Hey, ladies and gents! I’m finally back from my northwoods vacation. I will say it feels pretty good to be back at home with Michael and the cats, but I’ll also say that I do miss the weirdness of northern Wisconsin already. So with that in mind I thought I’d show you a few of my favorite stops on our day trip to Hayward.
OK, out-of-towners, get ready for a lesson in northern Wisconsin quirk. Hayward is way way up there. It’s the biggest town for miles and therefore the place to be. I’ll be honest, there’s not much to it (the whole town has about 2,000 people after all), but I love it nonetheless. So here’s a rundown of my three favorite locales just in case anyone is looking. 🙂
I’ll start with the stop closest to my heart in the weirdest way: the Moccasin Bar. You can’t miss this place. Besides being right off the main drag, it’s also a glorious eyesore. I mean that with great affection (I have wall-to-wall green shag carpeting after all). The place stands out with its mint green siding and musky sign. If I’m a sucker for anything, it’s a massive pop of color and vintage Wisconsin.
OK, I’m also a sucker for a good old fashioned. The Moccasin bar doesn’t have good old fashioneds, though – they have great ones. I don’t know what the bartender did to my standard brandy sweet, but it was incredible. Heavy on the bitters, this cocktail went down easy – I could have sat there all day.
I’ve got a real soft spot for Ben Franklin stores. For starters, I’m a crafter. Beyond that, though, my first job was at my hometown’s successor to Ben Franklin – Banner Crafts – and because of that, I’ll always love these sorts of local craft stores. Hayward’s compact store is a real treat with a pretty incredible fabric selection. There are aisles jam-packed with some adorable quilting cotton and flannel. It’s no Mood (for you Project Runway fans), but the selection is actually pretty impressive. I grabbed a little tipi fabric because I couldn’t help myself. I’m thinking one day I’ll make it into some pillowcases or maybe a little tote. Who knows – I’m still sitting on a cut of 60s-inspired fabric from my trip last year that I said was going to be a kitchen curtain.
I’m pretty sure I saved the best for last. Tremblay’s Sweet Shop, or as my family calls it: Taffy Town, is the highlight of our trip. My family has been going up north to the Hayward area for 15+ years now, and after all this time Tremblay’s is still a highlight for us all. Every year it’s the same song and dance with us: we file in, my Aunt Mary hands us all a basket, we load up on taffy in every flavor you could ever want (even though my favorites are the ultra-basic chocolate and mint).
But beyond a great selection of taffy, Tremblay’s has gummies galore, kid candy abound and some damn good chocolately treats. This year I grabbed some sea salt caramels and chocolate covered Oreos for me and handful of chocolate-nut combos for Michael. Oh – and peanut butter fudge. I saw a slab of it sitting on the counter by the register and had to ask what it was because OMG it looked incredible. Because the girl at the counter was very kind (or an excellent salesperson) she let me try it, and because I’m a sucker I took home a half pound then and there.
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This mini list doesn’t even cover all the awesome and weird and weirdly awesome things Hayward has to offer, but it’s a little start if you’re bumming around. If you need a few more ideas, I’d recommend West’s Dairy for a scoop of ice cream (they were closed by the time we got there this year – bummer), the Fishing Hall of Fame if you’re into having your picture taking in a giant musky mouth and Outdoor Ventures if you’re in need of outdoorsy things and like having nice people help you.