If you know me, you know there’s nothing I enjoy more than a road trip with my family. This past weekend we decided to travel to La Crosse, Wisconsin. I went to college at Viterbo University, it’s a small private school that you’ve probably never heard of… :)
Anyway, we decided to drive over and down through Wisconsin to change up the scenery a bit. We wanted to drive through Eau Claire, since we’ve never been there as a family and then drive down to La Crosse. I googled a couple places to stop in Eau Claire and stretch our legs. Our first stop was the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp because I always take the opportunity to get a pic with Paul and Babe statues! Unfortunately the museum wasn’t open, it’s only open May- September, but we still stopped to check it out and added it to our family travel bucket list. By the way, I know it looks like Paul is missing an arm, but it’s just behind his back… when we first got there I thought someone had pulled his arm off!
We were starting to get hungry, so we headed to The Classic Garage for a quick bite to eat. I would highly recommend this place! It’s an old gas station/garage turned into a diner, complete with a vintage car right in the middle! I’m not that into old cars but I still found this place super cool. And the food was delicious! Definitely a fun place to stop that’s off the beaten path.
From there we headed back on the road. About 30 minutes in, Matt spotted a fun antique shop and offered to stop. Who is this guy and how lucky did I get by marrying him?!?! EEECK I was SO excited to stop. We pulled up to a HUGE former high school turned into an antique mall in Hixton, Wi. Hixton Antique Mall just kept going and going. I thought the prices and variety of items was amazing. There’s a few other antique shops in the city I would have loved to stop at, but I thought we should probably hit the road.
We got back on the road and made one last detour before we got to La Crosse. I’ve always wanted to go to Fast Corporation in Sparta, WI. Weird bucket list item, right? Fast Signs makes fiberglass statues- like the Paul Bunyan and Babe pictured in Eau Claire. Anyway- they make statues that go all over the world, but they house their metal molds in an open field in Sparta. I’ve seen others pictures of coming here and boy- they don’t do it justice! There’s SO many molds and it’s fun trying to figure out what the statues actually look like. They had quite a few finished pieces too so you could see how much work goes into the molding, painting and finishing process. If you are into bizarre roadside attractions, I would add this one to your list. It’s free to visit but it’s at your own risk.
We finally made it to La Crosse after a full day of travel!! We stopped for some groceries and headed to our Airbnb on French Island. It was super cute and cozy if you’re looking to stay in this area.
Saturday we headed off into LaCrosse and Matt randomly spotted Summit Elementary so naturally we had to stop and take pictures with their signs :)
We went to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe for a walk outside (it was just warm enough to put some layers on and make the mile trek to the shrine). It’s a really gorgeous area and perfect for some contemplation as you walk up into the bluffs to the shrine. The nice thing is there’s no admission (I always love a deal) and it’s been voted one of the top 10 shines in America. Our timing was a little off, right as we got to the top, mass was starting so we couldn’t really explore inside much… but that’s ok- I don’t know the rules on taking pictures in a shrine so maybe it was for the best :)
We were planning to meet up with a friend for an early dinner that evening so we decided to have a super light lunch at the People’s Food Co-op. I have to admit, I was a student member there back in the day! I loved how close it was to campus and there deli section couldn’t be beat :) Of course I had to get some of their homemade granola and it still tastes the same as it did 8 years ago! After the co-op, I met up with a college professor at a local coffee shop and then we went out to dinner with one of my besties, Chelsey. It was a fun but packed day! I was really glad we could head back to our Airbnb and veg out for the evening.
The next day we slept in a bit… as much as you can with a toddler ;) We packed up the cabin (I was sad to leave such a cozy place) and headed to find Sunny the Sunfish- the mascot of Onalaska. Because of course I had to find another fiberglass statue!! We walked around downtown and checked out the waterfront before having brunch at Fayze’s - my fave restaurant in Lax! The brunch was just as good as I remembered it, although I do regret not getting one of their famous cinnamon rolls for the road. We had an uneventful ride back home… Summit slept, I tried to sleep, Matt and I made a list of future road trips and we listened to some cool tunes. All in all it was a fun trip going down memory lane with my family. I don’t know if I had any idea while I was in college that I would one day come back with my own family, but I’m glad I did. It was fun trip on memory lane and now it’s crossed off our bucket list!