ADVENTURE OF THE WEEK!
Waunakee is a small-town suburb of Madison, located directly north above the lakes as the crow flies. We were heading up to the Lake Wisconsin area near Merrimac for a hike later that day. There are a couple ways to get there and we took the route through Waunakee. We went a bit ahead of the family so we could do some solo-shopping and dining before we met up with everyone else. There is a new initiative called “GOAT Waunakee” (Get Out and Try Waunakee) to help support the local businesses and services in town. Always wanting to do our part to support and share small businesses in the surrounding Madison area, seemed like a great place for us to spend the morning.
First stop was coffee and breakfast sandwiches at M-N-M Coffee House. Most of the shops are located within a couple of blocks on Main Street, so parking was easy. It’s not a big downtown but still has some good shops.
- Kee-Kee Boutique – women’s apparel and accessories
- Waunakee Furniture – local furniture shop and home decor
- Wisconsin Candle Company – candle shop with hand-poured soy candles
- Simply Unique – gifts, clothing and home decor shop from local designers
- Red Barn Company Store – modern farmhouse home decor and jewelry
- Lake Life Candle – another local candle shop that used to be located downtown but recently moved to a farm outside of Waunakee
- Ciao Bella Boutique – women’s clothing and more
Other storefronts along the downtown strip include:
- Fred’s Village Market – family owned and operated meat market and butcher shop
- Gather Guest House and Creative Studio – crafting retreat house for rent
- WanaBike Shop – local bike and bike accessory shop
- Mill House Quilts – quilting and sewing shop
- Ooh La La – resale boutique and consignment shop
- Sweet Pea Floral – flower and gift shop
Eat and drink:
Next up, we stopped by the the Lone Girl Brewing Company for a drink on their outdoor rooftop patio. We’ve been here before for dinner and love the atmosphere of the rooftop (string lights!!).
Another fun spot is Red & White Winebar a couple blocks down the street. It’s a relatively new bar featuring a self-serve wine machine and a nice patio overlooking Main Street.
Located outside of downtown Waunakee is a pretty winery with gorgeous views, called Drumlin Ridge Winery. We have been here several times and have always had a great experience with the service, wine, and snacks!
Waunakee also has some good parks and outdoor activities. Most of the neighborhoods have their own parks – the Kilkenny Farms park is a favorite of our kids. Just outside of Waunakee, in the village of Westport heading toward Middleton, is another fun park called the Harvey John and Lucille Taylor Memorial Park.
Governor Nelson State Park is also nearby on Lake Mendota’s shore. There is a boat launch for boating, kayaking and canoeing, as well as a small swimming beach area and playground. There are many hiking trails within the park that are also used in winter for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Castle Creek Conservancy is located in town and has some nice walking paths through forest and grassy areas, leading to a small pond among the wetlands.
On the edge of Waunakee, as you head east out of town, is Schumacher Farm Park. It’s an old farmstead that was gifted to Dane County Parks Commission. Now used for workshops and public events, there are also walking trails and flower gardens for public use.
Waunakee is a great location – just outside of Madison and a good pitstop for shopping and dining as you head further north to towns like the Wisconsin Dells or Baraboo. In our case, we were heading to the Lodi-Merrimac area to hike on the Ice Age Trail — more to come about this awesome hike!