A Trip to Mineral Point, Wisconsin

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On the open road in Wisconsin.

Last Friday, my sisters Kathy and Janet, and I, made a trek to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, for the town’s annual garden walk. We made a long weekend of it, starting off Friday morning. Our main aim was to get to Mineral Point, which is in southwestern Wisconsin, for the walk, but to stop on the way to go antiquing. I have to admit, I can’t imagine a pleasanter way to spend time! On our way to Mineral Point, we stopped in Monroe, Wisconsin, and fell in love with this little town.

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Town square of Monroe, Wisconsin.

We walked around the town square antiquing, and generally taking in the sights.

DSCF5870In one delightful antique store (Swan’s Nest Antiques), we met a sweet dog/assistant named Peyton. He had the most wonderful smile. I was able to take his picture later.

IMG_4647Found these pretty sachets at the Swan’s Nest  . . .

IMG_4650as well as this little bowl. It was called an oyster bowl.

DSCF5873Antiquing is hard work, and we soon found ourselves in a wonderful little chocolate shop called Chocolate Temptations, where they sold hand-dipped chocolates and specialty ice cream sundaes. I had iced cappucino with a swirl of whipped cream on top, and it was delish!

DSCF5866A little more antiquing, and then we stopped at Baumgartner’s Restaurant for sandwiches. This shows the carved mountain goat on their roof! Baumgartner’s also sells a variety of cheeses, and it was that I learned just how wonderful plain old American brick cheese can be.

Reluctantly, we drove on and got to my sister Janet’s farm, where we rested up for the garden walk.

DSCF5878A garden walk in Mineral Point is not for the faint of heart because the town is nestled in hills and valleys, and some of the streets are steep. The town was founded in 1827, and for many years immigrant Cornish miners mined lead and zinc.  I love Mineral Point for its old buildings and nooks and crannies. The gardens were uniformly lovely, full of peonies and roses.

DSCF5879More of the lush peonies.

DSCF5887I loved this garden! There is a real lesson in color here, with the cool teal green of the house contrasting with the warm green foliage. The garden was beautifully laid out.

DSCF5892The stone work showed off the garden beds.

Not all the pretty gardens were on the walk. I loved this simple rectangle packed with perennials.DSCF5893

DSCF5900Couldn’t resist stopping at a local rummage sale, up a hill, of course. Got some wonderful old oval tin picture frames.

DSCF5920There were still irises flowering.

DSCF5903Then, of course, time to have a bite to eat. We stopped at the Red Rooster Cafe on High Street. Janet had rhubarb strawberry pie, Kathy had a soda, and I ordered a scoop of ice cream with a Cornish tea cake (recipe below).

DSCF5912As you can imagine, the time went quickly, and soon it was time to go. One last look.

DSCF5927Here are my sisters. How lucky I am.

IMG_4674A Cornish tea cake turned out to be a delicious scone, tasting of lemon and full of raisins. Perfect food for when you have been toiling up hills. I have come up with a close duplicate of the recipe.

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Cornish Tea Cakes

1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon lemon extract or grated rind of a lemon
sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins.

In a small bowl, mix buttermilk, egg and lemon extract; add to dry ingredients all at once, stirring until moistened.

Have a parchment paper-lined baking sheet ready. Scoop up the dough with a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop (or use a large spoon), and place on sheet at least three inches apart. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown. Makes 8 tea cakes.

Note: I did some research and found that authentic Cornish tea cakes are made with lard, mixed peel, and an assortment of spices. They were probably also cooked on a fireplace griddle. The tea cake I am offering here is is a much lighter, fluffier version, and I think you will enjoy it.

One last picture from the Mineral Point garden walk. Hope you have a nice week. Namaste. Fran

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