In Lake Mills’ historic downtown, the renowned Ephraim Faience Pottery Studio and Gallery sells heirloom-quality, hand-thrown Arts and Crafts Revival-style vases, tiles and more. The gallery shares space with Sweet Lips Art and Gift Gallery, which offers affordable works from more than 200 artists. Descriptive tags explain the vintages at the boutique Lewis Station Winery. If you visit during summer, the American Legion sells sliders from a little stand on Fridays until they run out—visitors take bags of them to nearby Commons Park for picnics. Whenever you go, don’t miss James J. Chocolate Shop, an old-fashioned candy store hidden in a business park that makes top-notch toffee and chocolate-covered cherry clusters. You can find the candy downtown at Lake Street Emporium, which also sells affordable gifts and antiques. The cookie jar is always full at Sweet Autumn Inn, a lovely Arts and Crafts-style B&B (from $109).
Lake Mills calls itself City of the Pyramids, thanks to mysterious stone structures on the bottom of spring-fed Rock Lake. You can see the lake from the Glacial Drumlin Bike Trail, a 52-mile path following the old Chicago and Northwestern Railway. Zeloski Marsh, a new wetland and grassland under restoration, is a great place to bird-watch, and a herd of bison graze just north of the trail between London and Lake Mills. Water House Foods Cafe and Bakehouse serves deli sandwiches named for the Bard’s famous characters and made with Wisconsin cheeses and seedy multigrain bread. Built in 1902, the neo-Gothic L.D. Fargo Public Library is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tyranena Brewery serves $10 samplers and house-brewed root beer, while smoked brisket and foods with a Southwest twist star at Carp’s Landing.
For more information: (920) 648-3585; lakemills.org