Photo by Sigrid Knutson
The 15-acre corn maze with six-plus miles of walkways is the big draw at this Lodi farm. But there’s plenty else to do: Pick your own pumpkins, greet farm animals, go on a hayride or chomp on a caramel apple.
SHADY MAPLE FARM
At this Hartland farm, choose among a five-acre corn maze and a mini corn maze featuring a half-acre of low stalks, plus hay rides and a petting zoo. Build your own scarecrow or decorate a pumpkin after plucking one from the farm’s 20-acre patch.
MOMMSEN’S PUMPKIN PATCH
This 40-acre Rice Lake farm boasts two corn mazes, a petting farm, an apple orchard and pumpkin patches. Don’t miss demonstrations at the pumpkin artillery—watch produce fly via medieval catapults, a pumpkin cannon and an apple shooter!
POLLY’S PUMPKIN PATCH
More than 50 types of pumpkins grow at this farm in Chilton. And visitors of all ages can enjoy wagon rides, corn cannons, pumpkin bowling and a 40-foot slide. Two corn mazes offer differing degrees of difficulty, and goats, cows and pigs are always ready to say hello.
SKELLY’S FARM MARKET
In addition to 20 acres of pumpkins, this Janesville farm packs in the fun: Play pumpkin cornhole, try the apple cannon and slingshot or go on the interactive Choose-a-Farm-Adventure wagon ride. If the traditional seven-acre corn maze is too easy, give the nine-acre Impossible maze a go.
Autumn demands a drink with some bite. At the delightfully old-school Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge—which has been serving thirsty Milwaukeeans since 1938—give a Depression-era libation a try. The Candle Light is a mix of vodka, raspberry puree and peach, served on fire!
With the largest collection of bourbon in La Crosse, the Old Crow gastropub is the perfect place to sip a Mountain Maple, a pairing of bourbon and maple syrup, topped with orange juice and seltzer.
And at Merchant, the farm-to-table eatery that brought the craft cocktail movement to Madison, opt for a twist on tradition: The Rum Old Fashioned mingles aged rum with brown sugar syrup and Angostura bitters.
LIGHT MY FIRE
On a chilly evening, nothing beats cozying up by a roaring fire. And it’s even better when said fire happens to be in the rustic-chic lobby lounge of the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. The floor-to-ceiling stone and wood fireplace feels right at home among wrought-iron chandeliers windows overlooking the rolling hills of Lake Geneva. Nestle in with a drink and tune into live music—perhaps a piano soloist or contemporary jazz trio—any day of the week.
TIME TO UNWIND
A seasonal spa treatment offers a relaxed approach to appreciating fall. At the Aspira Spa at the Ostoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, indulge in the Cedars Massage, which incorporates fresh sprigs of aromatic cedar.
Or opt for the Bourbon Butter Scrub at Evensong Spa, part of the Heidel House Resort in Green Lake; a brown sugar and bourbon exfoliate is followed by a rich shea butter made from organic honey.
At Sundara Inn & Spa in the Wisconsin Dells, September’s Seasonal Body Polish & Massage features crushed almonds, paprika and stone crop body lotion (check back for later fall seasonal treatments).
Meanwhile, the Woodsman Massage, offered at both the flagship Kohler Waters Spa in Kohler and the new Lodge Kohler in Green Bay, uses pine to enhance several therapeutic massage techniques intended to relax and recharge.
PLENTY TO CELEBRATE
WARRENS CRANBERRY FESTIVAL
Celebrate the official state fruit in the heart of cranberry country with marsh tours, countless cranberry treats—cranberry creampuffs, anyone?—and hundreds of art and crafts vendors. (September 22-24, Warrens, cranfest.com)
This annual fall shindig brings crowds downtown to Appleton’s College Avenue, where they enjoy food and beer at outdoor bars, kids’ activities, arts and crafts, and live music on six stages. ()September 29-30, Appleton, octoberfestonline.org)
BAYFIELD APPLE FESTIVAL
Head to the shores of Lake Superior for this beloved ode to the apple. More than 60 orchards and vendors sell apple delicacies, while a kids’ carnival, arts and crafts showcase, parade, fish fry dinner, boat cruises and live music round out the festivities. (October 6-8, Bayfield, bayfield.org)
A toast to live culture in all its forms—dance, poetry, beer, sauerkraut—this unique event offers tastings, cooking classes, performances and more led by chefs, bakers, scientists, authors, cheese makers and brew masters. (October 6-8, 13-15, Reedsburg, fermentationfest.com)
A Door County mainstay for more than 70 years, this celebration kicks off with a classic car show and goes on to highlight arts and crafts, live music around town, a fish boil and a parade. (October 13-15, Sister Bay, cometosisterbay.com)
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVAL
The rich tradition of remembering loved ones who have passed away continues in this eclectic festival. Enjoy music, food, art and a parade, or join the 5K run and walk— even that is intended to honor the departed. (October 28, Milwaukee, diadelosmuertosmilwaukee.com)
TAKE A HIKE!
If you find yourself in the Northwoods this fall, you won’t regret a trek on the Bearskin State Trail. A former railroad line that was used from 1888 to 1972 to transport white pine logs, it’s now an easily hike-able crushed granite pathway named for the Bearskin Creek it follows. The trail begins in Harshaw and traverses north, past lakes and marshes and through forests and fields. In the fall, you might spot deer, wild turkeys, beavers or ducks—and likely a few fellow hikers and bikers. Eighteen miles in, the Bearskin deposits you in downtown Minocqua, within walking distance of the Minocqua Brewing Company, where you can refuel with a craft brew.
UP & AWAY
For a bird’s-eye view of glorious fall color, hop aboard the chairlift at Granite Peak, the ski hill at Rib Mountain State Park in Wausau. On weekends from late September through mid-October, six-seater chairs swoop thousands of visitors up over brilliantly colored trees to the top of the hill, where they can hike and explore before riding back down.
What’s nicer than a leisurely fall drive through the Driftless Region? Pausing along the way to visit artists in their studios. The third full weekend in October sees more than 50 artists in Mineral Point, Spring Green, Dodgeville and Baraboo opening their doors to offer behind-the-scenes glimpses into the artistic process. After befriending artisans on the Fall Art Tour, you might not be able to resist bringing one of their paintings, sculptures or pieces of jewelry home. (October 20-22, fallarttour.com)
This article originally appeared in the 2017 fall/winter issue of Experience Wisconsin magazine. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published; however, it’s possible some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations, attractions or restaurants mentioned in this article.
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