Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wisconsin Adventure

Part 3: Potosi

Here's the third and final post documenting my recent trip to Wisconsin with my friends Kathleen and Joey.

After enjoying biking on the Elroy-Sparta Trail, we made our way south to the other "Twin Cities," the villages of Potosi and Tennyson - which together comprise Wisconsin's Catfish Capital!

Our original plan was to visit and camp near Dubuque, Iowa. We'd previously visited this beautiful city in the summer of 2008 and were looking forward to exploring it further. However, after chatting with a friendly local woman in the Wisconsin river town of Potosi, just twenty minutes from Dubuque, we decided to get to know this new place and its surrounds instead.

Above and left: Setting up camp at the Grant River Recreation Area, situated just outside of Potosi on the banks of the Mississippi River.

It was a beautiful spot to camp – marred only by the sleep-shattering sound of the numerous trains passing throughout the night on the nearby railway line!

Above, right and below: Views of the Mississippi from the Grant River Recreation Area, Wisconsin – Tuesday, July 20, 2010.

Above: Kathleen and Joey after we tubed down the Grant River – Wednesday, July 21, 2010.

Above and left: The Potosi Brewing Company, home to the National Brewery Museum.

Above: The Potosi branch of the American Legion, where we had a lovely lunch before touring the National Brewery Museum just across the street.

Above and below: The Dickeyville Grotto is comprised of a grotto and numerous shrines on the grounds of Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church in Dickeyville, Wisconsin.

Dickeyville was the first of three Wisconsin towns we visited as we made our way back to Minnesota on Thursday, July 22.

The grotto and shrines are the work of Matthias Wernerus, a Roman Catholic priest who served the Holy Ghost parish from 1918-1931. Wernerus dedicated his handiwork to what he considered the two great American ideals – love of God and love of country.

Materials used to construct the grotto and shrines include stone, mortar, and a range of bright colored objects – colored glass, sea shells, coral, gems, antique heirlooms of pottery and porcelain, amber glass, agate, quartz, rock crystals, onyx, coal, and fool's gold.

Above: Wernerus' "Patriotic Shrine," which deifies Christopher Columbus. Wernerus clearly didn't share Dorothy Day's belief that "there is no nationality," as such a concept has been "superceded by the Mystical Body of Christ"!

Overall, I found Wernerus' spectacle garish and puerile. I did, however, appreciate the nearby Stations of the Cross (right), which were a much later addition to the parsh grounds (sometime in the 1960s, I believe) and reflect a humble and elegant simplicity.

Above: The Wisconsin town of Shullsburg, famous for its creamery and cheese-making which dates back to 1938.

Left: The town's popular Cheese Store.

The third and final Wisconsin town we visited was New Glarus, "America's Little Switzerland"!

Our first port of call was the New Glarus Brewing Company (pictured above).

Above, right and below: New Glarus, Wisconsin – Thursday, July 22, 2010.

The town bills itself as "America's Little Switzerland" as it was established as a Swiss colony in 1845. As you can see from these photos, New Glarus has retained much of its Swiss features - from Alpine-style architecture and flower-filled window boxes to its offering of authentic Swiss food and arts & crafts.

Above and below: Just outside of the Wisconsin capital of Madison we encountered some really nasty weather - torrential rain, strong winds, thunder, and too-close-for-comfort lightening strikes. In fact, we found out later that there had been reports of a tornado touch-down in Dane County – the county we were driving through when these images were taken!

We arrived safely back to St. Paul-Minneapolis in the early evening of Thursday, July 22 – tired but grateful for the wonderful Wisconsin adventure we had shared.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Wisconsin Adventure: Part 1 – Black River Falls
Wisconsin Adventure: Part 2 – The Elroy-Sparta Trail

1 comment:

Mareczku said...

Thanks for the beautiful pictures of Wisconsin. I have only been to the Midwest a couple of times, and only briefly so it is nice to see all the photos from there.