The Wisconsin Great River Road runs for 250 miles along the Mississippi River. Along the way, the road passes through 33 unique river towns offering everything from museums to wineries. There’s a lot to see and do along this stretch of scenic highway. Here are five things you shouldn’t miss.
- Dickeyville Grotto – This ornate sculpture park is one of the finest examples of folk art in America. Built by Father Matthias Wernerus from 1918 to 1931, this complex of pillars, statues, walls, fountains and buildings shimmers with glass, colored pottery, sea shells and other colorful items. You’ve never seen anything quite like it.
- Potosi Brewery Museum – Housed in one of Wisconsin’s oldest breweries, this museum tells the fascinating story of how beer was made, transported and marketed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This museum includes the National Brewery Museum, the Potosi Brewing Company Transportation Museum and a Great River Road Interpretive Center.
- Fort Crawford Museum – Prairie du Chien is one of the oldest communities on the entire Mississippi River. It was once the site of Fort Crawford, and important military station on the American Frontier in the early to mid 1800s. The museum includes a number of artifacts and exhibits, including an interesting exhibit focusing on Frontier medicine.
- Villa Louis – Prairie du Chien is also home to Villa Louis, the elegant home of a wealthy 1800s fur-trader. The tour includes 25 painstakingly restored rooms in four different buildings. The estate includes beautiful garden paths, duck ponds and exhibits about fur trading. It’s a beautiful place you don’t want to miss.
- Buena Vista Park – Located on a bluff high above the picturesque town of Alma, Buena Vista Park offers what might be the best view in Wisconsin. Gaze down at the town, watch passing barges or look far across the river into Minnesota. It’s also a good place to see eagles and other raptors soaring on the warm air that rises along the face of the cliff. Bring a camera.