After a few difficult weeks filled with rejection, loneliness and depression I packed a bag and traveled to Viroqua, Wis. for a few days of rejuvenation and quality time with family. For anyone unfamiliar with Viroqua, it’s a little town located in a part of Wisconsin called the Driftless region. This area was left untouched by the last ice age; no glaciers mutilated the land here, and it possesses a sort of mystical quality.

Since I was little I’ve felt Viroqua was a special place, and apparently I’m not the only one. As my uncle would say in his thick Filipino accent: “All da ippies come heer.”

I think to whom he was referring to are the environmentalists and organic farmers, but the area is also filled to the brim with artists, writers and thinkers. Tom Dury’s 2006 novel, The Driftless Area as well as Lawrence Santoro’s 2007 novel, Just North of Nowhere are both set in the Driftless region. And nationally acclaimed author David Rhodes based his 2008 book Driftless on the fictional town of Words, Wisconsin in the Driftless Area (my book of choice for my time away).

One myth I’ve heard is that the town itself is built on top of a cave where the universe was born. In all honesty, this is unlikely, but I swear everyone I meet has at least heard of Viroqua, been to Viroqua, or was BORN in Viroqua (if so, my uncle would have been your doc). I joke that it really is the center of the universe, so maybe that makes it true—for me.

So, at the center of the universe, I decompressed. I napped outside in the sun, read a book, and spent time with my family and several new found friends. My mother and I walked through the park, and even participated in a group psychic reading (Ryan Braun, if you’re out there, apparently we are meant to be together).

It was good to be AWAY from the stress of being jobless and just live in the moment. Viroqua is great for being in the present and for healing emotional wounds, and I highly recommend a visit if you are in need of just that.

There is great shopping at the Viroqua public market, where you can find handmade soap, antiques, used books and great food at Café Oz. Every Saturday morning in the summer there is a local farmers market filled with beautiful fresh produce, organically grown food, Amish crafts and natural honey. I purchased a vibrant purple eggplant (which I used to make an olive and eggplant pizza later that night) and some delicious sweet honey.

In the evenings there is often a concert, poetry reading or guest author hosted at Greenman Music. Check the calendar of events here: calendar.

In the fall there is the apple festival in Gays Mills, AND the Driftless region is the largest wine region in the United States (take that Napa).

My point: this region of our state is worth visiting, and I left there feeling, as I always do, better.

Mystic Place

Mystic Place


About jewliweb

I used to be an interior designer, now I'm in marketing. But I have always been jewliweb.

4 responses »

  1. Melissa says:

    Viroqua is a great town! I grew up NW of there and have been through many times. Glad that it was rejuvenating for you!

  2. Gigi Macasaet says:

    Mystic Place that is so pretty and it is right outside my door;you made it look mystic you could make it sound mystic and you could make it be mystic with the words you use…get started! as your grandma and I always used to say”A writer writes”
    You can write girl! So write already. It starts with a perfect frist sentence…

  3. Kelly Ugrich says:

    I really WAS born in Viroqua. I swear! I’ll have to check my birth certificate to see who was the doctor, though!

    Great place with great people. I always feel better (and more like myself, strangely enough)after a visit, too. Maybe I need to go again soon!

  4. Beth says:

    Viroqua Sucks!
    I’ve lived here 6 weeks now and can’t find a single intellectual (excepting those I work with).
    Toothless Hicks with a severe lack of interest in education. I came here hoping for the best; found the worst. The only ‘mythology’ in this town is of those ‘creatures’ who apparently live and roam here and yet are highly elusive. I have yet to come across a single one.
    I will, however reluctantly, give this town the benefit of the doubt here in saying that perhaps there truly ARE intellectuals here. But, if so, they must congregate in circles which are closed off to newcomers. I have no way to meet them, if it is the case that they do exist; nor have I brushed upon a viable opportunity to do so.
    Luckily, this place IS improving; but that is only due to an influx of Chicagoans migrating NW to the area. And still, that is only for economic purposes.
    Viroqua has great land for growing organics and a small population (outside of the Amish) who capitalize upon it (for now – yr. 2010). Skip it unless you can afford to spend the majority of your time elsewhere amongst better educated people; OR, if you have an ‘in’ to the supposed subculture that lays in wait for you.

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