WHY WISCONSIN: JANESVILLE
Thirty minutes down the road is Janesville. Home to the Janesville Jets, intense pickle ball competition, the ‘’Celery root of all evil’’ cocktail and the BEST food I’ve ever had in my life.! Yes, you read that correctly, the Wissota Chop House at the Cobblestone Inn still leaves my mouth salivating thinking of the menu that completely blew me away! I had to ask to meet the chef because food like that is way too good to not say thank you directly to the wonderful hands that prepared the meal.
Chef Victor Garcia doesn't miss, and every creation he makes is an instant hit. We tried so many things on the menu and from the non -alcoholic drinks, to the larger than life desserts, to the thick cut applewood smoked bacon and the crispy brussels sprouts. I wish I could teleport to Wisconsin daily just to eat there.
Janesville is definitely for foodies, it shocked us with so many unexpected delights. Draft house not only made me a cheese curd fan, it also made me want to get into interiors because the design was so beautiful. The sugar exchange is a next level candy shop, with so many mouth watering options. Endless fudge flavors , international candy and homemade soda, who would say no? I loved learning about the owner whose a traveler and entrepreneur like me. And let's not forget the wine and chocolate tasting offered at North leaf winery. My dad doesn't drink, but he enjoyed the aroma of wine flavors and thought the pairings were awesome.
Janesville has a variety of outdoor activities for people to participate in. From beautiful hiking trails to summer concerts on the lawn, we enjoyed all of it. Our favorite outdoor activity was the Rotary Botanical Gardens. A true place of peace, it’s beauty was unmatched. While we were there the ‘’ Very Hungry Caterpillar ‘’ exhibit was on display. It took me back to my childhood as that is a must in every child's reading experience. The artistic talent of the Janesville was evident as our tour guide explained each exhibit was carefully crafted by local volunteers. .As a diversity in travel consultant it was important for me to know if it was accessible because this is something that oftentimes gets overlooked. It is, and I’m glad to know there’s equal opportunity for everyone to enjoy. They continued to indulge my inner child and share details about things like, the Christmas decoration process starts in July, the number of lights that are hung in the beautiful gardens for the holiday season, how the local wildlife come and eat some of the plants and how there is a group of male volunteers called the “Grumpys” that make it all possible.
Update December 12, 2021
My dad and I loved Janesville so much, we went back for the Holiday light show, and it was incredible!!!
While in Janesville, I was able to visit different Black owned businesses and speak with multiple Black business owners. I appreciated this inclusion in my itinerary because Black businesses owners in any destination should be heard, and understood. The Black community is so talented and the same can be said of the diversity of businesses that were represented. I respect Janesville for identifying that there was an opportunity to bridge the gap and move forward together. Janesville not only brought in Black business owners but those key players in their community that could additionally help support these business owners.
As true history lovers, my dad and I enjoyed learning about the underground railroad in Janesville and the many abolitionists that used to live there. Both the Lincoln Tallman and the Milton House left us in deep thought and sparked conversation. A window that saved lives, and a hidden room that wasn’t in the floor plan, all served as indicators that the families of both locations cared about abolishing slavery. Both places unique in design and serious about each detail, taught me so many things I never knew, like where the terms ‘’calling cards’’ or or the term ‘’stay woke’’ come from. Each place told a story
of what African Americans went through just to be free. When I think of what it would be like to hide in a river, until you got a signal to come inside, or what it was like to be concealed in a carriage, or crouch through a dark tunnel that leads to a cellar for shelter, reminds me of the resilience of my ancestors. What made it even better was learning all of this took place in Wisconsin. When someone hears Wisconsin words like cheese, the packers and snow come to mind. After reading this I hope the words, freedom and hope also come to mind.