When we were young, folks would pile in the car to go out for a drive in the country possibly with a picnic lunch, definitely for a relaxing afternoon and some fresh air. I found an fulfilled driving trail I want to share with you entertaining a 100 years or more mix of architecture and creative use of land.
Start at Hillside Coffee House on Ryan road just east of highway 38. You’ll find good fresh coffee and some most excellent road trip sustenance. They make their bakery from scratch, even the bagels, and everything I’ve tried has been perfectly delicious and not overly sugared so you can taste all the flavors. I think my favorite so far was a piece of bing cherry pie but it’s different everyday. Order at the front counter, pick up your bakery there and then step into an old comfy school room to pick up your coffee. There is plenty of seating upstairs and another room on the lower level if you want to sit inside. In the warmer days they have a lovely expansive garden filled with colorful welcoming metal chairs and tables and a few rabbits and local birds to keep you company. https://www.facebook.com/hillsidecoffeehouse/
From the parking lot take a right turn driving to Nicholson road and make another right to go south. Here you’ll see a mix of homes built in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s mixed in between some old barns and silos. Keep your eyes peeled for some lovely and well cared for victorian farmhouses in red or cream city brick.
Take a short spur down Elm road if you’d like to check out Pinehold Gardens and a couple of other interesting little farms.
Heading back down Nicholson Road south, watch for a cream city gingerbread farm house on your right soon after you’ll cross the Root river, where you can stop for a photo op. If you miss it this time, don’t fret, you’ll come across the river again on this trip!
Shortly after the river you’ll pass one of my favorite houses. I’m not sure if it’s made to look old to fit the area or if it’s remodeled and added on to old farm house. Either way, it sports one of the greatest porches a house could wish for.
A blink on down the road and you’ll come to Gorney park. I admit that I’ve never been tempted to stop here, but on this day as I waited for a rather large piece of farm machinery work its way to a desired location, I thought I’d check it out.
Nestled amongst corn fields with a large open field and baseball diamond at the entrance, it looks mildly unassuming. But drive in and you’ll find it is a secretly well kept little gem. There is a small fishing pond complete with a pier, a little beach and a trail that runs around the duck enhanced pond. The picnic tables supplied make it a good quiet place to have a picnic!
When you return to Nicholson road, as you continue driving south you’ll pass through the town of Hushers. You’ll be crossing highway 38, possibly for the second time, you’re not loosing it, it’s a highway that curves around a lot.
Look for the Caledonia Memoral Park on the right across the road from a beautiful example of a Greek revival farm house complete with columns and a still standing old silo. As you continue on you’ll enter my favorite stretch of the route. With farm after gorgeous farm or horse ranch with sprawling fields, galloping horses, picturesque lakes and white fences.
If you want to keep driving past 4 mile road there are a few more places to see, but come back to 4 mile road and drive east toward lake Michigan. You will once again cross highway 38 where you can see an old cream city building on the S.E. corner. Built in 1880, now used as a church, it was previously known as Wilson School.
And there’s Root River again! This section of road is filled with iconic Wisconsin farms. Use caution when you get to the curve, you’ll want to slow down and stop but it’s a busy road and without a shoulder, it’s dangerous in it details. Coming up fast on the right is one of the Caledonia Conservancy trail heads. It’s one of the best! I won’t go into details, I’m saving this for another post, but spoiler alert, it’s way cool.
Back to the trail!
Watch for the angel on the left and the big brown cows on the right. After you cross hwy 32 you’ll notice the obvious lack of farms. There are still a few older houses but the residences start to increase in value as you get closer to the lake. At some point the road enters the village of WindPoint. Here the homes are one more impressive than the next. At 4 mile roads end the street curves to the right and becomes Lighthouse Drive and you will find the entrance to the WindPoint lighthouse park.
The drive slopes greatly down toward the group of structures, with parking on the right. Each building has descriptive places with historical information and I think most of the year tours are available of the lighthouse building. Keep in mind that the main building also houses the police station, so no shenanigans!
That ends our tour for today. I hope you enjoyed the trip and learned a thing or two. If you’re again in need of a coffee, there’s a great little long time coffee shop on 4.5 mile road and hwy 32 called Mocha Lisa. https://mochalisacoffeehouse.com
There are also a number of places to stop in for some dinner grub to take home.
Mosquito Inn- 3208 4 mile road, Soup Shanty 6022 Douglas Ave, Derango Pizza on 3 mile road AND 6 mile road between highways 32 and 31. Same owners? Doesn’t matter, it’s Derango’s!
Thanks for coming along, Happy Trails!