“Delicious autumn,” said George Eliot, the beloved English novelist.  “My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

Sadly, Ms. Eliot never made it to Wisconsin. She could have done a lot of flying. Lucky for us, the state is ours to enjoy, laced with dozens of spectacular autumn getaway options. The six highlighted here offer wonderful views of brilliant foliage, sparkling lakes, flocks of geese, twisting roads, rolling hills, winding rivers, roadside markets and charming little communities.

Choose any one getaway and you’ll be truly invigorated. Fly off to more and enjoy a memorable, marvelous feast! Ms. Eliot would have loved it.

HEAD FOR THE DOOR

Wisconsin’s longest peninsula juts out into beautiful Lake Michigan like a big “thumbs up!” That’s exactly how most visitors rate their extraordinary autumn experience here.

Start:

Sturgeon Bay, one of Wisconsin’s finest maritime cities

Great Scenic Drives:

Hwy. B & G along Lake Michigan to Egg Harbor; Peninsula State Park roads Fish Creek to Ephraim; Hwy. Q east from Ephraim & south through Baileys Harbor to Hwy. 57 to Cave Point Rd. south to Cave Point then on to Whitefish Dunes

Don’t Miss:

Door County Maritime Museum (Sturgeon Bay) – Climb Tower in Peninsula Park; Stroll Ephraim Harbor; Hike to Cave Point; Beach at Whitefish Dunes

Dine:

White Gull Inn, Fish Creek (Fish Boil); Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, Sister Bay (goats on the roof; Lingonberry Pancakes)

EXPLORE THE NORTHWOODS

When you dream of a spectacular autumn with brilliant, calendar quality foliage, a cabin with a fireplace, loons, deer, pine scented air, fog rising off the lake, casting for a Musky – this is your country.

Start:

Minocqua – Woodruff

Great Scenic Drives:

Hwy. J to Hwy. 70 to Eagle River; G north of Eagle River West to NE North to Hwy. K – Hwy. K West between Star Lake and junction with M is one of Wisconsin’s most beautiful Rustic Roads; R-60 passing old logging camps, lakes, and hiking trails; Hwy. H Lac du Flambeau to Boulder Junction

Don’t Miss:

In Minocqua, hire fishing guide “Smity” Russ Smith for a day of Musky Fishing; Eagle River – Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame; Lac du Flambeau – George Brown Ojibwe Cultural Center & Museum

Dine:

Guides Inn – Boulder Junction (Walleye; homemade ice cream); Norwood Pines Supper Club – Minocqua (Prime Rib; Bloody Marys)

SEE THE APOSTLES DRESSED IN AUTUMN

Wisconsin’s “other peninsula” pokes into Lake Superior with spectacular views of the “big water” and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Explore Bayfield and ferry to Madeline Island.

Start:

Bayfield or Ashland great headquarters

Great Scenic Drives:

Hwy. 13 from Ashland, all around the Bayfield Peninsula to Cornucopia; Hwy. C from Cornucopia south (about 10 miles) to Forest Road 236; Forest Road 236 between Hwy. C and US Hwy. 2; Hwy. G from US Hwy. 2 through Moquah to Hwy. 2

Don’t Miss:

Madeline Island Ferry (20 minutes) to Madeline Island; National Park Headquarters – Bayfield; Apostle Islands Cruises to Islands; State Historic Museum, Big Bay State & Town Park on Madeline Island; Elher’s General Store-Cornucopia (101 Years Old); Mural Trail – Ashland

Dine:

Wild Rice – Bayfield (Gourmet); The Pub – Madeline Island (Whitefish; Mussels); Deep Water Grill – Ashland (Whitefish; South Shore Brewery Beers)

EXPERIENCE PURE GENEVA LAKE COUNTRY

An idyllic lake retreat and playground favored by 19th century industrialists, beer barons and Chicagoland movers-andshakers, 21st century Lake Geneva is as seductive as ever, dressed to the nines in autumn colors.

Start:

Lake Geneva

Great Scenic Drives:

Snake Road – Rustic Road 29 a short, twisty loop off Hwy. 50 at Lake Geneva packs in oodles of lake country beauty in just 2.7 miles. Drive it one way, and then turn around and go back! You’ll love it.  Next – Take E. Geneva Street west off Hwy. 50 through Williams Bay crossing N. Walworth Ave. where it becomes W. Geneva Street (Hwy. 67). Stay on 67 to turn left on Kinzie Ave. in Fontana then turn left on N. Lakeshore Dr. which loops through an autumn canopy of color back to Hwy. 67.

Don’t Miss:

Yerkes Observatory – see the heavens from Williams Bay; The Dancing Horses – An amazing performance, Delavan; Geneva Lake Museum – Lake Geneva;  Black Point Estate Tour – cruise Geneva Lake, visit a mansion

Dine:

Baker House – Elegant Victorian Dining; Simple Café – Creative American Cuisine; Geneva Chop House – American Steakhouse at Grand Geneva Resort; Sopra – American Bistro; Lake Geneva

WANDER GREAT RIVER ROAD COUNTRY — NORTH

“There is no more beautiful country in the world than that which is to be seen in this vicinity,” wrote the artist George Catlin, an early visitor to the 600 foot bluffs of the  Upper Mississippi. Autumn is arguably its finest hour. You’re going to love this.

Start:

La Crosse

Great Scenic Drives:

Take Hwy. 16 west across the Mississippi to Apple Blossom Scenic Drive in La Crescent (yes!) Minnesota for catchyour-breath fall views of the Mississippi and Wisconsin. Then take Hwy. 61 North in from La Crescent to Winona. Take Hwy. 54 back to Wisconsin and Hwy. 35 North to Fountain City, then Hwy. 95 north and east to Arcadia, then Hwy. 93 South to meet Hwy. 35 South to Trempealeau and back to La Crosse.

Don’t Miss:

Pump House Art Center & Grandad Bluff — La Crosse; Minnesota Maritime Museum — Winona (Impressionists and contemporary work worthy of NY or LA); Elmaro Vineyards — Trempealeau (fine wine, spectacular views)

Dine:

Rudy’s Drive-in (roller skating car service) & Fayze’s (breakfast) & Waterfront Restaurant (New American Steak & Seafood)- La Crosse; The Monarch Public House – Fountain City (Irish Pub dining)

CRUISE GREAT RIVER ROAD COUNTRY — SOUTH

Glaciers never scraped southwest Wisconsin’s “Driftless Region.” The jaw-dropping beautiful scenery on this autumn run might be overwhelming to some. Miles of towering bluffs surround the Mississippi River. Brilliant Kodachrome colors dapple the hills. Panoramic rural vistas go on forever. It may be the most beautiful fall drive you ever experience.

Start:

La Crosse

Great Scenic Drives:

Hwy. 35 South to Prairie du Chien; Hwy. 27 North through Fargo, Viroqua and Westby; Hwy. 14 & 61 North through Coon Valley to La Crosse.

Don’t Miss:

Valley Fish and Cheese — (smoked fish, aged cheddar, snapping turtle, gator jerky — great local shop) and Villa Louis Historic Site Tour — Prairie du Chien; Vernon Vineyards — near Viroqua; Westby Cooperative Creamery Cheese Store — (curds, butter and great cheeses); Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe — Justin Rd., La Crosse

Dine:

Frazier’s Old Faithful Inn – Prairie du Chien (Pizza) – See also, Great River Road North

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