Out & About
Get the Local Scoop on Shopping in Fond du Lac and the Lake Winnebago Region
Retail therapy comes in many different forms for shoppers. For some, it is finding that unique artisan piece of jewelry. Others want to find the perfect outfit for a party. Still others like to shop when away from home and their spending habits become a little freer with vacation funds. For me I like to do all of these!
To get my retail therapy jump-started I head out to explore some rural treasures.
The Little Farmer is home to an 1880 Farmhouse with a coffee shop and gift store. I always bring home a selection of homemade pies, caramel apples and muffins for our family desserts from their famous Apple House and usually find something I need for my kitchen in the home items section. Everyone needs the latest in lemon zesters! I love to explore the upstairs loft of The Craft Barn for Halloween and holiday decorations, along with fishing, sports, and fairy garden-themed gifts.
From there we travel along Highway 151 to LaClare Family Creamery. Newly renovated with a large Mezzanine, we viewed the production of cheese and shopped for products made from goat milk including; their award-winning Evalon goat cheese and ice cream made from goat’s milk. Their café offers soups, salads and sandwiches to order to-go or eat-in. Armstrong Apples, Orchards and Winery offers homemade jams, preserves, fresh cider, honey, and fudge, in addition to apples when in season! Don’t miss the fresh, homemade apple cider donuts – to die for!
The Plaid Squirrel offers quirky to unique pieces from local artists. I like to browse for seasonal treasures. Bikers can always find a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork or sculpture. I love to Christmas shop for handmade mittens and hats.
If there’s time, I head to Ripon to Vines & Rushes Winery for wines using Wisconsin grown grape varieties, artisan Wisconsin cheeses and local craft beers. Or I save that for another day so I can stop at Hounsell’s East Side Country Market to see one of the best selections of farm and construction toys and collectibles in the Midwest plus a compete garden center with treasures for my patio.
Back in the Downtown District of Fond du Lac where I live I enjoy a cluster of dynamic art venues including: Ubuntu Art Space featuring cards and souvenirs from Wisconsin artists; Gallery & Frame Shop for local art, jewelry, photograph and pottery; and Annie’s Fountain City Café for unique local crafts. I often stop for a latte and leave with a unique piece of artwork for our home!
For my wardrobe enhancements I stop at Lillian’s of Fond du Lac featuring dresses, tops, denim, handbags and jewelry. The owner focuses on beautiful fabrics and things that drape well. She makes every woman feel beautiful and fashionable. For stylish business casual wear I stock my work wardrobe with items I find at Main Street Fashion. I like purchasing gently worn clothes, rather than always buying new. The Goldsmith is filled with unique jewelry, watches, and gifts for special occasions, especially for weddings.
One of Fond du Lac’s long-standing signature shopping destinations is Kristmas Kringle Shoppe. This enchanting two-story Bavarian-style chalet features over 70 themed trees, gifts for all seasons, animated figures and imported ornaments. It’s a family tradition of ours to pick out a special ornament each year for our tree.
Not far out into the country I make a special trip (my husband likes to come along for this one) to Ledgerock Distillery specializing in small-batch spirits. We always find unique gifts for the bourbon and whiskey connoisseurs in our lives!
From rural hidden gems to a vibrant downtown district I would encourage residents and visitors to support our local small businesses. These retailers are our neighbors and friends and when you shop local you add to the health and growth of our community – not to mention delighting your loved ones with special handmade gifts selected just for them!
For more information about Fond du Lac and Lake Winnebago region go to www.fdl.com
Fond du Lac Insider
Realtor, First Weber