by Chuck Wemstrom
We love Spring Green—it’s close, there’s a lot to do and we’ve never had a crummy meal, seen a lousy play or had a bad night’s sleep. We go up for the plays at American Players Theater (APT) and even though we could drive home, we always stay overnight because we want to enjoy the rest of the town.
We try to get to town early enough for lunch at the Arcadia Bookstore. It’s a real old-fashioned bookstore where the clerks not only know their inventory, they know everything about books and are happy to make recommendations and even order a book for you. If you can’t see all the plays, they can help with suggestions about which of the plays are really good—the “can’t miss shows”.
The Kitchen at Arcadia Books always has a tempting selection of delicious sandwiches and hot entrées. A nice unpretentious selection of wine and beer is also available, but lunchtime is usually too early for us. However, for later, they’ll help put together a picnic basket with just the right bottle of wine for the theatre.
After the theatre, we like to go to the Shed for a nightcap. It is a bar and restaurant with a full menu and good pizza. We like to sit at the bar because right after we arrive the actors from APT start coming in. They too enjoy a nightcap or sometimes a bit more. We like to say hello and compliment them on their performances. They love the feedback and are happy to chat for a few minutes.
The next morning we have coffee at the motel, but we skip their breakfast because we’re off to The General Store. It’s always crowded but worth the few minutes’ wait. You order at the counter and in a few minutes one of the staff brings your order. We are always bringing new folks with us, and as soon as they see the food there are “oohs” and “ahs” of astonishment, quickly replaced with murmurs of appreciation and then silence as folks begin to eat.
But the General Store is, as the name implies, more than just a restaurant; it also carries a small, high-end selection of women’s clothing and a serendipitous collection of children’s toys, as well as unusual one-of-a-kind kitchen items.
Then it’s off for a hike before the matinee at APT. We often hike the Spring Green Nature Conservancy just outside town. The hike is across a desert-like valley, up the bluff to spectacular views overlooking the Wisconsin River. Well worth the effort.
On Friday nights, we always go to the Driftless Depot Market and Deli for a fresh local trout dinner. The fish are delivered fresh Friday morning. They also have a nice selection of wines. The Driftless Depot is a café and an organic and local grocery that only serves dinner on Fridays. Be sure and make reservations! And be sure to check out their unusual collection of spices and condiments and their small but interesting selection of cookbooks.
Believe it or not, we always seem to have time to shop. We love Nina’s, an old-fashioned department and variety store with a great sale rack. We shop the bargains and always find something that’s perfect, and a steal! The Bargain Nook has recently moved to Highway 14. Most of their clothing is donated by a Dodgeville catalog clothing retailer. Their clothes are dirt cheap, brand new and the profits help a good cause, the Hodgan Center. People who shop there regularly brag about their wardrobes. And the money we saved by shopping at the Bargain Nook and Nina’s we can blow at Convivio, where they like to brag “Enable Your Table.” It’s a wine shop (of course) but they also sell linens, art, coffee, comestibles and again, “little miracles.”
There is so much more to see and do than what I’ve just described, such as the Wisconsin River and canoeing, Shot Tower State Park, and hiking and camping. There are more shops on South Albany Street, including art galleries Jura Silverman Gallery and Gallery Art 23. A tour of Taliesin, the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, takes an afternoon and is worth every minute. And for even more suggestions go to www.SPRINGGREEN.COM .
Finally, there are many wonderful places to stay. Our two favorites are Spring Valley Inn and The Round Barn. They both have indoor pools and whirlpools. And, when we want a special treat, we like the Silver Star B&B. It’s ten miles south of town, hidden in the woods with its own hiking trails and is a great place to hang out in the afternoon when the other guests are out and about.