Seven and a half hours away, the smallest town in our northern neighboring state has long been a gateway to Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands, as well as a destination for apple lovers (its apple festival draws thousands every October). Now its culinary scene is on the rise. Here’s how to maximize a long-weekend getaway there:
FRIDAY: Make the wellness-focused Wild Rice Retreat (84860 Old San Rd.) your home base. Its sleek, Scandinavian-designed guest cabins are set amongst idyllic pine trees (From $299 a night with a two-night minimum; food and fitness classes included). Segue into vacation with a yoga class or hike before making your way to the dining hall. If the bison meatballs with zucchini noodles are on the evening’s menu, consider yourself lucky.
SATURDAY: Start with a scone and strong brew from Wonderstate Coffee (117 Rittenhouse Ave.), a Wisconsin minichain with a solar powered roastery. Then head just north of town, where Linda and Curt Basina operate Copper Crow Distillery (37395 State Highway 13), the country’s first Indigenous-owned distillery. The couple, members of the Lake Superior Chippewa nation, craft spirits inspired by Lake Superior and enlist well water from its aquifer. In an homage to the area, they distill vodka and gin with whey, a byproduct of cheese-making sourced from a Wiconsin farm. Snag a seat in the cozy tasting room, open from 1 to 7 p.m., and sip spirits neat or in cocktails like brambles and martinis. Come summer, swing by the circa-1884 former St. James Hotel, which will be reopening as St. James Social (200 Rittenhouse Ave.). It will have a restaurant with a wood-burning pizza oven as well as an airy lobby lounge and rooftop bar, where you can sip a nightcap while taking in the sweeping water views.
SUNDAY: You can’t hit the road home without eating your weight in produce — the area is dubbed the “Fruit Loop,” after all. Along with several varieties of raspberries and blueberries, which you can pick yourself or purchase, picturesque views of the lake and islands await at Blue Vista Farm (34045 S Co Hwy J), making it the ideal sendoff. Wander inside the restored barn shop and grab a jar of blueberry-lavender jam to take home.