Friday, July 30, 2010

Fallen off ?

Well - I fell off the blog for a bit - so the last day of vacation - nothing really spectacular -

We headed out early from Mineral Point, going north til we could catch the road east that would take us to "Little Norway' . Mark and I are big fans of the old Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 so this was a must see. Little Norway is a property just SW of Madison (still part of the drift) anyway this area was setttled by Norwegian immigrants. For the exposition (previosuly mentioned) Norway had a rendition of a traditional StaveKirche (church) built in Norway then dis-assembled and shipped to chicago and re-assembled. This was the Norway display at the exposition. After the exposition the Stavekirche was sold at auction to a Norwegian man who had it moved to a vacation property near Geneva WI. This property was later sold to WIlliam Wrigley (gum anyone?) There it stayed until the mid 1930's when Bill decided to sell it to a Norwegian friend of his who once again had it dismantled and moved to the farm (it's present location). The farm had originally been settled by a young couple who lived in a dug-out (literally a small room dug into the wall of a hill) for several years. When their second daughter was born they built a small cabin outside the dugout and had yet another daughter (or was it 2?) anyway - today there are little buildings dating back to the turn of the previous century ringing a lovely green space. So the Stavekirche moved there and the buildings were restored and inhabited by family and used as a summer getaway place for over 70 years. Today the property is still in family hands and is open to the public. It houses the largest collection of Norwegian artifacts held by an individual and is a wonderful example of how the Norwegians settled and lived. You can picnic at the park and there is a small gift shop. Tours are given by local girls in traditional garb and they are very informative - highly recommend.

Well it rained on us while we finished our tour of Little Norway, so by heading south we could drive out of the rain. Several rolling hillsides later we arrived in New Glarus. This town was settled by immigrants from Switzerland. We arrived in time for lunch and queued up at the traditional Swiss New Glarus Hotel for a yummy soup and sandwich combo. But first........ as we pulled into town we espied a resale shop on a major corner and there on the front step was a fine set of kissing dutch children lawn ornaments. Mark has always wanted a set, so after parking and despite my grumbling tummy we went there first and purchased the set. They have their original paint job which includes tulips in assorted colors and were just wonderful. They also weigh a ton being made out of cast concrete, so we had lunch then drove back around the block, and lovingly secured them in several blankets in the trunk. I'll have to post a picture. They are pretty darn cute.

Well that was the end of our sightseeing, we had a deadline to get home so we set off crossing into Illinois near Rockford and then caught the highway (and heavy traffic) back to Roselle. The kissers are in the front of the house under our big spruce tree. Far from the road so they won't go 'missing' and close enough that I can see them and smile every day. Mark wants to now plant and build a whole vignette around them - more on that later!!

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