For The Ultimate Winter Wonderland, Travel To These 2 Wisconsin Northwoods Towns
Forbes Nov 29, 2019
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Idyllic snowfall blanketing the forest in a crisp sheet of white. Adorable main streets dotted with cozy cafes and restaurants to warm you from the inside out. Thrilling outdoor activities like cross-country skiing and fat tire biking. There’s no doubt about it, escaping to the Wisconsin Northwoods is a winter getaway done right.
Don’t let that Midwest weather frighten you. If you’re going to do a winter vacation, this truly is the place to do it—a place where cold temperatures and plentiful snowfall shape the very day-to-day approach to life. Yes, people will happily sit in a coffee shop and admire the cold months from indoors, but they’re just as likely to head outside and go elk spotting or ice fishing. The residents of the Wisconsin Northwoods embrace the winter chill, and visitors won’t be able to help but join in, too.
The Northwoods encompasses a region in Canada and many states in the US, including Wisconsin as well as Montana, Michigan, and more. For a vacation that incorporates cuisine, relaxation, and winter sports, hone in on the destinations of Hayward and Cable, Wisconsin—towns that complement each other in what they offer, plus they’re a short 25 minute ride from each other. The closest airport is Duluth, Minnesota (DLH), with Minneapolis−Saint Paul, Minnesota (MSP) a little further away. You’ll have about an hour or two of driving depending on where you fly into, making this winter trip ideal for a long weekend or longer.
Nothing beats the charm of downtown Hayward—USA Today even named it one of the Hallmark-worthy small towns to visit during the holidays. You’ll discover local artists selling their goods at Art Beat or Scandinavian gifts and decor at Nordic Northwoods, and for a cup of joe stop in at Hayward Coffee Co. For some unique food-focused souvenirs, peek at the wide selection of Wisconsin-made goods in Hayward Mercantile Company. And if you find yourself needing some last minute winter gear, Outdoor Ventures Hayward has everything you could want, from boots to BUFFs.
Explore The Outdoors
The cold weather in Cable and Hayward opens up all sorts of opportunities to get outside. One of the most unique activities involves hopping on a bike—fat tire bikes have wide tires with less pressure, making it easier to pedal through thick snow. CAMBA Bike Trails offer 50 miles of groomed trails for fat tire biking (you can view all the maps here). For fat tire bike rentals, as well as snowshoes and cross-country skis if you’d prefer something more traditional, head to New Moon Ski + Bike Shop. If you want an organized tour for fat tire biking then book with Up North Guided Tours.
If you find yourself in the area in February, watch (or if you plan enough in advance, take part in) the American Birkebeiner, lovingly called the Birkie. This cross-country ski marathon is the largest in North America, starting in Cable and ending in Hayward, and it takes over the towns. The Museum of the American Birkebeiner is always around, though, in case you visit at a different time.
Wine & Dine
As you’d expect, this Midwestern region has hearty food that will fill you up and keep you toasty even in the coldest of months. You’ll have Dave Anderson to thank for Hayward’s Old Southern BBQ, and his 40+ years of experience in the industry shines in his award-winning sauces—although, whatever you do, don’t miss out on the cornbread muffin tops. The Birches, on the other hand, offers an ideal spot for an upscale dinner. Their pasta dishes are standouts (go for the flavorful yet oh-so-simple butternut squash ravioli) and their craft cocktails innovative.