Gays Mills is renowned for its apple orchards which flourish in the temperate valley of the Kickapoo. When the white and pink blossoms bloom in the spring or the tasty red apples are ready for picking in the fall, visitors flock here for local festivals that celebrate all things apple! Paddlers enjoy canoeing on the meandering Kickapoo River, whose Native Algonquin name means "crooked river."
The Village Greenhouse in Gays Mills, located next to the Kickapoo Exchange Natural Foods Co-Op, creates a neighborhood of natural beauty all year long. The front of the greenhouse provides creative displays throughout the year changing with the seasons. Next door at the Co-op, locally made bins and jars are filled with honey nurtured by the bees from the plants and flowers obtained at the greenhouse.
Don't leave without tasting...
The home grown, homemade granola mixes, honey, syrups, jams and preserved foods. Grab that cup of fresh brewed locally roasted and fair traded coffees. Find fresh organic produce and more offered year round at the Co-op that has been bringing organic and natural foods to the Kickapoo Valley since 1975.
Explore your creative side
If you love the free-spirited, quirky, and cosmic spirit of an artist's community with a little Portlandia style characters mixed in, you will like hanging with the Arts Collective at the fresh, open, light-filled space at the Gays Mills Arts Collective within the Mercantile Center. Located in the "New" Mills area, the artists of the collective use the gallery space to curate and exhibit driftless area artists. They also host classes, workshops and mind, body, and spirit events to help you tap your authentic, genuine, hands-on, handmade creative talent.
Mark these events on your calendar:
An amazing amount of talent is hiding out in the Ocooch Mountains and Kickapoo Valley. Our Annual Folk Festival of Music and Dance over Mother's Day Weekend brings independent artists and internationally renowned musicians to perform and offer workshops in the open spaces and parks along the Kickapoo. If you want more excitement and adventure, look no further than the bull riding, blazing quarter horse, and adorable mutton busting events at the Little Britches Rodeo within walking distance of the Crawford County Fairgrounds.
Top photo opportunity is...
Sunsets from high on the ridge or looking down one of the numerous valleys that are the result of the Kickapoo River watershed and Ocooch Mountains. The Kickapoo River provides a migratory corridor for many birds and wildlife to be captured in unspoiled natural settings.