Photo by Arisa Chattasa
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Just southeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul, you can cross the river to Prescott, WI, and enter onto the Wisconsin Great River Road. When you’re looking for outdoor activities, and the space to do them, the Wisconsin Great River Road offers many opportunities. Only an hour away from the Twin Cities, Pierce County offers a wealth of ideas to get outside among its picturesque rural communities while continuing to offer unique artisan experiences at its many boutiques, vineyards, breweries, and galleries.
Kinnickinnic State Park
Beautiful in all seasons. Kinnickinnic State Park is well known for its beach and boating in the summer. Fall and winter bring out the beauty of the forests and the hiking trails take on an ethereal landscape. Well maintained and gently sloping trails are a hallmark of this park. Trails with more hills can lead to further adventures among the gorges and coulees that mark the terrain. A winter sledding hill provides hours of family fun. Cross country skiers will find groomed trails, while snowshoers and winter hikers are welcome on the many non-groomed trails.
Looking forward to a Grand Re-Opening in 2021, Crystal Cave takes you 70 feet below ground into Wisconsin’s longest cave system. Learn about the cave geology and biology (the cave is home to four species of cave bats), along with cave history. On the surface, the kids will enjoy searching for real gems and fossils at Prospector’s Creek, and hiking on the nature trail that takes you past sinkholes formed by the same erosive forces that carved the caves.
Vineyards & Wineries
Cold varieties of grapes and early harvest varieties have led to a bloom of vineyards in Wisconsin, and Pierce County is no exception. Bella Vinez in River Falls are wines with a family story to tell. They have winter hours to enjoy brick oven pizza, gorgeous scenery, and tasty wines. Maiden Rock Apples, Winery & Cidery in Maiden Rock offers gluten-free ciders and wines made from local fruit. They offer tours and a fall straw maze, along with personalized classes in winemaking. Petersen Vineyards in Ellsworth makes the Diablo Sunset, the wine to try, their ports are impressive as well. Call ahead to schedule a tasting. Vino in the Valley offers an outdoor dining experience in the spring and summer. Fall and winter offer the gorgeous leaf colors and then horse-drawn sleigh rides among the vines, winter activities coming back for the 2021 season.
Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery
A visit to the Wisconsin Great River Road in Pierce County must include a stop for Wisconsin cheese. The Ellsworth Creamery is open daily for you to visit. There is nothing like fresh Wisconsin cheese curds, and you can’t get them much fresher than straight from the creamery. Every morning at 11:00 the freshest batch is ready for sale. When you bite down and they squeak, you know you got the good stuff. They offer a free wine and cheese pairing guide so you know what cheeses to try with the local wines you picked up.
Winter 2020 Events
What: Prescott Daze of Winter
When: November 28, 1-5
Where: No Name Saloon parking lot – Prescott, WI
About: Join musicians and vendors at a holiday market. Downtown lighting at 5 pm.
What: New work from Mulitcolores Artists / Guatemala!
When: November 28 & 29
Where: Cultural Cloth – Maiden Rock, WI
About: Cultural Cloth owners co-founded an artisan based non-profit, called Multicolores, in Guatemala and the artists have been recognized by the Aspen Institute, The International Folk Art Market, and more. Meet Maddy Kreider Carlson, Multicolores’ Creative Director in our Maiden Rock store Nov 28 and 29 during store hours. Maddy will bring a selection of the artists’ newest embroidered story cloths and hooked rugs.
What: Grand Opening of The Nest Gallery & Art Studio
When: November 28 (9:00 am – 5:00pm)
Where: The Nest Gallery & Art Studio in Maiden Rock
About: We will be celebrating Maiden Rock’s newest gallery featuring art from local and regional artists and craftspeople. We are offering door prizes and free gift wrapping for any purchases.