Sep 9, 2017
WASHINGTON COUNTY, WISCONSIN
Just 35 minutes northwest of Milwaukee, the pace slows down, the smiles get bigger, and the rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine take you to Washington County, known for its beauty and friendly people. Full of lakes, hunting grounds, hiking and biking trails, dog friendly parks, historical attractions mixed with modern museums, festivals and farmers markets, this Wisconsin destination can meet the needs of a diverse group.
Jackson, is in the center of Washington County where Highway 60 and Highway 45 cross. The Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area is a 2,312-acre property located in eastern Jackson and is comprised mostly of forested wetland surrounded by grasslands, croplands, scattered ponds and wetlands, feeder streams and small woodlots.
Archery and firearm hunting are allowed on most of the property. The main huntable species are pheasants (2 p.m. closure rules apply), deer and turkeys, but waterfowl, mourning doves, raccoons, mink, muskrats, coyotes, woodcock, cottontails, squirrels and other small game can also be found.
Portable tree stands may be used, provided they don't damage trees, but they must be completely removed from the property at the close of hunting hours each day.
Just a few miles away from the marsh, the Village of Jackson offers great accommodations at the Comfort Inn & Suites. If you are in the mood for a homecooked meal, Jimmy’s Bar & Restaurant, on Highway 60, is locally owned and offers food from family recipes and drink specials that take the load off a day in the wetlands.
The Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, near Hartford, is in the middle of the Kettle Moraine, a strip of glacial landforms which extends through southeastern Wisconsin. The forest is named after the 522-acre, spring-fed kettle: Pike Lake. Powder Hill, a large glacial kame, provides the opportunity for a great hike and view. Visitors can enjoy camping, swimming, hiking, fishing, picnicking and much more within the forest.
Located on Highway 60, the state forest is open year-round from 6am-11pm for camping and fishing. Special events throughout the year offer Wildlife Rehabilitation Education, canoe tours, beach picnics, drum circles and good old-fashioned bonfires with special appearances by Smokey the Bear.
Plan your trip for the 3rd week of September and join the fun at OKTOBERFEST! Saturday, September 23rd and Sunday, September 24th at the Dheinsville Settlement in Germantown. Authentic food, great ethnic music, German costumes, attire and dancing, children's activities, Dheinsville Dachshund Race on Saturday at 3pm, bake sale, Classic Car Display, and more. Good Family Fun! The settlement also offers tours of the Bast Bell Museum, with over 5,000 bells on display. For more information, visit www.germantownhistoricalsociety.org, or call 262-628-3170.
Fall colors are spectacular in the Village of Richfield where winding roads give you the opportunity to experience true who ooh and ahh moments. Holy Hill Road takes you to the Basilica of Holy Hill, the Shrine of Mary, a landmark of Wisconsin, listed on the National Register of Historic Locations. Open to the public and offering over 400 acres of peace and beauty, the Ice Age Trail runs through the property and is on the “Must Hike List” for many outdoor enthusiasts.
Every September for the past 19 years, Richfield has been host of the Annual Thresheree. It’s a trip down memory lane in the farming community. Field threshing, log sawing, corn husking, small engines, steam engines and much more! Field demonstrations of plowing and threshing with steam engines and horses, grist mill and house tours. Located inside the Richfield Nature / Historical Park, this year’s event will be held September 16th and 17th. Details are available at www.richfieldhistoricalsociety.org
WASHINGTON COUNTY PARK SYSTEM
The park system in Washington County is vast and offers great outdoor adventures, boat launches, snowshoe trails and sledding hills for winter sports groups, dog friendly trails, bike paths and vacation rentals privately tucked into the woods.
Northeast of West Bend is a camper’s paradise known as Lake Lenwood Beach and Campground. Designed with family camping in mind, the grounds are nestled around Lake Lenwood, a crystal clear 20-acre, 50-foot deep spring fed glacial lake, offering swimming and fishing for walleye, bass, perch, northern, bluegill and crappie! Campers may launch their own canoe, kayak or a rowboat. The campground also offers paddleboats, hydro-bikes, water basketball, a fishing pier with a diving board, and a picnic area with tables, grills and a playground for kids. Information can be found at www.lakelenwood.com.
Get lost in the woods with your own bed and breakfast that used to be a park ranger’s house! Secluded in Sandy Knoll County Park, this 3-bedroom house with a wood burning fireplace, an outside patio with grill and your own firepit rents year-round to the public with a reservation through the Washington County Parks Department.
You can achieve the “one with nature” feeling as various wildlife roam through-out the park. Enjoy the small pond and beach area. Many miles of trails are available for all seasons. Children will have fun on both playground areas with one located very near the ranger house. http://www.co.washington.wi.us/uploads/docs/sandyknoll2.pdf
Explore the Mounds
For the history buff and science enthusiasts, a visit to Lizard Mound County Park is a must. The mounds at Lizard Mound are remnants of a prehistoric culture unique to Wisconsin. In 2011, Washington County constructed an Interpretive Center with signage and audio exhibits to tell the story of the site. Lizard Mound and the Interpretive Center are available in spring, summer and fall for free to the public and other groups who want to visit. Come, explore and learn about the people who built these monuments in Wisconsin a thousand years ago.
Washington County is known for its spectacular golf courses, including Erin Hills, which hosted the 2017 U.S. Open in June. Set over rolling terrain left by glaciers, Erin Hills presents a natural and exhilarating challenge to all golfers. www.erinhills.com
Championship golf is also played at the Washington County Golf Course. Designed by Golf Course Architect Arthur Hills, it features all bentgrass fairways, tees and greens, nestled along the Rubicon River with panoramic views of Powder Hill and Holy Hill. This course has been rated with 4 1/2 stars and voted the #2 Municipal Golf Course in the Nation by Golf Digest. www.golfwcgc.com
So, if you hunt, fish, hike, bike, canoe, kayak, golf or enjoy fun festivals, Washington County should be a new entry on your bucket list. For full information on Washington County and all its communities, please check out www.visitwashingtoncounty.com .