A couple of weeks back my sister, niece and I decided to take a ‘Sunday drive’ on a beautiful, sunny Saturday. We didn’t have a specific destination in mind. It was a gorgeous day and I am lucky enough to drive a VW Beetle convertible, so we headed out with the top down.
We decided to cross over the new Stillwater bridge into Wisconsin first because my niece had yet to cross over it.
This bridge was finished in 2017 and was quite the controversy. People had very strong opinions about whether or not (and where, and how) it should be built, and thus it took years and years for it to happen. However, the old Stillwater lift bridge was built in 1931 and was definitely on its last legs. After the tragedy of the 35W bridge collapse, I was certainly a little leery of driving over that creaky old bridge!
You can barely see the old lift bridge off in the distance in this photo taken from the new bridge …
The old bridge is in the more historical downtown part of Stillwater, which is where Mr. Q and I went for drinks on our anniversary back in June.
The new bridge is in the more commercial part of town, so the modern aesthetic makes a little more sense here.
We still had to decide which way to head after crossing over? North? or South?
My niece came up with a plan for letting fate decide. If the next car we saw had a Minnesota license plate we were going to head north, and if it was a Wisconsin plate we were going south. I’m not sure what we would have done if it was neither! But it was a Wisconsin plate, so we headed south.
We hadn’t gone far when I spotted a bright pink sign that said “Epic Sale!” Well, if it’s epic you pretty much have to stop, right?
And that’s where I found this piece …
Clearly it was meant to be and the universe was guiding me towards this particular desk 😉
I am almost done with this piece now, but I’m waiting for a particular Prima Marketing transfer to arrive to finish it up, so I’ll be sharing that later this week. For today, I’ll just finish my Sunday drive on a Saturday story.
After stopping at the sale (and texting Mr. Q to come and pick up the desk I purchased), we headed into Hudson, WI for lunch at the Smiling Moose where I had the St. Croix Chicken Salad which was absolutely delicious.
Next we decided to check out Willow River State Park.
I’ve lived in the Twin Cities for over 30 years and had never made the hike to the falls on Willow River.
You’ve all seen those photos of people frolicking in the Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica right …
I’ve always wanted to do that, it looks so refreshing.
Well little did I know that I could have been doing that right here in my own backyard all along.
After hiking down a fairly steep trail (which we were dreading having to climb back up again) we came to the falls. And there were already a few other people there. Ha! Yep, apparently everybody else in the Twin Cities already knew about this place.
Unfortunately we hadn’t brought swimsuits or towels, so we didn’t go in the water this time. But now we know about this not-so-hidden gem, so maybe we’ll make it back there for a swim next time.
After exploring more of the park and doing a lit bit more hiking, we returned to the car and decided to head back north towards home. We were tooling along on a country road when we came across a sign that had us all laughing out loud. I just had to stop the car and get a photo.
Surely not everybody was kung fu fighting. After all, how could they be? They were all swimming at Willow River Falls!
After that photo stop we came across a sign that said ‘Rustic Road’.
We had no idea what qualified as a Rustic Road, but we were intrigued and decided we really needed to check it out. So we turned off and headed down Trout Brook Road. I wish I’d taken the time to stop and get a few pictures, but I didn’t. Suffice to say it was a lovely drive, perfect for a sunny afternoon in a convertible.
I have since googled it and found the website that explains Wisconsin’s Rustic Road program:
The Rustic Roads program was created over 40 years ago to provide hikers, bicyclists and motorists an opportunity to leisurely travel through the state’s scenic countryside. Today, there are 120 designated Rustic Roads spanning more than 724 miles through 59 counties. They are beautiful in every season.
What is a Rustic Road?
Every Rustic Road is unique, but all:
- have outstanding natural features along its borders such as rugged terrain, native vegetation, native wildlife or include open areas with agricultural vistas.
- are lightly traveled local access roads, serving the adjacent property owners and those wishing to travel by auto, bicycle, or hiking for purposes of recreational enjoyment.
- are not scheduled nor anticipated for major improvements which would change their rustic characteristics.
- are at least two miles long and often provide a completed closure or loop, or connect to major highways at both ends of the route.
Seriously, how cool is that? You can bet there will be more Rustic Road travels in our future. I bet they are beautiful in the fall
or even in winter.
Do you have a Rustic Road program where you are? Or have you traveled on some of Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads? If so I’d love to hear about it in the comments. And be sure to check back on Wednesday to continue the tour of my home, or on Friday to see what I’ve done with that fabulous secretary desk!