When someone says “there’s nothing to do in a small town”…they haven’t looked.
Menomonie and the surrounding area can keep you wondering what’s over the next hill for several days. Western Wisconsin is postcard perfect, with surprises tucked into valleys surrounded by rolling hills. Find micro breweries, fine dining, snowshoeing, live theater and disc golf, all within a 10 minute drive. Golf courses, bike and hiking trails, farmer’s markets, antiques and collectibles and artist studios, birding and fishing encompass all seasons.
Of course, in Wisconsin, you can’t forget cheese curds, bald eagles, Friday night fish fries and never ending hospitality and friendliness. For a sample of things to do when you’re out and about:
Headquarters of the Dunn County Historical Society, the Heritage Museum interprets the history of Dunn County through its extensive collection of artifacts and exhibit areas. Located in Menomonie’s Wakanda Park, near the Lions Club Game Park, disc golf course and the water park, the facility features a gift shop and new exhibits area.
Small enough to navigate quickly, with easy parking and large shade trees under which one can savor Amish baked goods and big enough to allow variety, the Farmer’s Market has become a weekly habit for Menomonie and visitors. Located in the summer months at the Dunn County Rec Park, hours are Wed afternoons and Sat mornings. Winter months, a small number of vendors offer their wares once a month, rotating the location between Menomonie churches.
The Leinie Lodge, just a short drive east of Oaklawn on highway 29 is one of the major tourist attractions in Wisconsin. The welcome center boasts an impressive log structure with vaulted ceiling, a massive stone fireplace and comfy leather chairs. A complimentary tour of the brewery, from grain storage, to mash cookers to bottling area, is preceded by tastings and an opportunity to be overwhelmed by Leinie’s regalia. Don’t forget to stock up on the Wisconsin souvenirs.
Going green takes on new meaning. Take your choice of greens and fairways. There are numerous golf courses within a 30-minute drive of Oaklawn. Choose from an executive course or mature 18-hole challenges. Click for a partial list of area courses.
Sometimes one is required to travel to be with family or friends during a time of illness. Oaklawn is just minutes away from the Mayo Health System Hospital & Clinic and the Dunn County Health Care Center.
Located right in the center of downtown Menomonie is the University of Wisconsin-Stout, with a population of over 9,200 students plays a primary role in the community. Students, faculty, visitors and employees work, live and play in the downtown. Oaklawn is just 2.5 miles or a quick five-minute drive from campus.
This 14.5-mile trail follows the Red Cedar River south from Riverside Park, Menomonie to its connection with the Chippewa River State Trail at the confluence of the Red Cedar and Chippewa rivers. Along its route, the trail passes through the communities of Irvington and Downsville and the Dunnville State Wildlife Area. Observe prairies, marshland, forests and farmlands, sandstone bluffs and abundant wildlife.
The Red Cedar State Trail is part of the Chippewa Valley Trail System. When completed, the Trail System will feature an 80-mile network of trails from Cornell, through Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire to Durand and Menomonie. Other trails in the system include the Chippewa River and Old Abe state trails.
Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area offers 707 acres of preserved and restored wooded hills, wetlands and prairie traversed with hiking, cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. An excellent bird watching area.
One of the highest points in Dunn County, a 60-foot-high observation tower offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Come for a hike, stay for a picnic. Hoffman Hills is limited to day use, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 9 p.m. Dogs are not allowed. Cross-country skiers, age 16 and older, must have a state trail pass.
The Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, originally known as the Mabel Tainter Literary, Library and Educational Society, enriches the Chippewa Valley residents through the promotion and nurturing of the cultural arts. The 1889 historic Richardsonian-Romanesque designed building is an exquisite, restored historic theatre offering a full performing arts season, gallery with rotating exhibits, and special events.
What horse place? Really? Worth a visit! Tucked away in the rolling hills, north of Wheeler and just 15 miles from Oaklawn, is Otter Creek Farm and grounds that attracts horses and riders from all over the Midwest for workshops, demonstrations and riding competitions.