Honey, look at that moon!
May 16, 2007 11:53 AM   Subscribe

The very-soon-to-be misses and I will be driving from Chicagoland to Door County, WI -- Little Harbor, to be exact -- this weekend as a mini-honeymoon. Is there anything we should make a point to see along the way? How about from there to Madison?
posted by jammer to Travel & Transportation (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure about the trip there and back, but you should at least stop to look at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant while you're in Door County. They have goats grazing on the grass roof. It's better than it sounds (if my memories from 15 years ago are to be believed, anyway).
posted by vytae at 12:10 PM on May 16, 2007

Ohh! My wife grew up in Door County and we always have a good time when we visit. Not much to see between there and Madison UNLESS you are a mustard guy. If you are a mustard guy then you must stop at the Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb. Bottom line: they have a lot of mustard. Anyway, Mt. Horeb is just a bit outside of Madison. Other than that I can't think of any place worth stopping between M and DC. The traffic between Green Bay and DC can be a pain on Fridays and Sundays so be sure to give yourself plenty of time. Have fun!
posted by jmccw at 12:11 PM on May 16, 2007

What type of things do you like?
posted by drezdn at 12:12 PM on May 16, 2007

Response by poster: What type of things do you like?

Anything strange or offbeat. Mustard museums and restaurants with goats on the roof both sound right up our alley. We're going to get our fill of kitsch at the B&B we're staying at, so anything strange to counterbalance would be good. ;)
posted by jammer at 12:16 PM on May 16, 2007

Oshkosh has a pretty decent Air Museum If you're into that kind of stuff.

There is also a Houdini Museum in Appleton.

Joe McCarthy is buried in Appleton as well.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:20 PM on May 16, 2007

My wife and I had a ball renting kayaks at a state park in Door County and paddling around a protected part of Green Bay for a few hours. Don't know if the park would be renting kayaks this early in the season (although it was late fall when we did it, so they can't be too worried about water temps), but it's hella fun if you can do it.

Also, there's a resort called Gordon's on the lake side of Door County which you should swing by and see- it's like someone took a 1964 vision of the future and preserved it in lucite. If a Bond villain ever sets up shop in Wisconsin, that's where they'll do it.
posted by COBRA! at 12:23 PM on May 16, 2007

On preview, if you're into kitschy, Ella's Deli in Madison (not far off the freeway) will surely delight. It even has a carousel.

The food's not bad, but the decor is the real treat.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:24 PM on May 16, 2007

Oh! Seconding Pogo's air museum in Oshkosh. It's really, really cool.
posted by COBRA! at 12:24 PM on May 16, 2007

I have nothing to add to your quest for entertainment among the Amish (aren't there Amish folk in Door County?), but your terminology needs a minor correction.

"Misses" is plural for "miss." Apparently, you are taking more than one unmarried female with you on your trip. Oh, you cad! Mini-honeymoon I'll bet. Two pieces of advice: avoid state troopers and consider future vacations to the Utah/Arizona border.

Unless, of course, you meant "missus." It's what we say when we write "Mrs." and means "wife." Yes, it's an ugly-looking word what with that "u" in there, but it's also probably what you meant. And if not: whoops! Sorry!
posted by terceiro at 12:24 PM on May 16, 2007

I'll second the EAA museum in Oshkosh. There's also a neat Maritime Museum in Manitowoc if you're driving near the coast.
posted by erpava at 12:25 PM on May 16, 2007

Most of the really cool stuff is west of Madison, but on the way to Door County, there's always the Maritime Museum in Manitowac, which lets you tour a WWII submarine. Near Manitowac is Point Beach State Park, which has my favorite beach (so far).

On the off chance that you'll be in Door County on the 16th of June, you should check out the Steel Bridge Song Fest in Sturgeon Bay, a string of good Milwaukee bands are playing it.

You might want to check out the book Weird Wisconsin for other ideas (there's also a travel guide to strange places in Wisconsin, I just can't remember the name).

And congratulations!
posted by drezdn at 12:29 PM on May 16, 2007

Entirely out of the way for Door County, but about thirty miles NW of Madison is a large number of wonderful sculptures made from junk with a very Steam Punk feel. The highlight of it is:
The Forevertron

"designed and built in a timeframe of around 1890 ... our dear doctor thought he could perpetuate himself through the heavens on a magnetic lightning force beam inside a glass ball inside a copper egg. You have to understand that at the time electricity and magnetic forces were not fully understood."
posted by Wink Ricketts at 12:34 PM on May 16, 2007

How about para-sailing in Ephram Harbour, or ice-cream there as well. Bowling and prime -rib at The Bowl. Drive in movies at the drive in (dont know where- but ask). Bike riding in Pennisula State park- or if you're lazy- scooters. Fish fry anywhere. Go-carting in Sturgeon Bay. Try out some restraunts in Sturgeon Bay- some are pretty good. Prime rib at The Greenwood. A Jazz festival in Egg Harbour. Rent some bikes in Egg Harbour and go biking.
posted by rryan at 12:35 PM on May 16, 2007

Mount Horeb (and the Mustard Museum) are west of Madison. Ella's Deli is wild, the food is not that great, but the ice cream is good. It is better for kids, or if you are into crazy vintage toys in a very loud diner, then you should check it out.
posted by sulaine at 12:47 PM on May 16, 2007

Wisconsin has a lot of interesting outsider art environments. The Kohler Art Foundation has done great preservation work on a few. I've never seen this one, but it's on your way.

There's aslo the Kohler Art Center in Sheyboygan. And you can go to the town of Kohler and get a factory tour, if you're curious about how toilets are made.

If you're going to Baraboo to see the Forevertron (and you should) you could also check out the Circus World Museum. I really liked the gallery of vintage posters.

Roadside America will have tons more suggestions. Try their Wisconsin map.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:55 PM on May 16, 2007

If you like antiques and historic buildings, the first place to stop north of Milwaukee is Cedarburg. You could then bop over to Port Washington, which also has a lot of 19th century architecture (and if you're a TV fan, where Step by Step was set -- but the roller coaster was in California -- and where Dustin Diamond lives now). Then cruise up WI-57 and hang a looie to the Old Wade House, a state historic site.

On the way back to Madison you could detour over to the Horicon Marsh and do some hiking.

And if you're traveling back to Chicago from Madison, stop in Janesville and see the Tallman House, a gorgeous Italianate Victorian mansion. (Lincoln slept there once, hence the official name.)
posted by dhartung at 1:37 PM on May 16, 2007

I second Cedarburg. It is a good halfway point and it's a cute little town with lots of fun antique shops to explore. Save most of your time for exploring Door County because there is much more to see there.
posted by JJ86 at 1:53 PM on May 16, 2007

Ella's Deli in Madison
posted by cosmicbandito at 1:53 PM on May 16, 2007

Sheboygan Indian Mounds Park (Sorry, there doesn't seem to be a very good website for the park itself. Note: Google Map link on that page is just to the city of Sheboygan; here's the park itself on Yahoo maps.) This would be a fairly quick stop; it's a pretty small park, but worth it if you're into that kind of thing.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:59 PM on May 16, 2007

House on the Rock! A little out of your way west of Madison, but it's by far Wisconsin's best weird attraction.
posted by look busy at 2:06 PM on May 16, 2007

While in Door County, I have two words for you: art barn. Go on their "adults only" night.
posted by achmorrison at 2:37 PM on May 16, 2007

I was going to recommend the Dr. Evermor's Forevertron also. House on the Rock is interesting - people seem to love it or hate it (the attractions that you hate make some of the best stories later, so it could be a win either way).

Devil's Lake State Park is north of Madison (near Evermor's), although it's not strange or offbeat, it's a really nice park.

Ellas is fun, as others have said, and there's lots of interesting and good food to be had in town. Post some interests & I can give specific recommendations.

Memorial Union Terrace is the best place in Wisconsin, bar none, to have a beer on a nice day. Possibly best in the U.S. Maybe the planet.
posted by altcountryman at 3:42 PM on May 16, 2007

Do you like trains?
posted by Bonzai at 5:28 PM on May 16, 2007

The Bergstrom-Mahler Museum has a paperweight collection that's amazing. If you sto by Kohler for any of the attractions listed above, check out their design center, too.

Here's a good past thread about Madison, and here's a crazy-good thread about Wisconsin, weird and wonderful.
posted by mimi at 5:43 AM on May 17, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips, everyone. I've printed this post out and will run it past the lady tomorrow. :)
posted by jammer at 10:42 PM on May 17, 2007

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