Wisconsin is blessed by many wonderful small cities with populations of 50,000 to 100,000. Not really totally urban and surrounded by rural beauty, La Crosse is worth a full day of exploring.
Leaving Lonesome Hollow, follow Crawford County Hwy C west to Hwy 35. Then sit back in your car and take in the splendor of a forty mile drive along the upper Mississippi River. You will see areas of the river that are more than two miles wide, and other areas of the river that are choked with hundreds of small islands that form a maze of interconnected waterways.
La Crosse has something to offer everyone: antique malls, great restaurants, city parks along the river, Grandad’s Bluff (a park on a bluff 600 feet above the city), and plenty of shopping. Activities available in La Crosse include minor league baseball and river rides on paddle-wheel excursion boats.
When leaving the city, follow Hwy 14/61 south to the village of Coon Valley. Here you will find nice restaurants and scenic local drives. If you go east on County Hwy P you will find Norskedalen, a nature and Norwegian Heritage Center. Norskedalen offers a great photo history of the Coon Valley area and the Bekkum Pioneer Homestead featuring a dozen or so original log structures that compromised a late 1800′s homestead.
Continuing south Hwy 14/61 will take you through the larger villages of Westby and Viroqua. Both offer fine restaurants, antique shops, and very entertaining seasonal events. From Viroqua, just follow Hwy 61 south to Soldiers Grove. Stop for dinner at the Old Oak Inn in Soldiers Grove, a beautifully renovated Victorian restaurant.