There are times when the stresses and pressures of everyday life take their toll and the only thing that will revive the spirit is a quick get-a-way. However, because of a number of reasons you can't stay away long. So, where do you go?
How about the Wisconsin Dells in Wisconsin?
Sure the tourist season is over! But, that is the beauty of it. No crowds. No traffic. No waiting in lines. Yes, some of the amusements and restaurants are closed until next Memorial Day but if you're not into water parks and thrill rides, you'll still have a great time. And very relaxing.
Another advantage of going when the season is over is the cost of lodging is almost half the price of going during the summer. And who doesn't like to save a few dollars?
The following is our experience in the Dells:
Our first night we stayed at an Inn recommended by a friend. [$39.00] Now that was an experience. It was a clean but rather uncomfortable room. The bathroom was the size of my closet. The bed was barely more comfortable than the floor and the pillows were so thin - how should I put it - I've seen thicker waffles. And the showers were lukewarm. The biggest disappointment for my husband was there was no remote. Imagine that - he would have to scoot off the bed to change the TV channels. [Ah, we have become a pampered generation - haven't we?]
We chose to stay somewhere else for the second night and what a difference. For only $8 more, we stayed at Comfort Inn. A bigger room. A bigger bathroom. A pulsating hot shower that worked fantastic! A double sets of towels. A very comfortable bed with two sets of pillows. A REMOTE for my hubby. And a comfortable chair that didn't cause back pain. What a difference!! Lesson: Don't shop for the least expensive. Shop for the best value. And ...rely upon reputation.
We enjoyed going through all the stores that were still open. I would however, recommend that the stores put their hours on the door. We weren't sure if they were closed for the season or closed for that particular day. We even went to one that was opened on Tuesday and upon returning on Wednesday it appeared closed. At about 10:15 a petite young lady showed up and opened the doors. We were puzzled. Perhaps the owners are a bit more relaxed after the season and the storekeepers just open their stores whenever they get there.
The stores were filled with the usual tourist selections. Many souvenirs are the made-in-another-country variety. Pass those by. They usually don't last long. Spend a little more and get something you can treasure. Of course as parents, we have to buy something for those who stayed at home. And that was the biggest chore. Choosing something special and unique for each child is more difficult than just choosing something with Wisconsin Dells written on it. But after lots of walking and searching the mission was accomplished. And we did buy a sweatshirt with Wisconsin Dells written on it. They have a wonderfully unique candle shop up behind the Country Kitchen [Cady's Candles]. We bought the perfect wedding gift there for a wedding we will be attending on the 10th of October.
A trip to the Dells wouldn't be complete without at least once taking a trip on the DUCKS! Built in 1944 [to use in WWII], the ducks are vehicles that run on land and in water. In the Dells, the ducks are used to take trips through the canyons and the prairies. It is absolutely beautiful. We were hoping to catch the fall colors but because of the unusually warm summer, the colors which normally are out at the end of September will probably need a few more weeks to develop. Our duck driver, Hugh [an absolutely charming comedian] said that the ducks will probably still be running through October and even part of November if the weather stays warm. If you're thinking of a duck trip - you might want to give them a call. [608-254-8751 - Original Ducks] Let them know you saw it on ComPortOne. We may be going back at the end of October to see the fall colors.
Another great experience is to get an old fashioned photograph. We counted four shops in the Dells that take antique photos but some were closed for the season. The costume selection is among: Gangster- 1920's, Wild West, Victorian, Titanic, Civil War and even some others. We chose the Civil War. My husband, Denny looks like a distinguished military officer [the North of course]. For a 5X7 brown-toned picture in a matted frame with a copy of the original, we paid less than $20.
The restaurants in Wisconsin Dells are unique and varied. Some may set you back nearly $50 and others are more reasonable. Among their own you will find a smattering of the franchises that speckle the entire U.S., just in case you are not in the mood to experience something new. Be sure to try Houlighans, Pizza Pub, and Culvers.
It is hard to leave but necessary to get back to family and work. But as we leave, we promise ourselves to take more mini-vacations where we can enjoy each other's company and the beauty of nature at it's best.
Wisconsin Dells is located in the center of Wisconsin about 95 miles north of the Illinois / Wisconsin border.
Have fun in your own backyard!
CEO of ComPortOne
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