in this area. There is a marker and a partially-preserved VERY rare Panther Intaglio on 1228 Riverside Dr. You can see it here.

Panther Intaglio Mound Marker in Ft. Atkinson

Panther Markers

Panther Intaglio in Ft. Atkinson


A famous poet also spent most of her life here, Lorine Niedecker. We found where she lived at Blackhawk Island near Ft. Atkinson.

Lorine Niedecker marker

Lorine Niedecker house

The larger house near the Rock River is further down the driveway, we didn’t trespass to see it, just zoomed in.

Former Lorine Niedecker house

Fort Atkinson also has a re-creation of their original Fort Koshkonong and stockade at Rock River Park. It was built between 1966-68 and hosts the Koshkonong Rendezous on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. We went on May 28, 2016.


Fort Koshkonong replica in Ft. Atkinson

Fort Koshkonong History

Another historical park we visited in March was the Jefferson County Indian Mounds and Trail Park. Be respectful of the mounds, as they are burial sites and to please stay on the marked trail.  See map here.

Indian Burial Mound Marker in Jefferson County

Jefferson County Indian Mounds Park

Bring your bike along or take a walk along the Glacial River Bike Trail.  Take a break at the depot/shelter.  This is part of the Rails to Trails programs to convert old rail lines to recreational trails.

Ft. Atkinson Glacial Trail

Fort Atkinson is also host to many businesses that provide good jobs and a fun night out.  On our 2015 visit we went to Capn’s Roadhouse for lunch. It was Veterans Day and since Al is a Navy vet, he got a free steak dinner!

Capn's Roadhouse in Ft. Atkinson

The restaurant is close to the high school, on the grounds is the historic bell that was part of the first high school building.  It is in a semi-protective structure.

Ft. Atkinson High School Bell 1867

When we returned in May of 2016, we enjoyed lunch at Fat Boyz.  A friend of mine recommended them for their chicken strips and he wasn’t kidding!  We ordered one chicken strip basket and we couldn’t even finish it.  Great value in a friendly atmosphere, a place fun for the whole family!

Fat Boyz Biker Bar in Fort Atkinson

Fat Boyz restaurant in Fort Atkinson

A great place for shopping is Nasco.  They have discounts on toys and much more.  I couldn’t help myself, I got a Duncan YoYo.

NASCO in Fort Atkinson

Duncan Yoyo

Jones Dairy Farm is also a major employer, I see their products in my local grocery stores all the time.

Jones Dairy Farm in Fort Atkinson

If you like live theater, The Fireside is a favorite destination for Wisconsinites.  We have not yet been there yet, but we plan on it.  You get dinner before the show for a complete evening out. This a family business, the 3rd generation has now taken up the reins to keep this popular tradition going at Fort (what the locals fondly call their city).  They also offer Friday Fish Fry for just the food and no show.

Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson

If you just want something light, Beauty and the Bean is a friendly place with great coffee.  The “beauty” part is the salon adjoining the coffee shop.

Beauty and the Bean in Ft. Atkinson

Beauty and the Bean inside

In March 2016, we enjoyed fish fry at the Sunset Bar and Grill in the town of Sumner (part of Fort).  The food was fantastic! In the summer they have music outside. Take a selfie by the big anchor like we did  🙂

Sunset Bar and Grill in FortAnchor selfie at Sunset Bar and Grill

Fish Fry at Sunset Bar and Grill


The VFW Post 1979 is open  Fri-Sat-Sunday only.  They have a Sunday brunch.

Ft. Atkinson VFW

VFW Hours in Fort Atkinson

A new restaurant opened up on the Rock River downtown in Nov. 2015, Brook’s River Walk Tavern and Grill.

Brook's Riverwalk Tavern and Grrill

Enjoy a stop at Tuttle’s Pharmacy, open since 1931.  Their friendly service can’t be beat either and are are ready to help with your prescription needs. There are many unique gifts ideas too.

Tuttle's Pharmacy in Fort Atkinson

Across the street is Catfish Alley, between two buildings, beautiful art work!

Catfish Alley art in Fort Atkinson

One place you need to make time for when you visit is the Hoard Museum and Dairy Shrine. We stopped there in November and didn’t quite complete our tour. We returned March 18 and saw the Dairy Shrine portion that we didn’t see before.

Hoard Museum sign

Hoard Museum and National Dairy Shrine

Behind the museum is the largest Intersectional Peony Garden in the country. On Saturday June 6, 2015, Fort Atkinson was officially declared  “Intersectional Peony City of Wisconsin”. On May 28 of 2016, we had a chance to see these beautiful flowers in bloom.

Peony garden in Fort Atkinson

Intersectional Peony Garden sign

Hoard Museum Peony Garden in Ft. Atkinson

Downtown Fort Atkinson

Fort Atkinson is a very interesting community and we plan on returning as often as we can.

Stop and Learn in Watertown

Wilkommen to Watertown


Downtown Watertown

Watertown is a city of 23,000 with a rich history carefully preserved.  It was founded by Timothy Johnson.  He arrived at the Watertown site 12-10-1836. He also co-founded nearby Johnson Creek. If you are heading to Watertown from the west, at Rest Area 13, where you can see a historical marker describing hills left by the glaciers called Drumlins.

Drumlin historic marker near Johnson Creek

 German immigrants built many of the historic buildings all over town.  It’s home to the famous Octagon House (shaped like a stop sign), built prior to the Civil War.  The house is now the base of operations for the Watertown Historical Society, and is open for tours April to October, and some special events Nov-March.

Octagon HouseOctagon House marker in Watertown

Also on site is the first Kindergarten in the US.  The white building is behind the Octagon House along with the an early settler’s farm,  both restored. Watertown has many brochures for self-guided walking tours available.

First Kindergarden and Farm

 A marker commemorating this school is on the side of the building.

First Kindergarden marker in Watertown

 The red barn also has a marker.

Red Barn plaque in Watertown

We also paid our respects at Memorial Park, where a tall Civil War Monument stands, erected in 1899.  Also more recent monuments to soldiers in more recent wars.

Memorial Park Watertown

The downtown is quite beautiful too.  Be sure to stop by the Chamber of Commerce if they are open.

Watertown Chamber of Commerce

The beautiful Watertown Public Library, the present building in use since June 14, 1907.

Watertown Library

The Cole Memorial Bridge is the centerpiece of downtown, the Rock River runs under it.

Cole Memorial Bridge in Watertown


Cole Memorialbridge plaque


We also discovered this site was also important during the Black Hawk War of 1832.

Black Hawk Trail marker in Watertown

Many murals also adorn the sides of many buildings highlighting Watertown’s early history.  Here is a pretty circus mural, picture taken in 2010. It is somewhat obscured now by the business occupying the building.

Circus Mural in Watertown

 Watertown is known also for many buildings constructed of brick made from a special light color clay found near Milwaukee.  Because the clay was so plentiful, Milwaukee was dubbed “Cream City”  The Octagon House is built from this brick.

We have also enjoyed patronizing some of the great businesses here. Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters is our favorite place for the best coffee ever! Not just coffee but a cafe serving breakfast and lunch.

BB Building cropBerres Brothers Billboard in Watertown

Another great place is Mullen’s Dairy Bar downtown.

Mullens Dairy Bar

Another favorite place is Glenn’s Market and Catering. They make their own meat products and so much more!  Even have a selection of gluten-free products. We highly recommend stopping here for your grilling and party needs!

Glenn's Market sign in Watertown Glenn's Market and Catering in Watertown

 We also enjoy shopping at the Bethesda Thrift Store when we stop in Watertown. We always find great stuff here!

 Photo by Bethesda

Photo by Bethesda

Across the street from Glenn’s is the former Railroad depot, now Garden Path Floral Garden and Gifts.

Garden Path Florist depot in Watertown

If you look right of the depot, you see an impressive large building up on a hill. It’s Maranatha Baptist University, since 1968. One hundred years earlier in 1872, it was Sacred Heart College, then Sacred Heart Military Academy in 1955. Read about the early history here.

Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown


There is much more to learn in Watertown and will be back again soon!

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Beloit – Gateway of Wisconsin


After such a busy summer, we finally got our chance to go to Beloit.   This city’s name  was taken from a French word meaning, “handsome ground”. It was purposely made to sound like Detroit since that city then was seen as a great role model of prosperity.  Beloit is now a thriving city of nearly 34,000.

Beloit College  for higher education ranks in the top 10 for quality instructors.  One of the major industries is Hormel Foods.  Beloit’s known for the 35-ft. high Chili can best seen from I-39 South / I-90 east just south of Exit 185.

Hormel Chili Can. Photo by Scott Ramlo

Hormel Chili Can. Photo by Scott Ramlo

Beloit has a whimsical sense of humor as well. On July 1, 2006 the community got together to recreate Georges Seurat‘s painting, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.  This is their version called “Saturday in the Park With Friends”, real neat!

Beloit is quite an artist’s city. We saw an example of that at the Wood Family Fishing Bridge by Siah Armajani.  A duplicate of a railroad car sits atop a pedestrian bridge as part of the riverwalk path along the Rock River. What a great view!  It’s accessible by parking at Riverview Park and walking the path.

Wood Family Fishing Bridge by Siah Armajani

Nearby is the historic Stone Water Tower in Water Tower Park.

Stone Water Tower in Beloit

The balance of our day was spent at Beckman Mill historic site for their Heritage Days festival.  I will tell you more about that in another post.

Beckman Mill and Covered Bridge

After a great day at the festival,  we headed to the northeast of Beloit in Shopiere to look at the historic Tiffany Bridge, still in use as a railroad bridge. It’s  on South Smith Rd.  This is the world’s only surviving 5-arch stone bridge in existence.  The view  of the bridge when you are standing near is breathtaking. Before we got to the bridge we saw the Shopiere Clock, also a war memorial.

Turtle Creek Parkway in Shopiere

Tiffany Bridge

Shopiere Clock

It’s always time for a good time in Beloit!

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