Scenic Historic Highlands Day Trips
The Old World ethnic communities of southern Southwest Wisconsin beckon you back in time as you pass through some of the most scenic parts of Wisconsin, visit a state historic site, tour a winery or hike and bike area trails.
The Uplands area is served by these member inns:
Village of Belleville
Belleville, French for "beautiful village", is only 15 minutes South of the vibrant State Capital of Madison. Its tree lined streets and scenic Lake Belle View welcome visitors to an old mill town on the Sugar River and the UFO Capital of the Universe. Historic Library Square in the center of town offers a peaceful spot to bike or hike the new 32-mile Badger State Trail. Bike north to Basco and the Cameo Rose Victorian Country Inn or south to the old Stewart Tunnel - a 1200-foot long railroad tunnel built in 1887. Be sure to take a flashlight as the tunnel curves.
New Glarus - America's Little Switzerland
Drive 8 miles west to New Glarus - "America's Little Switzerland". Enjoy the many Swiss storefronts, visit the Swiss Historical Museum for a great tour, check-out the New Glarus Brewery and the New Glarus Bakery, or hike or bike the New Glarus Woods State Park or the Sugar River State Bike Trail.
Mineral Point, Heart of the Driftless. Founded in the early 1800’s by miner’s searching for lead, Mineral Point is the first city in Wisconsin to be placed on the National Register of Historic places and continues win awards and distinctions for historic preservation as well as for a place to visit.
Mineral Point has over a dozen art galleries plus working artist studios, live theater and performances, art classes at Shake Rag Alley and special art events including 4 yearly Gallery Nights, the Fall Art Tour, Clay in May and the Driftless Film Festival.
Historic sites include Pendarvis House Wisconsin State Historic Site, the Orchard Lawn Historic estate, the Mineral Point Railway Depot Museum and the Mineral Point Opera House. The downtown streets are lined with distinctive limestone buildings and the neighborhoods are full of lovely restored homes.
And of course there is food, everything from a brewpub, to fine dining, to home style Japanese, to old fashioned diners, to friendly Wisconsin taverns.
All this in the heart of the Driftless region with beautiful roads to drive or ride, and short distances to state parks and major attractions such as House on the Rock, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen and American Players Theater.Shake Rag Alley was the original business district when the area was first settled and today acts as a central campus of a town-wide arts and crafts education center.
NE on Hwy 151 is Dodgeville. Governor Dodge State Park is a short drive up Hwy 23. Horse lovers can rent a horse at the stable across from the park entrance for a ride though the park. For bikers, the Military Ridge Trail heads east from Dodgeville to Verona.
Continue East on Hwy 151 to Barneveld for wine tasting at the picturesque Botham Vineyards on Hwy K.
East on Hwy 18 & 151 to Verona and South 6 miles on Hwy 69 to historic Paoli on the Sugar River. This small restored community offers several unique art galleries, specialty shops and some fine eateries.
There is so much to see and do in Southwest Wisconsin you'll want to budget lots of time for your visit!