Grant County is located in the far southwest corner of Wisconsin. Wooded acres and free flowing streams create an environment that pleases the eye and provides a sportsman with opportunities. A memorable experience can be found in our woods, streams and towns. Whether you’re looking to bag that huge tom, hook that elusive trout, or enjoy other recreation, Grant County is a great place to be!
Early trout season catch and release opens on March 5, and runs until May 1. The general inland trout season begins after that. Grant County offers many Class 1 streams as well as Class 2 and Class 3, something for everyone’s abilities. Excellent fishing is not limited to trout. Catfish, bluegill, bass, as well as other species can be found in our rivers.
The outdoor enthusiast can choose a variety of hunting experiences. The Spring Youth Turkey Hunt is April 9 and 10 with Period A beginning on April 13. Boscobel holds the title of the Turkey Capital of Wisconsin, which gives you an idea about the popularity of turkey hunting and the quantity of birds to be found in the area.
Fall and winter bring out the antler hunters. During the opening gun season in 2015, over 3,200 deer were harvested in our woods. Archery, crossbow and muzzleloader accounted for another 1,400, according to the DNR. The wooded hills and many streams create a great environment for the whitetail and other anticipated trophies. Grant County has nine areas of public hunting land that provide location and opportunity for a successful hunt.
There are many other types of outdoor activities in this beautiful corner of Wisconsin. Biking and hiking trail development has been growing throughout the county. Platteville has a trail that covers 2.7 miles and will soon connect to a trail that can be ran, walked or pedaled to Belmont.
The Wisconsin River Trail project is a loop that will connect Wauzeka, Boscobel and Woodman. Woodman is the start of the Dinky Trail that parallels the original historic Dinky Railway between Woodman and Fennimore. Biking enthusiasts are able to rent a bike in Fennimore at the Railroad Historical Society Museum or at the Woodman General Store and leave it at either destination. Rolling hills and scenic valleys create a panoramic view that is almost unequalled. For those who would rather not work up a sweat to enjoy the outdoors, the scenery available around the next curve holds a great appeal.
The Great River Road is a favorite ride for bikers and car cruisers. Miles of highway offer a ride curving through the countryside adjacent to the mighty Miss. Some will cross the river from Iowa on the Cassville Ferry for a new experience. The ferry usually opens the first weekend in May and remains open until October. Some of the most beautiful scenery can be enjoyed from the deck of the “Pride of Cassville.” Eagles soar over the river or land in one of the huge nests to feed their young. If you’re lucky, you might see them swoop down to catch a fish from the river. The view, like the river, is always changing!
If motorcycles are a little fast for you and you like a slower pace to enjoy the outdoors, ATVs might be your thing. Miles of designated roadways meander throughout the county with new routes added every year. Jamestown Township has designated all of their township roads as ATV routes. Riders can ride from Mount Hope to the shores of the Wisconsin River near Millville or over to the Mississippi at Bagley. Designated roads in and around Cassville, Livingston, Lancaster, Cuba City and Hazel Green make for gorgeous rides. Cuba City and Hazel Green are working to connect their routes to the Cheese Trail so your ride need not stop here! Remember, the routes are a work in progress!
While on your ride, whether two-wheeled or four-wheeled, appreciate the abundant wildlife, waterfowl and many varieties of smaller birds that are easily viewed from the road or in the parks. Trees flash with color as small and large birds take to the air or flit from branch to branch. Eagles can occasionally be sighted in flight throughout the county. Grant County has become a popular destination for birders. Wyalusing State Park is a favorite for camping, scenic overlooks and spying that elusive flash of color in the woods or grasses. Potosi Point features an observation deck situated on a point of land that extends out into the Mississippi. This area is visited by over 270 species of birds. Beautiful vistas and nature in motion entertain both the visitor and the resident.
Potosi offers another reason to visit their community. It is popular among both the birding enthusiasts and the people that love a good beer. The original Potosi Brewing company dates back to 1852, ceasing operation in 1972. Purchased in 1995 by the Potosi Foundation, it was remodeled and reopened in 2008. Listed on the U.S. Register of Historic places, it is a full-fledged brewery and restaurant. With brews like Good Old Potosi, Snake Hollow, Cave Ale, Gandy Dancer Porter and Fiddler Stout, among others, there is a taste for every beer lover.
The brewery is also home to the National Brewery Museum and the Potosi Brewing Company Transportation Museum. The Port of Potosi Annual Breweriana Collectors Show will be held in Potosi on March 19th. Visitors may buy, sell or trade for that one item that they really have to have! The annual Potosi Brew Fest, August 27th, is a great opportunity to sample some of the best beer, wine, cheese and meat from over 35 breweries, wineries, cheese and meat companies.
Several wineries are found along Grant County’s winding roads. May 28th and 29th, visitors can take part in the Great Wine and Chocolate Trail. Participating Wineries include Bauer-Kearns Winery near Platteville, Sinnipee Valley Winery near Kieler, Spurgeon Winery near Muscoda, Whispering Bluffs Winery in Potosi, Whispering Winds Winery between Montfort and Fennimore and Weggy Winery between Muscoda and Richland Center. The combination of fine wine with great chocolate creates a true experience for the senses. Other wine trails occur in June, July and August but you don’t need to wait for a trail. Visit the wineries any day to discover Ruby Lady, Ice Maiden or many other fantastic wines.
Like cheese? Stop in Fennimore at Carr Valley, have your picture taken next to Igor, the giant mouse and purchase some of the best cheese you’ve ever tasted. If you’re traveling closer to Cuba City, take a minute to stop at Gile Cheese. They have many different kinds of cheese available to satisfy your tastes. Meister Cheese in Muscoda has a variety of cheeses available from aged cheddar to a cheese they call Muscoda Mayhem that packs a hot pepper wallop. Several goat cheeses are also made in Grant County. Have you ever tried creamy goat cheese layered with sweet blueberries and fresh pomegranate? Lancaster’s Woolwich Dairy has several superb taste experiences in their assortment of specialty products! There are many other great places to shop for your favorite cheese as you travel in Grant County.
If you want a real tasty treat, visit Muscoda on May 14th or 15th! The Muscoda Morel Festival should not be missed. Although morels are not unique to Grant County, the festival is! Morel mushrooms have a short growing season requiring warm soil and spring rains. They may be as small as your little finger or several inches tall and around. There are many ways to prepare this spring treat from frying them in butter to enjoying them in a unique beer. The festival features cars and crafts, wine tasting, a flea market, ball games, a car show, fireworks and much more.
Grant County has miles and miles of coastline. The Wisconsin River borders the northern portion of the county, while the Mississippi flows along the western side. Along with all of this water on the outer edges, there are many streams and rivers throughout the county. I’m sorry to break it to the avid angler, but rivers aren’t just for fishing! Some of the great summer pastimes are our favorite watersports; canoeing, kayaking or tubing. The Wisconsin, Grant, Little Platte and Big Platte offer bends and rapids that can challenge and entertain the water enthusiast. The rapids in the smaller rivers are more suitable for beginners and groups.
The Wisconsin, although a little trickier, is a long stretch of natural beauty with small islands and adventure waiting around the bend. The Mississippi comes alive in the spring and summer with barge traffic that runs from the Gulf of Mexico to Minnesota. Motorboats speed up and down the river, some of them pulling laughing people enjoying waterskis or tubes. Other boats sit quietly as an angler casts a hopeful line.
Campgrounds and cabins can be found to accommodate a vacation planned for fun or relaxation. There are state parks, like Wyalusing or Nelson Dewey, that offer great campsites for those that want to get away from busy city streets. Many private campgrounds like Jellystone and River of Lakes in Bagley are destinations of choice for that weekend family getaway. If camping isn’t appealing, Grant County has several cabins that can be rented for a week or weekend to relax in a little more comfort. Area bed and breakfasts offer a unique experience for the visitor who wants a little more coddling than a rustic cabin in the woods.
Grant County appreciates its past. The Cunningham Museum in Lancaster features local collections from the earlier days of the county. One of its exhibits features Pleasant Ridge. Established in the 1860’s, Pleasant Ridge was one of the first “free” black settlements in Wisconsin. Located just outside of Lancaster, little is left but the cemetery and marker. The first Civil War Monument erected in the country is located on the lawn of the Grant County Courthouse.
Governor Nelson Dewey’s gravesite can be found in the same Courthouse Square. Governor Dewey’s former residence is right across the road from Stonefield Historical Site near Cassville. The Stonefield Historical Site is an open-air museum that portrays a turn-of-the-century farming community. Visitors can view a reenactment of some of the skills employed in an earlier time. Stonefield also hosts the Great River Road Festival in October as well as other festivals throughout the year.
Another place of note in Grant County is the G.A.R. Hall in Boscobel. It is the only remaining Civil War Veteran’s Hall in Wisconsin and is now a Civil War Museum. If you visit Platteville, be sure to visit the Rollo Jamison Museum or tour the 1845 Bevan’s Mine. Keep in mind that Platteville will host its 19th annual Historic Reenactment September 9-11. This is a perfect time to see military demonstrations, listen to storytelling, and enjoy period food from the early 1800s.
The Great River Road Museum of Contemporary Art in Potosi displays exhibits of world-class art with an emphasis on art produced along the Great River Road. Not too far from Potosi is the town of Dickeyville, the home of a very different work of art, the Dickeyville Grotto. Built in the mid 1920’s, there are several shrines within the Grotto Garden that are comprised of stone, mortar and a collection of colorful materials that were originally purposed for something else. Colored glass, gems, pottery, pieces of stalagmite, seashells, and even fool’s gold, among other things, adorn the Grotto and its shrines. This ornate structure is dedicated to the love of God and the love of Country. It is a beautiful sight to see!
History is great but antiques can be owned! If you can picture that old oak buffet in your living room or that carnival glass bowl on your mantle, visit Cuba City! There are four antique stores to tempt the connoisseur of things that are old, really old or just interesting. Cuba City is known as the City of Presidents because of the pictures displayed along Main Street. Every President is depicted with pride.
Cuba City, Boscobel, Cassville, Fennimore and Platteville have farmer’s markets from early May until October. Local produce growers, which include a large population of Amish, sell their summer crops to anyone that relishes homegrown vegetables, fruits and flowers. Amish auctions, like the one held on County Road T outside of Fennimore, provide a country flavor with hand-stitched quilts, crafted furniture and plentiful produce. These auctions are an exceptional experience with many opportunities to purchase locally grown produce and handcrafted items.
Each town and city in Grant County has something special to offer for your enjoyment. A variety of festivals occur throughout the year. The largest, the Grant County Fair, takes place during the third week in August. Truck and tractor pulls, livestock and poultry judging, exhibits and a large carnival are a few of the events that can be enjoyed. The demolition derby is always popular. Of course, there is every kind of “fair” food that we love but shouldn’t eat!
Whether you’re enthusiastic about hunting, fishing, outdoor activities or other types of entertainment, there is always somewhere to go and someplace to be for a great time in Grant County! The list can go on and on. If you would like to know more about Grant County, visit www.grantcounty.org. Tourist attractions, events, lodging and restaurants is just some of the information provided. We would love to have you visit and stay awhile!