- Where to Go
- The Best of Milwaukee and Madison
- The Best Wisconsin Weekends
- A Perfect Week in Door County
- Wisconsin for Recreationists
- Rustic Road Tripping
- Made in Milwaukee
- Madison Weekend
- Sports: The Packers and Beyond
- Out on the Town in Milwaukee
- Say Cheese!
- Four Days in the Mad City
- A Wisconsin Family Road Trip
- Wisconsin’s Best Brews
What candy-facade original-13-colony spots such as Williamsburg are to the East Coast, Cedarburg is to Old World Wisconsin. It’s been seemingly preserved in a time vacuum, thanks to local residents who successfully fought off wholesale architectural devastation from an invasion of Milwaukeeans looking for an easy commute.
Cedarburg, about a half hour north of downtown Milwaukee, was originally populated by German (and a few British) immigrants, who hacked a community out of a forest and built numerous mills along Cedar Creek, which bisects the tiny community, including the only worsted wool mill and factory in what was then considered the West.
Those mills, and more than 100 other original Cream City–brick buildings, have been painstakingly restored into the state’s most concentrated stretch of antiques dealers, shops, galleries, bed-and-breakfasts, and proper little restaurants. Stop at the visitors center for an excellent booklet on historic-structure walking tours.
The heart and soul of Cedarburg is Cedar Creek Settlement, an antebellum foundation mill once the village’s center of activity but now a several-blocks-long hodgepodge of shops, restaurants, and galleries. The Cedar Creek Winery (10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.) is also on the premises; tours take in the aging cellars.
West of the main drag (Washington Road), Portland Road features one of the original structures in Cedarburg, the enormous, five-story Cedarburg Mill, now home to yet another antique shop.
Along Riveredge Drive is the Brewery Works (262/377-8230, 1–4 p.m. Wed.–Sun.), a restored 1840s brewery housing the Ozaukee County Art Center.
North of Cedarburg three miles is the last extant covered bridge in the state, dating from 1876; to get there, head to the WI 143/60 junction on Washington Avenue. This is an excellent bike tour!
Southeast of Cedarburg via Hamilton Road is the original settlement of Hamilton, with another picturesque creekside mill.
Cedarburg has a great Performing Arts Center (262/376-6161), with a full slate of visiting artists and performances. Cedarburg Cultural Center (262/375-3676) has regular jazz and folk performances along with art exhibits.
The local visitors center (262/377-9620 or 800/237-2874, www.cedarburg.org) is here; very friendly and useful staffers will point you in the right direction. A small general store museum is also in the complex.
Landmark Tours (P.O. Box 771, Cedarburg, WI 53012, 262/375-1426) leads group tours through Cedarburg and Ozaukee County.
Accommodations and Food
Cedarburg has some gorgeous lodging options; nobody comes here to stay in a motel. The Stagecoach Inn and Weber Haus Annex (W61 N520 Washington Ave., 262/375-0208 or 888/375-0208, www.stagecoach-inn-wi.com, $85–145) is a historic inn and pub on the old Milwaukee–Green Bay stagecoach line. Nine lovely rooms are in the main inn; three are in a restored 1847 frame building across the street where you can stroll in a private garden. Six suites have whirlpools; two have gas fireplaces. Rumors say a benign, black-garbed apparition wafts through the inn.
For food, you can get classic Wisconsin German tavern fare or the casually upscale cuisine found at most gentrified enclaves such as this. It’s a chichi name and menu at Cream and Crepe Café (Cedar Creek Settlement, 262/377-0900, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Tues.–Sat., till 5 p.m. Sun.–Mon., $4–10), but the crepes are delectable, as is the creekside dining area.
Galioto’s Vintage Grille (1221 Wauwatosa Rd., 262/377-8085, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 5–9 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 5–10 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 4–8 p.m. Sun., $7–26) is a smashing new eatery housed in an erstwhile classic Wisconsin country tavern. The superb renovation features original beams and flickering flames in an original fireplace. The well-done dishes focus on creative comfort food—the pork chops are legendary.
© Thomas Huhti from Moon Wisconsin, 5th Edition