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!
29 thoughts on “surely not everybody was kung fu fighting.”
Love a ‘Sunday drive’. We have a ‘70 Corvette Stingray that we do our drives in. We did the Dunns River Falls with our daughters when they were young. It was fun so you should definitely do the Willow River falls. Looking forward to your desk transformation.
That sounds like the perfect car for a Sunday drive!
Best part of the week aSunday Drive….my dad loved to take us on a Sunday. His hidden motive was getting an icecream cone. But us kids didn’t balk about that……now John and I continue the tradition here in Ohio and in Ireland. Loved your waterfall! Pretty little desk. Looking forward to the unveiling!
We did stop to get a gelati in Stillwater on the way back. It is Italian water ice layered with soft serve ice cream.
I bet Ireland is the perfect spot for Sunday drives!
What an inspirational post. Our daughter lives in rural Somerset and we rarely leave the beaten path on our way to visit. And we drive by Willow River every time. She and her hubby snowshoe there often during snowy winters. And swim in summer. And how ’bout River Falls? I’ve been to some amazing estate sales there over the years. Ellsworth is worth the drive for an ice cream at the dairy. They also sell, to go of course, some the best brats, cheeses curds and butter in the universe. Bring a cooler. An anxious to know if/when you’ll be working on the church sale desk.
One of my co-workers lives in Ellsworth so I’ve been there a couple of times, and she’s been known to bring in cheese curds too 😉 As for that desk, it is in the line up. I have 4 more pieces in the workshop that I am determined to get finished up before the snow flies. Wish me luck on that!
I love the new bridge. Its beautiful, although in a completely different way than the old bridge. Wonder how long it will be before people start using its real name instead of the “new” and “old” monikers. Those rustic roads are pretty cool too…great on the motorcycle.
If it’s anything like ‘nnk’ (new neighbor Karen), we might be calling that the new bridge forever.
What a lovely post! So happy you had a wonderful day with your loved ones. Thanks for sharing!
Love this post – it sounds like the absolute perfect day. And spending it with your sister and niece? Priceless. Thanks for sharing your day, your finds and the Kung Foo Fighting sign! That would make a perfect Facebook post.
It was a really fun Saturday afternoon drive. Can’t wait for the next one.
Have you ever been to Mama Maria’s Italian Ristorante in Hudson? It is def. worth a drive! Best Italian food I’ve had in the midwest, and I’ve been here for 30 years! Can’t wait to see what you do with your great find!
Yes, Mama Maria’s is wonderful – as is Kozy Korner in North Hudson for breakfast pizza!
I’ve not been to that one either. Maybe next time 🙂
I have not been there, but it sure sounds like I should check it out!
I always enjoy your traveling posts. Looks like y’all had a perfectly lovely day! Those falls look amazing. No Rustic Road program here in South Carolina probably because so many of our thoroughfares meet that description! Ha! Very sore spot to those of us who abide here. And why did I think your bug was blue?
My old bug was blue. I traded it in 4 years ago on this one. I was very disappointed to find that they didn’t have any good colors when I needed the new one 😦
Hey Miss Quandie! I loved your post……your world is so green in the summer! Oh the awesomeness of creation to transform the bare sticks of winter into the lushness of summer in such a short time! Wondering how your rag top fares in the harsh weather? So, here I am enjoying your little story so much but……still feeling the twinge of resentment that there’s such great old furniture for the taking around you, even when you’re not out looking for it! ;-D ;-*
We are particularly green this year because we’ve had lots of rain. The only time we’ve even used the sprinkler was when we planted some new grass seed in one section of the back yard. Otherwise, we haven’t even needed to water the grass. As for my rag top in winter, it does just fine. They really have improved them and made them weather-hardy. It is well insulated and I never feel like my car is any colder than a hard topped car. As for the furniture, well, yes. A hefty supply of great vintage furniture is definitely one of the pros of living in the mid-west 😉
No rustic roads (that I’ve seen) here in new England but we do have scenic routes. Those falls look rather rough-must be all that rain?
Probably so, although since I’ve never seen them before I don’t know if they always look this way or not. But I’m betting that they were flowing a bit faster due to lots of rain.
I was so happy you explained how you got that piece of furniture home via Mr. Q. Of course I was asking out loud…how did you get it home in a VW bug?
Well, if I hadn’t had my sister in the back seat of the bug I definitely could have managed it with the top down 😉
Finally read this post, and little did I know that the Kung Fu Fighting post was about your travels in my back yard – literally! I grew up biking with friends to Willow River State Park, and biking up and down Trout Brook Rd to friends houses. I live in Hudson and my parents still live in the house I grew up in – in the Town of Hudson, near those beautiful sites. Pretty lucky to live between the grand St Croix River and the wondrous and winding Willow River. If you ever feel adventurous and love to kayak or canoe, hop into Lake Mallelieu and head to the northeast end. There’s a small-ish entry into the Willow River. (The Willow River feeds into Lake Mallelieu which feeds into the St Croix River via a dam.) Head up the Willow River and you will feel like you are in the middle of no where and one-with-nature. The funny thing is, you are only 20 minutes from the 3M Hdqtrs. It’s a phenomenal paddle.
The word is out – Hudson is a wonderful place to live, which is why so many that leave end up coming back. Small town living with great shops and restaurants, several nice lakes, the river and Willow River State Park.
Thanks for sharing your Sunday drive – fun to read!
What a beautiful bike route that would be along Trout Brook Road! As we were driving through Hudson that day I even said “this is such a lovely town, it would be nice to live here … except that it isn’t in Minnesota!” 😉