Good food and great art are just a short, scenic drive away.
Though Cedarburg owes its name to a stately evergreen, many other types of trees rise above its rolling hills, and every fall they paint the town in shades of red, orange and yellow.
For 36 years, the Cedarburg Artists Guild has been capitalizing on the town’s autumnal appeal by offering an annual studio tour through Ozaukee and Washington counties. Over the course of the tour, which runs Oct. 12-14 this year, 45 artists open up their studios to leaf-peepers and art lovers interested in watching them work. “The colors along the route are usually fantastic,” says Lynn Rix, one of the directors of the tour. “Questions on process, inspiration – the hows and whys of art-making – are encouraged and welcomed by the artists.”
And if you visit on Oct. 13 or 14, you can also get your gemütlichkeit on at the town’s annual Oktoberfest – complete with German food (and, of course, beer), live music, a glockenspiel show, costume contests and a merchant market.
Where to go
W62 N546 Washington Ave.
Part art exhibition, part history museum, the Cultural Center is located right in the heart of historic Cedarburg and serves as a great introduction to the town. Sign up for one of its Gothic History Tours – offered Oct. 19, 20 and 26 – if you’re looking for some spooky fun.
N50 W5050 Portland Road
Colorful quilts, coverlets and skeins of fabric – some dating to the 1700s – hang in this sprawling farmstead museum. You’ll also want to take in its sizable collection of lace, embroidery and vintage clothing.
7481 Highway 60
This popular brewery and tasting room, opened in 2016, is technically located just outside of town, but its 24 tap beers are more than worth the short drive. Its full-bodied Oktoberfest lager makes a great seasonal sipper.
N70 W6340 Bridge Road
People don’t tend to take Wisconsin wine seriously. But that’s a shame, because this family-run winery produces some eminently sippable reds and whites. And its picturesque vineyard, on the site of a restored woolen mill built in 1864, is well worth a tour.
W62 N238 Washington Ave.
This rustic restaurant – situated in a brick and timber farmhouse built in the mid-1800s – claims to serve the best steak in Cedarburg. And its pan-fried walleye fillet, served open-faced on marble rye, is equally worthy of praise.
W62 N580 Washington Ave.
No, it’s not a shop filled with colorful camelids (though that would be pretty great). It’s an eclectic gallery featuring surprisingly affordable artworks – many by Wisconsin-based painters, sculptors, jewelers, glass blowers and more.
One of Wisconsin’s last remaining covered bridges resides in Cedarburg. In 1876, town leaders hauled the lumber – cut down near Baraboo – to Cedar Creek to build the 120-foot-long, 12-foot-wide structure. No one knows for sure why they chose to have it covered, though some think that it might have provided weary travelers protection from rain and storms. Others believe that local farmers feared their oxen would shy away from an open-air bridge.