*Historical Charm Awaits in Mineral Point, WI

Historical Charm Awaits in Mineral Point

Mineral Point is one of Wisconsin’s most charming towns. A wealth of quaint Cornish stone homes line its quiet streets, remnants of the city’s past life as a lead and zinc-mining powerhouse, fueled largely by Cornish immigrants. Many of these dwellings have been lovingly restored and today house a variety of shops and inns. Add an artistic community to the mix, and the city’s setting in Wisconsin’s hilly and scenic Driftless Area, untouched by the last glacier, and Mineral Point makes a perfect fall getaway.

Book a stay at one of the locale’s distinctive lodging properties, such as The Cothren House. Built in the 1850s for a prominent judge, you can reserve the estate’s two-bedroom stone cottage, once a summer kitchen for the main house, or the adjacent wooden cabin, originally located in Blue River, 40 miles north. Another option: tucking in at the Commerce Street Brewery & Hotel. The hotel features five posh guest rooms above the brewery, but also rents two cottages. The romantic Miner’s Cottage, built in the 1830s, features a charming fairy mural in the bathroom, painted by renowned artist Ava Fernekes.

Once settled into your lodging, start your exploration. Although the Pendarvis State Historic Site is currently closed, the Merry Christmas Mine Hill trails are not. From the Pendarvis parking lot, a one-mile, two-loop trail leads past mining artifacts sprinkled throughout a restored, 43-acre prairie. The hike is a hilly one, but beautiful views of the city below are your reward.

Hikers, cyclists and ATV/UTV fans may wish to hop on the Cheese Country Trail, a 47-mile, crushed limestone path running from Mineral Point to Monroe. The trail winds past farmland, along streams and over numerous bridges, including a 440-foot wonder spanning the Pecatonica River. Another option is heading to one of the three state parks that lie within 30 minutes of town: Governor Dodge, Blue Mounds and Yellowstone Lake. Governor Dodge, one of Wisconsin’s largest parks, features steep bluffs, two lakes and a waterfall. Blue Mounds sits on the highest point in southern Wisconsin, offering panoramic views of fall’s splendor. And Yellowstone Lake sports several miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, water access and an adjacent wildlife area.

Back in town, grab your smartphone and navigate to the local chamber of commerce website and click on the link to the Historic Mineral Point Architectural Driving Tour, a self-guided tour to the city’s Cornish-dominated architecture. (You can tour on foot as well.) Or check out the local studios and galleries, which sell pottery, paintings, glassworks, photography, greeting cards and more. Some of the shops are open as usual, while others are taking appointments.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with coming to town simply to relax. Perhaps you’d prefer to start your stay with yoga or Tai Chi. High Barre movement studio offers al fresco yoga and Zumba classes Saturday mornings in Soldier’s Memorial Park, weather permitting (sign up ahead of time on their website). From there you can stroll around town, read a book or grab some take-out to enjoy in one of the city’s small parks or in your private
cottage. Café 43 makes a tasty turkey-brie sourdough griller, while Popolo is known for its hand-tossed, wood-fired pizzas.

No matter what you end up choosing to do, you won’t be able to beat the scenery. Or the calm, relaxing vibe.

“Published in the October/November 2020 issue of BRAVA magazine.”

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