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M traveler: Devil’s Lake State Park
Enjoy a fun-filled long weekend without packing a bag

By JEN KENT

Oct. 2017

 

Photo courtesy of the Inn at Wawanissee Point

As autumn arrives and nature beckons, consider driving two hours northwest to Devil’s Lake State Park. Feel the freshly fallen leaves crunch underfoot as you hike the park’s myriad trails, and visit nearby Baraboo, which offers a wealth of dining options and events. Camp under the stars or reserve a room at an old-timey bed and breakfast. Whichever path you take (no pun intended), expect a day filled with outdoorsy fall fun.


Where to stay

Skip the usual roundup of chain hotels nearby and book a room at one of the area’s quaint bed-and-breakfasts. The Inn at Wawanissee Point, an adults-only option, is perched atop the Baraboo bluffs, offering guests panoramic views of the Lake Wisconsin valley and more than 2 miles of private hiking trails. Equally charming is the historic and family-friendly Ringling House Bed & Breakfast, a Georgian Revival residence built more than 115 years ago. Those hoping to enjoy a night under the autumnal sky can reserve a campsite at Devil’s Lake State Park, which welcomes campers year-round. Water taps and facilities may be unavailable, weather permitting, but one winterized water tap is available at the park’s Quartzite Campground.

Photo courtesy of Driftless Glen

What to do

Devil’s Lake State Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with nearly 30 miles of hiking trails. Suited for more experienced hikers, Balanced Rock Trail is a steep climb, but the views of Devil’s Lake — and the surrounding fall foliage — from the top can’t be beat. The East Bluff Trail is more moderately paced and family-friendly, and dotted with scenic overlooks and rock formations. Parfrey’s Glen is a short drive from the park and offers an entirely new kind of hiking experience: Its path weaves through a sandstone-walled gorge, with the glen’s depth reaching nearly 100 feet. Non-hikers will enjoy Downtown Baraboo’s Fall Fair on the Square Oct. 7. The annual event promises more than 150 crafters and artisans, a farmers market, kid-friendly entertainment and live music. Unwind and relax after a long day of hiking or sightseeing at Devil’s Lake Lavender, a farm home to 15,000 lavender plants. Its owners intend to open a day spa, B&B and café on the property this fall.
 

Where to dine

To fuel up for an adventure-packed day, head to Broadway Diner in downtown Baraboo for a quintessentially diner-style breakfast. The Rise N Dine — one egg, hash browns and toast — is my nephew’s go-to dish, and the Broadway Breakfast Sandwich, which features hickory-smoked bacon and tangy jalape-o jam, is quite tasty too. The nearby Little Village Café also serves up comfort food, but it focuses on lunch and dinner fare. The curry chicken wrap is a satisfying option, as are the burritos, but save room for the scratch-made desserts. More adventurous foodies will enjoy Driftless Glen, a craft spirits distillery and high-end restaurant located on the Baraboo River. Several dishes, including the bourbon pulled pork nachos and the brandy-glazed Scottish salmon, are fittingly infused with craft spirits, and the cocktail menu is both creative and robust.

Photo courtesy of the Inn at Wawanissee Point

What’s next

The trails at Devil’s Lake State Park are open year-round, and snowshoers, cross-country skiers and fat-tire bikers are all encouraged to explore the snow-kissed terrain. Downhill skiers flock to neighboring Devil’s Head Resort, which boasts 30 runs groomed twice daily. Downtown Baraboo

will host the 20th Winter Wine Walk Nov. 17, and both locals and visitors alike are invited to sip wine while strolling the historic streets of downtown. Tickets go on sale Oct. 17. The downtown district’s holiday happenings begin Nov. 18, with its annual Christmas parade, and continue through the end of December. Find a complete list of events at downtownbaraboo.com.





 

This story ran in the Oct. 2017 issue of: