“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look it any further than my own back yard.” Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz
My husband and I had a marvelous time touring European countries, but on the drive home from the airport, we soaked in the beauty of Wisconsin’s green rolling hills and sighed. It was great to be home. As we neared Wisconsin Dells, we were reminded of how lucky we are to have our choice of restaurants and attractions within a few miles of our own backyard.
Wisconsin might not have thousands of acres of tulips like the farms we saw in the Netherlands, but we have our own unique farms such as Baraboo’s New Life Lavender & Cherry Farm, a sensory delight. I stopped in there recently and a staff member said the garden is at its peak right now. The 40-acre farm offers a walking tour of over 16,000 lavender plants and wildflower fields and waterfalls, etc. or guided wagon rides that fill up quickly so call for information. Be sure to wander around the gift shop where you’ll breathe in lovely scents. Check them out at www.newlifelavender.com.
The Sauk County Master Gardeners Association is also offering a garden tour. It includes eight private and two public gardens. Wander around and get innovative ideas for your own perennials, vegetables, raised beds, or urban plantings. I’m especially excited to tour the water gardens. Local Chambers of Commerce sell tickets for the July 22 event.
Wisconsin doesn’t have the Swiss Alps, but it does have the Wisconsin River and towering sandstone cliffs. When was the last time you took a Dells boat trip? And how about the hidden gems such as Parfrey’s Glen or Pewitt’s Nest? Nicknamed “Peewee’s Nest,” this hidden gorge is cut in by a small stream that leads to a beautiful pool of water hidden in towering sandstone cliffs. I shed my socks and shoes and waded in the refreshing water. Be advised that parking is limited and cars aren’t allowed to park along the road. For more information, check out https://bit.ly/44qxlJe. It’s close to the lavender farm and you might consider taking a day and exploring them both.
While touring in Switzerland, I loved hearing a couple play Edelweiss with different-toned cowbells, but I’ve also enjoyed the outdoor concert at Mirror Lake’s natural amphitheater. I’m hoping to make Trapper Schoepp’s July 7th performance at the park. Trapper was influenced by Bob Dylan and co-wrote with him. You may want bug spray and a flashlight. Call 608-254-2333 for more information.
The Elm Street Plaza in the Dells has performers every night from 7:00-9:00 at no charge! How cool is that! We’re also fortunate to have the Crystal Grand Theatre with big-name stars like Clint Black performing this summer. All of this is in our own backyard!
And the Dells is constantly adding new attractions. The latest water park has a natural theme. Visiting Natura (https://landofnatura.com/) is on my July adventure list. Parking is $10 but some of their attractions such as the beach and floating cabanas are free. Bring your ID and get a local discount for upgrades.
Foreign travel was enriching and memorable, but overall, I tend to agree with Dorothy. There’s no place like home.