5 Adventures Under $5

Adventure #1: The little incline.
Imagine this. You climb in a little green and white rail car. You begin your travel 189 feet into the air. Halfway through your ascent you pass an identical car filled with a family laughing and smiling. You arrive at the top, climb out of the car and then you see it. You see into three states, a riverboat cruising on the Mississippi River and people walking the streets below. One of the kids waiting excitedly in line to take the same climb waves at you and you wave back with a huge grin. You look back out to take in the magnificent view of downtown Dubuque and the Mississippi River from the top of the Fenelon Place Elevator. You have just ridden the world’s shortest and steepest scenic railway.

Adventure #2: From Italy to the Midwest.
Seventeen years old and hearing the call to the Priesthood, Father Samuel Mazzuchelli’s began his journey. While studying in Rome, he felt called to the American missions and spent 40 days on a ship before reaching America. His work began in Michigan before proceeding south and settling in the Tri-State area. Not only did he preach to the local people and appreciate Native American’s values, but he built schools and churches along the way. One of the few remaining buildings built by Fr. Mazzuchelli can be found at Sinsinawa Mounds. Today, the Dominican Sisters continue Fr. Mazzuchelli’s mission and honor him with an artifact exhibit on the grounds.

Adventure #3: M for Mining.
Here is another Tri-State world record holder for you – the world’s largest “M”! Now over 75 years old, the rock formation continues to welcome visitors who climb its 166 steps and take in the view from the top. Located in Platteville, Wisconsin, this giant letter is 214 feet wide and 241 feet high. As history tells, a snow “M” inspired the permanent white rock “M”. Using an estimated 400 tons of limestone, students created a lasting symbol to represent the mining heritage of the area. Grab a bottle of water (or two) and a picnic lunch, take a hike up the 166 steps and enjoy the beauty of Wisconsin.

Adventure #4: Squeak Squeak!
Have you tried the cheese that squeaks yet? Even if you have, plan to make a stop to pick up some fresh cheese curds. Try a new flavor or pick up your favorite! Shullsburg Cheese Store has a variety – from classic Cheddar to the Chipotle to Dill. There is sure to be a flavor to satisfy you during your snack attack. Happy Squeaking!

Adventure #5: Welcome home.
It was the spring of 1860 when Ulysses S. Grant and his family decided to make the move to settle in Galena, Illinois. He worked in his father’s store and traveled to small towns servicing customers. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Grant rejoined the U.S. Army and was commissioned colonel. Four years later, Grant returned home a war hero and to a new fully furnished house as an appreciation gift. Grant went on to become President and his children gave the house to the City of Galena. The home has been restored to its original appearance from Grant’s time there. Take a jump back into history as you tour through President Grant’s home.

Historical Places of the Tri-States: Get Personal with the Past

The Tri-States is a perfect getaway for anyone who has an affinity for the Victorian era and steamboats, revels in the early days of agriculture or the lead mining rush, or simply appreciates American history. The region is full of established communities with historical homes and buildings that allow you to get up close and personal with the past through artifacts, possessions, and stories of the individuals and families who lived there.

ILLINOIS offers excellent examples of Italianate architecture and Civil War-era homes, and is also where you can literally follow in the footsteps of history.

Galena, IL

> The Belvedere Mansion & Gardens is called Galena’s “Downtown Abbey;” it is a well-preserved, historically accurate example of upper-class, mid-19th century life. Just across town you will find the oldest house in Galena – the Dowling House. It was once the only trading post in Galena and provided primitive living quarters for fur traders.

Dixon, IL

> Built in 1908, the Northwest Territory Historic Center is where President Ronald Reagan once attended school as a child. See President Reagan’s 6th Grade Classroom restored to his time there. A separate room features memorabilia from his time as president. Learn about the struggles of the Native American’s as well how they fought to keep their land and how early farmer’s climbed an uphill battle to prosper in a new area.

Savanna, IL

> The City of Savanna is known as an “outdoor paradise” due to its proximity along the shores of the Mississippi River. The dense forest and steep cliffs of nearby Mississippi Palisades State Park had once been home to area Native Americans; present-day visitors to the park can hike the same trails forged by those pathfinders nearly 1500 years ago.

On the IOWA side of the Mississippi, you’ll discover Victorian-era opulence and other cultural traits associated with the booming lead industry and bustling river economy during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Dubuque, IA

> The Mathias Ham House is significant to the Midwest lead mining phenomenon. The mid-Victorian home is on the National Register of Historic Places; it was built by local entrepreneur Mathias Ham and designed by architect John F. Rague. You can visit this living history site from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Davenport, IA

> In 1900, Davenport was described as the most German city in the Midwest. The German American Heritage Center works to teach present and future generations about German immigrant experiences. The Center was a former immigrant hotel and is the last one remaining in the region.

Guttenberg, IA

> The Lockmaster’s House Heritage Museum is where the lockmaster and assistant lockmaster of Lock and Dam #10 were required to live between 1938 and 1973. The house has since become a museum preserving the history of both the lock and dam and Guttenberg. This is the last remaining lockmaster house on the Upper Mississippi River and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The scenic rolling hills of Southwest WISCONSIN offer breath-taking views, Swiss hospitality, and a rich agricultural heritage that developed the growth of Wisconsin.

New Glarus, WI

> The New Glarus Hotel Restaurant has a rich history dating back to 1853. Nowadays, it is a called a hotel despite the fact that most guests are there to dine in for the Swiss specialties. The building began as a hotel and the current main dining room was once an old opera house. Silent movies with pianists were often the featured show.

Cassville, WI

> Stonefield Historical Site celebrates Wisconsin’s agricultural history. Learn about the rise of turn-of-the-century dairy farming and see why Wisconsin is known as “America’s Dairyland.” Stonefield has a 1901 farmstead, an agricultural museum, a living history rural farming village, and more!

Mineral Point, WI

> Pendarvis Historical Site interprets the history of Cornish settlement during the early 19th century and Wisconsin’s lead-mining heyday. Touring the historic homes at Pendarvis will transport you into the typical day of a lead-mining immigrant family and how they lived and worked.

Summertime Along Each State's Great River Road

Summer is a wonderful time to travel……along each state’s stretch of the Great River Road:

THE GREAT RIVER ROAD IN ILLINOIS offers 550 miles of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, historic sites, local attractions and shopping. Marvel at the views of the Mississippi River and see 26 ancient Hopewell Indian Mounds when visiting Gramercy Park in East Dubuque. Go back in time to the 1800’s in Fulton with the Heritage Canyon where you will find a village built in a former rock quarry that overlooks the Mississippi River. Throw a line into the Mississippi in Savanna and you might hook a walleye, largemouth bass, or a catfish!

IOWA’S GREAT RIVER ROAD features 10 Counties and 15 designated Great River Road Interpretative Centers. Take in views from high on the bluff at Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown and see one of the most spectacular views of the valley. In Dubuque, take a leisurely outing on the Spirit of Dubuque for lunch, dinner or just to sightsee. Be sure to stop in Bellevue at the Bellevue State Park – home of a butterfly garden. Get lost in the world class art exhibits and collections at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport.

THE WISCONSIN GREAT RIVER ROAD will take you on a 250 mile journey through 33 river towns. There are spectacular scenic overlooks along the entire Wisconsin Great River Road with nearly two-thirds of the roadway passing along or through protected natural environments. With a stop in Cassville, you might take a ride on the Car Ferry that connects the Iowa and Wisconsin Great River Roads. Tour through the National Brewery Museum to discover the history of brewing in the area on your way through Potosi and be sure to grab a local brew at Potosi Brewery right next door! Take in the beauty of the Dickeyville Grotto – comprised of stone, mortar and bright colored objects collected from around the world.