Many know Mineral Point as the place where Cornish miners settled some 200 years ago, building quaint, cream- colored stone homes for their families. But this richly historic town, set in a beautiful corner of Wisconsin’s hilly Driftless Area, is also home to a thriving community of artists and artisans.
Some 20 galleries and specialty shops line Mineral Point’s downtown. You’ll find pottery studios, art galleries, antique shops, spinning studios, fine arts and fine crafts boutiques, and more. Many sites offer lessons, too, sometimes even in the artist’s home studio. You can learn to knit and spin, for example, or practice wheel-throwing and hand-building at a pottery studio. At the Shakerag Alley Center for the Arts, there are opportunities this fall to explore gas forge blacksmithing, home cider fermentation and oil and cold-wax painting.
Also this autumn, Mineral Point is the first stop on the Fall Art Tour, taking place Oct. 14-16. During this three-day art crawl, which features 49 art galleries and studios between Mineral Point and Baraboo, you’ll be able to meet the artists and watch them at work. Head to town for the weekend to explore the city’s 16 participating shops and galleries. But before heading out to check out the other stops in Spring Green, Dodgeville and Baraboo, stroll around Mineral Point’s city center, where every single building is on the National Register of Historic Places. When hunger strikes, duck into one of the town’s 50- year legacy restaurants or pubs.
In the end, the city’s eclectic, magical vibe may lure you into staying put.
Plan your visit at mineralpoint.com.
EXPLORING THE MERRY CHRISTMAS MINE TRAIL
Mineral Point is the home of Pendarvis, one of Wisconsin’s 12 historic sites. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the attraction showcases several of the 19th-century cabins that the town’s Cornish immigrants built when they came to mine lead. But while Pendarvis gets much acclaim, many visitors aren’t aware of the Merry Christmas Mine Hill Trails and Prairie in the back of the property.
WHERE TO STAY
There’s a wealth of diverse lodging in Mineral Point to suit everyone’s taste and budget. You can stay in a historic cottage or home filled with old-world charm, or bunk in a boutique hotel. You can rent an apartment in a former turn-of-the- last-century hotel, or stay in an AirBnB. And, yes, there’s even a modern, spacious motel.