Charlie and Mike spent a couple of days traveling up to LaCrosse, Wisconsin and back. About a couple of monthly later, Melody and I found ourselves back in LaCrosse. We drove through Dubuque in Iowa, and then the Wisconsin towns of Dickeyville, Landcaster, Westby, Readstown, Viroqua, Coon Valley, and stayed overnight in LaCrosse. This transect through the southwestern part of Wisconsin is a good cross section of the Driftless Area. The Driftless Area is a bedrock plateau kind of centered in the corners of Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. There are lots of stream valleys, hollows, and coulees with dairy farms and scenic views of the bluffs.
We ran out to the New Melleray Abby for a quick tour. We visited the Monk's church, gift shop, and outdoor Rosary stations of the cross. The monestary is an peacefull valley southwest of Dubuque.
We found a very tasty bakery in the town of Lancaster. We highly recommend the very legit molases cookies.
The heart of this Driftess adventure was the town of Viroqua. There is much to do in this town. The stops include Kickapoo Coffee and Artisan Roasters, Gary's Rock Shop, Viroqua Food Co-op, Driftless Angler fly shop (by appointment only during the winter), Driftless Books (closed over the winter), Viva's Gallery (local artists), and the Driftless Cafe. There is a lot going on in Viroqua. Great stops for hot beverages and farm to table meals not to mention some nice Wisconsin state fossils - trilobites.
This old tobacco building pictured above was repurposed as a used bookstore. Gotta love old buidlings being brought back to life.
Another place worth the stop is Kickapoo Trading Post in Readstown south of Viroqua. The collectables and antiques are nicely displayed and there is a lot of stuff around inside and around the outside of this building.
We enjoyed our time in LaCrosse too. The downtown park along the Mississippi River was used to display Holiday lights and exhibits. We walked around the downtown area to enjoy the retailers and architecture. Had a couple of great burgers at The Old Crow. The Pearl Street Books is a must stop.
Other great places to see in the downtown area of LaCrosse included an old hardware store - Korners Hardware, Peoples Food Co-op, upstairs of People's is Hackberrys Bistro (Farm to Fork), Dim Sum Tea Shop, and Root Note coffee shop.
The Root Note Coffee Shop
On the way home we stopped at the award winning Westby Locker and Meats for some summer sauage, kielbasa, and lefse. Great Norweigens traditions. We did not take Grandma's recommendation on the Lutefisk meatball mix though.