16649 96th Avenue Chippewa Falls, WI 54729

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5 Reasons to Travel Locally

Got the travel bug and feeling unable to scratch that itch? It’s time to set everything aside and hop in the car for a weekend getaway. With the ease of road trips and the spontaneity it allows, you don’t have to spend hours planning, just book a place to sleep, and hit the road. The memories are sure to make themselves. Here are 5 reasons to travel locally. 

1. Skip the travel days that eat up precious vacation time.

Driving to the airport, flying from one plane to the next, to then drive some more, and finally check-in. While these getaways have perks of their own, you can utilize those travel days to instead be sipping Cab Sav at River Bend Vineyard, or hitting balls on the back 9 at Lake Wissota Golf. Sounds much better, don’t you think?

bakery

2. Allows for sponteneity

When you’ve got your car, a pal, and good spirits, those roadside stops can become the most memorable part of the trip. Feeling hungry? Time for a stop a local bakery. Time to stretch the legs? Check out the nearest State Park. These laid back drives will make your 14 year old self proud. We all know we told ourselves we’d do this. 

3. Explore your home

Why should tourists get to experience the best of your area when you haven’t capitalized on all it has to offer? Fall in love again with your area, rent a canoe and find a water access beach for a picnic. These plans are always within reach near home, but we might not make it happen enough. Find that waterfall you’ve seen friends photos of, and enjoy the local scenery on the way.

passing box from 1 hand to the next

4. Keep the $$ to yourselves

By travelling locally you’re able to keep the money within your community, knowing exactly where it ends up. You might get a chance to meet some of the latest entrepreneurs and make some new community connections.

the girls laughing together

5. Travel more frequently

Vacations are known for providing a sort of reset that rejuvenates us to our cores. Spending all your vacation fund on one trip can be grand, but the short and frequent trips might leave you feeling like your cup is more full.

Make a list of all the things you’d like doing near you. I bet there’s a lot you haven’t done yet. Set some goals to cross some of these things off and see how it feels. We can almost guarantee you won’t regret it.

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A Winter Walk through Irvine Park

Winter Scene of Duncan Creek

Duncan Creek in Irvine Park

 

This January has brought a wide variety of temperatures and not a lot of snow in the Chippewa Valley.  We took an opportunity one Sunday afternoon that offered somewhat balmy temperatures (for January, that is) to take a winter walk through Irvine Park in downtown Chippewa Falls.  A chance to get outdoors and spend time with friends could not be passed up on this particular day.  The weather had warmed to near freezing after several days of sub-zero temps, so we were all anxious to get out and about.  As transplants to the area just a few years ago, Roger & I still have plenty of exploring to do in the Chippewa Valley in order for us to get to know the area.  We were somewhat surprised when our friends suggested a winter walk in the park.  We have visited Irvine Park during the holiday season as it is lit up with over 100,000 lights and Christmas scenes displayed throughout the park.  It has turned out to be an annual holiday tradition for our family, as it is for many families in the Chippewa Valley.  Yet, we had never considered truly exploring the park after the Christmas Village closes for the season.

On such a beautiful January afternoon we were not surprised to find the park filled with plenty of other visitors.  Families with young children who were having all kinds of fun sledding, or just running around expending pent up energy!  Young couples enjoying some quality time for just the two of them, and, of course, us older folks just happy enough to have something different to do and get some exercise in the process.

 

Naturally formed ice sculpture

Naturally formed ice sculpture in Beer Cave at Irvine Park

Even though the park was busy, there was plenty of parking available.  We parked on Bear Den Road then headed out for our winter walk.  I was pleased to find the roads within the park had been plowed, which made walking easy.  Our first stop was the Beer Cave.  This is actually a registered Wisconsin Historical Marker.  It was originally put to use by the Schmitmayer Brewing Company.  The cave was a great place to keep the beer cold, even in the summer.  There is a shaft towards the back of the cave that goes to the street above, this is where the beer was lowered into the cave.  On this cold January afternoon there was a beautiful naturally formed ice sculpture from the water dripping onto the cave floor.

 

Further exploration brought us to a bridge which spans Duncan Creek.  What a beautiful sight this was.  The beauty and wonder that mother nature has to offer in the winter is nothing less than spectacular.

Bridge over Duncan Creek

Bridge over Duncan Creek at Irvine Park

It took my breath away for the serenity of it.  The quiet sounds of the rushing water, the stark contrasts of the white snow and ice against the blackness of the water.  What is it about water that is so mesmerizing?  If find myself instantly relaxing any time I am near a body of water.

 

Once we crossed the creek we found ourselves at the Bison exhibit.  Irvine Park is extremely fortunate to have a couple of white bison, and we were even more fortunate to see one of them that afternoon.  They certainly are impressive animals.  Their thick fur coats have them well prepared for the winter cold.  Then down the road further we found the bear den followed by the cougar den.  In the aviary we saw a variety of owls.  While the welcome center wasn’t open, we did marvel at the new center which opened the summer of 2016.  The park will be adding features to the welcome center this year.  We walked past the duck pond and on to wolf drive.  Here we saw some stunning frozen waterfalls on the sides of the limestone walls in the park.

Once we had our fill of fresh air and exercise we headed to the Leinie Lodge, which is just across the street from Irvine Park.  Leinie’s is a great place to get out of the cold and sip a few seasonal samplers by their huge fireplace and spend time with friends.

Leinie’s Lodge Fireplace

After a 2-mile walk in the park and a few beers, we were getting hungry.  There’s a new place in Chippewa Falls called the Blue Marble Pub.  In July of 2017 Heather Marble opened the Prohibition-themed pub which specializes in wood fired pizzas.  Their grinders, which are subs baked in the wood fired oven, are also popular among the patrons.  A short walk from Leinie’s Lodge, stop in for a bite to eat or grab a glass of beer or wine.

wood fired pizza

Pizza made in the wood-fired pizza oven at the Blue Marble in downtown Chippewa Falls.

So, all in all, it was a great afternoon and evening spent in downtown Chippewa Falls, even if it was January.  Sometimes the hardest part about getting out and about on a winter weekend is getting out of your chair and putting on your coat and gloves.  I’m so glad we seized the opportunity for a winter walk, and I hope you will do the same soon.  Don’t forget, there’s always something to do in the Chippewa Valley and Inn on Lake Wissota is happy to host you while you’re here.  We hope to greet you as one of our guests sometime soon!

It’s Official – Wisconsin has the best Cheese!

 
 
 
Well, I am proud to say a Wisconsin Cheese has won the World Championship Cheese Contest held in Madison, WI earlier this month.  We offer up hearty Congratulations to Emmi Roth USA for it’s winning entry of  Roth® Grand Cru® Surchoix cheese.   Even though the contest is held in Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland, the judges are a well rounded panel of cheese experts from around the world.  In fact, the last time any cheese from the U.S. won the Grand Prize was in 1988.  I don’t claim to be a cheese expert or connoisseur, but, I do appreciate a variety of cheeses.  In fact, I would go so far to say that many of us Wisconsinites have a tendency to complain when we travel to other states and find the selection of cheeses to be lacking.  I believe this is a reflection of how fortunate we are to live in a place where excellent cheese makers abound. Continue reading

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