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Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

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Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

I am planning a vacation to Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the North of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Please offer advice on the Wisconsin part of my itinerary:

9/6 - Fly into Milwaukee

9/7 - Milwaukee to Madison (Old World Wisconsin, Hoard History Museum, Azatlan SP)

9/8 - Madison (Devils Lake SP)

9/9 - Madison to LaCrosse (New Glarus, Blue Mounds Cave, House in the Rock, Amish Country in the LaFarge area)

9/10 - LaCrosse to Duluth via Great River Road (Interstate SP, Banning SP, Jay Cooke SP)

9/11 - Minnesota Lake Superior north coast

9/12 - Duluth to Ashland or Washburn (Amicon Falls SP, Pattison SP, WIS 13 along lake)

9/13 - Ashland/Washburn (Apostle Isands)

9/14 - Ashland/Washburn to Tomahawk (Waswagoning, Concrete Sculpture Park)

9/15 - Tomahawk to UP Michigan

9/17 - 9/21 - UP Michigan

9/22 - Menominee/Marinette to Sturgeon Bay (Door County SPs)

9/23 - Sturgeon Bay (Door County SPs)

9/24 - Sturgeon Bay to Milwaukee

9/25 - Milwaukee (Public Museum, Discovery World)

9/26 - ?

9/27 - depart from Milwaukee

On 9/26, should I go to Chicago or add this day somewhere earlier in the trip?

Is this itinerary too aggressive? (I don't mind moving around if it maximizes seeing the highlights of the area)

Any off-the-beaten path places or other highlights that I've missed?

Any lodging and restaurant recommendation are welcome as well.

Thanks in advance!

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1. Re: Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

I'll offer that if I were you, I wouldn't try to squeeze Chicago into that one day (the 26th). It's an amazing city with so much to do... but with SO much to do, that you'd be selling yourself short trying to squeeze that day. I would stay in Milwaukee, and either split your museums to one each day, or add some more things on that second day.

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2. Re: Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

As for Madison- staying downtown near the Capitol Square is what I would recommend. The 7th is Ironman Wisconsin, and some athletes will stay that night too, so you'll have to see what you can get for hotel rooms. There will be road closures due to the event, so you may need to call whatever hotel and see the route they recommend. Last year's road closures are found here:

http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/wisconsin/~/media/fb0cca1f62774e6780bbfc99e5eea12d.ashx

Ironman itself is great to watch- the athletes are amazing and so inspirational. Devil's Lake is about an hour each way out and back from Madison, but staying in Madison makes sense based on your next day. If you have time while visiting Devil's Lake the International Crane Foundation is not far away in Baraboo, and is definitely unique and worth a visit. Blue Mound State Park is near Cave of the Mounds, and on clear days the views from the lookout towers are worth the trek up them. Mt Horeb is a neat town (I think you will hit it on your way from New Glarus to Blue Mound), and if you like beer I would have lunch at the Grumpy Troll Brewpub.

As for rushed- it kind of depends on what you like to do. If you are a hiker, you probably will fill rushed, especially on the days you are listing several Minnesota state parks. I've spent a whole weekend in Jay Cooke and several whole weekends in the north shore Minnesota state parks. Have you mapped out the driving time from La Crosse to Duluth on the River Rd? You could also easily spend another day visiting Madison.

If you want to spend the night on the north shore of Lake Superior, we always stayed at the Poplar River Condos part of Lutsen resort. It's been a few years since we've been there, but I always enjoyed our stays and we kept going back!

If you say more about your interests, I may have more recommendations for the Madison area.

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3. Re: Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

The International Crane Foundation I second along with Circus World for some great history. Baraboo was recognized nationally as a great small town worth checking out. The River Road is a fabulous choice. La Crosse has Riverside Park/Granddad Bluff and more. Cross over to Wabasha, MN and check out the National Eagle Center you won't be disappointed and nearby Lark Toys is neat as well.

New Glarus--New Glarus Brewing, Chalet Landhaus, authentic Swiss dining, and the Sugar River Trail. In Mount Horeb as mentioned The Grumpy Troll I second and the trolls in town are fun too. Monroe is great for everything cheese. The cave is great and Little Norway is nearby too if it's open www.littlenorway.com.

The Toy Train Barn in Argyle is fun too for the right person.

On the Great River Road in Alma check out Castlerock Museum which is wonderfully interesting and Buena Vista Overlook above and aditionally Rieck's Lake Park (tundra swans and more).

Aztalan is a great park to breeze through with interesting history and is easy to get to near Lake Mills. Old World Wisconsin is fabulous.

Edited: 08 July 2014, 13:16
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4. Re: Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

Little Norway is closed until further notice. Very sad - love that place!!!!

My concern with your plan would be on 9/9, I don't think you can do all of those in one day. You are doing a lot of driving, for one thing, and House on the Rock can take 3-4 hours or more if you really want to look at everything there. Since the Amish don't use electricity, their shops close earlier than what you would expect anywhere else - but wouldn't be an issue if you aren't planning to shop in that area.

Have a great trip - you are going to see a lot of wonderful country!

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5. Re: Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

What plans do you have for arrival day? What time of day do you arrive? If you arrive early enough you could plan some activities in Milwaukee and maybe stay downtown. If you arrive later and don't plan to do much you might look for a room in a suburban area like New Berlin. That would get you a head start on your next day's travel to Old World Wisconsin.

Make sure to plan enough time for House on the Rock. There is a lot to see. Your Madison to La Crosse day will take a considerable amount of time driving on back roads, but you have chosen a very scenic route.

If you want to day trip to Chicago I suggest taking Amtrak and have a plan for what you want to see in the central part of Chicago. There are many more things to do in Milwaukee and the surrounding area if you decide to skip Chicago.

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6. Re: Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

Delafield is a nice stopping/staying point before heading to Old World too. It's "Langtown" and has quiet an appeal for scenic beauty and downtown. Lapham Peak is nearby too. http://www.visitdelafield.org/

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7. Re: Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

Granddad's Bluff in LaCrosse has a terrific view of the Mississippi River Valley.

If, and only if, you have time, stop at Lock and Dam 5A (south of Fountain City) and see if you can catch a tow locking through.

Edited: 08 July 2014, 19:22
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8. Re: Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

Wanted to add that I agree with the comment about the 9th being too full. House on the Rock in and of itself will take a half day.

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9. Re: Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

2 other quick stops near Aztalan are the Milton House in Milton. an old stagecoach inn that served as a stop on Underground Railroad and has a hidden underground passage- would take about 45-60 minutes. Also the Lake Koshkonong county park Indian mounds near Milton would be about a 20 minute stroll. if you have never seen Indian mounds it is interesting ans sometimes there are turkey in the area.

I think you should add your extra day to either 9/9 or to Duluth/ north Shore so you could get up to Split Rock light and Gooseberry falls .

In Milwaukee don't forget about the Harley Davidson Museum, which I would advise over Discovery museum.

Near

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10. Re: Late summer road trip - advice on Wisc section

You might also fit in a stop at Wollersheim winery near Baraboo. It is on the National historic register and a very pretty setting as well as a nice tour and tasting

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