Four great places to walk in Walworth County
Spring Home & Outdoors special section
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How to remodel on a budget PAGE 18.
Easy heating and cooling cost saving? Insulate PAGE 20.
Four great Walworth County walking tours PAGE 22.
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Whitewater's Indian Mound Park is one of the area's unique places to take a walk. The 13 mounds date back to 200 A.D. File photo from 2003. Terry Mayer/file photo.
WALWORTH COUNTY — Forget the Wii games, turn off the Xbox 360 and do something really radical this spring.
Take a walk.
Walking gets you moving outdoors again and it’s a virtually free recreation. It also opens your eyes. Sunday drives and bike rides are all well and good, but to get the feel of a place up-close and personal, you’ve got to walk it.
Locally, you can find walks to take in the scenery, discover a neighborhood’s great spots, even learn a little history. Sample some of these:
The Tall Tales Trail marks some of the winning whoppers in the 81-year history of the Burlington Liar’s Club. A story fabricated by two prankster reporters on a slow news day has since grown into a world-famous club and an annual contest that draws hundreds of entries and a lot of interest.
“Gosh, yeah, we get both international and local calls about it,” said Lori Stonestreet, business service administrator at the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, said of the club. “It’s the only one of its kind.”
The trail meanders into the city’s downtown, where walkers can learn about Burlington’s history on 15 notable buildings, each marked by a winning lie on a bronze plaque. The trail map is available at www.burlingtonchamber.org. It can also be picked up at the chamber office, 113 E. Chestnut St., where you can buy a book of the club’s winning lies over the years. This winning lie is by James Wilberg of Franklin in 2006: “There are three kinds of people in the world; those who are good at math and those who are not.”
Elkhorn and Delavan are two cities offering walking tours that highlight historic buildings or notable landmarks. Elkhorn has grown since its first building, a log shanty, was erected in 1837, but the old houses and churches surrounding the city’s business district still survive and are part of the tour.
A park and 19 buildings, some on the National Register of Historic Places, are featured, including an antebellum octagon house and a museum honoring a prolific nineteenth-century composer who wrote more than 1,000 songs. Guide brochures can be picked up at the Elkhorn Chamber of Commerce, 203 E. Walworth St.
A variety of architectural styles can be found in Delavan, as well. Check out the elaborately restored Allyn Mansion, a former Victorian bed & breakfast, and walk the stretch of town featuring Greek Revival row houses built between 1841 and 1845.
Pick up a guide at the Delavan Chamber of Commerce, housed in the city’s oldest brick building at 52 E. Walworth Ave.
Ask for the history package and get additional information on the city’s circus background. The big top and tents of circuses that once wintered here have disappeared, but traces remain. Members of the circus colony are buried in two local cemeteries and the fiberglass statues of an elephant, clown and giraffe decorate downtown’s main streets.
Parts of Geneva Lake’s Shore Path originated as a trail Native Americans once used to travel between villages. Today, the 20.6-mile path encircling the lake is accessible to the public and can be reached from local parks along the lakeshore.
The path can be traversed in its entirety in one day or broken into separate, shorter walks. All along the way are native plants and wildlife, scenic lake views and splendiferous mansions, some new and some the former historic homes of wealthy Chicago families with names like Wrigley, Maytag and Schwinn.
Chris Hawver, who, with Pat Groh, wrote “Walk, Talk and Gawk,” a guidebook of the Geneva Lake Shore Path, said some of her favorite spots on the tour include Black Pointe and the “Gold Coast” stretch of mansions along the lake.
“The amazing thing about the path is that it’s an incredible resource to the public — it’s not just wealthy people with homes along the shore who have these gorgeous lake views, but everyone can see it,” she said.
Hawver and Groh’s book can be purchased online at www.walktalkgawk.com or at a number of businesses around Lake Geneva.
Take in ancient wonders
Whitewater’s Indian Mounds Park marks a prehistoric Native American ceremonial and burial site, dating back to between 200 and 1,000 A.D. Visitors can see 13 effigy mounds with animal and geometric shapes, all contained in 1.5-acres at the intersection of Indian Mounds Parkway and Wildwood Road on the city’s west side.
“It’s a short walk,” said Mariann Scott, chairman of the Whitewater Landmarks Committee, “but it’s also a nice place to take a walk. The mounds are very special.”
The committee caring for the park is phasing out paper flyers that tend to litter the trail, but walkers don’t need them since signs along the path give historical information about the mounds.
Read the full story in the 2010 Spring Home and Outdoors Special Section HERE.