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September 11, 2018
La Crosse, Wisconsin: Family Time

With our son-in-law Daryl at work and our granddaughter Avery in school, our daughter Colleen showed us around her current hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

La Crosse is at the triple confluence of the Mississippi River, the Black River and the La Crosse River. The “lacrosse” sport has the same name origin as the town – French settlers saw the local Native Americans playing a game with sticks and balls. As a lumber town, La Crosse was once the second-largest city in Wisconsin.

The Mississippi River is left. The Black River is center. The La Crosse River is right. (At the far left is the La Crosse Queen, a small dinner-cruise steamboat.)

Once again we lucked out with a warm, sunny day with not a cloud in the sky. At Grandad Bluff, 1,183 feet above sea level and 590 feet above the surround land, we saw a gorgeous panorama of the rivers, marshes, and islands. We could look across at Minnesota and Iowa.

The vista point of Grandad Bluff

The view from the top of the bluff is spectacular

The flag was at half-staff in remembrance of 9/11

We spent most of the day on and around Pearl Street in the historic downtown. We saw the Mississippi riverside, the Riverside International Friendship Gardens, and a couple of museums. Daryl met us for lunch at Dim Sum Tea Shop. (The dim sum was good, but it was some of the slowest dim sum service we have ever seen. We are used to dim sum restaurants where ladies push around carts with the food already on them.) After Avery got out of school, we drove back downtown and toured the Pump House. Avery, who is apparently known by every store owner on Pearl Street, also went shopping at the toy store, the jewelry store and the ice cream parlor. (The ice cream ended up being our dinner.)

The Mississippi riverbank

The Riverside International Friendship Gardens include beautifully landscaped areas for each of La Crosse’s sister cities: Épinal, France; Luoyang, China; Friedberg, Germany; Dubna, Russia, Førde, Norway; and Bantry, Ireland. Here is the garden for China.

Lunch at the Dim Sum Tea Shop

Historic Pearl Street in downtown La Crosse was once the Red Light District

In 2008, the Pump House Regional Arts Center organized a public art project that erected 36 unique heron sculptures all over the city. In honor of the 10th anniversary, many have been brought together on Main Street for the first time. Avery calls them “Mamingos.”

Avery is a very sweet little girl. She talkative, articulate, curious, precocious and very smart. As a Montessori School student, she is already learning multiplication in the first grade. Her mother is teaching her knitting while her father is teaching her power tools. She is involved in everything from dancing to drama to hockey and football. (She is the only girl on her football team.)

And La Crosse is a wonderful little town. It is historic, beautiful, friendly and family oriented. As Colleen says, “Everything in La Crosse is five minutes away.”

La Crosse was originally supposed to be our September 8 cruise destination, but that didn’t happen. Fortunately, we were still able to explore this great town, albeit by car instead of by steamboat or bus. Colleen is a terrific driver and tour guide!

This is where the American Queen would have docked. Sigh…


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