If you love watching birds, April is a sweet time for birding in the Baraboo Hills with new arrivals nearly every day, and for new birders the species returning then are easier to identify. May is when the harder-to-learn warblers return to feed on emerging insects.
The Baraboo Hills Important Bird Area (IBA), in which Wawanissee Point and our 42 acres are nestled, is also a sweet spot for birding in Wisconsin. It’s one of the largest IBAs in the Midwest, according to the National Audubon Society. The contiguous, mixed hardwood forest here hosts at least 135 breeding bird species, some of which are important at-risk populations like the cerulean, worm-eating and hooded warblers, among others.
Sandhill cranes are usually the first migrants to return to the bluff, in March, which for us marks spring’s beginning. Other hearty migrants—red-winged black birds, robins, song sparrows, killdeer, geese and turkey vultures—arrive in the first wave of spring migration, around the spring equinox and by the first week of April.
Duck migration peaks the first week of April. Watch the bluffs’ upland marshes and ephemeral ponds, and sloughs around Lake Wisconsin.
Blue birds, great blue herons, Eastern phoebes, fox sparrows, Eastern towhees, house wrens, wood thrushes, tree swallows, catbirds, the brilliant scarlet tanagers and more return throughout April. The ruffed grouse males begin drumming; listen along the forest-prairie ecotones.
Spring is a frenzy by the end of April, for fauna, avifauna and flora. We’re putting out jelly, oranges and sugar water, anticipating the ruby-throated humming birds and Baltimore orioles any day. The woodlands’ spring ephemerals are peeking from leaf litter, waterfowl are hatching amid blooming marsh marigolds, small mammals and deer are birthing, and the frogs and American toad are singing wildly for affection. Romance and life renewed are everywhere.
April daytime highs are in the 50s and hit the low 60s by month’s end. Morning lows are at or above freezing. Frost fading from the soil leaves it squishy. Bring your waterproof hiking boots for spring birding. You’ll encounter wet spots along the woodland trails and lower spots.
Book a guest room HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.
We have for guests to use…
- field guides
- Devil’s Lake State Park Bird Checklist
- trail maps
If it’s too cool or damp for you, stay in and use our binoculars in the south-facing sunroom to watch our feeders at the edge of the woods. From the Great Room skybox you can zoom in over the greening prairie and beyond with our spotting scope.
New Bird Species Breeding In Wisconsin
Look Around the Inn at Wawanissee Point
The largest natural history survey ever conducted in Wisconsin, called the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas, was first completed 15 years ago. Citizen-science volunteers, conservation biologists and ornithologists began surveying for the second Bird Atlas in 2015. It’s a five-year process of observing and documenting the location and breeding activity of birds throughout the state, divided into survey blocks assigned to observers, as well as noting species abundance.
The first year of Bird Atlas II began fantastically, with 700 volunteers confirming 212 breeding species (226 were recorded in five years during the first Atlas), including eight new species. Learn more about the first year’s findings in this article.
It’s possible two of the eight newly confirmed breeding birds could be seen in the habitat surrounding Wawanissee Point, the white-eyed vireo, and yellow-throated warbler. Both are species of special concern in the state.
The olive green and light yellow little vireo has a distinct song (“Quick, pick up the check!”) and likes shrubby areas along woodland edges, streams, and overgrown fields and pastures. Look in the dogwood, alders, willows and pesky buckthorn.
The calm yellow-throated warbler will be harder to find. It nests high in mature forest canopies, about 30 feet to 50 feet off the ground and up to 9 feet from the truck at the end of limbs where it’s well concealed from the ground view. Its bright coloring and clear song may help you spot it. During the first Bird Atlas there was a probable sighting in the Baraboo Hills.
Where To Bird Around The Inn
- Our 42 acres of prairie and woods with three miles of groomed trails
- Adjacent to us Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area with access to the Ice Age Trail west to Devil’s Lake State Park.
- Two miles from here the Riverland Conservancy Merrimac Preserve’s 1,900 acres of forest, prairie, savanna, wetlands and streams laced with 12.7 miles of trails, including 3.2 miles of Ice Age Trail that connect to Devil’s Lake State Park.
- Devil’s Lake Oak Forest and South Bluff/Devil’s Nose State Natural Areas, within Devil’s Lake State Park, are considered one of state’s top 10 birding sites by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. For the nature reports from The Park visit its blog at www.devilslakewisconsin.com.
- 20 minutes northeast is Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area (IBA), 16,000 acres adjacent the Aldo Leopold Center along Levee Road, which is Rustic Road 49, and the Wisconsin River. Explore a 2.5-mile trail through 305 acres of oak savanna, wetlands and a dry prairie remnant overlooking the River, critical habitat for grassland birds and sandhill crane staging during migration. Around 40 bird species use this IBA during migration.
- Baxter’s Hollow State Natural Area, 30 minutes west of the Inn, offers great birding and spring blooms. It’s an extensive tract of deep forest with a gorge cut through the Baraboo quartzite by Otter Creek, a mountain-like stream. This is prime warbler habitat, attracting birds rarely seen elsewhere in the state, such as worm-eating and hooded warblers, and would be a good spot to look for the yellow-throated warbler. This preserve protected by The Nature Conservancy since the 1960s still seems wild and untouched. The challenging hike in will reward you, or walk along the abutting dead-end road. Watch the weather warming and insect activity to time your visit for warbler watching.
- Enjoy a 40-minute scenic drive west of here into the heart of Sauk County where the glaciated landscape meets the driftless for outstanding birding at Natural Bridge State Park and Natural Area, and Honey Creek, Pine Hollow and Hemlock Draw State Natural Areas (SNA). Owned by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy, Honey Creek SNA has hosted as many as 180 bird species, besides 500 native plants. The SNAs don’t have groomed trails, often a primitive footpath and more challenging hiking, but the habitat and discoveries make it worthwhile. Take a map of the SNA and a compass.
Bird By Car
If you’re unable to hike more difficult terrain to see birds, drive Sauk County’s four Rustic Roads. Rustic Road 21—Slotty, Orchard, Schara and Ruff Roads—winds through four SNAs (see #7 above) and offers a lovely, slow drive through scenic working land and protected forests. Slightly east of RR 21 is Baxter’s Hollow State Natural Area, along the dead-end Stone Pocket Road, seven miles west of U.S. Highway 12 (see #6 above).
It’s best to see the Leopold-Pine Island IBA while driving nine miles of RR 49, Levee Road, since most of this area is privately owned. (see #5 above).
For more birding by-car-ideas near the Inn, see the late Harold Kruse’s article and download his birding map.
Birds’ Dawn Chorus
Daybreak is an ideal time to see many birds. They are aflutter refueling themselves after arriving in the night or slumbering. Slip out of our Secret Garden guest room’s private entrance to our enchanted forest early as the first rays of light break the dark to enjoy the awakening birds’ chorus mixing with flowing creek sounds in the moist air and earthy aromas. Then savor Trudy’s fresh breakfast.
April Area Events
April 2: The Great Nature Race at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Meet at the north shore’s Nature Center, five minutes west of the Inn. The weather is warming so spend a day outside on a Great Nature Race! Drop in the Nature Center anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for an adventure across the Park. You’ll need your car for this combination of geocaching, orienteering and scavenger hunt. Bring your GPS or check one out from the Nature Center. Work at your pace to find new places on the property to conquer this challenge! Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
April 9: Timberdoodle Watch at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Meet at the Steinke Basin parking lot, five minutes west of the Inn, to experience the amazing courtship display of the American woodcock, also known as the timberdoodle. Witness the males’ spiraling flight and song in the stage this prairie remnant creates. Bring a chair, blanket and binoculars, and dress warmly. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
April 9: Bowtime Quintet: Performing Arts Concert Series at the Portage Center For The Arts and Drury Gallery, Portage, 7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. An eclectic group delivers the elegance of a classic ensemble with the grooves and sensibilities of a pop group. For tickets visit www.portagecenterforthearts.com. The Center And Gallery are open Wednesday to Friday 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m.
April 15: International Crane Foundation opens, Baraboo, daily 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., 15 minutes north of the Inn. Learn about the world’s 15 crane species that reside there and the organization’s global conservation programs on a guided tour three times daily on weekends only in April and May. Hike and bird through the restored prairie, wetland, and oak savanna ecosystems. Plan at least two hours. Visit www.savingcranes.org.
April 15: Aldo Leopold Legacy Center opens, Baraboo, Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturdays 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., 20 minutes from the Inn. An educational and interpretive facility in a new, renewable-energy-powered building, one of the greenest in the world, near the Leopold shack. A 2.5-mile interpretive trail network through 305 acres oak savanna, wetlands and a dry prairie remnant overlooking the River, critical habitat for grassland birds and sandhill crane staging during migration, is open for hiking and snowshoeing during visitation hours. Visit www.aldoleopold.org.
April 22: Pink Full Moon. American Indians called this the pink full moon because it marked the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox, one of the first spring flowers.
April 22–24: Wisconsin Dells Polka Fest, Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Enjoy a weekend of Patrick Henry-style music, musician workshops, jam sessions, friends and beautiful Wisconsin Dells views. Friday 6:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m., Saturday 12:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Details and tickets at www.dellspolkafest.com.
April 23: Sweet Dreams & Honky Tonks at the CAL Center at the Reedsburg Area High School, Reedsburg, Wis., 7:00 pm. Celebrating the legendary work of country music’s barrier-breaking and biggest stars Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash, two Wisconsin music veterans, Tom Waselchuk and Jami Lampkins, with The Dang-Its as back up band with the pedal steel guitar, electric and upright bass, and drums, offer a new revue presenting the best-loved hits of these classic artists with stories of their colorful lives and amazing careers. Tickets $20.00 at tickets calcenterpresents.org.
April 23: Frog Safari at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Meet at the Steinke Basin parking lot, five minutes west of the Inn, to hike the Johnson Moraine Trail to the Park’s kettle ponds to listen for spring peepers, and chorus and wood frogs, and other night sounds. Bring a flashlight. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
April 24: Encore!! Art 2016: Reuse, Recycle, Rethink at the Rock Springs Community Center, 8 miles west of Baraboo, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. A Sauk County Art Association event art created from discarded and unwanted materials. Free admission. Visit www.saukcountyartassociation.com.
April 24: Sauk County Earth Day Celebration Wooden It Be…, at the Rock Springs Community Center, 8 miles west of Baraboo, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Exhibits, workshops, nature hikes, music, art, food and more. Free admission and parking. Visit saukcountyearthday.org.
April 29: Wine Walk in downtown Portage. Stroll the historic downtown. Tickets $30.00 at the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce Office, 104 W. Cook St., and at 205 Vino Wine Bar and Tapas at 205 DeWitt St. Ticket sales begin March 29 and are limited. Call for availability at 608-742-6242 and learn more here.
April 29: Reedsburg’s Uncorked Wine Walk, downtown Reedsburg, 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Stroll one of the most beautiful, historic downtown Main Streets in Sauk County. Contact the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce for ticket information at 608-524-2850 or reedsburg.org.
April 29: Jimmy Fortune at the River Arts Center in the Sauk Prairie High School, 105 Ninth St., Prairie du Sac, 7:30 p.m. A country-music performer and songwriter previously with the legendary Statler Brothers for 21 years. Tickets $35.00 and $30.00 at www.riverartsinc.org on the home page right side: Other Tickets.
April 30: H. H. Bennett Studio opens for its daily season (open Saturdays Jan.–April 29), downtown Wisconsin Dells, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. The oldest business in Wisconsin Dells and longest continuously operating photography studio in the United States. Tour this inventive photojournalist’s second studio restored to its 1908 appearance and adjacent museum to see his original work, equipment and inventions from his prolific career beginning in 1865 that attracted tourists here by the trainload to marvel at the rugged beauty he uniquely captured in photographs. Learn more at hhbennettstudio.wisconsinhistory.org.
Snow play has begun! Monday, Dec. 28, 2015’s storm draped the Baraboo Bluffs in 7 inches of snow, reminding us how beautiful our winter wonderland is. We received as much again Jan. 26 and Feb. 2, 2016!
See the Inn at Wawanissee Point’s Live Valley View Snow Cam at the bottom of our home page.
Stay with us January 10 through March 31 and receive $50.00 off your stay. Valentine’s Day(s) are not included.
- To reserve your room click HERE and enter Promotion Code GOSNOW. Or call or e-mail us at 608-355-9899 or [email protected].
- Dates and room selection are based on availability.
- Specials may not be combined.
- Two-night minimum stay required.
We have weekend vacancies in late February and early March.
Weekdays are available and at a reduced rate.
Conditions are great; come enjoy the last of winter.
Book your Guest Room at our secluded, mini resort.
Call us at 608-355-9899.
Devil’s Head Resort next door is open for downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowboarding; Cascade Mountain 20 minutes northeast of here is open for downhill skiing, tubing and snowboarding; and we’re snowshoeing. Come play in the snow with us!
- Snow walk private trails through our 42 acres.
- We provide complimentary Redfeather snowshoes to use, and lessons if desired.
- We provide trails maps of Riverland Conservancy’s Merrimac Preserve and Devil’s Lake State Park.
- Rent x-country ski sets at Devil’s Head Resort and Wildside Adventure Sports in Baraboo, Wis.
- Comfortable, warm winter boots or waterproof hiking boots, and wool socks.
- Waterproof snow pants are helpful but not required.
- Wicking long underwear of wool, silk or synthetic materials (no cotton), a fleece or wool middle layer and top them with a lightweight windbreaker jacket.
- Hat, waterproof mittens or gloves, sunglasses and sunscreen lip balm.
- Fanny pack for a water bottle and snack, if your coat pockets aren’t big enough.
See our blog articles below for winter activities around the Inn each weekend.
After playing in the snow…
- Rejuvenate in our Shiatsu massage chair
- Warm and cleanse in the sauna
- Soak in tub together
- Snuggle by the fireplace in the Secret Garden and Great Room
The 2015–2016 winter at first has offered limited snow treks due to the strong El Niño weather pattern. While in early January it’s difficult to predict, as a rule the end of February is often the last opportunity to snowshoe and winter hike, and ski and snowboard. By then the deep cold has passed and the sun shines longer each day, helping to root out the winter blahs.
Check our snow status at the Inn at Wawanissee Point’s Live Valley View Snow Cam at the bottom of our home page.
Why we love winter hiking (or snow walking when nature cooperates):
- Follow… critter tracks to discover for rabbit holes, deer beds and sheds, and squirrel caches.
- Listen… to woodpeckers drumming (they don’t sing like other birds) and cedar waxwings peeping as they devour the last berries, and at dusk or after dark owls and coyotes, maybe a fox calling for mates. The calls of wildlife entranced with courtship begin in late January, and the birds’ spring chorus often in February.
- Watch… for snow birds arriving from further north like pine siskins and red polls.
- See… the natural artistic architecture from a new dimension, where bare branches and the white backdrop highlight the landscape, color and texture unique to winter.
- Let…yourself get lost in hush of nature’s serenity.
Guests may use our complimentary Redfeather Snowshoes.
Last-chance Full Moon Shoeing
About five days before and after the Feb. 22, 2016 Snow Full Moon is your last chance this year to glide shimmering diamond-snow trails by moonlight. It’s a breathtaking, peaceful experience like no other that you should try at least once.
In the evenings enjoy musical and theatre performances nearby, or slip into seclusion with your sweetie to enjoy the Inn’s soaking tubs, sauna, fireplaces and massage chair. A little pampering to rejuvenate after snow treks.
The Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park will host a Candlelight Snowshoe And Hike Feb. 20, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., in Baraboo, Wis., five minutes west of the Inn. Enjoy a self-guided snowshoe or hike through the Park along a new and longer route this year. Then warm by the campfire and make some s’mores.
Meet at the north shore’s Rock Elm Shelter. Dress for any weather, the fun will commence regardless of rain, snow or sun. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions. Get your 2016 Wisconsin State Parks annual admission sticker or a daily pass at the Park entrance or beforehand here.
Besides exploring our 42 acres and three miles of private trails, find more suggestions for skiing cross-country and downhill, snowboarding, sledding and snowshoeing in other blog articles recently posted before and after this one.
Feb. 19–21: Reedsburg Players Inc. presents Little Nell-A Melodrama at the CAL Center, 1100 South Albert Ave./south- US Hwy. 23, adjacent the Reedsburg Area High School, Reedsburg, Wis., 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:00 p.m. Sunday. For details and tickets visit www.reedsburgplayers.org.
Feb. 20: Candlelight Snowshoe at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Enjoy a self-guided snowshoe or hike through the Park along a new and longer route this year, and then warm by the campfire and make s’mores with the Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park. More details above.
Feb. 20: Al. Ringling Theatre Gala Reopening, 136 Fourth Ave., in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, Baraboo, 8:00 p.m. Help celebrate the 100-year-old, magnificently restored theatre acclaimed America’s Prettiest Playhouse, coinciding with Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday by welcoming Frank Cinatra Jr. for Sinatra Sings Sinatra. Details forthcoming or at www.alringling.com or by calling 608-356-8864.
Feb. 21: Food Patriots Screening at the Al. Ringling Theatre, America’s Prettiest Playhouse newly restored in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 136 Fourth Ave., 3:00 p.m. Join us to watch this documentary about food safety in the United States and then a talk-back with the filmmakers. Co-sponsored by Baraboo Public Library, the Al. Ringling Theatre and the Bradshaw-Knight Foundation. Admission is free. Learn about the Theatre built in 1915 at www.alringling.com.
Feb. 22: Snow Full Moon American Indians called this the snow full moon because the heaviest snows usually fell during this time of the year. Since the harsh weather made hunting difficult, some tribes called the Full Hunger Moon.
Feb. 23: The Art of the A.R.T. at the Al. Ringling Theatre, America’s Prettiest Playhouse newly restored in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 136 Fourth Ave., 7:00 p.m. From Florence to France, artistic and architectural inspiration for America’s Prettiest Playhouse including the hand-painted murals, plaster reliefs and the Theatre’s Eureopean design. A presentation by the Sauk County Historical Society to honor the Theatre’s newly unveiled renovations. Admission is free. Learn about the Theatre built in 1915 at www.alringling.com.
Feb. 24: Masters of Grandeur at the Al. Ringling Theatre, America’s Prettiest Playhouse newly restored in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, 136 Fourth Ave., 7:00 p.m. A presentation by the Sauk County Historical Society to honor the Theatre’s newly unveiled renovations about the early works of the theatre’s architects George and Cornelius Rapp who later designed more than 300 theatres in the United States. Learn about theatres before the Al. Ringling and how Ringling’s bottomless checkbook allowed the Rapp brothers to design a work that took their careers to new heights. Admission is free. Learn about the Theatre built in 1915 at www.alringling.com.
Feb. 26: Reedsburg’s Frosty Fest, various events throughout Reedsburg, 40 minutes from the Inn, for everyone to shake the winter blues. Outdoor recreation and games, and the signature event, Buttertown Showdown, Reedsburg’s game show extraordinaire, think of Family Feud strategy, Minute To Win It contests and Let’s Make a Deal costumes! See a full schedule of events here. Call the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce at 800-844-3507 with questions or visit reedsburg.org.
Feb. 26: Dorf Haus Supper Club’s Lenten Season Roast Turtle: A 30-year tradition, served Fridays during Lent. 24 minutes south of the Inn, 8931 County Y, Roxbury, Wis., 608-643-3938. Nestled in a quaint German village this ethnically decorated Wisconsin supper club features authentic German and American specialties. Learn more here.
Feb. 26: The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) Rhapsodie Quartet at the River Arts Center in the Sauk Prairie High School, 105 Ninth St., Prairie du Sac, 7:00 p.m. Some of the Orchestra’s brightest stars create a resident string ensembl of the MSO’s award-winning HeartStrings Community Engagement Program. This fusion of talent, passion and heart in their performances is a music-therapy-informed program grounded in the belief that music touches people on a fundamental level regardless of age or level of functioning, and helps all people but especially those with disabilities, assited-living needs, long-term illnesses and dementia. Tickets $15.00 and more details at www.riverartsinc.org.
Feb. 26: Tartan Terrors at the CAL Center Presents, 1100 South Albert Ave./south- US Hwy. 23, adjacent the Reedsburg Area High School, Reedsburg, Wis., 7:00 pm. A premier Celtic event, the Tartan Terrors have brought its unique blend of Celtic music, comedy and dance to standing-room audiences at the Dublin Irish Festival, the Newport Irish Festival, Chicago Irish Festival and theatres throughout North America. Good Morning America featured this group. Be ready to clap, stomp your feet and laugh until your sides hurt when this Celtic extravaganza hits the stage with a hilarious, kilted vengeance. Tickets $20.00 at tickets calcenterpresents.org. Call 608-985-7307 with questions.
Feb. 27: Frozen Paddle at Lake Columbia along the Wisconsin River south of Portage, Wis., on Hwy V, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. The Columbia Energy Center power plant heats the water to 68 degrees F and more. Join us for an unusual winter paddle and lunch at the Cactus Club in downtown Portage at 12:00 p.m. Hosts Steve and Jackie Dykstra and Fred Galley. Questions e-mail [email protected]
Feb. 27: Finding Bigfoot At Night at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Meet at the north shore’s Visitor Center, five minutes west of the Inn. Go on an adventure to see if Bigfoot can be found in the bluffs at the Park. We’ll use detetctive skills to determine which signs and tracks are from other night creates and which may be Bigfoot’s. This is for kids of all ages! Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
Feb. 29: Winter Words at American Players Theatre season, 7:00 p.m. A public play-reading series in the APT’s indoor Touchstone Theatre. Tonight’s performance: Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka. An African community is thrown into chaos when an age-old custom of ritual suicide by the king’s horseman upon his master’s death is outlawed by the British colonialists. “…a rich turbulent piece, which starts as folk comedy and ends as Greek tragedy” – The Guardian. From the Inn at Wawanissee Point, APT is scenic 50-minute (38-mile) drive along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. Tickets $15.00 at americanplayers.org.
Chores, work, children, clients, aging parents, health issues—life whisks us through a labyrinth of needs and demands. As we struggle to keep up, we often set aside our significant-other relationship.
We believe our love’s foundation is strong enough to endure a little neglect. But relationships are living things, they need nourishment to survive and flourish.
Come connect with the magic of our Love Longevity Tree this Valentine’s Day. It’s a symbol of small gestures accumulating into significant results with a touching story, unique to the Inn at Wawanissee Point.
The Love Story
Innkeeper Trudy Holdener’s parents, Alois (Louie) and Martha Hastreiter, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary 16 years ago. Martha pulled the curly willow twig from the bouquet Louie gave her for the celebration and put it in water. It grew roots. They potted it and tended it in their little two-story flat in Chicago, Ill., where they have lived since they immigrated from Germany to the United States in 1956. They transplanted it into increasingly larger pots. It continued to grow as much as it could indoors. A few years ago when Louie and Martha moved, Trudy brought the anniversary willow tree to Wawanissee Point and planted it at the base of the prairie hill, at the edge of woods. Trudy and her husband and co-innkeeper, Dave, have been trimming and caring for the tree, and it’s thriving.
You may recall that Louie, a Bavarian master cabinetmaker, helped build the Inn and you can admire his wooden inlay flooring, marquetry portraits and more during your stay. Now Louie and Martha have imparted a growing symbol of their abiding love at this special outcrop in the Baraboo Range, which the Ho-Chunk named for its beauty, Wawanissee.
This fall Trudy and Dave placed a curved bench beside the tree, at the start of the Inn’s private trail to Lake Louie.
Willows, especially a curly willow, are pretty in all seasons. Sit with your sweetheart before this tree of love and you will feel its magic touch you. Let it infuse a little spark into your romance this Valentine’s Day, or any time you can escape to Wawanissee Point, a place of enduring beauty and love.
Book your Valentine’s Day weekend-getaway room today!
Call us at 608-355-9899 or click HERE.
Unwind and nurture your romance in the solitude at Wawanissee Point.
Our Picks For Valentine’s Fun Feb. 12–14, 2016
- Reflect on the bench at the Love Longevity Tree
- Snow walk our 42 acres, on or off the trails, to invigorate in the crisp, fresh air with snowshoes from our Redfeather inventory
- Soak away stresses together in the Bird’s Nest massage-therapy tub
- Cross-country ski Devil’s Head Resort’s scenic Glacier Golf Course with rentals available there.
- Snuggle dreamily with your sweetie beside the glowing fireplace in the Secret Garden guest room, in our plush robes with your favorite love songs playing
- Ride the Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s Snow Train™ through Sauk County’s picturesque winter wonderland by coach and first-class services Feb. 13–14, 2016 beginning at 10:00 a.m.
- Melt away tension in our secluded sauna with your sweetheart
- Indulge in a couple’s massage at Baraboo’s exclusive day spa, Spa Serenity. Our guests receive a 10-percent discount. Reserve now!
- Watch the feeding snow birds from the sunroom’s warmth, and get lost in the 36-mile view
- Slide down the hill on our sleds and feel like a kid again
Embellish Your Stay With Treats
See our Specials & Packages page for ways we can help you surprise your dear with fresh flowers or roses, chocolate-covered strawberries, gourmet chocolates, a decadent cake, champagne and/or a balloon bouquet.
Celebrate the end of January by sipping Port wine while watching the eagles, touring artist studios in and around Baraboo, and enjoying a dinner theatre show in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., besides winter hiking and maybe snowshoeing and skiing.
Wollersheim Winery & Distillery’s Port Wine Celebration is Jan. 30, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in Prairie du Sac, Wis. Celebrate their red and white Ports with a sampling, hear insights from winemaker Philippe Coquard, and enjoy light food and live music as you browse the winery and gift shop.
You can see the brandy copper pot still Coquard uses to produce his brandy, which he adds to the young Port wine to stop the fermentation process. Besides the red and white Ports, Wollersheim produces a Tawny Port, a red Port aged in American oak barrels to reflect more local terroir, and aged longer than the red Port. Try all three!
All wines will be available to purchase and enjoy by the glass. Admission is free. Learn more at www.wollersheim.com.
Eagle Viewing From The Vineyard
Wollersheim Winery along the Wisconsin River and highway 188 is one of the designated eagle-viewing areas in Sauk Prairie.
Join an informative and educational 50-minute guided eagle-watching bus tour at 10:00 a.m. Jan. 30, hosted by Ferry Bluff Eagle Council volunteers with stops at ideal viewing locations. Tickets are $5.00 per person and sell quickly. Call the Sauk Prairie Area Chamber Of Commerce at 608-643-6625 to reserve a seat. Tours occur Saturday mornings Jan. 9 through Feb. 13, 2016.
The Inn at Wawanissee Point, located 15 miles northeast of Sauk Prairie, is the closest bed and breakfast to Wollersheim Winery & Distillery.
Book your favorite guest room HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.
Events Around Wawanissee Point
Jan. 27–30: Late Nite Catechism Dinner Theatre, The Palace Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 1:00 p.m. Jan. 27–28, and 7:00 p.m. Jan. 29–30. An uproariously funny play where the irrepressible Sister teaches a roomful of students. Throughout the course the benevolent instructor rewards the students for correct answers with glow-in-the-dark rosaries and other nifty prizes. Naughty students may well find themselves on stage sitting in a corner reflecting their actions. However, even the most reluctant students will clamor to get into this Sister’s class. Now in its 20th year, Late Nite Catechism has brought its nostalgic kick to audiences around the world. Tickets vary per show $19.95–$59.95 and include a three-course dinner but not gratuity, taxes or service fee. Show-only tickets are available and you may order appetizers, desserts and specialty drinks. Purchase by calling 608-253-4000 or at www.dellspalace.com, where you can learn more about this special performance.
Jan. 30: Cool Boo Open Studios, in and around Baraboo, and at the Baraboo Arts Banquet Hall, 323 Water St., 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Baraboo artisans, authors, poets and musicians open their workshops, studios and creative spaces for the public to see how they create. Find a list of participating artists at the event’s Facebook page here and at www.coolbooartsfunfest.com. The Fest celebrates Baraboo’s creative arts community and Wisconsin’s winter. Also see the Sauk County Art Association 2016 Member Show, Big Things Come In Small Packages, a nonjuried, themed show of recent work, at the Schwalbach Gallery on the U.W.-Baraboo/Sauk County campus, 1006 Connie Rd., Baraboo.
Jan. 30: Photography Art Workshop at the River Arts On Water Gallery, 590 Water St., Prairie du Sac, 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Professional photographer Ania Fields teaches the art of capturing a child’s precious moments from a point-and-shoot camera, sharing professional tips, examples of work and discussing the experience of creating a strong child portrait. Each attendee will develop a better understanding of capturing a great image. Bring a notebook and camera. Admission is free. Learn more at www.riverartsinc.org.
The strong El Niño weather pattern’s mild, moist winter has left the Baraboo Range snow-free as we near the end of December 2015. While skiing and snowshoeing are not yet feasible, it is nonetheless a special time to explore our landscapes and allow winter’s serenity to soothe your frazzled nerves and rejuvenate you.
Hiking the peaceful prairies and especially the woods in winter is a calming and beautiful encounter. The subdued colors of prairie grasses still bobbing their heads offer feed for our hearty, winter-resident birds. The bare deciduous trees reveal their ornamental bark and expressive architecture while the evergreens stand proud as the dominant green, accented only by moss underfoot. With foliage missing you’ll discover the land’s pattern easily overlooked in other seasons, including rock outcroppings and crevices to investigate for what creatures may be seeking shelter or stowing food.
The array of busy woodpeckers and chatty chickadees will keep you company as you unwind in nature’s artistry along miles of trails on our 42 acres and the thousands of acres surrounding the Inn at Wawanissee Point.
Eagles are venturing away from the Wisconsin River for hunting, so stay alert to a large presence looming overhead as you near streams and field edges, especially in the morning. At dusk, appearing a little later each evening in January, you may hear the great horned and barred owls conversing hoots, or perhaps a group of coyotes yipping for attention.
Book a guest room, pack your hiking boots and escape to the bluff to restore yourself at Wawanissee Point. You’ll leave refreshed, with or without snow.
Reserve a room HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.
Save time to relax with our sauna, hot tub and Shiatsu massage chair, winter birds feeding beyond the sunroom, Bordeaux room’s massage-therapy tub and Secret Garden’s fireplace. It may be even be warm enough to sit briefly on the Tepee room’s deck.
Winter Fun Around Baraboo
Jan. 22, 2016: Public Reception: Wisconsin Regional Art Program and Third-annual Sauk Prairie Photo Contest Exhibition at the River Arts Center in the Sauk Prairie High School, 105 Ninth St., Prairie du Sac, 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. An annual exhibition of more than 40 local, nonprofessional artists’ work in a variety of media. The Art Program began in 1940 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to encourage rural artists to make and exhibit artwork. Meritorious works chosen from this and more than 20 other exhibitions like it around the state will be featured in the Annual State Art Exhibition in Madison, Wis., in September. Also see the 18 winners of the annual contest of local, amateur photographers. Admission is free. Exhibits are open school days 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m., Jan. 20–March 4, 2016. Details at www.riverartsinc.org.
Jan. 22, 2016: Manhattan Medium Thomas John at The Palace Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, Wis., 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Enjoy an intimate evening as psychic medium Thomas John shares stories with Emmy-award winning journalist Jennifer Weigel about his years being able to talk to the dead. He will also treat the audience to spontaneous readings. Tickets start at $20.00. Pizza, appetizers, beverages and desserts available to purchase. Purchase tickets by calling 608-253-4000. Learn more about John, Weigel and the show at www.dellspalace.com.
Jan. 22, 2016: Sweet Dreams & Honky Tonks at the River Arts Center in the Sauk Prairie High School, 105 Ninth St., Prairie du Sac, 7:00 p.m. Celebrating the legendary work of country music’s barrier-breaking and biggest stars Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash, two Wisconsin music veterans, Tom Waselchuk and Jami Lampkins, with The Dang-Its as back up band, including Rick Nass on the pedal steel guitar, Pete Olig on electric and upright bass, and Mark Luhring on drums, offer a new revue presenting the best-loved hits of these classic artists with stories of their colorful lives and amazing careers. Tickets $15.00 and more details at www.riverartsinc.org.
Jan. 23, 2016: Eagle Watching Bus Tour, 10:00 a.m., Sauk Prairie. 50-minute informative and educational eagle watching bus tour with great views of the majestic bird, $5.00 per person. Reservations are required; tours fill quickly. Call the Sauk Prairie Area Chamber Of Commerce at 608-643-6625 to reserve. (Saturday mornings Jan. 9–Feb. 13, 2016) Learn more at www.ferrybluffeaglecouncil.org.
Jan. 23, 2016: Full Moon Snowshoe at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Meet at the north shore Visitor Center, five minutes west of the Inn. Dress warmly and you’ll enjoy the beauty of a winter full moon, hopefully while skimming on snow. Use the Inn’s complimentary Redfeather snowshoes for this event. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
Jan. 24, 2016: Wolf Full Moon. Because this is a time of year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps, American Indians named the January full moon the wolf moon. Since we don’t have any wolf packs around Baraboo it’s a great evening to hike, ski or snowshoe.
A perk of winter around Wawanissee Point is seeing many bald eagles December through March seeking open water with undeveloped shoreline for fishing and perching. Annually the Sauk Prairie community along the Wisconsin River partners with the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council to celebrate the country’s majestic bird and its conservation success story during Bald Eagle Watching Days.
Jan. 15–16, 2015 learn more about this savvy raptor from guest speakers, displays, an eagle release, guided tours and experts at the overlooks to answer questions. The hydroelectric dam just north of Prairie du Sac, Wis., keeps the River open during winter, perfect for eagle feeding and human viewing.
The other reason the eagles congregate here is because of the evening roosting habitat found in the deep, sheltered valleys away from the river, mostly within the Ferry Bluff State Natural Area west of Sauk City, Wis. The eagles winter and thrive here thanks to the Council’s work—a local, grassroots organization of environmental and eagle enthusiasts who established this state natural area to maintain eagle habitat. Council volunteers monitor roosts along 30 miles of river and amid hundreds of acres of nearby land, and anchor this educational celebration.
Event headquarters is at the River Arts Center at the Sauk Prairie High School, 105 Ninth Street, Prairie du Sac, Wis., 15 minutes south of the Inn.
Visit the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council’s Web site www.ferrybluffeagle.council.org for the full schedule of activities and a map of the best viewing locations.
Observe Birds Respectfully
It’s a thrill and unusual to experience the eagles as close as we do along the River in Sauk Prairie, sometimes only 100 feet away. The eagles feel differently, tolerating humans’ presence because they are hungry. Whenever possible, use your car as a blind and stay inside it to view them, except at the overlooks (more below). Their sight is six to eight times keener than ours. When you must get out, slowly and quietly close the car doors.
A frightened eagle may leave its perch with an empty stomach to roost for the evening.
On foot you’ll scare them, which is worst for the immature eagles that need to conserve their energy to survive the winter. During winter please don’t walk along the River, especially at the hydroelectric dam on the north end of Prairie du Sac, the most active eagle-feeding area.
The Ferry Bluff Eagle Council has two overlooks with spotting scopes and eagle experts. These locations are least disruptive to the eagles for viewing out of your car.
- downtown Prairie du Sac municipal parking lot next to the Ruth Culver Community Library at 560 Park Avenue
- along the River Walk in Sauk City near the highway 12 bridge, just behind Water Street
Eagle viewing is best in the morning when the eagles are most actively fishing.
Wollersheim Winery on highway 188 along the Wisconsin River is another designated eagle-viewing area. Jan. 16 from 2:40 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. Wollersheim hosts an Eagle White wine tasting at the winery.
Eagle Watching Bus Tours
Saturday mornings during January and Feb. 6 and 13 at 10:00 a.m., Council volunteers guide 50-minute eagle watching bus tours. Call the Sauk Prairie Area Chamber Of Commerce at 800-683-2453 to reserve a seat for $5.00 per person. These popular tours fill quickly.
On Jan. 16, 2016, additional tours depart from the River Arts Center at 9:30 a.m. and 2:40 p.m., first-come, first-served and these are free.
Call us at 608-355-9899 or book your favorite guest room HERE!
From our secluded winter resort:
- Snowshoe explore beautiful solitude harder to reach in the growing season on hundreds of acres from our estate to the next-door preserve, natural area and park with our inventory of Redfeather snowshoes. Try a moonlit snowshoe; the waxing Jan. 23 full moon will offer enough light the week before for this breathtaking experience.
- Cross-country ski with rentals from Devil’s Head Resort next door or Wildside Adventure Sports in Baraboo, Wis. You’ll find groomed trails at Devil’s Lake and Mirror Lake State Parks and expanses to blaze at the Merrimac Preserve and Natural Bridge State Park.
- Downhill ski and snowboard at Devil’s Head Resort and Cascade Mountain.
- Bask in the warm southern view from the Inn’s sunroom and three guest rooms for winter birdwatching at our bird feeders and over our prairie sanctuary.
Jan. 13– 16, 2016: Cher And Neil Diamond Tribute Dinner Theatre, The Palace Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 1:00 p.m. Jan. 13–15 and 7:00 p.m. Jan. 16. A magical tribute to two of the most talented and famous entertainers of all time. These talented and meticulously researched tribute performers capture amazing well the spirit and sound of these great artists with lighting, costumes and a band to thrill you from start to finish. Tickets vary per show $19.95–$59.95 and include a three-course dinner but not gratuity, taxes or service fee. Show-only tickets are available and you may order appetizers, desserts and specialty drinks. Purchase by calling 608-253-4000 or at www.dellspalace.com, where you can learn more about this special performance.
Jan. 15, 2016: Eagle In Flight Paint Nite, The Mixing Bowl Bakery, 525 Water St., Sauk City. Join artist Sarah Hill to learn how to and to paint this eagle deptiction. Bring a favorite beverage to enjoy while you create. Tickets $45.00 here. Learn more about The Mixing Bowl Bakery at www.themixingbowl.coffee.
Jan. 16, 2016: Eagle Cheese Carving, The Mixing Bowl Bakery, 525 Water St., Sauk City. Watch David Shiefel carve a bald eagle from a block of cheese. Call 608-370-7437 or visit www.themixingbowl.coffee for more information.
Jan. 16, 2016: Wild Winter Afternoon At Devil’s Lake Sate Park, Baraboo, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Meet at the north shore’s Rock Elm Shelter, five minutes west of the Inn. Enjoy a self-guided snowshoe or hike through the Park and then warm by the campfire and make s’mores with the Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park. Use the Inn’s complimentary Redfeather snowshoes for this event. Dress for any weather; we will hold festivities in rain, snow or sun. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
Jan. 16, 2016: Learn To Ice Fish At Devil’s Lake Sate Park, Baraboo, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Meet at the north shore’s Rock Elm Shelter, five minutes west of the Inn. Dress warmly and come learn to ice fish from volunteers and Park staff, adults and children are welcome. Equipment and bait are provided. This a free fishing weekend, no fishing license is required. There will be a fire on shore to warm by. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
As you prepare to immerse in the crush of holiday decorating, shopping and gatherings, plan now to treat yourself with a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway to welcome 2016 at our secluded snowshoe resort.
Join us Dec. 31, 2015 for a long weekend of winter hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, musical performances, falling stars and fireworks.
Our private 2015 New Year’s Eve party begins with wine and cheese in the Indigo Lounge. We’ll suggest a restaurant for dinner, and even arrange limousine service if you’d like. Afterward join us beside the fireplace in the Great Room for a warm, skybox view of Devil’s Head Resort’s fireworks at midnight.
Bring your friends for a private party at the Inn decorated for the holidays.
Reserve your favorite guest room HERE or call us 608-355-9899.
Fun List For New Year’s Eve
- Moonlit snow trek on our private trails illuminated by the waning Christmas full moon
- Fireworks from the Great Room’s warm skybox
- Walk on snow around the Inn and nearby with snowshoes from our Redfeather inventory
- Sled down the prairie hill, at least once to feel like a kid again. Sleds provided.
- Relax with your sweetie in our sauna, then soak in a bubble bath together.
- Downhill and cross-country ski next door at Devil’s Head.
- Watch bald eagles between the Inn and Sauk Prairie from the comfort of your warm car.
- Soak in the southern warmth of the Inn’s sunroom and watch the winter birds at our feeders.
Use our complimentary snowshoes to explore our 42 acres and down the hill wander the solitude at the Riverland Conservancy’s Merrimac Preserve. We provide trail maps.
Jan. 2, 2016 is the Candlelight Ski, Hike And Snowshoe at Mirror Lake State Park in Lake Delton, Wis., from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Candlelight illuminates two 1-mile trails, one for skiers, the other for everyone else. The Friends of Mirror Lake State Park will have a bonfire roaring, and you can purchase food and refreshments. Meet at the beach picnic area. If you have questions call 608-254-2333 or e-mail them to [email protected].
Indulge after playing in the snow…
- Relax in our Shiatsu massage chair.
- Warm and cleanse in the sauna.
- Gaze at the fire in the Great Room or Secret Garden guest rooms.
- Soak in the tub together.
We look forward to greeting 2016 with you, however you wish to celebrate.
Baraboo-area New Year’s Eve Events
now–Jan. 4, 2016: Cats, Critters, Callagrams And The Natural Word featured artist exhibit by Gaylene Faul at the Portage Center For The Arts at Tivoli, 2805 Hunters Trail, Portage, behind Divine Savior Healthcare & Hospital. Free and open to the public. The Center and its Drury Gallery at 301 Cook St., Portage, are open Wednesday to Friday 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m. Learn more at www.portagecenterforthearts.com.
Dec. 30, 2015–Jan. 2, 2016: Echoes Of A Legend Elvis Tribute Dinner Theatre, The Palace Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Dinner is served 90 minutes before the show at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Stephen Freeman is back by demand but only for six shows. His tribute started professionally in 1998 and he has performed across the county since. In August 2014 he was named one of the top-10 Elvis Tribute Artists in the world by the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest by the Elvis Presley Enterprises. A night of fantastic music and food. Tickets start at $44.95, which includes a three-course dinner but not gratuity, taxes or service fee. Purchase by calling 608-253-4000. Learn more at www.dellspalace.com.
Dec. 31: 2015: New Year’s Eve Party at the Village Booksmith, historic downtown Baraboo, 8:00 p.m. Mingling begins at 8:00 p.m., bring a dish to pass for a potluck supper at 9:00 p.m., and enjoy an evening of fellowship, live music, horns and hats in the cozy, candle-lit bookstore. An eclectic, used bookstore with used, new and rare books and more. Call 608-355-1001 for more information or visit villagebooksmith.com.
Jan. 1, 2016: First Day Hike at Mirror Lake Sate Park, Lake Delton, 12:00 p.m. Celebrate the new year outdoors with America’s State Park’s First Day Hikes. Join the Friends of Mirror Lake State Park for a guided hike or snowshoe to some of the Park’s highlights and learn history along the way. Meet at the beach picnic area. Bring water and camera, and snowshoes if you wish. Use the Inn’s complimentary Redfeather snowshoes for this event. Make it a day: this 2,200-acre park offers 18 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and 2.6 miles of snowshoeing trails. Call 608-254-2333 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
Jan. 1, 2016: First Day Hike at Devil’s Lake Sate Park, Baraboo, 3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Celebrate the new year outdoors with America’s State Parks’ First Day Hikes. Join us for a twilight hike and snowshoe through Roznos Meadow. Meet at the parking lot on Highway 113. Bring a flashlight, and snowshoes if you wish. We’ll have a snowshoes to loan, too. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
Jan. 2, 2016: Mirror Lake State Park Candlelight Ski, Hike And Snowshoe, details above.
Jan. 3–4, 2016: Quadrantids Meteor Shower. The Quadrantids is an above average shower, with up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak. It is thought that dust grains left behind by an extinct comet known as 2003 EH1, discovered in 2003, produce this shower, which runs annually from Jan. 1–5. It peaks the night of Jan. 3 and morning of Jan. 4. The second quarter moon will block all but the brightest meteors this year, but it could be a good show if you’re patient. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Bootes, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
Restored Victorian storefronts beautifully decorated for the Christmas season throughout historic downtown Baraboo, Wis., host an array of locally owned shops and galleries for unique, holiday gift shopping. Come Dec. 5, 2015 for Baraboo’s holiday open house. Escape the mall crowds. Immerse in a festive atmosphere of strolling carolers, Christmas music, street decorations, hot cocoa and free, horse-drawn wagon rides.
Find children’s toys and games, kitchen and home appointments, books, artwork, yarn and knitting supplies, gourmet coffees and teas, antiques, vintage collectibles, funky finds and accessories, fine dresses for holiday events, a music store, frozen yogurt shop, bakery and more. Browse downtown Baraboo’s shops here to plan your trip.
Saturdays through Dec. 19, 2015 from 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. enjoy free, horse-drawn wagon rides around the courthouse square to select your shopping and dining stops.
Shop Just Imagine Toys For The Grandkids And Nieflings
This locally owned toy store is known for its eclectic array of children’s games and toys. You’ll find uncommon, engaging and challenging options sure to create fun, and none are mass marketed. You’ll leave with a smile on your face from succumbing to the owners’ infectiously happy spirits of the owners. Learn more at www.justimaginetoys.com.
Book your favorite guest room online HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.
For Fun Holiday Train, Cookie Walks, Comedy And Concerts
Dec. 5: Discovery Hike at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. Meet at the north shore’s nature center, five minutes west of the Inn. Exercise in a beautiful wild place and learn amazing things by joining the naturalist for a seasonal hike that will stir your sense of beauty of imagination. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
Dec. 5: John And Marlys Duo Holiday Show And Concert at the Village Booksmith, 526 Oak St. on the square in historic downtown Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. An open house culminating with a seasonal-favorites concert at 3:00 p.m. Admission is free. An eclectic, used bookstore with used, new and rare books and more. Fellowship and refreshments. Call 608-355-1001 for more information or visit villagebooksmith.com.
Dec. 5: Portage Cookie Walk, downtown Portage, 20 minutes north east of the Inn, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Purchase a cookie box filled with merchant specials and a map from the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce at 104 W. Cook St., and then visit participating businesses throughout Portage to fill it with goodies. Visit www.portagewi.com for more details.
Dec. 5: Holiday House Luncheon And Bake Sale by the Portage Presbyterian Church, 120 W. Pleasant St., Portage, 10:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Chicken-noodle and beef-barley soups, fresh vegetables and dessert for $5.00. Bake Sale: breads, cookies, rolls, bars, pies, candy and more. Call 608-742-6006 with questions.
Dec. 5: Reedsburg Holiday Open House And Cookie Walk, Reedsburg, 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Purchase a cookie box for $10.00 from the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce at 240 Railroad St. or Up Nutrition at 260 E Main St., and then visit participating businesses throughout downtown Reedsburg and receive a cookie. You may also purchased filled boxes for $15.00 at Up Nutrition between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Only 100 boxes are available for this event. Visit reedsburg.org for more details or call the Chamber at 608-524-2850.
Dec. 5: Canadian Pacific Railway’s Holiday Train at the Amtrak Depot, 100 La Crosse St., Wisconsin Dells, 3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. The Canadian Pacific Railway’s Holiday Train adorned in thousands of Christmas lights with a tree atop the cab and lighted wreaths at the front and rear travels across Canada and the United States to raise money for food banks. Admission is free but please bring a nonperishable food-item donation and see this beautiful sight. Live entertainment and food and drinks for sale. Learn more at www.dellsholidaytrain.com.
Dec. 5: The Hobbit Trail: A Misguided Comedy Tour, A Third Helping at Que’s Bar & River Deck, 612 Water St., Prairie du Sac, on the Lower Wisconsin Riverway, 8:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. A third-helping of this comedy show starring Nathan Scott Ford and Brendan O’Day with a cast of show hosts, audience members, venue owners and supporters. Special guest comedian and magician Jonny Vegas from Canada & Local Comedian Smooth Detter. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for dining before the show. Tickets $20.00 by calling 608-370-6033. Prior shows sold out in advance so call before departing.
Dec. 6: Maggie Mae’s Christmas Show at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 3:00 p.m. Her down-home, country Christmas show full of cheer and great country music. Tickets at www.crystalgrand.com. Learn more about the band.
Dec. 6: Gale Singers Community Choir’s Christmas ‘Round The World Winter Concert at the Portage Center For The Arts and Drury Gallery, 301 Cook St., Portage, 4:00 p.m.–5:15 p.m. A regional choir of 50 people that performs twice year. Tickets $6.00 at the door. Learn more at www.portagecenterforthearts.com. The Center And Gallery are open Wednesday to Friday 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m.
Dec. 6: Madison Brass Band at the Al. Ringling Mansion, 623 Broadway St., downtown Baraboo, across from Little Village Café (our favorite Baraboo restaurant), 4:00 p.m. Offered as a gift to the city from Baraboo’s Concerts on the Square and the Al. Ringling Theatre Friends, this 30-piece ensemble plays old and new Christmas songs in dazzling brass-band arrangements. Incorporated by Craig Mason in 2003, the original Madison Brass Band was active in the area in the mid-late 1800s. Based in the British and American brass tradition, the band plays a wide variety of styles of music. Musicians are from south-central Wisconsin including Baraboo. Admission is free but donations are welcome to benefit the Al. Ringling Theatre restoration. Details at www.alringling.com. The Mansion is hosting while the Theatre is closed for restoration. Learn more about the Mansion at ringlingmansion.com.
Dec. 7: Bavarian Smorgasbords at the Dorf Haus, 8931 Co. Rd. Y, Sauk City, 5:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m., with a visit from St. Nicholas. Questions visit here or call 608-643-3980.
Dec. 7: Conjunction of the Moon and Venus. Conjunctions are rare events where two or more objects appear extremely close together in the sky. The crescent moon will come within two degrees of bright planet Venus in the early morning sky. Look east just before sunrise.
Nov. 18–Dec. 27: A Christmas Carol–The Musical Dinner Theatre, The Palace Theatre, Wisconsin Dells. Dinner is served 90 minutes before the show at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. A spectacular adaptation of Charles Dickens’ most well known story brought to life on stage with musical numbers and great story telling. Musical numbers include: Sing We Now of Christmas, Deck The Halls, God Rest You Merry, Gentleman and more. Tickets start at $19.95, which includes a three-course dinner but not gratuity, taxes or service fee. Purchase by calling 608-253-4000. Learn more at www.dellspalace.com.
The weather forecast is fantastic for this first week of November with unusually warm temperatures and we have guest rooms available. Fall bird migration peaks the first two weeks of November, so come hike and bird, and soak up the sun and solitude.
Come see the oaks dressed in an array of rusts to burgundy while the forest floor is aglow with a carpet of fallen leaves. After dark enjoy theatre and musical performances, or snuggle by our secluded prairie terrace campfire to watch the meteor shower.
Call us at 608-355-9899 or book online HERE.
If your desired date appears full in the reservations page, call us.
We may have a last-minute cancellation not yet shown.
Fun Around The Inn
Nov. 5–6: South Taurids Meteor Shower. Though the meteoroid streams that feed the South and North Taurids usually don’t offer more than about seven to 10 meteors per hour even on the South Taurids’ peak night, they are well known for a high percentage of fireballs, or exceptionally bright meteors. Plus the other Taurid shower, the North Taurids, always adds a few more meteors during the South Taurids’ peak. The slim waning crescent moon coming up before dawn will not seriously obtrude on this year’s shower. The South Taurids should produce their greatest number of meteors between midnight and dawn Nov. 5. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky. Learn more here and here. Meteor expert David Asher has also discovered that Earth can periodically encounter swarms of larger particles, which can produce fireball meteors in certain years, and 2015 is predicted to be one of those years.
Nov. 5: Author Jerry Apps at the Baraboo Public Library, 230 Fourth Ave. in historic downtown Baraboo, 7:00 p.m. Hear this prolific, award-winning Wisconsin author, rural historian and exceptional storyteller read from his newest book Whipers and Shadows: A Naturalist’s Memoir, followed by a good signing. Admission is free. Learn more by calling 608-356-6166 or visiting http://www.baraboopubliclibrary.org. Learn more about Jerry Apps at www.jerryapps.com.
Nov. 5–8: The Musical Comedy Whodunit Curtains by the Sauk Prairie Music Association, at the River Arts Center in the Sauk Prairie High School, 105 Ninth St., Prairie du Sac, 7:00 p.m., except 2:00 pm on Sunday. From the creators of Cabaret and Chicago. Tickets $12.00. Details at www.riverartsinc.org.
Nov. 5–8: Into The Woods Musical by the Baraboo Theatre Guild at the Baraboo Arts Banquet & Convention Center, 323 Water St., Baraboo, 7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, 2:00 p.m. Sunday. Originally directed on broadway by James Lapine, who also wrote the book, this story follows a baker and his wife who wish to have a child, Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s Festival, and Jack who wishes his cow would give milk. When the baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a witch’s curse, the two embark to break it. Everyone’s wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results. Tickets $15.00 in advance at the Corner Drug Store in downtown Baraboo or $17.00 at the door. For more details visit barabootheatreguild.org, e-mail [email protected] or call 608-620-4284.
Nov. 6: Escanaba In Da Moonlight Dinner Theatre by Driftless Area Repertory Theatre Company at Northwoods Banquet Hall, N6510 U.S. Hwy 51, Portage, dinner at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Bucks, beer and laughs; a hilarious live show telling the tale of a guy in the upper Michigan peninsula who has never gotten a buck and the extremes he pursues to finally bag the big one. A fundraiser benefitting Northwoods Inc., which serves adults with disabilities, and seniors and families in need. Tickets $31.95 plus tax; call 608-566-7138 to reserve. Pork chop dijon with cranberry glaze, stuffing with pork gravy, wild rice with mushrooms, sunshine carrot blend, fresh sliced specialty breads, dessert, cheese, sausage, veggies with dip, coffee and milk. Cash bar amd free popcorn. Learn more about the organization and the performance at http://www.nwdswi.org.
Nov. 7: Scotty McCreery at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 8:00 p.m. A young and rising country artist with a deep voice blending contemporary and traditional country sounds. Tickets at crystalgrand.com.
Nov. 8: Escanaba In Da Moonlight Dinner Theatre by Driftless Area Repertory Theatre Company at Northwoods Banquet Hall, N6510 U.S. Hwy 51, Portage, dinner at 12:30 p.m., show at 1:30 p.m. Details above.
Nov. 8: Seth Peterson Cottage Tour at Mirror Lake State Park, E10320 Fern Dell Road, between Baraboo and Lake Delton, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Enjoy a 20-minute guided tour and learn the history of this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed cottage in the woods on a cliff overlooking the Lake. Tickets $4.00 support upkeep and park support. The Cottage is at E9982 Fern Dell Road, west of the Park office, marked by a red gate. Learn more at sethpeterson.org. Call 608-254-2333 or e-mail [email protected] with questions. Hike, or paddle the lake or bike the trails with rentals available at the concession stand from rentals at Dells Water Sports here. Learn more about activities at the park here.
If you thought you missed seeing autumn’s vivid palette of gold, orange, yellow, crimson and rust against the cerulean sky around the Inn at Wawanissee Point this year you’re in luck. The two weeks of above-normal temperatures in September have slowed the foliage change by about as much.
The first colors we normally see around the first day of fall are here now on Oct. 7, 2015. Now the maples are turning yellow-orange and the sumac is glowing in oranges to bright red, against much green. In the prairies and along the roadsides the asters, chicory and bottle gentian offer bursts of blue to purple beside the yellow thin-leaved coneflower, contrasting the droopy, full grass seed heads.
Our best guess is that peak color will occur at the end of October, tapering into early November, coinciding with the peak bird migration the first two weeks of November. We have vacancies the weekend of Oct. 30 and Nov. 6, 2015, and some weekday openings now through November 14. Book a room before they’re gone!
Call us at 608-355-9899 or reserve online HERE.
If your desired date appears full in the reservations page, call us.
We may have a last-minute cancellation not yet shown.
The area farmers’ markets are brimming and open through the last Saturday in October, and the apple orchards into November. Ski-Hi Fruit Farm 10 minutes west of the Inn has a robust crop this year; grab a pie and cider donuts to take home with the array of apples.
Fall Hiking And Birding
Toss a stone in any direction around the Inn and you’ll find great birding and fall hiking.
- Our 42 acres of woods and prairie with 3 miles of private trails
- Adjacent to us Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area and it’s access to the Ice Age Trail to the west toward Devil’s Lake State Park. Check the Park’s blog for the latest nature reports.
- Two miles from us is the Riverland Conservancy’s 1,900 acres of forest, prairie, savanna, wetlands and streams are laced with 12.7 miles of trails, including 3.2 miles of Ice Age Trail that connect to Devil’s Lake State Park at the Roznos Meadow trail head on state highway 113. Get a trail map from the Inn or print one here.
- Devil’s Lake Oak Forest and South Bluff/Devil’s Nose State Natural Areas are within the Park and considered one of state’s top 10 birding sites by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.
- 20 minutes northeast of us is Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area (IBA), 16,000 acres adjacent the Aldo Leopold Center along Levee Road, which is Rustic Road 49. Explore the Foundation’s 2.5-mile trail through 305 acres of oak savanna, wetlands and a dry prairie remnant overlooking the River, critical habitat for grassland birds and sandhill crane staging during migration. Around 40 bird species use this IBA during migration.
- Within 40 minutes you’ll find breathtaking scenery, outstanding birding and hiking in the heart of Sauk County along the glacial-driftless continuum at Natural Bridge State Park and Natural Area, and Honey Creek, Pine Hollow, Hemlock Draw and Baxter’s Hollow State Natural Areas (SNA).
- Rustic Road 21—Slotty, Orchard, Schara and Ruff Roads—winds through these four SNAs and offer a lovely, slow drive through scenic working land.
- Head northwest toward Reedsburg and explore Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area and its geologic interpretive trail.
- Mirror Lake State Park 20 minutes north of the Inn has more than 19 miles of hiking trails for birding and fall treks, besides renting a kayak or canoe and paddling the quiet lake reflecting the autumn hues.
Tracking Fall Color And Bird Migration
Online tools are a fun convenience. Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdCast Web site at birdcast.info to watch which birds are on the move around the nation by region. Check the weather forecast around 10:00 p.m. to plan your next morning’s bird treks; weather is one of the data the Lab uses to post migration updates.
Monitor the changing fall foliage by using the Inn’s Live Web Cam at the bottom of our Web site home page and with this real-time fall color map by the Wisconsin department of tourism. Sauk County is three counties in from the bottom left/west and three counties up from the bottom/south, northwest of Madison.
Late Fall Activities Around Wawanissee Point
See more events at the end of the prior blog article, below, Register Now For Crane Congregation Tours
Oct. 29: Author Lynne Diebel at the Baraboo Public Library, 230 Fourth Ave., Baraboo, 7:00 p.m. Diebel, a Wisconsin author raised in driftless region of Minnesota, began canoeing with her husband late in life. They embarked on a journey through the driftless region from Minnesota to her home in Stoughton, Wis. She wrote about their experience, sharing the trials and triumphs of canoeing the rivers southward, and the delightful features of this region untouched by the glaciers in an engaging and skillfully written Crossing The Driftless. She will sign books after her reading and talk. Admission is free.
Oct. 30 & 31 and Nov. 13 & 14: Crane Congregations At The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center led by world-renowned ornithologist Stan Temple, E13701 Levee Rd., (Rustic Road 49), Baraboo, 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m./3:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. Each fall thousands of sandhill cranes use the sandbars and islands in the Wisconsin River for staging before migration. The river behind the Leopold Shack and Farm is a premier viewing point in the region for this congregation. Earlier in the season the weather is warmer and daylight longer, but later in the season more cranes come in to the river. Join us for a breathtaking wildlife experience. Tickets are $25.00 nonmembers and free for members who register by Oct. 16., Limited to 25 per session. Learn more at www.aldoleopold.org. Reserve your spot by contacting Matt Schoeffler at [email protected] or 608-355-0279.
Oct. 31: Annual Art Discovery Day, at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, E13701 Levee Rd. (Rustic Road 49), Baraboo, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Annually different invited artists from the Midwest to conclude the Center’s season by highlighting people’s connection to the natural world, which is the foundation of their inspiration and artwork. Aldo Leopold feared the spiritual danger of people becoming disconnected from the land that sustains us with food, fiber, heat and beauty. Art by its nature, from its techniques and materials, creates a deeper understanding of and respect for the land, strengthening our connection to it. Fall’s glory and the harvest is an ideal to explore this realm. Enjoy presentations, demonstrations and interactions with artists that will inspire you to think about your relationship with the land. Art will be for sale. Admission is free.
Oct. 31: Leopold Memorial Site Public Dedication, at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, E13701 Levee Rd. (Rustic Road 49), Baraboo, 1:00 p.m. Located outside adjacent the Leopold Center on the approximate site where Aldo Leopold died fighting a neighbor’s escaped brush fire in 1948. Speakers include Leopold family members and Aldo Leopold Foundation staff Admission is free. Come early or stay afterward for the Annual Art Discovery Day, to tour the Shack, hike the interpretive nature trails and explore exhibits in the Leopold Center.
Nov. 7: Scotty McCreery at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 8:00 p.m. A young and rising country artist with a deep voice blending contemporary and traditional country sounds. Tickets at crystalgrand.com.
During fall migration thousands of sandhill cranes gather on the Wisconsin River’s sandbars and islands along the Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area (IBA). This 16,000-acre IBA is adjacent the Aldo Leopold Center, nine miles northeast of Baraboo, Wis., on Levee Road, which is Rustic Road 49. The river behind the Leopold Shack and Farm is a premier viewing location in the region for this migration congregation when many cranes refuel before flying south. From the Inn it’s only 20 minutes through the Baraboo Hills.
The Aldo Leopold Foundation hosts annual crane congregation tours near dusk on weekends in late October and early November. World-renowned ornithologist Stan Temple, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor emeritus of conservation (a position Leopold once held) and a senior fellow for the Foundation, narrates these visits. It is a spectacular experience, and a treat to hear Temple speak, too.
The 2015 congregation tours are:
- Oct. 30 and 31: 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
- Nov. 13 and 14: 3:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
The tours are available by registration only for 25 people per session. They fill quickly. Reserve your spot by contacting Matt Schoeffler at [email protected] or 608-355-0279. Visit www.aldoleopold.org to learn more. Tickets are $25.00 for nonmembers and free for members who register by Oct. 16, 2015.
Become a Foundation member for a nominal fee to support this organization’s extensive conservation work by visiting www.aldoleopold.org and in the main menu bar click on Donate: Give Today!
Though much of the land in this IBA is privately owned, you’ll find excellent birding along 11 miles of Rustic Road 49 and some public land where you can explore. As many as 40 migrating species have been surveyed here.
Also hike and bird along the Foundation’s 2.5-mile upland interpretive trail network through 305 acres of oak savanna, wetlands and a dry prairie remnant overlooking the River, critical habitat for grassland birds and sandhill crane staging. The trail is open year-round for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing during the Center’s visitation hours.
Oct. 31 Spend A Leopold Day
Enjoy two other events at the Leopold Center:
- 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Annual Art Discovery Day, Annually different invited artists from the Midwest to conclude the Center’s season by highlighting people’s connection to the natural world, which is the foundation of their inspiration and artwork. Aldo Leopold feared the spiritual danger of people becoming disconnected from the land that sustains us with food, fiber, heat and beauty. Art by its nature, from its techniques and materials, creates a deeper understanding of and respect for the land, strengthening our connection to it. Fall’s glory and the harvest is an ideal to explore this realm. Enjoy presentations, demonstrations and interactions with artists that will inspire you to think about your relationship with the land. Art will be for sale. Admission is free.
- 1:00 p.m., Leopold Memorial Site Public Dedication. Located outside adjacent the Leopold Center on the approximate site where Leopold died fighting a neighbor’s escaped brush fire in 1948. Speakers include Leopold family members and Aldo Leopold Foundation staff Admission is free.
Also enjoy a self-guided tour of the Shack and explore the Center’s exhibits about Leopold, conservation and the Center, one of the greenest buildings in the world. Find details here.
The first two weeks of November are peak bird migration and a great time to visit the Baraboo Hills. As the temperature dips, days shorten and the colorful leaves blanket the forest and prairie trails, fall hiking and birding become extra special, and often quieter as fewer people think to visit.
Reserve your birding guest room HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.
If your desired date appears full online, call us; sometimes we have last-minute cancellations that may not be reflected on the reservations page.
Monitor the fall foliage changes by using this MAP. Sauk County is three counties in from the bottom left/west and three counties up from the bottom/south, northwest of Madison.
Fall Fun Around Baraboo
Oct. 27: Hunters Full Moon, snuggle by the fire in the prairie terrace with s’mores.
Oct. 28: Rare Conjunction of Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. Conjunctions are rare events where two or more objects appear extremely close together in the night sky. In the east before sunrise the three planets will form a tight 1-degree triangle Learn more here.
Oct. 29: Autumn Arts Dinner And Auction: Eat, Drink And Be Scary hosted by Pardeeville Sports Club 22-Achterburg Archery, N6759 Hwy 22, Pardeeville, 5:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m., benefitting the Portage Center For The Arts and Drury Gallery. Featuring a traditional Wisconsin fish boil and live music by Nathan Russell. Costumes encouraged. Tickets $50.00 (40-percent tax deductible) available at the Portage Center For The Arts and Drury Gallery, 301 Cook St., Portage, 608-742-5655 and visit www.portagecenterforthearts.com The Center And Gallery are open Wednesday to Friday 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m.
Oct. 30: Last day of Circus World Museum’s fall performance season, daily 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. It will reopen March 2016.
Oct. 30: Matthew West and Francesca Battistelli at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 7:30 p.m. Inspirational music and stories with special guest Mr. Talkbox. Tickets at crystalgrand.com.
Oct. 31: Last day to tour the International Crane Foundation, which closes for the season at 5:00 p.m. Learn about cranes and the organization’s global conservation programs on a guided tour with a naturalist at 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily weekends only in October. See the world’s 15 crane species that reside there; hike and bird through the Foundation’s restored prairie, wetland, and oak savanna ecosystems; and browse the gift shop. Visit www.savingcranes.org for more information.
Now–Nov. 15: Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch Fall Festival Season, Lodi, Friday 3:00 p.m.–10:30 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m.–10:30 p.m. with last maze admissions at 9:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m., last maze admission 5:00 p.m. A 15-acre corn maze voted sixth-best in the nation on a 200-acre family farm where they grow memories. This year’s maze is Fox And The Grapes. Horse-drawn wagon rides to its scenic pumpkin patch in October. Work the maze by flashlight and moonlight for an unforgettable evening experience. Details at treinenfarm.com.
Sept. 23–Nov. 1: Lombardi–The Play Dinner Theatre, The Palace Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Dinner is served 90 minutes before the show at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The inspiring story of a man’s desire to be a champion no matter the cost, and how he created one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Written by Academy Award winner Eric Simonson, this is a story of the American icon Vince Lombardi. Set in 1965 this brilliant play details the journey of a heroic man’s obsession for perfection and his family’s struggle to overcome the odds to help him create a legendary football team. A heartfelt and passionate performance. Tickets start at $49.95, which includes a three-course dinner. Learn more at www.dellspalace.com.
Hundreds of turkey vultures started congregating at Devil’s Lake State Park ahead of their fall migration on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. This usually occurs in mid October, and its unknown if this is a first wave and we’ll see this phenomena again next month, or if this is an earlier-than-usual departure.
If you enjoy seeing this annual congregation, come now. We don’t know how long this gathering will last. We have a few one-night weekend vacancies this weekend, Sept. 18–20, and some weekday openings now and next week.
Book a guest room here or call us at 608-356-9899.
If the date you prefer is booked in the online calendar, call us, sometimes we receive last-minute cancellations.
The Park is one of the largest staging areas in the Midwest for turkey vultures. More than 25 percent of Wisconsin’s population gathers here before flying to Central and South America for the winter.
See some fantastic photographs from Monday and Tuesday, and learn viewing tips by reading Derrick Mayoleth’s article at Devil’s Lake State Park’s online visitors’ guide here www.devilslakewisconsin.com.
You can see the birds soaring the thermal currents from both shores, in the early morning and early evening. We recommend hiking up south shore’s Balanced Rock Trail to stand level with the huge birds as they swoop within a few yards of you. It’s a sensory experience like no other.
Fall bird migration is underway and the trees are just starting to change color. It’s a beautiful time to…
- hit the miles of trails at and around the Inn at Wawanissee Point
- soak in the afternoon sun in our secluded prairie, glowing in its full fall color
See the prairie glowing from our Live Web Cam at the bottom of our home page at www.BestViewInWisconsin.com.
Join us the first weekend of October for the Wormfarm Institute’s Fermentation Fest—A Live Culture Convergence, Oct. 2–11, 2015, for a focus on fermentation in all its forms, from dance to yogurt, poetry to sauerkraut and art in farm fields. It’s a unique and fun way to enjoy the fall colors and bird migration just west of the Inn.
As farmers harvest crops this fall, professional artists from around the country, regional performers and community members will transform the working landscape around Reedsburg, Wis., into a magical Farm/Art DTour, exploring a new route through Sauk County’s farm country for the fifth-annual, multifaceted food and farming festival.
The Farm/Art DTour is a nationally recognized, free and interactive, 50-mile self-guided ride through working farmland punctuated by temporary art installations, pasture performances, interpretive field notes about agriculture, food stands and roadside poetry. Discover the DTour by car, buggy or bike—cue sheets and outfitters are available.
The DTour’s new route through the driftless-glaciated landscape continuum, nine miles west of Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wis., is this year’s highlight. Also new are limited-edition passports of special offers and limited editions to enrich DTourists’ travels through six rural hamlets.
Expect to experience an illuminated circus elephant, an ethereal ghost barn, stories told in storefront windows, a quilt painted by soil microbes, giant chimes rising out of the land that become an interactive percussion instrument, jars of fermenting cultures making music and much more.
Before beginning the DTour stop at the Reedsburg Area Chamber Of Commerce to get a free 20-page event guide with driving map, and the daily specials of performances and food.
Meanwhile in Reedsburg, 40 minutes northwest of the Inn, chefs, scientists, brewers and cheesemakers will offer more than 30 classes and tastings about fermented food and drink (kimchi, yogurt, hard cider, chocolate, cheese, beer, bread, etc.), preserving the harvest and the rural renaissance. Register for these online by Oct. 2 at www.fermentationfest.com.
Visit www.fermentationfest.com to view images from previous years, register for classes by Oct. 2, and find details to plan your trip.
Then join us in the lounge or snuggle beside the campfire in our secluded prairie to watch the waning harvest full moon rise over the vibrant fall colors of the Lake Wisconsin Valley and look for the beginnings of the Draconid meteor shower. Order a s’mores kit and some hot chocolate.
Reserve a guest room before they’re gone!
Call 608-355-9899 or click HERE. If the date you prefer is booked, call us, sometimes we receive last-minute cancellations.
Fall Color Report
Check the fall-color change throughout Wisconsin by viewing this map at travelwisconsin.com.
Other Fall Frolics Around Baraboo
Oct. 3: Harvest Fest At Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters Historic Site, 1824 State Road 33, Portage, with apple cider making and activities. This facility is one of the oldest French colonial log structures in Wisconsin, built in 1824. In 1828 the Army began constructing Fort Winnebago adjacent to this structure, one of three forts it built along the Fox-Wisconsin waterway from Green Bay to Prairie du Chien. The Army abandoned the Fort in 1845, then fire destroyed much of it in 1856, but the log cabin endured and became the U.S. Army surgeons’ quarters. It is the last remaining building of a military installation in the state. Winnebago is the name Sauk and Fox American Indian tribes gave to their neighboring tribe, the Ho-Chunk, and the European fur traders also used that name for the Ho-Chunk. Open May 30–Oct. 15, 2015, Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Admission $7.50. Learn more by calling 608-742-2949 and visiting http://www.fortwinnebagosurgeonsquarters.org.
Oct. 3 & 10: Elegant Dinner Train, Mid-Continent Railway Museum, E8948 Museum Rd., North Freedom, 5:30 p.m. Enjoy two-and-a-half hours in first-class service amid the brilliant hues of the Baraboo River valley as the sun sets while dining with a five-course gourmet meal and beverage choice by Elite Catering of Baraboo, served by uniformed staff. Reservations required, tickets $75.00 and $85.00. Arrive 25 minutes before departure. Reserve and details at www.midcontinent.org. Museum grounds open 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Oct. 3: Varshavski & Shapiro at the Portage Center For The Arts and Drury Gallery, 301 Cook St., Portage, 7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. One piano, four hands, one of the most renowned contemporary piano duos, dubbed “…an orchestra all its own!” by Madison Magazine. Call 608-742-5655 and visit www.portagecenterforthearts.com for ticket information. The Center And Gallery are open Wednesday to Friday 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m.
Oct. 7–9: Draconids Meteor Shower. The Draconid meteor shower is unusual because its radiant point stands highest in the sky as darkness falls so unlike many meteor showers, more Draconids are likely to fly in the evening than morning hours after midnight. This shower is minor, producing about 10 meteors per hour in most years. But in rare instances the fiery Draco has spewed many hundreds of meteors in a single hour. The waning crescent moon in 2015 rises at late night and won’t intrude. Watch at nightfall and early evening Oct. 7 and 8. Learn more here.
Oct. 9–11: Autumn Color Weekend Train Rides at Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom. Enjoy the brilliant hues of the Baraboo River valley during a 55-minute ride from restored vintage passenger cars along the former Chicago & North Western rail line. Coach, first-class and dining service available. And browse indoor and outdoor restored, vintage railway equipment displays. More at www.midcontinent.org.
Oct. 10: Annual Fall Fair On The Square in downtown Baraboo, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. More than 150 artists and crafters, farmers’ market, food court, live music and performances.
Oct. 10: Annual Fall Festival at Durward’s Glen Retreat & Educational Center, five minutes east of the Inn, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Walk the peaceful grounds aglow with fall’s colors or join a guided wagon tour of the historic grounds, shop for antiques, arts and crafts. Baked goods, brats and other refreshments available. For more information visit www.durwardsglen.org.
Oct. 10: Hip Hops: Back To The Future Of Hops And Brewing In Sauk County at the Tripp Heritage Museum, 565 Water St., downtown Prairie du Sac, 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. social hour, 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. presentation. Just more than a century ago Sauk County grew one fifth of the world’s hops. As the brewing industry again turns toward home-grown flavors, come taste the fruits of southwestern Wisconsin’s Gorst Valley Hops in the brews of Sauk City’s Woodshed Ale House while brewers from Vintage Brewery, homebrewers from the Sauk Prairie Bluff Hoppers and Gorst Valley growers share the history and dynamic future of this little brine that could. Tickets $10.00 or $5.00 with the Fermentation Fest Passport, include several microbrew samples and farm-to-table treats and are available at here. For more information call 608-644-8444 and visit www.saukprairiehistory.org.
Oct. 11: Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be closest to earth and the sun will fully illuminate its face. This is the best time to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
The first day of autumn 2015 arrives Wednesday, Sept. 23. Celebrate by kicking off a long weekend getaway to see the Baraboo Hills beginning to glow. While many fall weekends at the Inn at Wawanissee Point are booked as of Aug. 23, the first weekend of fall, Sept. 25–27, has vacancies.
The Sept. 28 Harvest Full Moon suggests evening frolics for the first autumn weekend like a hike through the prairie or around Devil’s Lake on Tumbled Rock Trail, and stargazing with s’mores by our secluded terrace fire. If you’re feeling adventurous try the Fox And The Grapes Treinen Farm Corn Maze in Lodi, Wis., by moonlight, then watch the Wisconsin River shimmer as you cross in the Merrimac Ferry on your ride back to the Inn. On Saturdays the last admission is 9:00 p.m. Learn more at treinenfarm.com.
Fall whets all our senses. The foliage turning a palette of gold, crimsons and rusts against the azure sky; crisp fresh apples and sweet cider brimming at farmers’ markets and Ski Hi Fruit Farm down the road; birds abound sweeping southward; the sun warming your cheeks and rising the smell of soil and crispy beneath your feet, mingling with the cooler breezes. Mmm…come escape and invigorate.
Consider Last Seasonal Visits To…
Flyways Waterfowl Museum, adjacent Devil’s Lake State Park’s north shore entrance. Fall hours until Oct. 31: Thursday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Closed Monday–Wednesday. 2015 New Exhibit: Ducks Of The Gulf Coastal Prairie. Learn more about at www.duckmusuem.com.
International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, open daily 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. through Oct. 31 Guided tours of the world’s 15 species of cranes that reside there weekends only 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Hike the Foundation’s restored prairie, wetland and oak savanna ecosystems. Visit www.savingcranes.org for more information.
Aldo Leopold Foundation And Center, nine miles northeast of Baraboo. Open six days a week through Oct. 31 to tour the Leopold Shack, hike interpretive nature trails and explore exhibits. Open weekdays only November–April. Great birding on the trails and along Rustic Road 49, which borders the Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area, 16,000 acres along the Wisconsin River, across the road from the Leopold Center, where 117 breeding species and at least 40 migrating bird species have been surveyed. Learn more at www.aldoleopold.org.
Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, open weekends until Oct. 18 and then only for special events. 50-minute ride through the Baraboo Bluffs departing at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Browse indoor and outdoor restored, vintage railway equipment displays. Learn more at www.midcontinent.org.
H.H. Bennett Studio, downtown Wisconsin Dells, open daily 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. until Oct. 25. Tour this inventive photojournalist’s second studio and see his original work, equipment and inventions. It is believed to be the oldest operating photography studio in the United States. Celebrating 150 Years of the H.H. Bennett Studio exhibit of photography and tourism in Wisconsin Dells. Learn more here.
Riverside & Great Northern Railway, Wisconsin Dells, open Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. with seven rides on the hour beginning at 10:00 a.m., weather permitting. A 15-inch gauge railroad with three miles of track through canyons, rock formations and wooded areas beside the Wisconsin River, and a living museum of preserved historic engines (steam and diesel) and passenger cars built by the Sandley Light Railway Equipment Works from 1950–1980. Hand-operated turntable turns the locomotive twice during the ride. Exhibits and learning center, Museum Store and picnic area. Details at dellstrain.com.
Historic Indian Agency House, Portage, open until October 15, Monday–Saturday 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., with guided tours of this Federal-style house built in 1832 by the U.S. government, one of the oldest in the state and is outfitted with period furnishings. Between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, at the end of Rustic Road 69, along the historic Portage Canal bordered on one side by wetland habitat. Across the road is a trailhead to the Ice Age Trail’s Portage segment, a 0.75-mile path of flat, easy hiking and bird watching in the woods and along the canal. Picnic tables on the grounds. Learn more at www.agencyhouse.org.
Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters Historic Site, Portage, open Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. until Oct. 15, 2015. One of the oldest French colonial log structures in Wisconsin, built in 1824, operated first as one of three U.S. Amry forts along the Fox-Wisconsin waterway, then became the U.S. Army surgeons’ quarters. The last remaining military installation building in the state. Winnebago is the name Sauk and Fox American Indian tribes gave to their neighboring tribe, the Ho-Chunk. Details at www.fortwinnebagosurgeonsquarters.org.
Fall Color Report
Monitor the fall-color change throughout Wisconsin by viewing this map at travelwisconsin.com.
Book a guest room today!
Call us at 608-355-9899 or click HERE.
If your preferred date is booked, call us, sometimes we receive last-minute cancellations.
Events First Fall Weekend
Sept. 23–Nov. 1: Lombardi–The Play Dinner Theatre, The Palace Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Dinner is served 90 minutes before the show at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The inspiring story of American icon Vince Lombardi’s desire to be a champion no matter the cost, creating one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Written by Academy Award winner Eric Simonson. Learn more at www.dellspalace.com.
Sept. 25–Nov. 15: Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch Fall Festival Season, W12420 State Hwy 60, Lodi, Friday 3:00 p.m.–10:30 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m.–10:30 p.m. with last maze admissions at 9:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m., last maze admission 5:00 p.m. A 15-acre corn maze voted sixth-best in the nation on a 200-acre family farm where they grow memories. Horse-drawn wagon rides to its scenic pumpkin patch in October. Work the maze by flashlight and moonlight for an unforgettable evening experience. Details at treinenfarm.com.
Sept. 26: The Art Of Nature at the Aldo Leopold Center, nine miles northeast of Baraboo at E13701 Levee Rd. (Rustic Road 49), 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. An active, reflective, intense and engaging day of presentations by local artists and naturalists, hikes and creative exercises presented by the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the New Tree School. The art of seeing nature is a creative discipline. Nature, like art, is an outward reality and an inward process. Freeing the naturalist inside each of us is an act of creativity. Artistic expression expands, sharpens and deepens our perception of nature. Registration is limited and costs $85.00 for nonmembers, $75.00 for members. Learn more at www.aldoleopold.org.
Sept. 26: Guided Hike CCC/Balanced Rock Trail at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Meet at the bird effigy mound adjacent the south shore parking lot, seven minutes southwest of the Inn. This is a challenging, steep hike straight up the south face of the east bluff with rewarding views at the top. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail [email protected] with questions.
Sept. 28: Harvest Full Moon, and Total Lunar Eclipse when the moon passes completely through earth’s dark shadow, or umbra. The moon gradually gets darker and then takes on a rusty or blood red color during this type of eclipse. The moon turns full at 10:51 p.m. EDT and just 51 minutes earlier it will arrive at its closest point to earth in 2015. In Wisconsin watch between 8:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Learn more at NASA’s Eclipse Web site here.