You might have seen Maple Farmer Ruth on television. Ruth was the featured maple syrup farmer on a "Discover Wisconsin" TV show episode that featured tourist attraction in the Kickapoo River Valley. Tour group leaders may request a free DVD of that TV show from Ruth to use for promotional purposes.
Top photo shows Ruth gathering maple sap from the forest on a nice spring day in preparation for sitting by the fire cooking syrup all day when she would rather have been going for a long motorcycle ride!
Maple Trees & Milwaukee Trains
You may chose a 1 hour tour about Milwaukee Road Trains and/or a 1 hour tour about making maple syrup. Between the 2 tours it works well to schedule a 1 hour lunch at one of the many restaurants located in the area. Schedule time for shopping in the retails stores on Main Street of Westby.
Tour #1 before lunch is the Milwaukee Trains Tour:
You will arrive at the railroad museum (106 East 2nd Street) and park the bus by the garage that is between the museum and the maple syrup factory. The group will gather in a large garage where we will pretend they are a crew of railroad workers on a portion of the Milwaukee Road route that ran through Westby for more than 100 years (1879 â€“ 1981).Two people will be recruited to participate in a simulation of laying railroad tracks and driving spikes.This will be a competition between the two people to see who can drive the spike the fastest which makes it much fun and a great photo opportunity.After this hands-on activity the group will be seated in the museum, a full scale replica of the original Milwaukee Road Train Depot that was built in 1879 and torn down in the 1980s.At one end of the depot/museum sits the original Milwaukee Road Caboose that ran through Westby in the 1950s.A short video that shows how the caboose was brought back to Westby in 2009 will be shown and people may look at historic railroad photos, a 1910 N-Scale model of Westby with 2 competing railroad companies, and displays of the importance of the railroad to agriculture. .The tour will conclude with a walk through the caboose and a group photo in front of the caboose before lunch.
Tour #2 after lunch is the Maple Trees Tour:
The group will gather in the large garage at Logan Mill Lodge just 1 block south of Borgens CafÃ© where you had lunch.This time we will pretend that they are a group of maple syrup farmers and the garage is a maple forest. Two people will be recruited to participate in a simulation of tapping maple trees.This will be a competition between the two people to see who can tap the tree the fastest which makes it much fun and a great photo opportunity. After this hands-on exercise, everyone will enter the conference room of the adjacent Logan Mill Lodge (108 East 2nd Street).As they enter the conference room they will be given a dish of ice cream with maple syrup topping to enjoy eating as they watch a short custom made video of the Ocooch Mountain Acres maple syrup operation, from tapping the trees through boiling the sap into syrup.After the video they will be given the opportunity to buy a small bottle of syrup at wholesale to take home as a souvenir of their tour.They may also walk through the syrup processing and bottling room on their way out to the bus. If your tour schedule allows, you may end your tour by visiting a maple farm in rural Westby.
Other details: The museum and the conference room where the group gathers both seat 50 people, both are handicap accessible, and both have 2 public restrooms.Driver and tour escort not charged tour fee if there are at least 20 people paying the fee of $5/person/tour.Payment may be made upon arrival at the tour site.Reservations required via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.Bus may park by the garage that is the start of both tours.
Other Tours/Activities you may want to consider...
Call Ruth at 608-606-2866 for more details. Ruth can be your event organizer. Ruth is a native of Southwest Wisconsin so is a good resource person to help you plan your itinerary.
- Motorcycle Rides
- Bicycle Trails
- Disc Golf
- Classic Car Cruises
- Trout Fishing
- Round Barn History tour
- Amish Farm Tours
- Canoe & Kayak Tour
- Cemetary/Church tour
- Antique Stores tour
- Historical Sites tour our.