Goin’ To The Lake: Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad

SPOONER, Wis. (WCCO) — The weather is heating up and many Minnesotans are spending time at their favorite lake this summer.

WCCO hit the road Thursday to show off great spots around Minnesota and western Wisconsin for our Goin’ to the Lake series. We’re starting in Spooner, Wis.

When you’re at the cabin, it’s always good to have a few fun activities away from the water. In the Spooner area, you’ll find a train trip the whole family will remember.

As the train pulls out of the station at the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad, visitors to the Spooner area are taken back in time.

“Everyone loves a train. They love the sound of the whistle, they like the conductor’s voice yelling ‘All Aboard,’ it’s just an exciting time for the kids,” Darcee McCauley with the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad said.

On a perfect summer day, these young vacationers had a front row seat to some of the best views in northwest Wisconsin.

“It is through the woods you see wildlife, you see the V-Z springs in an overlook of the Namekagon River, that you can only get to by the train,” McCauley said.

The Great Northern has been here for 21 years, and now sees around 10,000 guests in a season. Trips include everything from a 45-minute sightseeing excursion, to an overnight bed and breakfast train.

And if you’re looking for fine dining, let Chef Paul Zirkle treat you on the supper trip.

“I have something that I want to create for you that you’re going to enjoy and then I want to interact with you and talk with you,” Zirkle said.

Chef Paul came to Wisconsin a few months ago. He’s passionate about good food and trains. And combining them? Perfect.

“Here it’s a time where you can sit in this car, everything slows down. We’re taking a three-hour trip, we’re going to wait on you hand and foot because we care about you,” Zirkle said. “We have something great to offer you and we want you to enjoy it.”

So whether you have an hour or an evening, time on the tracks is time well spent.

“I would suggest it to anybody in this area to just come give it a ride. Any of the trains, they’re all fun,” McCauley said.

The 45-minute sightseeing excursion is $8 for kids, $12 for adults. It’s a perfect way to break up the day.

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