Outdoor Adventures By Brian G. Schommer What comes to mind when you hear someone say “walkabout?” If you have an appreciation for classic movies, “Crocodile Dundee” may come to mind. The fact …
By Brian G. Schommer
What comes to mind when you hear someone say “walkabout?” If you have an appreciation for classic movies, “Crocodile Dundee” may come to mind. The fact that the movie came out in 1986 and it is considered a “classic” might make those of us who graduated high school prior to that year feel somewhat old. This 1985 grad sure is feeling it. Walkabout was used to connect the excursions into the bush country of Australia made by an Aborigine to that of the character Mick Dundee’s nomadic excursion into the big city. Another common use of the word is a walking trip or tour. There are some incredible sites to be seen around Dakota, Pierce and Washington Counties if you make the time.
If you like old homes, history, and hills… Prescott and Hastings have all that and more. In Hastings, park your car somewhere downtown and start heading west on 2nd Street. You are surrounded by history galore with numerous buildings that are on the National Registery of Historic Places. If you look up the hill and feel it is just a bit too much, hook a quick left by the Octagon House, which is one of the more unique homes in town and just wander for a couple blocks. Take a left on 4th Street and walkabout the area between East 3rd to East 10th and you will surely get your fill of some cool old architecture. When you are feeling a bit of hunger set in, just turn your body back towards the downtown and before you get to your car, stop at any number of local eateries for some quality nourishment and of course, refreshment.
Prescott has an ample number of older homes with classic designs and some eye-catching properties with amazing curb appeal. If you are not into walking the hills, a car tour works as well. If losing out on the various health benefits provided by walking and of course, getting some Vitamin D from the sun does not bother you, nobody here is going to judge you going the car route. What also makes a walkabout in Prescott appealing is the classic homes and architecture, like Hastings, is not far from the historic downtown district. Also, like Hastings, Prescott has some fine places to stop for a bite to eat and cold beverages. I mean, it is a small town in Wisconsin, so the beverage part should go without saying.
Cottage Grove, in specific, “Old Cottage Grove” also has some beautiful old homes. For those who do not know about Old Cottage Grove, head out to the Washington County Historical Society website. The link to go directly to the Cottage Grove information is wchsmn.org/cottage-grove/ and after you read the history of the community, you will see that there are many opportunities for a walkabout. While the community itself is much more suburban and sprawling than Hastings or Prescott, there are plenty of interesting places to visit. Old Cottage Grove even has their own Facebook page. If you have an explorer’s spirit, this may be one of the better kept secrets out there and if you are not a fan of hills, the terrain is pretty level. Give yourself a good halfhour to an hour and I think you will be happy that you did.
I am writing this column with my friends who go to the gym spending countless hours on the treadmill and going nowhere. The scenery does not change from one minute to the next and they are indoors. There is no comparison to the experience you get when you just go for a walk, outdoors, in an area that you may not be overly familiar with. You will enjoy various sites and sounds that will never be experienced in a gym and can only be experienced in that moment. It also costs nothing to walkabout outdoors unless you conclude your walk at a restaurant in one of the downtown areas. Mother Nature might not always cooperate with our desire to go for a nice walk outdoors and in those cases, the treadmill and gyms are great alternatives. When she does cooperate, the best advice ever given to me was to “go for a walk, it will make you feel better.” Well mom, I am sharing your wisdom with anyone choosing to read this week’s column. I guess I should take my own advice as it has been a while since I have done it myself. Maybe we will even see each other in Prescott, Hastings or even Old Cottage Grove. Let us all Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors.