Holiday activities

Favorite winter holiday activities around Dodgeville, Wisconsin

The holiday season is celebrated from sea to shining sea, yet each little corner of America has traditions and pastimes that are uniquely its own. Dodgeville, Wisconsin—which Lands' End is proud to call home—is no exception. We'd like to share just a few of the things that make the holidays here so special.

Call us romantics, but we still have a soft spot for the fresh pine smell of a live Christmas tree, and we're willing to take it needles and all. There may be no better place to secure a Christmas tree in the Badger State than at Cooks' Woods off of Ebenezer Road in Fennimore. For a true Wisconsin experience, pick a promising specimen among their field of 7- to 10-year-old trees and cut it yourself. You can pick out the helpers – they're the ones in the red down vests. But if you know your way better around a keyboard than a log saw, don't be afraid to select one of the pre-cut trees from the barn.

We're never too old to go back to school—so long as the occasion is sledding. Dodgeville High School happens to host "Killer Hill," so named for the rather ambitious slope that attracts sledders young and old. Bring your own sled, get your start in the parking lot, and hold on tight. Don't forget to wear your snow pants and winter parka. The warmth is great, but the extra padding is necessary.

A little over four miles from Dodgeville is Governor Dodge State Park. You won't come across many hikers or campers among its 5,270-acre expanse in mid-winter, but you will find a couple of hardy old-timers trying their luck ice fishing at Cox Valley Lake or Twin Valley Lake wearing nothing more than a flannel shirt over a long underwear shirt and a pair of jeans. They claim their toasty hat is the ticket to keeping them warm. Even if you don't pick up a rod yourself, you're bound to absorb some tall tales and old-fashioned grit.

Cheer is fine and dandy, but we shouldn't forget that goodwill ranks among the essential holiday virtues. Express a little bit of that yourself by making time to attend a holiday junior string recital at any of the local schools. Chances are that you won't catch the most expertly played rendition of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," but the smiles those future violin virtuosos will flash as they're being noticed will be worth it. And any chance to wear your new velvet tunic or sleek velvet dress and leather boots is a good day.

Gift giving can feel like a chore, but even the most jaded holiday shopper's heart will be warmed by candlelight shopping at Mineral Point. From December 1st to December 7th the historic town fills its streets with candles, carolers and chestnut-roasters. It's like receiving a little gift yourself. Just snuggle in to your long down coat. If you're lucky, a soft snowfall will add to the magic.

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