You'll discover great shopping and eating — and a whole bunch of trolls
Visiting the new Duluth Trading Flagship Store is worth the drive to Mt. Horeb, whether you're a diehard Duluth customer or a new-comer to our brand. But there's lots more to do and see in this charming little town.
Start with a stop at the Chamber of Commerce office at 300 E. Main Street, where you can pick up a walking tour map. This will guide you to many local attractions, but most importantly help you track down all 17 of the handcarved wooden trolls by local artist Mike Feeney that are scattered along the "trollway" (aka Main Street). Remember, Mt. Horeb takes pride in being the "Troll Capital of the World."
Practically next door to the Duluth Trading store is the Fisher King Winery, maker and bottler of premium wines hand-crafted from locally-grown grapes. Sample a glass in the tasting room and discover the pleasures of Midwestern varietals. While you're there, catch some live music, quiz winemaker Alwyn Fitzgerald about his craft or take a gander at fermentation tanks filled with new generation cold-hearty Wisconsin grapes. At Fisher King, you can be part of the "buy local" wine revolution, and find a bottle or two to take home.
Just footsteps away is the Artisan Woods Gallery, with an amazing collection of contemporary woodcrafts from artists all across America. In addition to wooden bowls, trays, clocks and other household items, you'll find fish wine holders that seem to defy gravity, Scheumack brooms made with tools from an 1878 Kentucky broom shop, handsome cribbage boards and Peter Chapman puzzle animals to delight any child.
Nice thing about Bistro 101 is, owner Marko always seems to remember your name. This classy place in the historic Hoff Mall has a big-city feel and flavor - try the X-rated Martini - and features locally grown produce, cheese and proteins. Who doesn't love Greek chicken?
Stop by the Grumpy Troll Brewery (in the historic 1916 Creamery building) and you may become embroiled in a spirited debate over which of the dozen or so handcrafted beers reigns supreme. Along with its award-winning beer, the Troll serves a good selection of hearty food. Kids will like slurping homemade root beer in the upstairs pizzeria.
Likely you'll see some serious knitting going on, if you peek into The Cat & Crow. Local farms supply the shop with beautiful yarns of wool, alpaca, mohair, you name it. How about something for your mama, that came from a llama? They've got it, and owners Mo Brown and Rebecca Boelhower Santi will happily show you what to do with it. There's even gorgeous hand-dyed yarns from Three Irish Girls in Duluth, MN.
Or visit Witchery Stitchery, a downtown Mt. Horeb tradition for thirty years. It's a full-service needlework shop, specializing in needlepoint, cross stitch and Hardanger (a type of Norwegian embroidery that traditionally utilizes white thread on white fabric to beautiful effect). You'll also find all sorts of tools and gadgets that will be hard for any stitchery enthusiast to resist.
The original owners of Sole Sapori have moved back to Sicily, but the current owners still use original Vitale family recipes for pizza, pasta and delicious entrees. Your kids will enjoy the cobblestone walkway that takes you from the main street back to the restaurant. A great place to sip a glass of wine by the fireplace after a hard day of shopping.
Got a sweet tooth? Stroll down to Sjolind's Chocolate Shop, where owner Tracy Thompson will tempt you with what may be Wisconsin's best cheesecake, as well as an assortment of artisan chocolates that will have you slavering. Enjoy great coffee, caf? au lait, cappuccino and expresso, and no fewer than 10 different kinds of homemade hot chocolate. A friend of ours got a different kind of chocolate scone there every morning for a week, telling us about it with a dreamy look on her face. (If you become a Sjolind's regular — and who doesn't — it's comforting to know there's a dentist just 2 doors down.)
If your tastes run to Scandanavian crafts, clogs, glassware and jewelry, be sure to stop by Open House Imports, whose owner is president of the local chapter of the Sons of Norway — you know he's serious about this stuff!
Our final suggestion (since we're history buffs) is a visit to the Mt. Horeb Area Museum, with exhibits that explore 150 years of ethnic evolution and contributions in southwestern Wisconsin. It's also a chance to see more old tools! Open May through December, on Friday and Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM, Sunday 12:30 PM to 4 PM.
Care to venture beyond the Trollway? Consider these other nearby attractions:
Cave of the Mounds (www.caveofthemounds.com) will amaze you with its stalactites (they point down), stalagmites (they point up), soda straws and flowstones.
Botham Winery (www.bothamvineyards.com) is surrounded by over 900 acres of nature conservancy, and features not only award-winning wines but also a restored circa-1900 hung barn.
Tyrol Basin Ski and Snowboard Area (www.tyrolbasin.com) has rentals, instruction, six lifts and plenty of short but challenging runs, plus a terrain park that'll tempt even Mom and Dad to go airborne.
Little Norway (www.littlenorway.com), not far from Tyrol Basin, is a lovingly preserved Norwegian homestead that was first settled in 1865, and includes a stave church that was built for the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.