Friday, August 21, 2015

Wisconsin WithOUT Kids - Great River Road {Pepin}

Do you know the difference between a trip and a vacation?

Trip = with kids
Vacation = withOUT kids

We were fortunate to take a two day vacation this summer to the Lake Pepin area of the Mississippi River.  First off, Warren trained Nick on the irrigation system.  Due to the dry weather and new cranberry vine plantings daily irrigation was/is necessary.  That being done, I stocked up on kid friendly food and left a few notes of what should be done, then we packed our bags, grabbed some cash and drove off into the sunrise.  Yes, we got outta there early.  

We drove along Hwy 35, Great River Road, through a number of very small towns.  Our first major stop was at the Monarch Public House in Fountain City for an afternoon meal.  We both opted for American instead of Irish cuisine and had an outstanding fish dinner.  Warren doesn't like tartar sauce, but after convincing him to try it he declared it delicious.  Even the coleslaw was delish.  And Warren had the best Bock beer I've ever tasted.  Did you catch that?  He ordered it, I drank it.

Longest running bar in Wisconsin
 Then we headed down the street to the Fountain City historical museum, a one room deal.  A local resident donated his collection of 1700 spearheads and arrowheads.  That was quite a sight.  The historian shared the story of the Rock in the House.  And it became our next stop.

A 55 ton boulder crashed into the master bedroom of this house and is still there.  Pay $2, see the destruction.

Continuing North along Hwy 35 we stopped at Nelson Creamery for an ice cream cone.  They have quite a variety of snacks for purchase and I bought some beer sticks (beef sticks).  The back patio was very pretty and relaxing.  It was a nice shady spot to eat our ice cream.

French silk -YUM!
 Next stop was our motel, Great River Amish Inn.  We got settled in, read over the attraction brochures and then made our way to Lake City, Minnesota for a moonlight paddleboat cruise.

We couldn't have planned our vacation for a better night because there was a full moon.  Pearl of the Lake paddleboat runs a moonlight cruise on full moon nights.  We boarded early for a 7-9 pm cruise.  It was a nice clear evening for watching the sunset and moonrise. 

Since our lunch was at 3 pm, after the paddleboat tour we were ready for some din.  It was 9:45 when we got back to Pepin.  We stopped into The Pickle Factory and our waitress was a dream.  She said as long as we could make our menu selection within the next minute or two the kitchen would still be open.  That was a fun place with great music and good food.

Day 2 brought more food.  Brunch at Homemade Cafe.  We got pretty standard breakfast fare.  The decor is so cute and again great service.  

We walked around Pepin, checking out all the little shops including this neat tinsmith and blacksmith store.  It appeared to be a husband and wife team.  He's the blacksmith and she the tinsmith.  They were enjoyable to talk with and allowed us to watch them work for a bit.

We also spent quite some time sitting on the benches along Lake Pepin near the marina watching sailboats and fisherman.  Simply relaxing and soaking up the sunshine.

I had seen a snippet in a travel brochure about the Maiden Rock overlook.  Supposedly it's one of the best places to spot Peregrine Falcons and see a large expanse of the Mississippi River.  We drove to the top, following the directions to a "T".  We did spot two falcons, but never quite found the overlook.  We found a grown over parking area and a trail of sorts, but nothing that looked inviting.  We didn't want to risk getting to the edge and not knowing it.

We spotted an orchard and stopped in.  They offered 5 free samples of their wines and ciders.  We tried a few and settled on purchasing a bottle of Dolgo Crabapple wine.

 And then once again we were at ground level and stopped off at the historical marker for Maiden Rock.  One look up at the rock and I'm glad we didn't try to find the path to the outlook

And that's all she wrote.  One more stop for ice cream in Mondovi and we drove home, happy to be altogether again......until I looked in the laundry room and out at my drooping flowers and down at the dry garden and......

And that's Wisconsin WithOUT Kids {Lake Pepin edition}


  1. Looks like a perfect little get away. When you have a big family even lunch out as a couple can feel like a mini vacation.

  2. @ Neen, you are absolutely right.


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