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53 Things to do in Washburn County 

In today's hustle and bustle world, so little time is available for relaxation of the "natural kind". A true "vacation" means that you displace yourself from all that is ordinary in your life; to experience an exceptional or uncommon activity, place or situation; to "rest" from your work. Washburn County has been called the "Roads to Relaxation" You won't find giant amusement parks, (except for the natural ones Mother Nature invented eons ago),  you won't find huge water theme parks, (except for the ones carved out of the landscape by our natural rivers-which, with a little imagination, are just as much fun). You won't find many tall buildings or other man made structures (The trees are the tallest things we have around here.) You won't find many rock concerts, speed car races, traffic jams or major league sports events. (you will find the kinds of things that spark conversation, challenge your imagination and creativity,  promote family unity and create family memories.

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     Rain or shine may be just the time to visit the Northwood's Book and Fiber Store on Walnut Street in Spooner. New books, yarn (specialty yarns too!) and local information is available. smiley.gif (906 bytes)

     You may not be Billy Crystal trying to reclaim your youth by going on a cattle drive, but horseback riding is an enjoyable pastime that most youngsters dream about.   Visit the horseback riding page.

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There are numerous restaurants, resorts, and Bar & Grills that serve everything from steaks & seafood to some of the best burgers and pizza found anywhere. Foxxy's Bar and Grill is famous for some of the best Chicago Style steaks in the Midwest and their mouth-watering pizza and  Italian dishes are top notch.$$

A vacation just isn't a vacation unless you spend some time doing nothing.
    Start the day with a late morning walk down a wooded trail then indulge yourself in a picnic lunch. After lunch grab a nap under a nice old shade tree while the kids play on the jungle gym or test their skills on the skate board ramp.
      All this can be enjoyed at the Spooner City Park located at the north end of College Street.   Schmitz's Economart located on South Hwy 63 in Spooner carries a full line of deli items, broasted chicken, salads and other take out items perfect for a picnic or day by the lake.

Northwood's Book and Fiber has classes such as Beginning Crochet, Mosaic Knitting and Knit and Felt a Lucy Bag. On-going meetings of crafters who can help you with your knitting, weaving, quilting and other artist's forums are open to everyone and would love a chance to share their talents or learn from others..  
     From making dream catchers, to canoe building; from Muskie fishing to yarn dying, there is always something to learn. Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary has a schedule filled with learning opportunities. Another organization  "Theatre In the Woods", the local theatre group, provides ample opportunities for people interested in learning about live theatre and welcomes new faces. Brickyard Pottery holds an annual "hands on" arts day. You can try your hand at things like silk fabric painting or throwing a piece of pottery. Most of these opportunities are listed in the Calendar of Events.  smiley.gif (906 bytes)-$  

       The Northwest Sports Complex offers visitors day passes to enjoy all the facilities. They have a complete cardio & weight room, racquetball and wally ball courts, a walking track, Yoga and Aerobics classes. Call 635-6144. 301 Walnut St. Spooner. $

   Museum of Woodcarving is the showcase of   the carving marvels of one man, Joseph Barta, formerly a school teacher in Spooner. More than 100 life-size carvings  grace the museum. The most impressive is the full size "Last Supper". Seeing this wood carving is worth the admission  price alone. There are also over 400 miniature animal carvings. The museum is located just north of Shell Lake on Hwy  63. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., May 1 to Oct. 31. $

    The community Theatre group "Theatre in the Woods" is known for it's professional grade productions. Visit their home page or a complete listing of scheduled productions. One of the most popular events is the annual fund raising 'Dinner Theatre'. $$

     A hot summers day wouldn't be complete without a tasty treat to cool the day's temperatures. The "Village Scoop" is located at 317 5th Ave. Minong. "Scoop and Things" is located in Trego just beyond the Dinner Bell Restaurant. $

    When was the last time you sat around a camp fire, singing songs and roasting marshmallows for "Some mores". Experience the stars shining at night and perhaps fishing for breakfast. Enjoy a picnic lunch, a walk through the woods or sit under a tree with a good book. Have fun exploring the surrounding area for climbing trees, rocks, or forging streams. Sneak up on wildlife, take a picture or just listen to the birds. $$ 
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     Young or old, who doesn't enjoy the wind in your face as you race around the track in your go cart? Bulik's Amusements on Hwy 63 on the north side of Spooner has go carts to rent. It's fun to watch the kids take control and drive like the "big guys" . Beside being an activity the whole family can enjoy, it's a great picture taking opportunity! $ 
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    This is the north woods, so what better place to visit a real taxidermist. Taxidermy is a unique form of art. Using just the skin or hide from an animal the taxidermist must bring the creature back to life using formed molds, painting techniques and glass eyes. See a variety of mounting styles for a variety of animals. If you ask very nicely they may even show you see how it's done! Mounts are available for sale, take home a trophy of your own.
     There are 3 Taxidermy studios in Washburn County; Gram's Taxidermy is located in Springbrook on Hwy 70. Call 715-766-3300 and Twin Pines Taxidermy Studio on Hwy V in Birchwood. 234-3374. smiley.gif (906 bytes)

bikersr.jpg (40195 bytes)  A BIKE TRIP
     The quiet back roads of the county beckon the cyclist to tour the wonders of the area. Each season of the year, from crisp green spring through the long warm days of summer and into the beautiful color splashed fall, provides picturesque opportunities. With roads crossing rivers, and winding along lake shores, wandering through wooded areas and along farmers quiet homestead roads, you can truly breath in the winds of the northland. smiley.gif (906 bytes) 
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    Located off Hwy 70 just west of Stone Lake is one of 2 Wisconsin's designated Rustic Roads located in Washburn County. Walk along and let the quiet whisperings of era's gone by soothe your senses and feel time stand still. Listen to the sounds, stop to "smell the roses" as they say. Ponder the past and melt into the surroundings. 
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    Washburn County offers a variety of nature trails, one of which will suit your physical capabilities. Spring and fall are great times to get away from it all and enjoy the quiet woods. Trail Listing are located on the Nature Trails Page.
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 VISIT THE WORLD'S LARGEST MUSKIE HATCHERY     The Governor Tommy G. Thompson fish hatchery has a very nice Visitor's Center with interactive displays for the kid in all of us. Spring egg harvesting and late Summer fingerling production times are the best for seeing how the operation works. Visit the Hatchery Page for more info.smiley.gif (906 bytes)

     A northern sunset, enjoyed from a lake shore or from atop a hill, shared with your family or loved one can make a cherished memory. Another good place is from the Hwy 63 Yellow River bridge, right in Spooner. You can park the car at Veteran's park. 
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    Summer is a time of celebration and many of our communities sponsor events that capture their unique interests or heritage. There are "Cranberry",  "Bluegill" and "Snow" Festivals. There are also week-ends for  "Heritage Days", "Scandinavian Saturday", and "Jack Pine" days.. We also have "Family Days", "Old Fashioned Days", "Railroad Heritage Days" and "Town and Country Days". Check the Calendar of Events  for location and dates.
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     Located on Hwy 63 just east of Trego, the National Scenic Riverway Visitors center is the place to visit for information on the National Park Service system of scenic riverways. These waters, 252 miles in the upper Midwest, are maintained in their natural state and form a riverway that offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to enjoy a wilderness-like experience and other outdoor activities. The Visitors Center offers information, and exhibits on river history . Books for all ages on river history and wildlife are for sale. The Center is open weekdays beginning mid-May, daily July 4 through August and week-ends through September. The mailing address for more info is P.O. Box 100 Trego, WI 54888  smiley.gif (906 bytes)

    The "Friends of Hunt Hill" manage the Audubon Center in Sarona. Here you'll find nature trails, summer camps for the kids, a variety of educational and fun programs for the whole family and a sanctuary for flora and fauna found no where else in the state. Visit their page for a listing of their programs and more info about the Sanctuary grounds.   
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    Spooner is home to The Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad which runs regular excursions between Spooner and Trego. Two restored plush 1920's era Pullman passenger cars, pulled by an orange and green World War II vintage diesel engine, made the 14 mile trip to Trego and back in approximately. 1.5 hours. Specialty "Pizza Trains" and "Hobo Nights" are favorite trips. See the Railroad Excursion  page for more info. $$ to $$$  
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The Namekogan River which traverses the northern part of the county is part of the National Scenic Riverway. Summer is a great time to raft, canoe, or for the most relaxing fun "Tube" the river. There are tube rentals available. Find them Here.  $$    

     You don't have to miss the latest  releases when you go on vacation. The Palace Theatre at 328 Walnut Street in downtown Spooner has two viewing theatres. Shows every night and matinees provide amply chance to take it easy and watch a great movie. Call 715-635-2936 for schedule. $

 VISIT AN AMISH FURNITURE STORE    If you are not familiar with the Amish, here is a place to find out about their crafts. The Amish people are famous for their finely handcrafted furniture. The simple style and superb quality fits any style home. Handcrafted pieces are a wonder to see and a joy to own.

    The many unpopulated areas and the variety of bird habitats make Washburn County a great place to spend some quiet time watching natures' small feathered friends. The Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary in Sarona. is one place in particular that has a concentration of varied habitats and offers seasonal  "Bird Watching" programs. The trails are always open to explore on your own. Trail maps are available on site and the gift shop has a good selection of bird books for sale if you don't have one of your own. The best times for bird watching are the Spring and Fall migration periods. Sorry, but due to some of the fragile eco-systems within the boundaries of the sanctuary,  "No Pets Allowed."
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    Watching a  local sports event can be an exciting and fun way to spend some time. There's nothing  that says "Fall" like an evening spent watching a high school football game. The cool crisp air of fall is tempered by the thrill of watching the kids battle it out on the field to the cheers of the home crowd. $$
    This area has been called the "Mecca' of cross country skiing.   There are seven marked and groomed trails in the county, several of which you'll find just right for your ability. For more information and to view on-line ski trail maps, visit the "Cross Country Ski" page.smiley.gif (906 bytes) $

    Washburn County has trout streams where you can wet your line, enjoy the sound of a babbling stream and catch a trout for a great outdoor meal. Visit the Fishing Page to find out where the streams are located.

Whether it's a retirement home, second home or  piece of land for hunting or fishing you've been dreaming about why not  take some time to see what's available. Talk to a local Real Estate professional in the area. Who knows, maybe you can stop dreaming your dream and start living it!  smiley.gif (906 bytes) 

    The three day  Spooner Rodeo is a world class event with more prize money the famous "Mesquite Rodeo".  Top riders compete in 6 events. There are 3 rodeo performances, a parade, live country music, top vendors and just a whole lot of kickin' up fun for the whole family. For a complete Schedule of Events, ticket prices and dates visit the "RODEO" page. $$
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Perhaps you've always dreamed of mushing your own dog sled across frozen tundra, but would settle for a dog sled ride instead. $$$$  More....  

Wolfsong-Adventures in Mushing

Combine a beautiful winter's day, a dog and owner, a pair of skis, a skijoring harness and a little bit of training to join the sport of skijoring. More info....

wpe25.gif (10415 bytes)  VOYAGE ON A PRIMITIVE CANOE ROUTE
    The Loyhead and Sawmill Lake Primitive Canoe Routes let you relive the voyageurs that ran these rivers over 250 years ago. The Loyhead journey is trail-marked, including portages. The system meanders through 30 lakes, if you choose to go, including some beautiful landlocked glacial lakes with steep banks and wooded shorelines. The Sawmill lake route has 20 primitive campsites plus a boat launch and dock. There are 9 lakes accessible by portages. Visit the "Canoe" Page for maps and other information. smiley.gif (906 bytes)

   Our trail system has been ranked the 3rd best in North America behind 2 Canadian systems. With over 250 miles of uncrowded groomed trails and an abundance of services, Washburn County is a snowmobile lover's paradise. For on line trail maps and more information visit the "Snowmobile" Page.

On a cool fall evening, away from the light pollution of the big cities, the stars come out! If you are lucky, you may even get to see the Aurora Borealis. The Milky Way is a highway across the sky and Orion is just peaking his head up over the horizon. A couple of blankets, a star gazer's guide and a red flashlight to see the book without affecting your night vision, is all you need for a wonderful, and perhaps romantic, evening under the stars.  Remember that it takes about 20 minutes for your eyes to completely adjust to the darkness. Only then will you be able to see the "Billions & billions"  of stars that make up our night sky.smiley.gif (906 bytes)

    Washburn County has 5 golf courses. That's right five! Whether you are an experienced golfer looking for a challenge, a beginner, or a family group, there is a golf course to suit you. There's nothing is quit like teeing off with the birds chirping, the dew on the grass and the crisp morning air all around you. For a complete listing of the golf courses in Washburn County, visit the "Golf Page" $$$$

    Browsing a gallery is a great way to spend some leisure time. To see life or nature through the artist's eye is always enjoyable and thought provoking. Art can magnify a piece of nature, bring to life things we do not know, take us to places we would like to be or transport us to a different time and place. It can bewilder us, calm us, make us laugh or make us shed a tear. Art IS life- experience it!  
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    Washburn County's Museums are quite varied.
     THE RAILROAD HERITAGE MUSEUM is a fabulous and extensive collection of railroad memorabilia and is housed in the old Spooner Depot building.$  
     WASHBURN COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM- Located in Shell Lake, the museum was a century old German church which now houses pioneer, logging, farming and native American memorabilia. A parson's house and one room school house are also on the premises. There are extensive local history and genealogical files, and a multi-volume library of regional history.
     THE WASHBURN COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM-SPRINGBROOK - This Church was originally built in 1906 as the St. Magdalene Catholic Church. It has been recently restored to reflect its original turn-of-the-century style. It serves as a church museum and as a local history museum.
   There are lots of scheduled museum events during the Spring through Fall seasons. Check the Calendar of Events.   More...

After seeing the history in the Museums, you may want to visit some of the area Antique Shops to pick up a piece of history for yourself ! Perhaps you are a collector of rare items, or just like scrounging through "junk" looking for that missing piece of something, it is always fun to go "treasure" hunting!  You never know what you'll find! smiley.gif (906 bytes)

You may not be a singer yourself, but fun is always on the agenda for an evening at a Karaoke bar. Local lodges, bars and taverns offer Karaoke nights throughout the year. It's fun to hear others sing their favorites, and it's even more fun to sing your favorites yourself. If you don't know what Karaoke is, here is an explanation. A "music machine" plays the background music and chorus to your choice of songs listed in the Karaoke Song ( a list of hundreds). Then the words are displayed on a monitor for you to read...and they are keyed (highlighted) as they are supposed to be sung. It's easy and fun to get the hang of! $

Early October is "Fall Color Time".  The hustle and bustle of the summer crowds has been replaced by  the peace and quiet of the countryside. The colors burst forth in a way that can only be described as "the woods look to be on fire!"  
See Scenic Drives page.
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Pontoon boats are the "do anything"  boat. You can fish from them, swim from them and they make a great party room since they will accommodated up to 10 people. You can picnic on them, dance on them, decorate them, meander  around the lake and besides that, they are a great place to be to watch a sunset. Many resorts have pontoons for rent .$$$$
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    It's known to be a Wisconsin tradition to go out for a fish fry on Friday night. Although fish, cooked in a variety of ways such as baked, broiled pan fried or deep- fried,  is generally on the menu, lots of fish fry buffets now include chicken and/or shrimp also. Fish fries are generally "All you can eat" affairs and range from buffet style to family styles. Fish fries are also offered at a variety of eating places, from supper clubs to taverns and lodges and also family style restaurants. Ask any local where the best fish fry is and you'll get a different answer each time because they're all good! $$

The State of Wisconsin has put together a series of "Auto Tours". These are 1-2 day trips that guide you to the things to do and see along a pre-planned route. Washburn County is located on the Wisconsin Auto Tour # 18, "The Rivers and Wildlife Tour". Spooner is a good place to start or spend the night halfway around. For the complete description of what the tour includes visit the "Auto Tour" page.smiley.gif (906 bytes) camera.gif (1042 bytes)

wpe24.gif (9082 bytes)     GO BOWLING
  We have to admit that the weather up here in the north country doesn't always cooperate for outdoor activities. Bowling has always been a great alternative to sitting around a motel room watching TV.   Kegler's Pub and Pin is located at 410 River St. (Hwy 63) in Spooner. Bowling is fun for the whole family. Like they say "Get out and BOWL!  $
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A walk along a river trail and through the woods accompanied by the sounds of leaves crunching under your footsteps, the calls of migrating birds, the wind rustling the colored leaves, the rich smells of Autumn and  the coolness in the air are things to savor. Explore the woods that now expose themselves to you. without the dense underbrush of summer to hide their secret hollows and hills. It is a refreshing way to spend part of your "relaxing vacation". There are two River/Lake  trails. The Trego Nature Trail and the Trego Lakes Ski Trail. Find more info about both on the "Nature Trails" page. smiley.gif (906 bytes)

Thanks to the efforts of local citizens, an enthusiastic historian and the Spooner Area Chamber of Commerce, a tour of some of the historic buildings and places in the downtown area has been organized and published into the "Heritage Tour" book. Along with names and dates are fascinating tidbits about the prominent and memorable characters that make up the history of Spooner. You can walk the tour or drive it. Visit the "Heritage Tour Page" for more information. The only cost is the nominal cost of the book  $

With over 250,000 acres of public land, any season will provide the sport hunter with a variety of quarry. From Whitetail Deer trophies to a variety of waterfowl and upland game. 

      You don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun pan fishing with the kids. A good old bamboo pole with  a sturdy hook and bobber, and some  night crawlers is all you need. You don't even need a boat! The 'Fisherman's Park' located on Hwy 63 is just south of the river on the west side of the road, a quarter mile south of Hwy 70. The  DNR built the pier just for fishing and is handicap accessible and even has  pole holders! There are some mighty big blue gills that live there, along with bass, and northern. If you don't want to clean the fish, remember that catching the fish is the fun part...releasing them is the smart part and just as much fun.   Don't forget your fishing license! $$
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