South Central Crossroads
European History & Heritage in Wisconsin
Over three days in South-Central Wisconsin your group will get a close-up look at historic cars, marvel at pioneer craftsmanship and take in horticultural splendor. Also in this group itinerary: a quirky house of wonders, buildings designed by one of America’s premier architects and a museum dedicated to a beloved condiment. This is a great 3-day itinerary for things to do in South Central Wisconsin.
Day 1 – Beloit, Wisconsin
Get ready to step into a world where history, pop culture and automotive marvels collide in the most extraordinary way at the Historic Auto Attractions. From the moment you set foot inside, you’ll be captivated by the sheer diversity of the collections. Prepare to be starstruck as you explore an extensive display dedicated to Elvis Presley. Marvel at his iconic costumes, immerse yourself in his music and discover rare memorabilia that will transport you straight back to the rock ‘n’ roll era. Witness automotive history unfold before your eyes as you encounter the world’s largest collection of presidential and world leaders’ limousines. Brace yourselves for an encounter with vehicles straight out of Hollywood blockbusters! From Batman’s sleek Batmobile to the quirky Ghostbusters Ecto-1 and even the time-traveling DeLorean from Back to the Future, this museum has it all.
Then travel back in time with a visit to the grounds of Beckman Mill in Beloit. Nestled amid picturesque surroundings, this remarkable destination boasts an authentically restored 1868 grist mill, an1840s cooperage, a captivating blacksmith shop and more. Take in the mesmerizing sight of the meticulously preserved grist mill, where the echoes of its working gears and grinding stones whisper tales of yesteryear. Marvel at the craftsmanship on display at the cooperage, where skilled artisans once crafted barrels that stood as testaments to their mastery. Explore the blacksmith shop and witness firsthand the artistry and skill required to forge intricate metalwork. And don’t forget to stroll through the charming grounds, taking a moment to soak in the serene beauty that surrounds you.
Day 2 – Monroe, Janesville, Beloit
In Janesville, relive your childhood memories through the smell of fresh cut wood and feel of a wooden toy in your hand. It’s as close to Santa’s workshop as you can get. Only in Janesville can you tour the manufacturer of handcrafted JANESVILLE Coaster Wagons and other wooden toys patterned after historic products of the early 20th century. The tour will draw you into their toy making gallery and delight all who watch the artisans create. Then catch a breath of fresh air as you stroll Rotary Botanical Gardens, home to over 26 themed gardens, such as the Japanese and English Cottage gardens.
Drive the scenic rural roads to Spring Green to experience the iconic architecture, culture and nature of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, studio and school. A visit to his Taliesin estate is an intimate look at the 70-year career of one of America’s greatest architects. Constructed of natural materials and designed to be a part of the surrounding landscape, these buildings are the most personal of Wright’s masterpieces. His cherished community lifestyle and groundbreaking philosophies were founded in the hills of this Driftless Area valley. Constantly inspired by nature, Wright’s endless ideas are apparent in the experimental, organic architecture present in the buildings. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taliesin offers tour options that include Hillside and Taliesin, two significant, yet distinctly different Wright-designed buildings.
Day 3 – Spring Green & Middleton
Down the road, Alex Jordan opened his dream house built atop a chimney of rock. Over the years, his vision expanded beyond the house and a collection beyond words was accumulated to create The House on the Rock. From that spark of imagination, it has evolved to include displays and collections of the exotic and unusual, including a carousel with over 260 animals, 20,000 lights and 182 chandeliers. The Infinity Room extends 218 feet out over the scenic valley with over 3,000 pieces of glass. Be mesmerized by the dazzling displays of music machines. During the holidays The House on the Rock is decked out with over 6,000 Santas of all sizes and types.
Middleton is home to the internationally known National Mustard Museum, where you can taste, see and learn about mustard from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. Explore more than 6,700 jars, pots and tubes of mustard, and hundreds of items of mustard memorabilia. At the tasting bar, sample some of the most popular brands before making that tasty purchase in the gift shop.
Then enjoy a craft beer and a tour at Capital Brewery, which brews medal-winning, German- style lagers. Explore quaint downtown for unique shopping experiences; drop in at Hubbard Avenue Diner even if just for a slice of pie.
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