The Area










The Region
The Lonesome Hollow Homestead is situated on 120+ rural acres between Gays Mills and Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, sleepy villages located in the heart of the picturesque Kickapoo Valley in Southwest Wisconsin. The Homestead is about a one hour south of La Crosse, Wisconsin and 35 minutes northeast of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. The Mississippi River, the Wisconsin River, and the Kickapoo River all converge here to help form the character of the land near our Homestead.

Our Homestead is only a short drive from some of these larger rural villages in rural Southwest Wisconsin and Northeast Iowa: Viroqua, Wisconsin, Richland Center, Wisconsin, Boscobel, Wisconsin, Marquette, Iowa, Lansing, Iowa and McGregor, Iowa. You’ll find a heavy dose of Outdoors, Amish, Organic and Arts in this beautiful area.

The Kickapoo Valley
Our home sits in the bottom of the hollow and offers a splendid view of our private valley. Our little hollow is a small subset of the much larger and grander Kickapoo River Valley. We are surrounded on three sides by steep hills, three hundred feet tall, left standing here because the last great glacier skirted around this Driftless Area (a.k.a. Ocooch Mtns) . The property extends up onto a ridge top and offers almost two miles of private hiking trails. The Homestead is surrounded by hardwood forests. Mixed in with the oak, maple, and hickory trees are wild raspberry and blackberry bushes, white cedar, birch and aspen. The valley and ridge are home to deer, wild turkey, fox, red tailed hawks, and great horned owls. We are constantly adding to the list of birds and wildflowers that we have observed in our valley and on our ridge. Our skies are completely free of light pollution and star gazing is superb.

Located one hour south of La Crosse, WI and less than two hours west of Madison, the Lonesome Hollow Homestead is within an hour’s drive of five parks that offer great hiking and bicycling. World class trout fishing is only minutes away. Boat the Mighty Mississippi River; float the Wisconsin or Kickapoo Rivers; learn about Native American and local Wisconsin history; visit the shops of Amish craftsmen; enjoy unique rural events and shops.

The Driftless Area is uniquely rugged by Midwest standards. It is an area untouched by the last North American glaciers. The region’s landscape is one of repeated ridges and valleys marked by hundreds of cold water streams and a dozen remarkable rivers. Scenic roads and villages delight the traveler. Here it is Nature, not man, that has created the best of things to be enjoyed.
A Driftless Area hiking trip in the fall will take you across a forest floor littered with freshly fallen leaves, leaving only a trail of upturned leaves behind you. Imagine a demanding hike up one of these steep bluffs, only to be rewarded at the top by the fiery glow of the sun-drenched colors of maples, oaks, and hickories. The hikes in the region are plentiful, but we certainly have our favorites. The trails throughout the 8,569 acres of land that makeup the Kickapoo Valley Reserve shouldn’t be missed. The area is rugged, full of exposed sandstone outcroppings, a mosaic of green moss, towering cliffs and the narrow, snaking Kickapoo River; all providing you with the perfect backdrop for Driftless Area hiking and fall-foliage viewing. Other favorite hiking destinations are Wildcat Mountain State Park, and Wyalusing State Park. Travel Wisconsin has a wonderful interactive Fall Color Report Map that will help you stay on top of color changes wherever you may be.

Vineyards and Apple Orchards in the Driftless Area
While Wisconsin is surely a legend in the brewing industry, Wisconsin wines are making their own name for themselves. Just as in the brewing industry, old world traditions are proudly carried on in Wisconsin’s colorful wineries. The Driftless Area, one of the 5 unique wine growing regions, is home 16 wonderful Wisconsin wineries.

The wineries found in the Driftless Area typically produce a more traditional grape wine than other Wisconsin wineries. The microclimate found here, thanks in large part to glacier-shaped hillsides famous to the region, is perfect for these traditional grape varieties, making the region somewhat reminiscent of European vineyards. You can spend days exploring the various Wisconsin wineries in the Driftless Area, but there are several located within approximately one hour of driving time from the Homestead. There are three wonderful Wisconsin wineries located to the south of us. If you like sweet wines, a visit to Whispering Winds Winery is for you. At just under an hour away, it is a charming family-run operation crafting a unique variety of red, white, blush and fruit wines. A few more minutes down the road, and you’ll find Spurgeon Vineyards, where they produce approximately 25,000 gallons of wine annually, ranging from dry grape wines to semi-sweet grape wines, as well as sweet grape, fruit and mead (honey) wines. Head just a little farther south, at just under ninety minutes away from the Homestead, and you’ll find the Bauer-Kearns Winery.

Approximately 45 minutes north towards the Coulee Region, and you’ll find Branches Winery, where they produce wine from estate-grown grapes including Marquette, LaCrescent, Edelweiss and Frontenac varietals. Travel just a few miles farther into LaCrosse, and you can discover the unique wines at DnA Vintners, home of the Chocolate Cranberry Wine. Of course, you can always stay even closer to home, and visit Vernon Vineyards, which is located in nearby Viroqua. Vernon Vineyards, where they specialize in cold-climate grapes, has the distinction of being the only Wisconsin winery to use 100% Wisconsin-grown grapes.

There are few fruits that define a season better than the apple, from their vibrant and varied colors, to that first crisp, juicy bite. Wisconsin apple orchards take their job seriously, with apples being the largest fruit crop in Wisconsin. With multiple Wisconsin apple orchards in the Driftless Area, there is plenty of old-fashioned fun to be had. Depending on the orchard you visit, you can take orchard tours, pick apples, buy retail or wholesale apples, take home some freshly pressed apple cider, as well as countless other harvest-inspired delights.

For over a century now, farmers in the Gay Mills area have been growing and harvesting apples known for their color and taste. Apple orchards have continued to thrive in this area, resulting in Gay Mills becoming the apple capital of Wisconsin. Currently, this charming little town is home to the largest Wisconsin Apple orchards in the tri-state area, with more than a thousand acres dedicated to the growing of this delicious fall fruit. If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to experience apple orchards, then join us for the Annual Gay Mills Apple Festival. While you’re in the Driftless area, visit any of our seven wonderful Wisconsin apple orchards located in the Gay Mills area.

Wisconsin Trout Fishing
Statewide, we think the Driftless Area trout fishing is unmatchable. If you are a true Wisconsin trout fishing enthusiast, then don’t miss your chance to fish at the start of trout fishing season.

The Driftless Area is known for its trout streams, many of which are Class I rated. Favorites include  Timber Coulee Creek  or the  West Fork of the Kickapoo River, both of which have undergone extensive habitat restoration, and now feature high quality cold-waters that can sustain natural populations of brook and brown trout.  Tainter Creek is also a local favorite Class I stream

Here are some other area attractions, all within an hour’s drive of Lonesome Hollow Bed and Breakfast and Soldiers Grove, WI:

  • Amish furniture and quilt shops, many located at the artisans’ farms
  • Biking on the Elroy-Sparta State Trail
  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin and museum
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Trout fishing on local streams
  • Canoeing and kayaking on the Kickapoo River
  • Antique shops
  • Wisconsin’s largest area of apple orchards
  • Farm and antique auctions
  • Dozens of local festivals and county fairs
  • Several local golf courses
  • Cabelas Prairie du Chien outdoors store
  • Hundreds of miles of scenic, rural county roads