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Friday, June 20, 2008

Vacation time at Wisconsin Dells

We have officially been on our first vacation since we got Tyler home with us. We made it away from the farm for a total of 30 hours, and we are thankful for the employees we have that gave us this chance to spend a lot of together just having FUN!!
We only traveled 1 hour away, and we happened to choose a touristy hot spot for Wisconsin, but it is sooo handy, there are sooo many things to do, and we all love to play in the water, so finding a good motel with a nice waterpark type pool is usually going to be a hit with our family. We chose the Wisconsin Dells because of their unique attractions, it is close to us, and it was unseasonably cool (mid 70's compared to last year's 90's) so it was not so very busy.
We started out Wednesday afternoon with a picnic lunch at the Hillsboro City Park, which was a grand way to begin our day-we have not had a picnic in forever, so we all appreciated the quiet, shaded beauty of the little park in our own town. On our way to the Dells, we drove through some flood-ravaged areas of the country-we were hit with torrential rains 2 weekends ago-around 10 inches-and while we in Hillsboro had a lot of high water, we had nothing compared to the people south of us in Reedsburg-the entire city was nearly under water, and when we drove through on our way, there were endloaders cleaning up all the stuff that has been taken out of the houses to be trashed-tvs, computers, couches, beds, EVERYTHING!! You could see by the mud marks on the homes how hight the water had been-we were humbled and thankful for no loss of life, and I found myself thinking-"how do they just go out and start buying everything all over again? what about the pictures, personal memories, things that are irreplaceable?"
It was a good reminder to us to not think about ourselves so much, there are always people who have things more challenging than anything we are dealing with.
Once at the Dells-the water park capital of the US, we found a motel with a nice pool/ and a free breakfast-and proceeded to our favorite spot-the Deer Park!
It is a huge wooded area with European Deer in one section, American White Tails in another, you buy expensive Rye crackers to feed them-they literally eat it out of your hand, and there were many baby fawns there this time of year. We have been there in the fall before, and they have all the daddy dear penned up as it is usually breeding season, but this time of year, they were all running with the does, and we found it incredible to feel their soft velvety antlers, feel their soft nuzzley noses, and rub their muscled backs.
We are always delighted with the personalities of the deer. Some are quite demanding, and will not take "No" for an answer after they have eaten their share, they will nose into your pockets, hands, anything, to find some more to eat, and some are quite tentative, hanging back and twitching their little noses in the air, begging for a few pieces to be thrown to them.
The children thoroughly enjoy feeding and petting them, and Mom and Dad really enjoy this as well.

Next, we stopped at one of the original Dells attractions-it was originally designed as a frontier-type park 30-40 years ago-and there are several Indian shops where souveniors are sold-trinkets, junk, stuff that tourists buy-but the kids were excited to see what a teepee would have been like from the Laura and Mary days-they both read Little House books and love the 1800's time-period.

After a really nice meal at Ponderosa-a typical fast-food steak house with a great buffet, we headed to the motel for the coveted swimming time. We chose a quieter/smaller pool, and we were very blessed with being the only ones there during both of our swim times. The children splashed and played, and Tyler was one big smile the entire time.
I was particularly thrilled to see my 2 older children catering to Tyler's every need, and foregoing their own fun on the bigger slide to make sure he was enjoying himself-and in turn, they ALL enjoyed themselves immensely.

After a really good night's sleep-11 hours-and a good breakfast and more pool time, and a nap for Tyler, we headed out to enjoy a few more exploits. Another Wis Dells attraction is the Ducks. They are aquatic/land mobiles that were actually used in WWII. They give you a little tour of the area, and float through the Wisconsin River, and the driver gives you a little folklore about the area. I have always enjoyed this, and I think all 3 children enjoyed it this year as well.

Here we are standing on a bridge that used to cross Dells Creek-up until 2 weeks ago, there was water everywhere, but with the huge rains we had on June 6th and 7th, tragedy struck the Dells.

A huge section of Lake Delton shoreline washed away, taking the 267 acre lake with it into the Wisconsin River. Lake Delton and Dells Creek are now dry, and the remains are a soggy, muddy mess of debris, houseboats and pontoons, and 4 $500,000 homes that washed away with the shoreline. The 20 resorts around the lake are going to be hurting this summer, as well as one of the area's top tourist draws, the Tommy Bartlett waterski show-they cancelled their summer schedule and let all their skiers go so they could find summer employment somewhere else. The photo below was taken from our Duck seats while in the Wis River.
This photo shows the pines growing out of the sides of the very porous sand stone that is along this secion of the Wisconsin River. There are only 4 places in the world where this type of sandstone is.

This is a rock-outcropping called Hawk's Beak-of course, there is Indian folklore that goes along with the rocks, but I will settle for showing pictures

Here is may family standing next to one of the Ducks. They are quite a sight to see running up and down the roads of the Dells, and we enjoyed our 1 hr tour through streets, wooded areas, we even saw 3 deer and a turtle, and the water tour on the River.
Overall, I would say we had a wonderful time away from the farm, and are looking forward to another little getaway next month, as we have decided each month we need a little away time, family time, and we just aren't going to get that kind of quality time if we stay home every day and tend to the farm.


Amy said...


I'm so glad that you were able to get away and have a fun vacation and get some quality family time. Judging by the big smiles, it was a huge success! Loved the pictures of the kids.

The Olson's: said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful family time together. The picnic inspired me to take my family for one soon! Such simplicity but so much fun for the kids.

Great shot of your son on the waterslide! Kids & water - a perfect match!

The tour sounds fun. I'll have to add that to my list of places to visit!
Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday. I am very thankful that my husband & I are on the same page. God is good!
~ Leanne

Beth said...

looks like everyone had a great time! So cool that the deer eat right out of your hands...the kids much have loved that!!

Shana said...

Sounds like a great kid-friendly vacation. They are all so adorable!

So sad to hear and see all the devastation, I am glad to hear that you all are OK and that the farm is OK though:)

Stefanie said...

Looks like your family had a wonderful vacation! Love the smiles on everyone's faces. The kids look like they had an absolute blast in the water!

Katie said...

How fun! I didn't know you were so close to the Dells! Alex has always wanted to take me there, and now even more with Leo. He used to visit there often because he had a customer there..... so we'll have to put it at the top of our list so we can come and see you!

Looks like you all had a great time! What sweet kids you have!

Miss you!

Joe and Jane said...

What a trip! Glad you had a good time. Even though we live fairly close, we've never done the Dells.

If you guys and Katie, Alex and Leo hit the Dells again, we'll gladly join you!

Lori said...

The Dells trip looked wonderful and so relaxing! We are headed there next week for a few days and I can't wait. :):)

Love the photos of the kids...they grow so quickly!