Map of Wisconsin highlighting Vilas County by David Benbennick

Edible Antics is traveling this week to Vilas and Walworth counties in Wisconsin.  One is a Northwoods forest tourism and recreation area, the other is a tourism playground for urban visitors.  We are finding the special Supper Clubs, bakeries, meat markets, breweries, bike trails, wineries, bed and breakfasts, parks, attractions and anything we think you might enjoy in each county we visit.  We’ll post for you our Edible Antics recommended stops for each county.

Vilas County

This 874 square mile Northwoods county is home to 21,400 people.  In addition there are 161 square miles of lakes and rivers in this county.  Originally the home of the Chippewa Nation the county is named after William Freeman Vilas who was Wisconsin’s US Senator from 1891 through 1897.  The county seat is the City of Eagle River.  Other towns in the county include:

  • Arbor Vita – the local population of about 3,200 swells to nearly 10,000 in the summer months with vacation visitors.
  • Lac du Flambeau – Truly a Place to Refresh Your Spirit!  Hosts the annual Wild Rice Fest on September 17th
  • Land O’ Lakes – is right up against the state border with the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
  • Manitowish Waters – 40 miles of paved bike trails and many more for snowmobiling
  • Phelps – is home to the headwaters of the Wisconsin River.
  • Presque Isle – “Wisconsin’s Last Wilderness” is located between federal and state protected forest lands.
  • Sayner – is the birthplace of the snowmobile, originally called a snow buggy.
  • St. Germain – is known for its fishing and the Snowmobile Hall of Fame.

Logging in this area began in the 1850’s with most early settlers coming from New England states.  Later settlers were European immigrants from Germany and the Scandinavian nations.  Much of the county is included in the 1,530,647 acre Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest or the 225,000 acre Northern Highlands American Legion State Forest.   There are 1,318 lakes in the county and the headwaters of the Wisconsin River, The Flambeau River and the Presque Isle River are all in Vilas County.

Carl Eliason invented the first snowmobile in 1924 in Sayner, Wisconsin.  He used skis and parts from a Model T and bicycles.  The first snowmobile race was held in Three Lakes in 1926 and included more than 100 snow buggies.  That tradition continues when Eagle River hosts the 2017 World Championship Snowmobile Derby January 19-22, 2017.  The forests in Vilas County provide over 600 miles of groomed trails that are maintained by local snowmobile clubs.  The track that hosts the snowmobile championships in winter also hosts ATV races in summer.

Wisconsinmade Artisan partners in Vilas County

  • Northern Harvest Gift Baskets Each gift basket is individually filled, decorated and wrapped with great care.

    Wisconsin’s Best Heirloom Gift Basket
  • Eagle River Roasters flame roasts the world’s finest specialty coffees.  The coffee is available whole bean or ground.
  • Jeanine Semon – Artist  has applied her art to apparel items like scarves and neckties. This is wearable art.

Edible Antics Vilas County Recommendations

  • Mad Dog Jakes in Boulder Junction sells 32 favors of Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream
  • Prime Choice Meat Market in Eagle River is an old school butcher service
  • Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters is the site of the John Dillinger gang’s shootout with the FBI and the filming of PUBLIC ENEMIES movie.
  • The Plantation Supper Club in Arbor Vita provides fine food and excellent service
  • Marty’s Place – North in Arbor Vita offers fine dining in a relaxed Northwoods contemporary supper club.
  • Clearview Supper Club in St. Germain is a log building in the northwoods featuring good food and a lake view.
  • The Lodge at Manitowish Waters uses gorgeous pine log furniture to provide maximum charm and comfort
  • Smokey’s in Manitowish Waters offers a relaxed setting to enjoy fine dining with a casually elegant atmosphere with Northwoods ambience.
  • Chanticleer Inn and Restaurant in Eagle River is a popular award winning lakefront Inn and restaurant.
  • Dillman’s Bay Resort in Lac du Flambeau is on a lake front peninsula and offers creative workshops lead by talented instructors.
  • Gateway Lodge in Land O’ Lakes is a renovated nearly century old lodge on the Wisconsin – Michigan border.
  • Wild Eagle Lodge in Eagle River offers one, two and three bedroom units with full kitchens.

Walworth County

Map of Wisconsin highlighting Walworth County by David Benbennick

Elkhorn in the county seat of the 555 square mile county that is home to 102,000 people.    The county was named for Reuben Walworth who was Chancellor of New York from 1828 to 1841.  Other cities and villages in the county include:

  • Lake Geneva – is a four season tourism gem located on the eastern shores of Geneva Lake.
  • Delavan – the P.T. Barnum Circus “The Greatest Show on Earth” was founded here in 1871
  • Whitewater – hosts the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater campus
  • Darien – is an agriculture based small town near the Illinois border.
  • Walworth – home to Kikkoman’s, the first Japanese company to open a factory in the US.
  • Williams Bay – home of the world’s largest refracting telescope at the Yerkes Observatory.

The Walworth County southern border is the state line with Illinois.  It is an attractive tourism and recreation area for Illinois residents and locals too.   Whitewater hosts the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater campus.  The county is the location of the Alpine Valley Music venue that hosts concerts each summer.  The Lake Geneva Cruise Line offers boat tours on Geneva Lake to view the beautiful lake homes including the Wisconsin Historical site Black Point, a mansion built in 1888 and restored for visitors today.  East Troy Electric Railway trains and Museum offers rides for various occasions and exhibits of railcars.  There are another 45 historic sites located in the county.

Delevan is the home of the Wisconsin School for the Deaf.  This public school offers classes and training for Wisconsin deaf students.

Wisconsinmade Artisan partners in Walworth County

Jams and Preserves Gift Box

LuAustin preserves  offer jams that are prepared the same way you would make them if you had the time.  They are something special and memorable.

Leahy’s Lake Geneva Meats specializes in fresh meats, bratwurst and sausages. They are members of the Wisconsin Meat Hall of Fame.

Edible Antics Walworth County Recommendations

From the wilderness forests of northern Wisconsin Vilas County to the elegant developed adult playgrounds in Walworth County Wisconsin offers recreation, relaxation and respite to visitors and residents.  The owners and staffs of these recommended sites welcome you to enjoy all of Wisconsin’s treasures.

Join us next week as we continue our tour in Washburn and Washington counties searching for people, places and edibles Made With Pride and Passion in Wisconsin 

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *