Midwest Living Review
Many people know good artwork can be found in Wisconsin if you head to Door County or to tiny Bayfield, which sits about as far north as you can drive. But a lot of folks, even residents, don’t realize the wealth of artists, artisans, performers and growers tucked in the state's northwestern region. A group of these people were determined to spread the word about the area's artistic richness, plus its cultural and historic wealth, and banded together to create Wisconsin's Northwest Heritage Passage.
The Wisconsin Passage, as its often called, is roughly a large area around US-63, a historic and scenic route running northeast from Hager City on the Mississippi River up nearly to Ashland on the shores of Lake Superior. If you look online or purchase a book called The Wisconsin Passage, you'll find an in-depth listing of the 13-county area's artists, growers, historic sites and more. Entrants are selected for the quality and authenticity of their work, and only shops or galleries containing products from the region are eligible to be included.
The guidebook and website information can be a bit misleading, however. While both encourage visitors to seek out and explore the various businesses, artists and growers, many are not regularly open to the public. Others may produce their products at home, but only sell them in certain galleries or online. Some have gone out of business or changed location. So if you decide to explore a section, it's best to call ahead and make sure the places you're interested in seeing will be open. The good thing is that the places you'll find that are open are definitely first-rate.