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Dubuque, IA

BAHL FAMILY FARM, 6426 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002, 563-582-1097. This century farm is open the first four weekends in October for a Pumpkin festival which includes: hayrides, petting zoo, hay bale maze, food and more. We are also open in November & December to take a hayride and cut your own Christmas tree.

BELL TOWER THEATER AND EVENTS CENTER, 2728 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52001, 563-588-3377. Located in Fountain Park. Shows staged monthly, ranging from full productions of plays and musicals to single performers. Open year round. Facility rental available.

CRYSTAL LAKE CAVE, 3 Miles South on Hwy. 52, 6684 Crystal Lake Cave Drive, Dubuque, IA 52003-9504, 563-556-6451. Great American Show Cave, this is a natural living cave with a panoramic view of beautiful, intricate, and rare formations. Open May through October. Gift shop, picnic grounds and informative guided tours.

CZIPAR'S ORCHARD, 8610 Rt. 52 South, Dubuque, IA 52003, 563-582-7476. Enjoy the crisp air of fall and the crisp flavor of apples at this family owned orchard just south of Dubuque. Tours available. The store offers a variety of apples, fresh pressed apple ciders, apple products, jellies, candy, honey, pumpkins, gourds and crafts. Annual Apple Festival held the fourth weekend in September.

DERBY GRANGE GOLF & RECREATION, 13079 Derby Grange Road, Dubuque, IA 52002, 563-556-4653. Dubuque's premier golf learning center. Scenic driving range, 9 hole par 3, challenging miniature golf, 6 automatic batting cages, large concession building. Home of Dubuque Little League baseball.

DUBUQUE ARBORETUM & BOTANICAL GARDENS, 3800 Arboretum Drive, Dubuque, IA 52001, 563-556-2100. Developed & operated entirely by volunteers. Free admission. Displays of hostas, formal herb garden, woodland wildflowers, water & shade gardens, ornamental tree & shrub collections, rose gardens, annuals & perennials. Visitor Center with gift shop and botanic library. 360 volunteers.

DUBUQUE MUSEUM OF ART 701 Locust St., Dubuque, IA 52001, 563-557-1851. The Dubuque Museum of Art, located in the heart of Dubuque's cultural corridor, provides national, regional and local exhibitions, entertaining and educational programs for people of all ages. The Museum is open to the public Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. & Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 p.m.; closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is charged except on Thursdays.

DUBUQUE RIVER RIDES, P.O. Box 1276, 3rd St., Ice Harbor, Dubuque, IA 52004-1276,   563-583-8093. Two excursion boats depart from the Ice Harbor, near America's River amenities. The Spirit of Dubuque, Iowa's only authentic paddle wheeler and Miss Dubuque, a modern yacht, are the perfect answer for a unique and memorable way to experience the Mississippi River. Cruising daily May-October, offering a wide variety of curises: sightseeing, lunch, dinner, private charters, murder mystery and 2 & 4 hour Fall color lunch cruises. Ice Harbor Galley Restaurant is available portside for lunch and dinner daily.

DUBUQUE FIGHTING SAINTS HOCKEY, Mystique Community Ice Arena, 1800 Admiral Sheehy Dr. Dubuque, IA 52001. With their own ice at the Mystique Community Ice Arena, this United States Hockey League team offers exciting play and good family entertainment from September through March.

DUBUQUE'S AMERICAN LADY YACHT CRUISES, 1630 East 16th St.,  Dubuque, IA 52001, 563-557-9700 or 877-762-9700. Sightseeing, breakfast, lunch & dinner cruises, wedding events, group parties, theme cruises & Private charters available through October. Meals catered by Catfish Charlie's. Group dockside events available November-March.

FOUR MOUNDS B&B, 4900 Peru Road, Dubuque, IA 52001-8304, 563-556-1908. http://www.fourmounds.org. Our historic estate features three options for unique getaways and special events. The Grey House, White House and "Marvin Gardens" Cabin provide exciting retreat opportunities. Steal away for a night or rent the whole house for an extended family gathering. We can meet your needs. Fantastic views of the Mississippi, hiking trails and a ropes course are available. Open year round with free wireless internet.

GENERAL ZEBULON PIKE LOCK & DAM #11, Lock & Dam Road, Dubuque, IA 52001, 563-582-0881. Part of the Army Corps of Engineer's Mississippi River system, Lock and Dam #11 at Dubuque is a wonderful place to watch the movement of barge traffic and pleasure craft through its 4,818 foot long chamber and sixteen-gate system. Complimentary Sunday tours available Memorial Day to Labor Day at 2 p.m.

GHOSTS OF THE RIVER, P.O. Box 3002, Dubuque, IA 52004-3002, 563-542-7487. What better place to hear Dubuque's best ghost stories than on the shore of the Mississippi? Join this 2-hour RiverWalk tour from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings beginning March 13. Advance tickets only.

GRAND HARBOR RESORT & WATERPARK, 350 Bell St., Dubuque, IA 52001, 563-690-4000. Iowa's first themed indoor waterpark resort featuring 194 rooms with magnificent views of the Mississippi river or downtown Dubuque, 25,000 sq. ft. indoor waterpark with exciting tube rides, thrilling slides and many family oriented aquatic activities.

GRAND OPERA HOUSE/HOME OF THE BCT PLAYERS, P.O.Box 632, 135 West 8th St., Dubuque, IA 52004-0632, 563-588-4356. The Grand Opera House, celebrating 30 years of quality entertainment, features well-known musicals, plays, and special events throughout the year. A community theater offering volunteer opportunities for all, the Grand is the oldest theater in Dubuque, built in 1889. Take a walk by and discover its rich beauty and history. Group rates available. Seats 622 guests, convenient parking and rentals for all occasions. Theatre established in 1971. Open year round.

MINES OF SPAIN RECREATION AREA, 8999 Bellevue Heights, Dubuque, IA 52003, 563-556-0620. National Historic Landmark, this 1,380-acre park features nature trails, a limestone quarry, wetland, marsh walkway, wildlife blind interpretive trails, prairies, historic sites, Catfish Creek Preserve, "Iowa Watchable Wildlife Area," the E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center, plus access to the Mississippi River through Catfish Creek for fishing and canoeing.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER WALK & AMENITIES, Dubuque, IA 52001. Take a stroll along the Mississippi Riverwalk, part of a 44-mile Heritage Trail connecting America's River to the nationally-renowned Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa. Enjoy a special event or live music at the Alliant Energy Amphitheater and walk to the River's Edge Plaza, a 5,000 square foot outdoor pavilion, which also serves as the docking site for the Delta Queen Company Riverboats and other large excursion vessels. Open year-round.

NATIONAL MISSISSIPPI RIVER MUSEUM & AQUARIUM, 350 East Third St., Dubuque, IA 52004-0266, 563-557-9545. Take an entertaining and informative journey on the Mighty Mississippi at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Enjoy dynamic aquariums, historical exhibits and a stroll through the wetlands and boatyard. Each visit is a truly interactive experience where visitors can get "up close and personal" with live critters, become barge pilots, and view two award-winning dynamic films. Don't forget to tour the national landmark steamboat William M. Black and watch as a boat is launched into the Mississippi River. Open year round.

SUNDOWN MOUNTAIN, 17017 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002, 563-556-6676. For an exciting skiing & snowboarding adventure, visit Sundown Mountain Resort with Colorado like scenery, national awards, and largest vertical within 120 miles. Mountaintop lodges, with dining and lounges, overlook miles of countryside, 20 novice to expert trails, six lifts, a separate children's area, a nine acre terrain park with half-pipe, lots of rails and big air hits.

Dyersville, IA

St. Francis Xavier: Twin-spired church with 64 windows. One of only a few churches in the world given the rank of Basilica, which comes from the Greek work Basileus, meaning a royal or kingly building. It earned its name on May 11, 1956. It is an example of true Medieval Gothic architecture. Sites include a painting on the ceiling over the main altar, the pavilion and bell, a rose window, a pipe organ and a coat of arms, all of which signify the basilica honor. Open daily. Handicap accessible. Call 563/875-7325.

Becker Woodcarving Museum and The Inwood Exhibit: Located four miles northeast of Dyersville. One of Iowa's unique carving museums. Sculpture, plaques and clocks. By appointment only. Call 563/875-2087.

Dyer/Botsford Doll Museum: 331 First Ave. Home to more than 1,000 dolls, the house was built by James Dyer, founder of Dyersville. Displays include porcelain dolls, German dolls, a wax Charlie Chaplin, "soft" dolls and collector dolls, along with buggies, tables, chairs, cabinets, toys and cradles. Cost is $5. Open May through October Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday & Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. Call563/875-2414.

Dyersville Area Historical Society: 120 Third St. SW. Office open Monday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Dyersville Family Aquatic Center: Adjacent to Commercial Club Park. A 150-foot body slide, drop slide, children's play area, zero depth swimming,sand volleyball and park are. Open noon-9 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Call 563/875-8675.

Field of Dreams Movie Site: 28963 Lansing Road. Go the distance and visit this quiet, quaint century old family farm with a baseball diamond carved into its heart. It is the original baseball field and house where the movie was filmed. There are no organized activities on the field. Bring your favorite baseball equipment and hit a few balls, play a little catch, run the bases or just sit and dream in the bleachers. Souvenirs available. Free admission. Open April-November 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily. Located 3.3 miles northeast of Iowa 136. Call563/875-8404.

Heritage House: 7396 Columbus St., New Vienna. A former convent, converted to a German museum. Open daily 1-4 p.m., or by special appointment. Call 563/921-2620 or 921-3775.

Heritage Trail: Running from Sageville to Dyersville, 563/556-6745. A 26-mile-long, 100-foot-wide conservation and recreation corridor along an abandoned railroad in the scenic Little Maquoketa River Valley. Recreation includes hiking, bicycling, nature study, cross-country skiing and more.

National Farm Toy Museum: Located one block east of the intersections of U.S. 20 and Iowa 136. Known as the number 1 experience for farm toys in the world, featuring two floors filled with history. Open daily from 8 a.m.to 7 p.m. Cost is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1 for children 6-11. Children5 and younger free. Call 563/875-2727 to verify prices.

Plaza Antique Mall: At U.S. 20 and Iowa 136. Call 563/875-8945. Home for more the 200 dealers offering a variety of antiques and collectibles and farm toys. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bellevue, IA

Army Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam No. 12: Entrance on Riverview St. A popular visitor destination with plenty of parking and viewing areas to watch barges, pleasure boats and excursion riverboats lock through.

The Bellevue House Bed and Breakfast: 500 N. Riverview St. Built in 1898, it offers a variety of packages. Also, there is a murder mystery overnight package.

Bellevue State Park: 510 acres, has picnic spots, camping facilities and views of Mississippi River. Also has unusual one-acre butterfly garden with 37 species of butterflies, each with its own food plot. Some plants are grown to provide nourishment for caterpillars, while others are grown to provide nectar for adult butterflies. Hiking trails in the Nelson Unit lead to conical Indian mounds attributed to the Woodland Culture. Open pavilions provide room for large groups. Fresh drinking water, rest rooms and plenty of parking throughout the park.

Boat Factory Gallery: 124 N. Riverview St. Features local and regional artists of every media, from jewelry to paintings to pottery. 563/872-4553.

The Cellar Urchin: 134 S. Riverview St. Features works by area artists, limited edition prints and original works. Also creates custom frames. Call 563/872-3231.

Granny B's: 905 S. Riverview Dr. Sleeping or housekeeping cabins by the day, week or month. Call 563/872-5443.

Green Parrot Inn: 111 N. Riverview. Overlooks the Mississippi River. Call 563/872-4994 for reservations.

Joe A. and Grace Young Museum: 410 N. Riverview. It houses the extensive antique collection of Grace and Joe Young, successful turn-of-the-century business owners and world travelers. The 10 rooms of the quaint native limestone house are filled with fine china, bisque figurines, Victorian hats and pins, historic photographs and documents and more. Open Saturdays, Sundays and holidays in the summer, 1-5 p.m.

Riverfront Park: Northern half of the city's riverfront (nine blocks) have been renovated to include winding brick walkways, shrub, tree and flower plantings, antique replica lighting, gazebos and numerous park benches and picnic tables to gaze out over the Mississippi river from.

Shopping: Numerous shops, ranging from antiques, boats, homemade items, etc. Throughout town and area. And, a variety of eating establishments are available.

Spring Side Inn: 300 Ensign Road. Enjoy the view of the Mississippi River and surrounding hills. Named for the springs that surround it, it was built of native limestone in 1850 in Gothic Revival style. Dinners, overnight stays and murder mysteries are available. For information, call 563/872-5452.

Sabula, IA

Sabula is Iowa's only island city. It really is surrounded on all sides by either the Mississippi River or huge backwater lakes.

The town itself has food, lodging and shopping for visitors as well as supplies for the many fishermen and boaters who descend on it during the summer months.

The Jackson County Conservation Board operates South Sabula Lakes Park. There are 27 camping sites available on the14-acre site.

Just west of Sabula is the Jackson County Welcome Center a replica of an old schoolhouse with travel and visitor information about the tri-states as well as the county (open seven days a week).

Apple River, IL

Apple River - The town of Apple River, located on Stagecoach Trail, was named after the river that flows nearby. It owes its early growth to the Illinois Central Railroad, which came through in 1854. By then, the first house built of logs had stood for some 20 years. The town was a good farming community and shipping center for minerals, stock and produce. By the 1870s, three churches, Methodist, Catholic and Presbyterian, had been erected.

East Dubuque, IL

East Dubuque, peacefully situated between the Mississippi and the surrounding high bluffs, boasts a fascinating and exciting history.

Fascinating because of the prehistoric cultures, the more recent Native Americans, the French explorers, the early settlers, the land speculators, the ferryboat kings, the railroad tycoons, the bridge builders and the slaves.

Exciting because of Prohibition, speakeasies, the "Strip," Al Capone and whiskey stills in the hill, thus, at one time, giving East Dubuque the name "Sin City".

The French explorer Nicholas Perrot (17th century) and Julien Dubuque and Stephen Dubois (1787) were the first known settlers. By 1832, at what is still called Frentress Lake, Eleazer and Diadamia Frentress became the first white couple to farm the prairie. In the same year the Reverends Crummer and James established the first preaching services in a plank schoolhouse on the Frentress property.

In 1857 anthropologists unearthed many human bones and artifacts in the many burial mounds located high on the bluff in Gramercy Park.

Originally named Dunleith after a Scottish village, the little river settlement quickly prospered. The name was changed to East Dubuque in 1877 and the railroad soon brought land speculators, hotelkeepers and ferry operators.

Captain Merry built the legendary Merry Building located on Sinsinawa Avenue and became very successful ferrying people and cargo across the Mississippi. The building also served as a stop on the underground railway for slaves.

In 1868 the railroad tunnel and bridge, still in use, ended the lucrative passenger and hotel trade. By 1887 the Old High Street foot and wagon bridge was built parallel to the railroad bridge. Then, in 1943 the beautiful Julien Dubuque Bridge was completed and at 7,392 feet is still one of the longest tied arch and cantilevered spans ever built.

Despite national Prohibition East Dubuque remained "wet" until 1919. Local taletellers say thirsty Iowans bought their liquor here and trundled it across the footbridge in baby buggies, etc. The night that Prohibition became Federal law, and padlocks went up on the taverns, thousands of Tri-staters rioted through the streets. Many local residents hid in basements and cornfields.

Soon speakeasies and gambling appeared. Whiskey stills dotted the countryside. Al Capone and other "outstanding" citizens were said to be involved.

When most people think of East Dubuque, they think of the downtown "strip," with its nightclubs and neighborhood bars.

But if you don't look around the residential areas, you'll miss the true flavor of East Dubuque. From Sinsinawa Avenue, which is the main downtown street, take a right onto Montgomery and head up the hill. Then wander around the old neighborhoods. You'll be surprised by how picturesque East Dubuque really is.

While you're roaming around, look up Gramercy Park, East Dubuque's answer to Dubuque's Eagle Point Park. Take a left from Montgomery onto Beecher Street. The park is a bit overgrown, but if you wear sturdy shoes and a pair of jeans, you can explore and enjoy the view of the Mississippi River.

Having served as an Indian burial ground dating back to 200 to 500 A.D., the park is full of history. The park itself was constructed during the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration project.

Mulgrew's Liquor Store and Tavern, 240 Sinsinawa, serves chilidogs that are famous for miles around. Or step back into time at the Circle Bar, 90 Sinsinawa. The decor is 1940s. The music is 1950s, '60s, '70s and '80s.

T.J.'s Bent Prop Marina, 780 Harbor Drive offers open and covered slip rental, boat ramp, live music, and a full grill menu. Personal watercraft and boat rentals. Open seven days per week seasonally. Call 815/747-8860.

Elizabeth, IL

The village of Elizabeth is located in one of the most picturesque areas of Illinois. Visitors will find a diverse business district, an 1800's railroad depot turned into an historical museum, a rested caboose and the opportunity to visit the studios of several artists who live and work in Elizabeth.

The reconstruction of the Apple River Fort on a hillside just north of downtown is important in the history of the village. The Apple River Fort Foundation began work in 1996 after archaeological research in 1995 uncovered the exact location of the fort and numerous artifacts. Rebuilt by volunteers from seven states, the fort is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1832 for protection against hostile Indians. On June 24 of that year Black Hawk did attack; there were about 45 men, women and children in the fort including the "three Elizabeths" who supported the men by molding musket balls and loading weapons. An interpretive center, now under construction, will be open in the fall of 1998.

Special events throughout the year include Spring Fling, the Elizabeth Community Fair, Christmas in the Village, and a variety of church dinners and bazaars.

Galena, IL

Galena is filled with many historical and architectural gems. Here are a few:

Belvedere Mansion: 1008 Park Ave. Italianate 22-room mansion built in 1857 for J. Russel Jones, ambassador to Belgium. Furnished with formal Victorian pieces, items from Liberace's estate, plus the green drapes from "Gone With the Wind." Call 815/777-0747. Hours 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Tour time: 25 minutes. Group tours by appointment. Open Memorial Day-October. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children. Combine with Dowling House for $6 for adults $2.50 for children ages 6-16 and younger than 6 free.

Brill's Trolley Tours: 102 N. Main St. One-hour narrated tour of Galena. Purchase tickets at American Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor or Brill's Trolley Junction next to Dowling House. Hours seasonal, tour times on the hour beginning at 9 a.m. Call 815/777-3121 for information.

DeSoto House Hotel: 230 S. Main St. Opened in 1855, it became known as "the best hotel west of New York City for its sumptuous accommodations and meticulous service." It was renovated during the 1980s, and now offers guest rooms, restaurants and other conveniences. Open daily. Call 800/343-6562.

The Dowling House: 220 Diagonal St. Galena's oldest house, built of native limestone in 1826 as a general store and residence. Tour time: 25 minutes. Admission $5 for adults, $2.50 for children. Group tours by appointment. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Open daily Memorial Day-October; Friday-Sunday in April, November and December. Call 815/777-1250. Combine with Belvedere Mansion for $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-16 and younger than 6 free.

Galena Post Office: 110 Green St. Built in 1857-59 from Nauvoo limestone as a post office and customs house, the Renaissance Revival building is the second oldest continuously operating post office in the United States. Call 815/777-0225.

Galena Public Library District and Historic Collection: 601 S. Bench St. The library was endowed by the Felt family and built in 1907 in Greek Revival style. The collection includes documents and genealogical materials, Galena newspapers from 1834 and other records, ledgers and maps. Free. Historic collection hours: 3-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 1-4 Saturday or by appointment. Library hours: 1-8:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, 1-6 p.m. Tuesday, Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Call 815/777-0200.

Galena Trolley Tours Depot: 314 S. Main St. One hour narrated tours of Galena. Tours are 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Call 815/777-1248 for information.

Galena/Jo Daviess County Historical Museum: 211 S. Bench St. Permanent exhibits include: Civil War exhibit with Thomas Nast's original painting, "Peace in Union." Also featured are clothing, household items, paintings, dolls and seasonal items. There is an hourly audio-visual show explaining how the town became what it is today. It is housed in an 1858 Italianate mansion. Call 815/777-9129. Admission: Adults $3.50, students 10-18, $2.50, younger than 10, free. Tours time is 30-60 minutes. Hours 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

LinMar Gardens: 504 S. Prospect. The 3½-acre garden is situated on natural limestone outcroppings. Plantings include hostas, vibernums, conifers, grasses, daylilies, annuals and perennials. Open for private guided tours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. by appointment only. Call 815/777-1177. Suggested donation, $4.

Old Market House State Historic Site: 123 N. Commerce St. This Greek Revival building once served as a hub of community life. It was a multi-purpose house that continues that way today. It highlights Galena's cultural heritage. Suggested donation, $2 for adults, $1 for children. Hours 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. Thursday-Monday. Closed holidays and Election Day. Call 815/777-3310.

The Old Stockade on the Cobblestone Street: 208 Perry St. Opening in mid-2000. Built of upright logs in 1832, this structure provided safety for Galena's earliest pioneers during the Blackhawk War. Clapboards converted the building to a residence, then a boarding house, tearoom and museum. A community-wide celebration honored its history in 1932. Re-opening in mid-2000, original handhewn logs will be exposed, with historical information displayed. Access during hours of on-site shop or by special arrangement. Free during open hours.

River Cruises on the Twilight: Riverboat offers two-day round-trip Mississippi River cruises that depart from LeClaire, Iowa, overnight at Chestnut Mountain Resort, Galena, and return to LeClaire the evening of the second day. Departures Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday Memorial Day through Mid-October. Reservations required. Call 800/331-1467 for price information.

Shopping: Whatever your favorite style of store, Galena has it. Antiques, food, galleries, wine and cheese, pottery and flowers are just a few.

Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historical Site: 500 Bouthillier St. The house was presented to Grant upon his return from the Civil War in 1865. It contains original furnishings, plus items belonging to the Grant family. Admission: Donation of $3 for adults, $1 for children. Open 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. daily. Closed holidays and Election Day.

Vinegar Hill Historic Lead Mine & Museum: 8885 N. Three Pines Road. Originally mined by an Irishman in 1822, it was handed down through generations. The mine is typical of those from that era. Guided tours take visitors into the mine, and museum features lead and ore samples, along with mining tools. Admission: Adults $5, students $2.50, children younger than 5 free. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily June-August, weekends in May, September and October. Call 815/777-0855.

Washburne House: 908 Third St. A Historic Preservation Agency home now open as a museum. The Greek Revival home, built in 1844 by Elihu B. Washburne. Open 10 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Tours every 30 minutes. Call 815/777-3310 for information.

Stockton, IL

If you have children along, take them to one of two parks in Stockton. The regular city park (right off 20) with swimming pool, playground and picnic spots; and a children's playground at Pear Street and Benton Avenue, which has all sorts of fun wooden structures for children to play on.

If you're a history buff, stop at the Stockton Township Public Library, 140 W. Benton, and ask to see the files on Jo Daviess County and Stockton village, collected by a group of local history buffs.

Next, catch Ill. 78 just east of Stockton, head north to Warren and follow the signs to the Warren Cheese Plant, where you will see all stages of cheese processing. Owner John Bussman loves the history and methods of cheese making, you'll leave knowing a lot more about cheese than before.

Be sure to meander around Warren; it, too, is a quaint, pretty town.

Boscobel, WI

French explorers Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette made their way down the Wisconsin River in 1673. They were the first white men to make the trip. And on the way they noted the wooded hills and hollows.

"Bosque belle," they said. This is a place of "beautiful woods."

The name, as it turned out, stuck to a river town.

Today's Boscobel, population 2,706,"Wisconsin's Wild Turkey Hunting Capital," is a good place to rent a canoe or stop by the A&W; for a root beer float.

After your float - the river kind or the root beer kind - follow the signs through Boscobel until you find Wisconsin Avenue. You'll be on your way to Boscobel's historic downtown.

There you'll find stone buildings built at the turn-of-the-century. You'll find all the businesses that make any small town go, plus the historic Hotel Boscobel.

At the hotel, according to the roadside historical marker, two salesmen met by chance in September 1898 and then met few more times the following summer. John H. Nicholson and Samuel E. Hill, with the help of William J. Knights, had established the Gideon Commercial Travelers Association. The Gideons have since distributed some 15million Bibles to hotels, the armed forces and young people.

Head a few blocks north and you'll find the newly restored Boscobel Depot. It was the Milwaukee-Prairie du Chien Railroad, established in 1854, which helped supply and populate the Wisconsin River Valley.

Cassville, WI

Stonefield Historic Site: Adjacent to Nelson Dewey State Park, the State Historical Society presents the story of early rural Wisconsin. The Society operates not only the Nelson Dewey homesite, which was the plantation of Wisconsin's first state governor, but also a re-created village of the 1890s and the State Agricultural Museum.

Stonefield was the name Dewey gave to the rock-studded 2,000-acre farm he established along the bluffs of the Mississippi, upriver from Cassville. He built Gothic revival stone barns and farm buildings and a large brick home. He practiced law and raised a variety of crops and livestock, at times employing as many as 50 people, who did everything from building stone fences to making furniture, wine and dairy products.

Dewey's lifestyle and wealth declined after 1873 with a national financial panic and a fire that destroyed his home. The home was rebuilt in the 1890s as a more modest summer residence. In 1936, the state acquired 700 acres of the property for a state park and a portion of the Dewey homestead was restored and refurbished. The Dewey buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The State Agricultural Museum portrays the history of agriculture in Wisconsin from 1840-1930, along with dioramas and a slide tape show. The museum features H diorama and exhibits displaying an outstanding collection of early farm machinery, models and related dairy and food processing items.

Stonefield Village, a re-created hamlet, depicts rural Midwestern life at the turn of the century. Its school, church, trade shops, cheese factory, railroad station and business places show the life and economy of a rural community of that day. Visitors walk or ride a horse-drawn carriage through a covered bridge to the village square. Here, they can stroll the village green, visit with a costumed guide, discover the many historic artifacts exhibited in village buildings, shop in the museum store, and enjoy an ice cream treat in the old-fashioned confectionery. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, May, June and Sept.; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, July and August; and weekends through October.

 

Dickeyville, WI

The Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines erected in the village of Dickeyville on Holy Ghost Parish grounds are the works of Father Matthias Wernerus.

Wernerus was pastor of the parish from 1918-1931. His handiwork in stone, built from 1925-1930, is dedicated to the unity of two American ideals - love of God and love of country

It is a creation in stone, mortar and bright colored objects - collected materials from all over the world.

These include colored glass, gems, antique heirlooms of pottery or porcelain, stalagmites and stalactites, sea shells, star fish, petrified sea urchins and fossils and a variety of corals plus amber glass, agate, quartz and ores.

There are several shrines in the Grotto garden. Besides the main shrine, which houses the grotto of the Blessed Virgin, there is a patriotic shrine, the sacramental shrine of the Holy Eucharist, the Sacred Heart Shrine, Christ the King shrine and the Stations of the Cross.

These are located in the floral garden areas surrounding the Holy Ghost Church.

A gift shop is open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. seven days a week, from April 1-Oct. 31.

Guided tours are available June 1-Aug. 31, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week; and May, September and October, weekends only. Earlier if requested by phone.

For more information, call 608/568-3119 or write: The Grotto, P.O. Box 429, Dickeyville, WI 52808.

Fennimore, WI

Fennimore Doll & Toy Museum and Gift Shop: 1140 Lincoln Ave. The museum features dolls from 1810-present, doll furniture, paper dolls and more. Featured in the toy room this season will be a unique collection of toys including Disney's Pixar from "A Bug's Life," robots from a unique collection featuring those from TV shows such as "Lost in Space" and "Buck Rogers," as well as "Star Wars" and "Robo Cop."

Also in the toy room - Smerfs, Beanie Babies, G.I. Joe, Lone Ranger, Sesame Street, Fisher Price toys from the 1930s and 1940s.

There are more than 80 display cases and visiting exhibits.

Visitors can choose from a large selection of collectible dolls, toys and miniatures in the museum gift shop. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 1-Dec. 15. Admission is $3.50 for adults, $1.50 for ages 6-18 and younger than 5, free; $6 season pass. Call 608/822-4100 or 888/867-7935 to arrange special group tours.

The Fennimore Railroad Museum: 610 Lincoln Ave., features memorabilia from Fennimore's railroad past and the unique Dinky narrow gauge trains.

A replica water tower, built to the original C&NW railroad specifications which guided builders of the original tower, stands in portly splendor near the 1907 2-6-0 Davenport locomotive and a state historical marker detailing Dinky's life and times.

There is an operational miniature train on a 15-inch gauge track where children can take rides (call for operating schedule). The museum also houses tourist information of area attractions and sells souvenirs. The museum is open daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Memorial Day-Labor Day and weekends only in September and October. Free admission, donations accepted. For information, call 608/822-6319 or 822-6144. Group tours are welcome.

Arborvitae Park: Corner of 10th and Wisconsin streets. Site includes playground, picnic areas, shelter and rest rooms.

Dwight T. Parker Public Library: 925 Lincoln Ave. In 1922, Fennimore banker, Dwight T. Parker, donated $35,000 for the construction of a library on an "adequate site" for "focus as one of the beautiful points of interest in the City of Fennimore." The red brick two-story rectangular building with wide overhanging eaves features a hipped red clay tile roof with a single brick chimney rising through the southeast slope of the rood in the rear of the building. Call 608/822-6294

Marsden Park: Marsden Park Road. It has tennis courts, picnic area, sand-volleyball court and shelters. Arbor Vitae offers picnic areas and physical fitness course. To reserve picnic sites, call 815/822-3177.

Oakwood Park: Bronson Boulevard and County Q. A 45-acre nature park, it offers visitors a glimpse of native trees and flowers, with many species of birds to view. It offers more than three miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails. RV camping available and new shelter and rest rooms in the future. No bicycles or motorized vehicles allowed; open 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. Call 608/822-6119.

Lancaster, WI

In Lancaster, visit the Grant County Courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. It features a glass-and-copper dome patterned after the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

It also has Civil War artifacts on display, such as weapons and shrapnel and bullets from Gettysburg. Outside the courthouse is a monument to Grant County soldiers who died in battle or by diseases. Dedicated in 1867, it's thought to be the first Civil War monument by public subscription in the country.

History buffs will find a lot more to do in Lancaster. There's the small Episcopal Cemetery one block south of the square, on Jefferson Street. There are grave markers from the 1840s and 1850s. And a state historical marker shows the gravesite of Nelson Dewey, Wisconsin's first governor.

At the Cunningham Museum, operated by the Grant County Historical Society, you'll see a medical display of instruments of Dr. Wilson Cunningham, a benefactor of the museum. There are examples of the ox-bone splints that he invented for repairing and healing fractures. The bone plates contained holes for bone screws to be inserted.

Upstairs is a collection of uniforms and weapons from the major wars. From the Civil War, there's a soldier's diary and a ball and chain used at the infamous Andersonville prison

. When grade school children visit, they use the word "awesome" to describe some of the things they see, said Al Weber, local historian. They enjoy the mounted owls and the passenger pigeon, the arrowhead collection and the almost three-dimensional effect of pictures viewed through an old-fashioned stereoscope.

The museum also has a room devoted to the early black settlers of Pleasant Ridge, a few miles west of Lancaster. Now, only the cemeteries remain.

For appointments or hours of operation at the museum, call (608)723-2287 or 723-4925.

Platteville, WI

Mining Museum, Rollo Jamison Museum: 405 E. Main St. The mining museum traces the development of lead and zinc mining in the Upper Mississippi Valley through models, dioramas, artifacts and photographs. A self-guided tour includes a walk down into the Bevans Lead, an 1845 lead mine which produced more than 2 million pounds of lead ore in one year, a visit to a head-frame where you can see how zinc ore was hoisted from a mine and hand sorted, and a train ride around the museum grounds in ore cars pulled by a 1931 mine locomotive.

The self-guided tour of the Rollo Mansion Museum will take you back to the turn of the century with exhibits of carriages, farm implements, tools, a tavern/general store, a kitchen and parlor, musical instruments, mechanical music boxes and more.

On the second floor of the Mining Museum Building is the Rountree Gallery. It features works of area artists.

Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May-October; Changing galleries open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. November-April. Call 608/348-3301. Group tours by appointment. Visit our website at http://mining.jamison.museum

Mitchell-Rountree Stone Cottage: U.S. 51 and West Madison. Built in 1837 by the Rev. Samuel Mitchell, it stands today as it did 150 years ago. Much of the interior contains original furnishings of the home. Mitchell was a soldier during the American Revolutionary War. Call the chamber for visiting information, 608/348-8888.

The "M": Platte Mound, County Trunk B, on Hiawatha Pioneer Trail. The historic monument to the Engineering Department of UW-Platteville has its beginnings in 1836. It is reportedly the largest ?M? in the world. Platteville students in 1937 created the current one, building it 241 feet high, 214 feet wide with legs 25 feet in width. It contains more than 400 tons of whitewashed stone. There is parking at the site.

Parks: City parks offer picnic facilities, lighted ball diamonds, lighted tennis courts, basketball courts, lighted horseshoe courts, playground equipment, swimming pool and concert band stage.

Restaurants: A variety of choices, from Chinese to pizza to fast-food to sit down dinners. There are more than 25 choices in the city.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville: The college is home to many athletic and cultural events. It was founded in 1866 and became part of the University System in 1971. For more information, call 608/342-1125.

Mining Museum, Rollo Jamison Museum: 405 E. Main St. The mining museum traces the development of lead and zinc mining in the Upper Mississippi Valley through models, dioramas, artifacts and photographs. A self-guided tour includes a walk down into the Bevans Lead, an 1845 lead mine which produced more than 2 million pounds of lead ore in one year, a visit to a head-frame where you can see how zinc ore was hoisted from a mine and hand sorted, and a train ride around the museum grounds in ore cars pulled by a 1931 mine locomotive.

The self-guided tour of the Rollo Mansion Museum will take you back to the turn of the century with exhibits of carriages, farm implements, tools, a tavern/general store, a kitchen and parlor, musical instruments, mechanical music boxes and more.

On the second floor of the Mining Museum Building is the Rountree Gallery. It features works of area artists.

Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May-October; Changing galleries open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. November-April. Call 608/348-3301. Group tours by appointment. Visit our website at http://mining.jamison.museum

Mitchell-Rountree Stone Cottage: U.S. 51 and West Madison. Built in 1837 by the Rev. Samuel Mitchell, it stands today as it did 150 years ago. Much of the interior contains original furnishings of the home. Mitchell was a soldier during the American Revolutionary War. Call the chamber for visiting information, 608/348-8888.

The "M": Platte Mound, County Trunk B, on Hiawatha Pioneer Trail. The historic monument to the Engineering Department of UW-Platteville has its beginnings in 1836. It is reportedly the largest ?M? in the world. Platteville students in 1937 created the current one, building it 241 feet high, 214 feet wide with legs 25 feet in width. It contains more than 400 tons of whitewashed stone. There is parking at the site.

Parks: City parks offer picnic facilities, lighted ball diamonds, lighted tennis courts, basketball courts, lighted horseshoe courts, playground equipment, swimming pool and concert band stage.

Restaurants: A variety of choices, from Chinese to pizza to fast-food to sit down dinners. There are more than 25 choices in the city.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville: The college is home to many athletic and cultural events. It was founded in 1866 and became part of the University System in 1971. For more information, call 608/342-1125.

Potosi-Tennyson, WI

St. John's Mine (608/763-2121) 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Passage Thru Time Museum, noon-4 p.m. .Tuesday-Saturday.