Wisconsin – so much to give

We keep staying in this state because it is so amazing. Did you know that it produces two-thirds of the 500 million pounds of cranberries that Americans consume each year?

Well, it does.  We went to the center of it all today, Warrens WI.  Now, today was a good day to come, because the annual cranberry festival was last weekend, and when 150,000 people crowd a town in which 350 people live, well, you can only imagine. Everyone looked a bit dazed and exhausted at the Cranberry Discovery Center.  There we learned all about the raising, harvesting and processing of these wonderful little berries. Will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that whatever you spend on cran products is cheap compared to the labor that goes into them. And there are lots of products. Who knew about cranberry wine?

And did you know that Ocean Spray is a cooperative venture?  Many Wisconsin berries make their way to Massachusetts, where they are converted into those wonderful OS offerings.

However, today was a bad day to come to Warrens if you wanted to see a cranberry bog during harvest.  While all the berries aren’t picked yet, we weren’t able to find one that hadn’t already yielded a crop, so we left disappointed, but sipping on cranberry juice.  Don’t forget – they’re not just for Thanksgiving!

So we meandered around, stopping briefly  in Sparta, which is the self-proclaimed “Bicycle Capital of America.” In addition to a general love of bikes, they also evidently have an amazing set of biking trails, so in homage to our friend Ken, we gave the town a salute. The museum also honors a local astronaut, Deke Slayton. Being short on space, they combined their two claims to fame and thus the “Sprockets and Rockets” exhibit was born. Clever people, those Spartans.

Then it was off onto historic Route 8, one of the earliest and most dramatic automobile roads, to the town of Mindoro.  Part of the road was hand-carved through a large stone hill in 1906, and it took to “Top Dawg” – an oft-recognized dive bar and hamburger joint with over 100 choices of burgers. Yep, over 100.  That was our lunch/dinner and it was worth the trip. Now if they would just stop confusing travelers with their name and their signage…

Wisconsin – so much to give.



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