Winter in Mineral Point

Mineral Point, in southwestern Wisconsin, is one of my favorite towns. A lead mining boom attracted early prospectors. In 1829, the population of Mineral Point was greater than Milwaukee and Chicago combined! In the 1830s, experienced miners from Cornwall arrived and settled in.

I’ve traveled to Mineral Point many times to visit Pendarvis, a state historic site that preserves the homes of several Cornish immigrants. But until recently, I’d never visited in winter.

Mineral Point Pendarvis

Early stone cottages preserved at Pendarvis.

That changed in January of 2013, and again this past January. Thanks to Shake Rag Center For the Arts and the Council for Wisconsin Writers, I was granted a weeklong residency both years. The temps were cold—this year below zero, at times. But I discovered that winter is a great time to visit Mineral Point.  Here are some of the things I enjoyed:

Peace and quiet. The ambiance was perfect for contemplation and writing.

Mineral Point Gundry House

Wonderful restaurants. I spent most afternoons writing at the Gray Dog Deli, which has a great menu, very nice staff, and your choice of tables or comfy sofas.

Mineral Point Gray Dog

This gray dog has watched over the building since 1867.

It’s also my tradition to visit the Red Rooster Cafe whenever I’m in town.

Mineral Point Red Rooster

Mineral Point Red Rooster

The Red Rooster has a long history of serving comfort food and traditional Cornish favorites.

Mineral Point Figgy Hobbin

I recommend the Figgy Hobbin.

Shake Rag Center For the Arts. A sale of hand-crafted Valentines took place while I was there.

Mineral Point Shake Rag

The lively arts center has programs and classes going on year-round. Their workshop listing is diverse. Wouldn’t a class provide a great pick-me-up in the middle of a cold winter?

Yarn Painting 2

A yarn painting class is scheduled for late February. So cheerful!  Shake Rag Center photo.

Architecture. You can’t take a walk in Mineral Point without seeing lots of great old buildings.

Mineral Point Washington

I stayed in this lovely home, 219 Washington.

Mineral Point Gundry House

And I walked by this beauty, Orchard Lawn, every day.

Mineral Point Shake Rag

This cottage and cabin are preserved at Shake Rag Alley.

Art.  The town is a well-known artist’s colony. Yes, some of the shops were closed—but others weren’t. (Another of my traditions is to buy a new pair of earrings whenever I start a new Chloe Ellefson mystery.  Lots and lots to choose from at the Johnston Gallery.)

Mineral Point Johnston Gallery

The Johnston Gallery photo.

The landscape.  Mineral Point is nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of Wisconsin’s Driftless Region. If you like snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, you won’t have to go far. Check out a recent post on High Street Beat blog.

Mineral Point High Street Beat

Taken by my friends Lisa and Don Hay on a recent cross county ski excursion. High Street Beat photo.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend two weeks in this lovely town. Huge thanks to everyone who made it possible.

Interested in a getaway of your own?  You’ll find lots of information here.  Enjoy!

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27 Responses to “Winter in Mineral Point”

  1. Labyrinth-Living Says:

    You pictures make me want to visit there again. I have been there once, two years ago, and I had my dog with me, so couldn’t go inside anywhere. So much history there that I didn’t know before.

  2. richard homan Says:

    Loved your pics. Mineral Point is beautiful in the winter.

  3. Joey Mattson Says:

    I’d say its a great location for an historical novel setting…

  4. imagemaster2010 Says:

    I wrote a couple blogs last year about Mineral Point, I love it there. Thanks for sharing winter there 🙂

  5. Mineral Point- Where Wisconsin Began | Adventures in Travel Says:

    […] Winter in Mineral Point […]

  6. klg Says:

    Thanks for you lovely report! Next time you are in town spring thru fall, stop in and I’ll show you 1828 hand hewn mortise and tenon joinery and pit sawn lumber! (Prairie Oak Artisans, 207 Commerce) Looking forward to the next book!

  7. Evie Robillard Says:

    I think this is my favorite town in the world. So perfect for walking. And best of all, peaceful!

  8. Rosi Says:

    Thanks for the photos and “guided tour.” I’ve never been, but next time we are in the mid-west, we will make it a point to visit. How lovely you have been able to stay there and write.

  9. Terry (T. Evan) Williams Says:

    Great piece, but you left out the best (by far!) restaurant of all–the MP Dining Company down on Commerce St. Maybe you missed it b/c it’s closed in January.
    Terry Williams

    • Kathleen Ernst Says:

      Terry, I haven’t had the pleasure of dining there yet, but it is high on my list because I’ve read and heard such good things. I obviously need to return to Mineral Point soon!

  10. Robin W Jones Says:

    yes this little town is full of LOVE!!! enjoy~

  11. Ruth Nelson-Lau Says:

    We have not visited in winter, we will put it on our to do list.

  12. Lane Hill House Says:

    My dad was born in Mineral Point and have several relatives buried in the cemetery there. I love the Milwaukee brick!
    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  13. Jill Nisbet Says:

    I somehow didn’t see this until tonight. There are so many places to explore on your site! I love the pics especially that stone dog!Beautiful old architecture in that town. Every 0ctober I can’t wait for the next Chloe book. This makes me want it more than ever.

    • Kathleen Ernst Says:

      Jill, I’m glad you found the post! Mineral Point is such a great town. I’ve had a wonderful time spending the last year immersing myself in Pendarvis and MP history!

  14. Chloe Ellefson Comes to Mineral Point | High Street Beat Says:

    […] the historic charm of our town, just as she did when she wrote this blog post about the wonders of Winter in Mineral Point. During that visit, she took this haunting picture of the Gundry House and said “I am so […]

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