Fond du Lac is a small town. Its main attraction is the Galloway House and Village and Blakely Museum. Quite the set-up, there are several buildings arranged around a square, depicting life back in the day with more antiquity than you can shake a stick at. The actual house is in impressibly good shape, and I was particularly excited about all the fiber crafts that were on display. The more north you get in the state, the more weaving and spinning and fiber craft activity displays its prominence in the mid-states lifestyle. Breathe deep!!!!
On the short Main Street strip that can be considered downtown, we found The Woolgatherers, which is a weaving, spinning and knitting supply shop. I subscribe to their blog, and was excited about being able to see their brick and mortar operation. What a fountain of information – the owners were very engaged and helpful as we talked about weaving with linen, pros and cons of linen and cotton blends, and on the loom samples of how hemp can blend beautifully. Lots to incorporate into future projects! It’s invaluable to get to see on and off the loom samples of what different materials can produce. And they have beautiful hand made items for sale, as well as an impressive inventory. I see an online order in my future.
We caught a view of the lake and then followed the lake up to Appleton, our stop-over on the way to Hermansville. By this time we were starving, and patronized the Stone Cellar Brewpub (“Home of Stone Arch Brewery”). Fresh Wisconsin cheese on the menu, and that’s not all. I had an Elk pastrami wrap, which was fresh and spicy without being overwhelming. Every bite was a delight. Denny had the Bison Burger with house made potato chips which were another winner. Add it to the list!
Appleton is basically a college town, but on a smaller scale. It’s in an area known as Fox Cities – in deference to the Fox River, which permeates the town. Downtown is dominated by hotels, music stores, eateries and art galleries, and on the edge you can walk on the Lawrence University campus. Trout Museum and Gallery had a Dr. Suess exhibit, which what they called 3D art by the master himself, in addition to lots of original prints and earlier professional work. The big name grab in town is The History Museum at the Castle, which has a floor dedicated to Houdini, the local boy who made good. What really interested me, though, was the Tools of Change Exhibit, which included a wire weaving loom. The Paper industry basically made the area, and for those of us who know little or nothing of paper making, the screens used to process the pulp into sheets was originally made from wire screens that were handwoven on large looms. There are original looms on display! It was pretty exciting, since weaving wire is usually a really specialized focus at various weaving conferences throughout the U.S. Not on the same scale, but it is true that everything old is new again. If you are planning a visit to the area, I would strongly suggest sticking to the hotels in the downtown area. They are new and clean. Enough said.