Into The Wilds

Ah, that glorious summer institution – the vacation. We had ours last week – six blissful days of no work, no alarm clocks, no schedules, and nothing but fun things to do. Call us crazy, but we decided to go camping with our toddler. We didn’t lose our heads entirely though – we decided to camp for the first two nights and then spend the remainder in a motel, like normal people.

Best vacation ever! As it turns out, Little Man loves to hike. And play at the beach, and sleep in a tent and roast marshmallows (okay, watch Dad roast marshmallows – he is only almost two). Bedtime the first night was a little rough, but once he got acclimated he was all set. We spent three days/two nights at Governor Dodge State Park in Wisconsin. It’s a nice park, but not a super great one. They don’t maintain the trails really well and they don’t have family showers/bathrooms, but the campground and facilities were nice enough, and there were some beautiful views –


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After camping, we headed down to Mt. Horeb and stayed the rest of the trip at the Village Inn Motel, where we stay each time we visit the Madison area. It’s a great little motor inn – basic amenities, clean and a good price, which makes it a perfect home base.

We spent some time visiting the shops in Mt. Horeb. There’s a nice little bookstore and a couple of good-sized antique stores that I like. I was excited to find a few great deals – two milk glass hobnail lamps, some calico fabric and a 1961 edition of the Betty Crocker Outdoor Cookbook.

We also had dinner one night at the brewpub in town, The Grumpy Troll. We had another dinner at The Great Dane, and got some excellent take out barbecue on our way out of town from Smokey Jon’s. In Madison, we visited the Henry Vilas Zoo, The Olbrich Botanical Gardens and the University of Wisconsin’s demonstration garden at the Spooner Agricultural Research Center. All three are free to the public and make for a really fun afternoon of exploring. We also spent a little time at Governor Nelson State Park to play on the beach and watch the fireworks display for the 4th of July.

On our drive home, we stopped at Little Amerricka in Marshall, WI and had an awesome time. It’s basically an amusement park aimed at little kids – they’ve got all the classic stuff you’d find at a good county fair, like a carousel, ferris wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl, bumper cars and all of the rotating helicopter/car/firetruck/boat rides a little kid could want. They also have an incredible two-mile small-gauge steam train that we all liked so much we rode it twice. We’ll definitely be heading back there the next time we’re up that way.

All in all it was a great trip and we really enjoyed it. Now that we know Little Man likes to camp and hike, we’re planning another weekend getaway back to Wisconsin for a little more; we’re thinking about Kettle Moraine. We have to get in as many outdoor adventures as we can while summer is here!


2 thoughts on “Into The Wilds

  1. That sounds really nice! Wisconsin is one of the small handful of states I have yet to visit, although the American Cheese Society conference is in Madison this summer…
    My primary association with Wisconsin is from the Little House in the Big Woods- enjoyed your more modern adventures.

    • You should definitely visit – there’s really something for everyone there, and it’s beautiful country. One of our favorite spots – the UP of Michigan is beautiful as well, especially in the fall.

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