Cheap Thrills

Travel takes all forms on mini-getaways outside of Madison. Feast on nature's bounty for free, pick up a handmade item or visit a vintage opera house.

Kaleidoscope Marketplace and Gallery

Kaleidoscope Marketplace and Gallery

Green Getaway

Aldo Leopold’s dream was to prevent the state’s renewable resources—like clean water, intact forests and natural prairies—from becoming luxury items. Just northeast of the Baraboo Hills at the site of the Leopold Shack and Farm, his land ethic has been immortalized in the world’s most sustainable structure by LEED-certification standards. It’s a beauty. Built from trees responsibly harvested onsite, it is simple luxury and stands as a monument to Wisconsin’s father of land preservation. Take a free self-guided tour or a low-cost guided one: $5 for adults, $3 for children. You can also visit the Leopolds’ shack, where they eschewed traditional luxury for the beauty they saw in wilderness.

The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center E13701 Levee Road, Baraboo. Mon–Sat 10a–4:30p. 355-0297, aldoleopold.org

Artists' Escape

In Mount Horeb, Kaleidoscope Marketplace and Gallery is luxury in two parts: upstairs is functional art—hand-spun yarns from locally raised sheep knit into soft hats and scarves; clay unearthed, shaped into drinking vessels, glazed and fired for days for strength. Downstairs is the gallery of fine visual art and local handmade furniture. Through the work of local artisans, customers have the luxury of owning something born out of someone else’s love. The work of Bruce Breckenridge, Randy Becker, Chris Gargan, Nancy Rustad and
Michael Ridel with be on display until August 31.

Kaleidoscope Marketplace and Gallery 101 E. Main St., Hoffmall, Mount Horeb. Tues–Thurs 10a–6p, Fri 10a–7p, Sat 10a–5p, Sun 11a–4p. 437-2787, kaleidoscopemarketplace.com

Rock On

The Baraboo Hills were once a chain of islands dappled along an ocean floor. Made of ancient quartzite rock and home to the largest upland forest in Wisconsin, the Baraboo Hills are among the most ancient rock formations in the world and are as luxurious as land in Wisconsin stands. If you head west from Madison on Highway 12, you can hike these unique geological structures while convening with song and migrating birds and wildlife. Walk into Baxter’s Hollow, a deep forest protecting a mountain-like creek, to experience the Nature Conservancy’s largest preserve in the state. Bring field glasses because rare species like the worm-eating warbler and wildflowers like the dogtooth violet live there.

The Nature Conservancy’s Baraboo Hills, off Hwy. 12, Baraboo. 356-5300, nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/wisconsin/preserves/

Mental Massage

Farther northwest in Mineral Point, you will find the charm of an English Cotswold neighborhood without the North Wales drizzle. A nineteenth-century Cornish settlement of limestone and sandstone buildings, Mineral Point is known for historic architecture and the artists who fill them. Here, for a fraction of a spa treatment cost, attend the “make and take” Woodlanders Gathering, and massage foraged sustainable materials—twigs, willows, gourds, pine needles—into something functional. This four-day workshop teaches the art of sharing oneself while learning time-honored crafts, including how to mix herbs, salts and oils into healing lotions and ointments. The fees range from $50 for a day workshop to $290 for a four-day workshop, plus food and beverages. Lodging not included.

Woodlanders Gathering at Shake Rag Alley, 18 Shake Rag St., Mineral Point. July 10–13. 987-3292, shakeragalley.com

Easy Evening Out

Performing arts is no small deal to the Stoughton community. Put on your favorite vintage costume jewelry and take in an affordable and quality concert at Stoughton’s famous acoustically sound and fabulously restored Historic Opera House. Stop at Vincenzo's eclectic wine bar for a concert precursor of quality live music, at no charge, while sipping a $3 glass of fine house wine.

Stoughton Opera House 381 E. Main St., Stoughton. 877-4400, cityofstoughton.com

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