Monday, October 20, 2014

Part 2: Adventures in Shopping, Playing and Visiting Fond du Lac, WI {#VisitFDL}

Have you read my Part 1 on many of the amazing, incredible, fun things to do in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin? If you're not already planning your visit so that you can take a dogsled ride, eat homemade ice cream and drive a UTV through the woods (among other things), then check out even more reasons why you'll want to make Fond du Lac your family's next vacation destination...

Outdoor Attractions

The Little Farmer

One of the oldest and largest orchards in the Lake Winnebago area, The Little Farmer is a combination orchard and market, with even more family fun thrown in. Take the hayride to pick apples and pumpkins, let your kids run and climb in the play area, feed the goats and sheep in the animal corral, wind your way through the Amazing Corn Maze and purchase the most delectable-smelling pies and muffins in the Apple House.

But no matter if you visit The Little Farmer to take beautiful fall family photos, go on an educational tour or simply to stock up on delicious apples, bakery items, popcorn, jams & jellies, homemade applesauce, honey, gifts or more, a visit wouldn't be complete without their one-of-a-kind caramel apples. Choose the size and whether you want it sliced before watching their "caramel apple technicians" dip it in homemade caramel and top it with your choice of toppings!

The Little Farmer Fond du Lac

Meuer Farm

The Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association 2013 Business of the Year award-winner, Meuer Farm is a 150-acre working family owned farm filled with fall fun for the whole family. Check out their straw fort, farm animals, hayrides, kids' games, 80-foot tube slide, corn cannons, pumpkin patch, strawberries, fresh popped kettle corn (SO good!), maple syrup and honey... before heading to their HUGE corn maze!

Known for being the largest corn maze in the area, this year Meuer Farm is celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons in their creative design. The maze itself covers 10 acres and is divided into two separate mazes, Phase 1 (smaller) and Phase 2 (larger). Navigating both phases requires participants to answer trivia questions on a passport, which are available on a variety of topics and levels of difficulty but it all adds up to a whole lot of fun!

Meuer Farm Fond du Lac

LaClare Farms

An award-winning goat farm with a gift shop and café, LaClare Farms is family-owned and follows the motto that "Great milk makes great cheese." Inside their store, visitors can find wine, ice cream, craft beer and soda, as well as a wide variety of amazing artisan cheeses (they are especially known for their Evalon, named one of the top 16 cheeses in the world).

As well as a complimentary wine and cheese tasting, seeing adorable baby goats, and watching the 4:30pm daily goat milking, my visit to LaClare was complete when I had the chance to step into the pen and feed the goats for myself (a handful of feed only costs 25¢). These friendly animals are happy to see people and will chew on just about anything that comes near their mouth... evidenced by the bite marks in my nametag and the slobber marks on my shirt and sweater! I couldn't stop laughing!

LaClare Farms Fond du Lac

Calumet Harbor Marina

A family run marina on the east side of Lake Winnebago, Calumet Harbor Marina is a full-service marina with 62 slips equipped with shore power and water. Also available are bathroom and shower facilities, boat gas, boat service, travel lift service and boat storage... but for those of us non-boaters, the 70-foot observation Columbia Park Tower is worth the climb for breathtaking photo opportunities.

Lakeside Park and Lighthouse

A beautiful 400-acre park located on the south end of Lake Winnebago, Lakeside Park features a picnic area, shelters, playground equipment, an antique carousel, a miniature train, a marina filled with all kinds of boats and more.

Although it has closed for this year (April 15 - October 15), a climb to the top of the iconic 40-foot high Lakeside Park Lighthouse is a must when visiting Fond du Lac. This observation tower was built in 1933 and is not only a sight itself, but the views from the top provide incredible souvenir photos.

Lakeside Park Fond du Lac

Historic Galloway House & Village (and Haunted House!)

Giving visitors the chance to see what life was like in the late 1800's, Galloway House & Village is made up of the 30-room mansion itself, the surrounding 25 historic buildings and more than 15 acres of grounds and gardens. Including a photographers' shop, dress shop, newspaper print shop, one-room school, church (the chapel is still used for weddings, baptisms and baby showers) and more, this is a beautiful location to explore the history of the area.

However, from October 10 to November 1, the historic Galloway House & Village gets an eerie, spooky makeover, transforming into the Ghosts of Galloway Haunted Village. While I was initially concerned about entering anywhere that is haunted (I mentioned that I'm a wimp, right?), this ended up being an extremely fun, scream-inducing visit.

Although I wouldn't recommend this for the younger crowd (a toned-down version is available on two weekend afternoons for less of a scare), it was a definitely an interactive, frightful-yet-not-horrifying activity for teenagers (and us adults).

Galloway House Fond du Lac

Where To Shop

Kreative Kraftwerks

A family-owned business that was established in 2002, Kreative Kraftwerks offers soaps, candles, lotions and many other unique gift items along with classes and workshops. There is even a special section of Farm Kids Soap, handcrafted by the owner's grandchildren!

We had the opportunity to not only shop the wonderful selection at Kreative Kraftwerks, but to create our own lotion and firestarter. The result was an extremely fun visit!

Kreative Kraftwerks Fond du Lac

Just Fare Market

A non-profit, volunteer store that has partnering with wholesalers, artisans and farmers in the developing world, shopping at Just Fare Market feels good for the soul. Why would I not want to find amazing handcrafted clothing, decor, paper products, jewelry, food, toys and more while knowing that I'm contributing to improving lives through global partnerships and fair trade?

You end up with a fair price for products, empowerment, self-sufficiency, investment in communities and gender equity, environmentally sustainable practices and more... and getting to bring home high quality, unique gifts for myself, my family and my friends. Perfect!

Just Fare Market Fond du Lac

The Plaid Squirrel

Home to over 80 local artists in nearly every medium imaginable, The Plaid Squirrel specializes in reclaimed, recycled and recovered pieces that you won't find anywhere else. Inside the shop (as well as outside and throughout its gardens), you'll find original paintings, photography, glass, metal, wood, knitted items, jewelry, furniture, accessories and much more on consignment from the creators. If you have an interest in art, this is the destination for you!

Plaid Squirrel Fond du Lac

Faris Popcorn

Known for handcrafting their popcorn in small batches to maintain the best taste and utmost in freshness, Faris Popcorn uses only wholesome natural ingredients to create dozens of tasty popcorn flavors. Sure, you've had caramel corn and cheese corn, but what about s'mores, rocky road, caramel apple or buffalo wings popcorn? Plus, if Faris Popcorn doesn't have the flavor that you're looking for, send them a message and they'll even try to pop it up for you!

Gallery & Frame Shop 

While you're in downtown Fond du Lac, be sure to stop in Gallery & Frame Shop, a full service custom picture framing, art consulting and gallery that opened in 1975. Specializing in protective and shadow box framing, this is also the place to go for mat cutting services, custom, ready-made and photo frames.

If you are a fellow Wisconsinite and have just never been to Fond du Lac, plan your visit today! Or, if you're from out-of-state but know that you'll be passing through our Midwestern land in the future, make it a point to add Fond du Lac to your travel list (and visit the Fond du Lac Convention and Visitors Bureau for even more info).

There is so much indoor and outdoor fun to be had all year long that you'll want to "C'mon In" to see these locations for yourself and discover a few hidden gems of your own!

A special thank you to the Fond du Lac Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for putting together a wonderful Midwest Bloggers Meetup. Although I received free items/admissions throughout this trip, all opinions shared are completely honest and my own.


raveandreview said...

What fun! This is on the list for when I visit you :)

slehan said...

Lots of fun places to visit and shop.

slehan at juno dot com

Yona Williams said...

Looks like a ton of fun - I want to play a game of pumpkin checkers...that would make the best photo.

TriciaD said...

I have never been here, but would love to go.

Sarah Matos said...

Sounds like a fun family place. Pumpkin checkers! How inventive.

trish said...

Looks Very fun

TriciaD said...

I don't live far from here.

Sandra Watts said...

There are a few places around here that we go to that are similar. We had a great time this past year.

Rose-Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I would love to take this trip I love Wisconsin!