You know what my favorite part of the trip always is? The very beginning... getting up before dawn, making the coffee, grabbing my pillow and piling in the car. Crisp early morning air, quiet, not much traffic yet, full of anticipation. I love driving through towns while its still dark and the lights are just coming on in houses. I imagine people getting out of bed and starting the coffee and brushing their teeth, getting kids out of bed for school, putting the dog out, packing lunches. People getting ready for the new day and wondering what it will bring them.
Wisconsin Dells (from French dalles, or narrows) is a 5-mile (8-km) gorge on the Wisconsin River in southern Wisconsin. It is noted for its scenic beauty, in particular for its unique sandstone rock formations and tributary canyons.
This was the second time for us to visit the Dells. We stopped for just a day years and years ago. This time we went off season and the leaves had already fallen so it was quite barren but it is still a nice area. The cliffs and side canyons are not open to the public as it is a protected ecological area. The area is owned by the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources. You can take a boat tour in the upper and lower Dells to view the gorgeous scenery. There are also Duck tours that are lots of fun. The Duck is an amphibious vehicle that travels on land and in the water. We did that last time we were there. This time we took the boat tour. The lower dells had such low water levels that the boats couldn't go on that section of the river. The Wisconsin River is a tributary of the Mississippi River and is 430 miles long, the states longest river. For more info on the Wisconsin River go here...
The photographer H.H. Bennett made the Dells area a tourist attraction with his gorgeous photos of the region taken between 1865 and 1908. Bennett invented the stop action shutter for cameras allowing him to take action shots. At the time it took several minutes for the picture to be captured and the subject had to sit perfectly still. He took a picture of his son jumping from the cliff to a formation know as Stand Rock to show his skeptics that it really worked. He operated a photography studio in Wisconsin Dells until his death in 1908. His family operated it until 1999 when the building was restored to its 1908 appearance and became a historical site operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The Wisconsin River has a rich lumber history. To read more about it go here and here. The water in the river is brown. Tannic acid from the bark and roots of tamarack and oak trees causes the dark color.
Wisconsin, home of the best football team in the US - The Greenbay Packers, is also known for it's cheese! I ate cheese curds for the first time, a little dry but good. They are called 'squeaky cheese'. To learn more about curds go to Eat Curds its a fun site!
We had a nice quiet week, took a boat tour, hiked a trail down to the river and walked on a beach area along it, walked around downtown and hit the souvenir shops that were still open. Bought lots of cheese! Went to the outlet mall (got a pair of yoga pants at Jockey-I will never wear jeans again!). At night we sat by a beautiful fire and read and played scrabble. In the summer the Dells are packed with people. It was nice to experience it in the down time, have time to talk to the shop keepers and learn about the area. The people of Wisconsin are very friendly and kind. We had a condo on the river and the sunsets were gorgeous. I had a little black squirrel who came up to the sliding glass door each day and peer in to see if I had anything to give him to eat. Yep, the Dells are a nice place to visit, go if you get the chance!
|Chimney Rock, although I think it looks more like a stack of pancakes!|
|My little black squirrel. He loved Lara Bars!|
|The cows in the corn field! I love cows!|
|His and hers! Go Packers!|
|from the balcony|
|a perfect end to the day!|