RICE LAKE, Wis. (WCCO) — Many Minnesotans don’t drive north for their escape to cabin country. Instead, they make a run for the border — the Wisconsin border. Jason DeRusha and Kim Johnson are two hours northeast of the Cities in Rice Lake Wisconsin!
The city of Rice Lake sits on Rice Lake. It’s about 850 acres, and good for just about any water recreation you want to enjoy. The lake is good for panfish, bass, northerns, muskie and walleye fishing.
Anderson Toy Shoppe
If it’s a rainy day or you want something to do when the fish aren’t biting, check out Anderson Toy Shoppe. A guy named Bob Anderson made just about every pedal car you’ll see there. Some he restored, others he built from scratch.
It’s a really impressive display that’s part of the Pioneer Village Museum. Bob said he’s enjoyed finding them and restoring them, and he wants others to enjoy them too.
Pioneer Village Museum
One of the cool things about places like Rice Lake, and a lot of towns we visit, is their pride in their community. One of the ways that shows itself is in appreciation for history. Here in Barron County, that appreciation is especially evident at the Pioneer Village Museum.
“Our mission statement is ‘preserving the history of Barron County,'” said Tammy Schutz of the museum.
Main Street here represents what life was like in the 1880s in Barron County. There’s a church, some log homes, a general store, a post office, a sandstone jail, a barbershop, a dentist’s office, a doctor’s office and a schoolhouse.
Check out the video above to learn more about the area’s history!
Veterans Memorial Park
The Veterans Memorial is really a beautiful tribute to the armed forces. It was dedicated in May 2005. We were told one veteran was especially instrumental in bringing this memorial to life.
Bill Appleyard was in the Navy. He spent a lot of time getting this thing up and running. Bill passed away a few years ago, but the memorial is now in the capable hands of Larry Anders. Stop by if you’re in town. And thanks to the veterans of this area for their service!
Red Barn Theatre
A lot of the smaller communities we visit really embrace the arts, and Rice Lake is no exception. There are three community theaters here. The longest-running is the beautiful red barn theater just outside town.
Inside the Red Barn Theatre, “Wait Until Dark” is being performed by the Hardscrabble Players: A group of regular folks from nearby towns.
“I think our audiences recognize that this is darn good entertainment for northwestern Wisconsin, oftentimes better than what you’re going to see on TV,” Red Barn volunteer and actress Connie Olson said.
A professional actress moved here from Chicago in the 1960s. She missed the theater of the big city, got some locals interested, and bought the barn in 1967. Her vision has allowed amateur actors to shine in the spotlight.
Watch the video above for the full story, and head to the Red Barn Theatre’s website for showtimes and tickets.
The Milk Pail
We had to stop at a place called the Milk Pail today. There’s a lot of history here. Starting in the late 40s, they’d process milk here and deliver it door-to-door. In the ’60s, the ice cream shop opened.
It operated until about a decade ago, then closed. New owners took it over last summer. They have over 25 flavors of Cedar Crest ice cream, so we had to try some. Jason had the “Mackinac Island Fudge.” Kim had a flavor called “The Daily Grind.” As the manager told us, there’s wonderful tradition here that spans generations.
Jet Ski Tour Of Rice Lake
When most of us go to the lake, the first thing we want to do is get out on the water. That’s what we did today when Andrew and Emma showed Jason and Kim Rice Lake on jet skis.
Photo Gallery: See more from their Goin’ to the Lake journey here!
Check out the video to see what they saw and what they learned!