A historic getaway in the Northwoods
Northern Wisconsin's Minocqua-Arbor Vitae-Woodruff area (in Oneida and Vilas Counties) is one of the Midwest's premier year-round vacation destinations. It boasts breathtaking scenery, abundant lakes and rivers, and a full range of indoor and outdoor activities. Yet while many people think of the area as only lakes, woods, mini-golf and muskies, there's much more in store. If you have only one day for a fun Northwoods getaway, here's what you should do.
Start with breakfast at one of the area's many restaurants. The Minocqua-Arbor Vitae-Woodruff area probably has the best concentration of coffee shops, diners, pubs, restaurants and supper clubs in all of northern Wisconsin. For vacationers looking to get away from civilization without feeling like they've fallen off the face of the earth, these are welcome amenities.
After breakfast, head over to the Minocqua Museum (503 Flambeau St., 715-356-7666). The museum features displays about Minocqua's early days and the people who made a difference in the history of this community. Discover the pioneers who settled these mighty woods a century ago.
Next, visit some of the area's fantastic shops and galleries. Many visitors are surprised by the array of fine art and other handmade items that can be found. You'll find everything from sculpture and oil paintings to home dcor and crafts. You'll also find clothing stores, specialty food stores and just about everything else. Shoppers can fill a day (and a large car trunk!) with the offerings found in local shops and galleries.
Just a quick drive down the road in Woodruff is the Dr. Kate Newcomb Museum (923 Second Ave., 715-356-6896). This small museum honors the history of the Northwoods and its legendary Dr. Kate Newcomb, also known as "the angel on snowshoes." "Dr. Kate," as she was known, is not only famous for her many years of marching through the snow to deliver babies and set broken bones; she also started what was called "The Million Penny Parade," a fundraising drive to build a hospital for the region in the 1950s. Her efforts captured the attention of all of America.
Next, head over to nearby Lac du Flambeau to the George W. Brown Jr. Ojibwe Museum and Cultural Center (603 Peace Pipe Rd., 715-588-3333) to learn about the Ojibwe, the people who lived in this region long before fur trappers and loggers. The museum has a really terrific collection of artifacts, photographs and exhibits that reveal how the original peoples of northern Wisconsin lived. Learn about Ojibwe culture, crafts and history, and gain a greater appreciation of the richness of Northwoods culture.
No trip to Minocqua-Arbor Vitae-Woodruff would be complete without getting a taste of its unique ecology. The most prominent feature of the local landscape is the abundance of lakes. This region of Wisconsin is almost more lake than land. A number of canoe and kayak rentals are available throughout the area, and there's no better way to appreciate the environment that surrounds "The Island City" than paddling. If paddling isn't your style, then try Minocqua Pontoon Cruises for a relaxing spin around the area's lakes, or Wilderness Cruises' "Sunset Dinner Cruise" on the pristine Willow Flowage.
Whatever vessel you choose, being on a Northwoods lake at sunset is one of the most magical experiences in the world. You'll hear the sounds of loons calling, and perhaps see a light mist forming over the still water. Sit back and relax as you pass tree-lined shores and historic boathouses. It's the sort of scene that many people have in picture frames beside their desks at work. We feel lucky here in the Minocqua-Arbor Vitae-Woodruff area because it's the sort of scene we get to see everyday.
We hope to see you soon.