Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods

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Little Norway and the Mt. Horeb Area

little norway

For the second half of our excursion, we ventured north to visit Little Norway and the Mt. Horeb area. After checking in to a Hilton Garden Inn on the west side of Madison, we took some time to relax, and tried to figure out where to go for dinner. The Kentucky Derby was running – it was May 3rd – and I really wanted a mint julep. Can you believe that no one had any mint? And two of the three bartenders we asked didn’t even know how to make one! One bartender didn’t even know that the Derby was taking place! Check out our excursion to Kentucky to explore the Bourbon Trail.

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entrance to cave of the mounds

Cave of the Mounds

After a fairly good night’s sleep (maybe a result of the deep-fried cheese curds?), we enjoyed a continental breakfast offered by the hotel before heading west to a place called Blue Mounds, and two very cool destinations.

Our first stop was the Cave of the Mounds. It was a mere 20-minute drive from the west side of Madison on Route 18, and perhaps no more than a mile off of the main road. A tour of the cave had not originally been a part of our agenda. But after reading the background info in the visitor center, I wished it had. There is some great history there and the tour would have been worth it, even though the cost for adults was $12. It gives me a reason to return on another “excursion”.

little norway

Little Norway

Not more than a mile or so from Cave of the Mounds is a little place secluded back in the hills called Little Norway (unfortunately now closed. Some of the Norwegian buildings have been disassembled and moved back to Norway). My Norse blood started to pump a little faster when we pulled into the parking lot, at which time I was certain that May is definitely a great time for this sort of exploring. Once again, we were two of only eight who eventually took the tour.

Scott Winner is the current owner and Great Grandnephew of a man by the name of Asher Dahle who purchased a farm previously owned by a Norwegian immigrant family in the mid-to-late 19th century. Local Norwegian carpenters and craftsmen have restored the buildings and Scott and his wife Jennifer now manage the property and make its treasures available to the public.

Even if you are only partially Norwegian, this is a ‘must see’ kind of place. Its rich history and thousands of artifacts are a real eye opener if you ever wondered how early pioneers lived. The tour is only 45 minutes long and costs $8. And there are some wonderful souvenirs in the gift shop that will serve as reminders to a great little place in Nissedahle, or Valley of the Elves. Thank you everyone for a great time.

Lunch in Mt. Horeb

It was time for lunch when we arrived in Mt. Horeb and stopped at a place called Schubert’s for a bite to eat. This was an old-fashioned kind of store with a soda fountain, counter, and wooden booths. The ceiling was made of tin and the place had the feel of 1950.

We sipped on cherry phosphates – on sale for 50 cents – and waited for the sandwiches to be served. Service was painfully slow, but hey, did I have anyplace else to be today? Well, kinda. There was cheese waiting for me at the Alp and Dell cheese factory in Monroe! So, I paid the bill, all $11.29 of it, and we headed back south.

cheese vat

Back to Baumgartner’s

On the way back south, we decided to once again stop at Baumgartner’s (see our Trek to Green County). I needed another t-shirt. After a quick Blumer’s root beer and a bag of chips, we loaded up on cheese at Alp & Dell, and headed home. As the miles passed, we talked about what impressed us the most on this excursion.

It was the people. They were friendly and genuine, and we felt welcome everywhere we went. I highly recommend Green County for a weekend getaway. Prepare yourself for some great scenery, hearty food, and friendly natives. And thanks to the Green County Chamber of Commerce for the idea!

See you On the Lake

R. Karl


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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl