With fall just around the corner, now is the perfect time of year to sample delicious, seasonal Wisconsin cuisine at local restaurants, festivals and community celebrations. Wisconsin’s world famous cranberries are back in season and we’ve got a few places to taste them!

Visit the “Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin” to attend “The World’s Biggest Cranberry Festival” at 48e annual Warrens Cranberry Festival (Monroe County) – September 24-26

Festivals are always a great place to sample unique cuisine and you won’t want to miss this opportunity to celebrate the fruits of the state of Wisconsin. With just 75 booths, a total of 3,500 people attended the very first Warrens Cranberry Festival in 1973. Today the event attracts international attention, hosting over 3,000 booths and welcoming over 120,000 people to Warrens, WI! Did you know that Wisconsin produces more than half of the world’s cranberry supply and that cranberry swamps help control erosion, filter water, slow runoff from heavy rains and replenish underground aquifers? ? Cranberries have a big impact on the economy of Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s primary fruit crop provides about 4,000 jobs and contributes about $ 330 million to the state’s economy. Cranberry Festival attendees will be able to try countless cranberry culinary creations like cranberry cream puffs, fried cranberries on a stick, cranberry corn and more!

Spend the night in the heart of cranberry country at the Three Bears Resort in Warrens, where you can splash and slide at the water park or relax in one of their many different sized rooms, suites and villas. Enjoy a meal in the beautiful dining room of the 1878 Restaurant at the Three Bears Resort. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can enjoy classic Wisconsin appetizers like cheese curds or the gigantic Bearpaw pretzel while enjoying a local or local beer from the Cranbrew Pub adjoining the restaurant. Try the Cranburger for dinner – Topped with Pepper Jack cheese, fried onion straws and their homemade applesauce and cranberries on a warm ciabatta bread.

Travel to Pepin and Stockholm for unforgettable tastes and treats (Pepin County)

Located on the beautiful Pepin Marina along the Mississippi River, Harbor View Café is an iconic gourmet destination that has long set the standard in the Midwest for destination dining. Some of their most famous dishes include halibut with black butter caper sauce or sautéed chicken breasts with roasted garlic chipotle sauce. Drive just 6 miles north along the river to Stockholm and you will find the famous and much loved Stockholm Pie & General Store. Typically, you will find over 20 different varieties of pies, of course all made from scratch and incredibly delicious. USA Today named it one of 18 legendary pie shops in the United States, while River Travel Magazine named Stockholm Pie the best pie on the Mississippi River!

Stay in a charming bed and breakfast near Lake Pepin at the Maiden Rock Inn where ‘sleeping in school is cool’. Formerly the Maiden Rock School in 1906, it has since been renovated to become one of the most unique, artistic and sustainable B & Bs in the Driftless area. All bedrooms have private full bathrooms, 12 ‘high vintage pewter ceilings and distinct personality

Sample Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine at Manitowish Waters at Auberge du Bayou Bleu (Vilas County)

Enjoy an appetizer of alligator bites or seafood okra at this southern flair restaurant that’s been a Manitowish Waters staple for 41 years! Restaurant founder and chef Walter Mazur says the Blue Bayou Inn is “as far north as the south will ever be”. Try the Blackened Catfish Etouffee or the Bayou Kitchen Jambalaya – a mix of rice, spicy chicken, shrimp, sausage and whatever the chef sees fit. Visitors can enjoy a drink to accompany their meal at the Steamboat Lounge Bar, which serves a wide selection of beers, wines, and specialty Louisiana drinks like Mint Julep. Perched directly on Manitowish Lake, the restaurant offers lovely views from inside as well as from the rustic lakeside patio.

If you’re in Manitowish Waters on a Friday morning in September, embark on a cranberry tour and learn about the state’s famous fruits. Tours start at 10am every Friday at the Manitowish Waters Chamber of Commerce and migrate to the Vilas Cranberry Co. where travelers can explore the intricate process of growing and harvesting cranberries!

Stay overnight at the Lodge at Manitowish Waters, a serene and tranquil setting for a weekend getaway. The luxurious rooms reflect the spirit of the Northwoods, furnished in pinewood and decorated with beautiful natural landscapes. Head to the Dixies Coffee House for a morning brew, the spa to relax or enjoy water activities like swimming, fishing and skiing on Rest Lake.

We love to help listeners imagine their next Wisconsin adventure, but please call companies ahead of time to check if their hours or offers have changed and to find out what necessary health precautions are in place.

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Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes

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