I've been avoiding it for years.
Tourist trap.
Souvenir shop lined streets and overcrowded fast food joints.

But when we had to take a trip there to pick up a vintage 50's snow cone machine -

I couldn't believe that we didn't visit earlier.

The streets are lined with souvenir shops, yes.
But many of them have been open for over 50 years and a few even have new old stock inside

The main drag is dotted with hotels- but these aren't your motel 6's and holiday inns.

They are amazingly preserved time mid century time capsules.

We hit Paul Bunyon's.
A mini gold course with a totem pole and (my fav) the blackhawk inn (which we discovered started out as one of the first tourist hotels-post WWII a series of railroad shacks were relocated to the main drag to accommodate soldiers.) Once the military was finished with them, they started renting them out for the growing tourist traffic. Over the course of the next 6 decades, 

Anonymous said...

Love the post! Although the romantic side of the Dells has faded to the now out of control tourist traps, there are still glimmers of what once was...the ducks, deer park, lost canyon, Indian trading post and of course the beautiful Wi River. (the sad graveyard of Storybook Gardens is still around) Nature and history might be the forgotten part of the Dells. My family vacationed every year at Old Newport Resort on the Wi River in the lower dells...right along all the natural architecture that made the Dells popular. I believe the the resort's cabins were made for the dam workers...a makeshift town of sorts. This place was the "modest cottages" of the Dells. Every cabin was unique with a communal campfire at night and doughnuts and coffee in the morning. The owner gave the children old dinner bells to ring at each cabin to wake guest up for breakfast. Nothing but river activities of minnow catching, small boats, swimming, and fishing (a ban has since been lifted to let large motor boats on the river) Sadly this place is gone, now a park. Thank god, the condominium plans for the land fell through because of an Indian burial on the site. I would recommend checking out River's Edge resort right next to Old Newport Resort site...part of the old Dells is there - cabins and the River. Take a day trip to Devil's Lake too!

Anonymous said...

I love the dells, miss Fort Dells.

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