Tag Archive | winery

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

Port of Dubuque Marina – Ice Harbor Fun!


Port of Dubuque

The Port of Dubuque Marina has something for everyone and there is a lot to see. We  began our explorations at Paddlewheel Plaza. On display is a large paddlewheel from the steamship William M. Black. It is now permanently docked in Ice harbor and is a Bed and Breakfast from April-November.

 Paddlewheel Plaza in DubuquePaddlewheel Plaza signPaddlewheel Plaza is at the back-end of the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, both kids and adults will learn a lot about the river and creatures that inhabit it.

Mississippi River Museum

Back behind the museum is Ice Harbor, where you can enjoy watching all the activity in the marina. You can take a cruise on the Spirit of Dubuque from May to October. On our way out of town, I saw the ship out on the river.

Ice Harbor view Dubuque

Spirit of Dubuque riverboat


Spirit of Dubuque on the river

The Coast Guard ship USCGC Wyaconda keeps the waters safe in Dubuque.

Coast Guard USCGC Wyaconda Dubuque

Also in this location is the Ice Harbor Restaurant, right on the water.

Ice Harbor Restaurant Dubuque


And now we reach the end of this part of Ice Harbor, and the beginning of  Art on the River on a walking path. Each year the art pieces change.

Dubuque Riverwalk trailhead


Along the walk we arrive at the Grand River Center, the convention center of Dubuque.

Grand River Center

We are reaching the end of the riverwalk, and we see the historic Star Brewery building, now Stone Cliff Winery. It is now is a restaurant and museum and now produce wine instead of beer. To the right is the historic Shot Tower, one of the last ones standing. It was constructed in 1856 and lead shot was manufactured here.

Stone Cliff Winery and Shot Tower Dubuque

Shot Tower plaque


This concludes our tour of Dubuque. We really enjoyed the sightseeing and hope to return and take a cruise on the Spirit of Dubuque. This city’s rich history made an impression on us and the residents are very proud of living here and welcome visitors warmly.

Greetings from Dubuque