Every weekend in fall, my husband and I like to travel around the state of Wisconsin in search of fall color. For our first weekend, we drove all the way up north and into the UP to see some color. If you missed that post, you can find it HERE. This past weekend, we drove two hours east to Wausau, Wisconsin where the colors were reported at 55%.
Just like the weekend before, it rained. It didn't rain all summer, but Mother Nature decides to rain everyday and every weekend in the fall. 😢. We decided to make the best of it and just readjusted our plans as we knew it would clear up a bit in the afternoon.
Since it was raining, we decided to tour downtown Wausau. I've seen pretty pictures of their historic downtown and always wanted to check it out, so nows my chance.
Wausau has a small, maybe 2-3 block historic area. There are mostly dining establishments, and a few clothing stores, so we didn't pop into any of them except the one below: "Evolution in Design".
This was the coolest store ever! I was mostly enamored with the decor of the store than their products. I loved walking around checking every little nook and cranny. It appeared to be an old store front house built in the late 1800's...
Every section of this store is intricately and creatively decorated from the painted floors all the way up to the painted ceilings.
After exploring the downtown shops we headed into the nearby neighborhood as we kept seeing so many gorgeous old churches in the distance.
The clerk at the "Evolutions in Design" store told us to stop in "Sugar' n Spice" because they had great cheesecake. I was so thrilled she recommended this place, because this was not only the best cheesecake I've had in my life, but it was also the best dessert I ever had in my life.
The stores sell large cheesecake cupcakes for around $6.00 each or mini ones for $1.50 each. We chose a large chocolate cheesecake cupcake and split it. It was AMAZING!
The decor of this sweet shop was amazing too. I just loved how glamorous it was! I told my husband, if I am ever in Wausau again, I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS stop here for cheesecake!
It was still raining so we stopped for lunch. I picked "Red Eye Brewing Company" because it was rated Wausau's #1 restaurant on Trip Advisor. It's an "Artisan Food" restaurant, so all the food on the menu was "Weird". I absolutely loved it, but my meat and potatoes husband was out of his comfort zone. When it came time to order, he decided not to order anything and the waitress could tell why so she said "We have pizza too", to which I replied "Yes, but they are all weird to him too", then she kindly said, "We could make any pizza you want". So then hubby's eyes lit up and said "How about just plain pepperoni and sausage?" and once they brought that out to him, and not any weird ingredient pizzas, he was happy. 😀
I ordered a "Fried Chicken BLT" and it was delicious!
Wausau River Walk
After lunch, the rain finally subsided so we headed over the Wisconsin River to do the riverwalk. I have no idea how many miles this riverwalk is, but let me tell you, it is HUGE. We couldn't even do it in one day (but we could have been a little worn out from walking downtown all morning) so we broke it up in two chunks. We did the walk starting from Bridge Street, through the entire Whitewater Park, plus Brunet Island...then we had to walk all the way back to our car...so it was a lot of walking. You can bike on this river walk, but we wanted to see all the islands too, and that would have been difficult to do with bikes.
At the start of the riverwalk near bridge street was this beautiful canopied viewing deck of the Wisconsin River.
On the opposite side was this pedestrian bridge that had the loveliest waterfall. I've never seen anything like this before. We thought it was so pretty.
There are multiple bridges on this walk that take you across to three islands which have trails and points of historic interest. The first island we visited was Barker Stewart Island. Here we learn this island was where they stored all the lumber back in the sawmill/lumber days when they used the Wisconsin River to haul the wood down river.
Our next stop on the river walk was the White Water Park. Oh my gosh! This place was amazing! I've never seen anything like it before! It's a professional racing course for canoe and kayaking. It was so much fun watching these brave men and women hone their craft.
Hubby watching the kayakers from the deck above.
I couldn't believe this course for kayakers to practice and compete was located right in the heart of a small city. Be sure to check out the video at the end of this post to see them in action.
When the railroad tracks were built in Wausau, they stopped moving lumber via the Wisconsin river.
After watching the kayakers for a while, we started walking back on the river walk. It continued into a lovely paved path through the woods, with the Wisconsin River on our right.
By now, we were getting pretty sore and tired and realized we had to walk all the way back to our car, so we decided to call it a day and see the second half of the river walk tomorrow.
The next morning the sun was out! We were so excited! We hadn't seen the sun in over a week. We headed over to "Riverside Park" to hike the end of the river walk we missed the day before. We hiked the trail again for just a bit before a bridge took us to "Picnic Island".
This was such a quiet, beautiful little island. We loved how the colorful foliage of the trees was mirrored in the water.
Next we jumped back in our car again (are you noticing how long this trail is if we keep having to jump back in our car?) and drove to Oak Park, from here we crossed another bridge to the "Isle of Ferns Island"
This island had the most beautiful bridge of them all! It was made of stone and just dripped with moss.
There is a trail that goes all the way around the island, which we took. It was rustic, and we see how the island got its name as there were a lot of ferns.
Rib Mountain State Park
After we finished the Wausau River Walk we headed over to Rib Mountain State Park. Of course we had to climb their insanely tall viewing tower to see the surrounding landscape filled with fall color.
We only took one hike, the "Red Trail" as we were short on time. It led us to another beautiful lookout.
After we finished the "Red Trail" we got back in our vehicle to head home. We had been to this park many times before that's why we kind just popped in this day to see the fall colors. You can read about our other adventures to this park HERE and HERE.
And now, be sure to watch the video below to see this amazing whitewater course right in downtown Wausau, Wisconsin!
Have A Great Day! Amy
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