Plan your divine journey to Wisconsin with an enriching itinerary that includes religious landmarks, historic sites, hikes along picturesque trails and tucked-away B&Bs. This experience will feed your soul, relax your mind and lift your spirit.
Day 1: Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest city, is located on the shores of Lake Michigan and is replete with diverse and awe-inspiring sacred sights. Begin your trip at the Basilica of St. Josaphat, a Franciscan center for prayer, spirituality, inspiration and beauty built in 1888 by Polish immigrants. Walking tours – both self-guided and guided – and concerts are offered at the historic church.
Next, experience the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa. The recognizable Greek church features a dome and a stunning bright blue roof. This church was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s last major commissions, and is a must-see for spiritual travelers.
For dinner, enjoy fine cuisine and a stunning view at Lake Park Bistro. The French restaurant sits on a natural bluff overlooking Lake Michigan and is surrounded by the lush greens of the Lake Park Golf Course. Rest your head at the County Clare Irish Inn & Pub, a lovely retreat from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Day 2: Milwaukee, Hubertus and West Bend
Greet the day and visit the iconic Milwaukee Art Museum. The gorgeous museum designed by Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava sits on Milwaukee’s lakefront and is known for its large moveable wings, an architectural structure that opens to a wingspan of 217 feet. Watch the wings unfold for a breathtaking experience.
Just 30 miles outside of Milwaukee, Holy Hill in Hubertus is a religious shrine that sits high atop a hill offering panoramic views of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The combination of nature and spirit offers visitors a peaceful environment.
If your visit is during Wisconsin’s beautiful fall color season, the Kettle Moraine State Forest is an unbeatable spot to witness the breathtaking reds, yellows and oranges that make Wisconsin one of the top spots for fall color in the nation. Step into the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, or climb up the scenic tower. Both views guarantee tranquility of mind and spirit.
For dinner head a little north to MJ Stevens Pub N’ Restaurant in Hartford for a delicious Wisconsin fish fry. Rest your head at the Hidden Serenity B&B, in West Bend. Nestled in the Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary, this intimate four-bedroom hideaway offers the perfect amount of luxury and comfort.
Milwaukee to Hubertus: 30 miles (48 km)
Hubertus to West Bend: 15 miles (25 km)
Day 3: New Franken and Green Bay
Enjoy the Wisconsin scenery with a lake-side drive along Lake Michigan as you drive 90 miles north to the rural town of New Franken. Located 15 miles northeast of Green Bay, prepare for an awe-inspiring moment when you visit the 150-year-old Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. The site is home to three official apparitions of the Virgin Mary and is the first Vatican recognized apparition in the United States. Tens of thousands of visitors make the trip each year to partake in the incredible spiritual experience. Embark on a tour at your own leisure, or attend Mass, which is offered daily. Before embarking on your next adventure, check out the on-site café and grab a bite to eat.
Head to Green Bay and visit Lambeau Field, often referred to as the Mecca for football fans. Experience a behind-the-scenes look at the rich history of the Green Bay Packers.
Keep the sports-lovers mentality alive and enjoy hand-crafted ales, old-fashioned Root Beer and more at the iconic Titletown Brewing Company. Settle in to one of the homey “guest rooms” at St. Brendan’s Inn, right down the road. It’s the perfect location to reflect and rejuvenate after a long day of sight-seeing.
West Bend to New Franken: 95 miles (153 km)
New Franken to Green Bay: 15 miles (25 km)
Day 4: Stevens Point, Rudolph and Wisconsin Rapids
Rise and shine! Head west approximately 70 miles toward SentryWorld golf course in Stevens Point for an unexpected marvel. Located on the 16th hole of the newly-renovated golf course, the flower hole draws golfers and non-golfers alike to see the vibrant pink and purple flowers that line the hole. Come during nonpeak hours to witness the amazing display of color that makes this golf course a true reflection of nature.
Next visit the Rudolph Grotto Gardens, where you can stroll through five acres of beautiful gardens, following a path outlined by shrines depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross and Seven Sorrows of Mary. The walk continues through the Wonder Cave, featuring 26 shrines and a design based on the Catacombs of Rome.
For another stop, consider the Marian Center for Peace in Wisconsin Rapids to view an authorized relic of the Lady of Guadalupe that extends the graces of evangelization and furthers conversation about faith.
For dinner, partake in a true Wisconsin tradition, the supper club, by dining at the Sky Club in Plover. Check in at A Victorian Swan on Water, a secluded B&B in Stevens Point perfect for reflecting on your travels.
Green Bay to Stevens Point: 100 miles (160 km)
Stevens Point to Rudolph: 15 miles (25 km)
Rudolph to Wisconsin Rapids: 10 miles (16 km)
Day 5: La Crosse
On your way to La Crosse, stop at the Wegner Grotto in Cataract. This display of obscure art features sculptures made entirely of cement and broken glass. The main attraction, the Glass Church, is a tiny chapel adorned with mosaics from various churches. Despite its tiny size and unique look, the Glass Church has been used for real religious services. Here you can pay your respects to art and spirit.
Once in La Crosse, visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, this shrine offers spiritual renewal in a peaceful and serene setting. Enjoy your evening in this riverfront city by capturing views of the Mississippi River, a mighty force of nature with deep spiritual roots. When it was discovered in 1541, the Spanish explorers were so amazed by the river’s strength and beauty they called it the “River of the Holy Spirit.” Paired against the striking natural bluffs, the landscape is so serene it’s easy for travelers to feel a deep connection to nature. Take a seat along the river walk, you may even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle. The beautiful birds often swoop down to the river for fish, which presents a unique chance to spot the majestic bird up close.
For dinner, board the La Crosse Queen, an authentic paddle-wheeler riverboat. Accommodations for the evening can be found at Wilson Schoolhouse Inn, a restored 1917 school that sleeps up to six adults.
Wisconsin Rapids to La Crosse: 100 miles (160 km)
Day 6: Dickeyville, Sinsinawa and Madison
Follow the Great River Road south to the small town of Dickeyville for breathtaking views of the majestic Mississippi River. Once you’ve arrived, visit the Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines. The shrines are covered in shells, stones, tiles, wood, glass gems and geodes donated by area parishioners. The materials are from all over the world, making this stop a perfect place to appreciate art and faith. The Dickeyville Grotto actually served as the inspiration for the Wegner Grotto in Cataract.
Visit the nearby Sinsinawa Mound Center in Sinsinawa, located on 450 acres of lush woodlands, orchards and vineyards, offering an ideal atmosphere for personal reflection. The Sinsinawa Mound Center is a retreat center and offers natural space for renewal and rejuvenation. Tours are available of the Venerable Father Samuel Mazzuchelli exhibit, which pays respect to the founder of the order, and the “Telling Our Story” exhibit, which shares the story of the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters heritage. Do not leave without ordering delicious cinnamon bread from the famous bakery (it’s almost a religious experience itself).
Head northeast to Madison for dinner at Porta Bella Restaurant. Located in the heart of the University of Wisconsin Madison campus. Established in 1968, Porta Bella is known for its pasta, homemade Italian dinners, pizzas, steaks and seafood. Stay at the Parsonage Bed & Breakfast, built in 1900 for the pastor of a local Lutheran church.
La Crosse to Dickeyville: 105 miles (169 km)
Dickeyville to Sinsinawa: 10 miles (16 km)
Sinsinawa to Madison: 90 miles (145 km)
Day 7: Madison
Your first stop of the day is at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, set on 138 acres of untouched land. Embark on a group tour to learn about how the Monastery is leading the nation in green efforts. Hear how the Monastery was built entirely of local products, witness the solar panels and learn about the Monastery’s environmental efforts. You can also tour Wisdom Prairie, one of the many prairie trails located on the grounds. Or enjoy the gardens, orchards and lake on your walk.
Next, visit Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, where you can take in the peace and serenity of two temples. A Monk can escort you to the New Temple and Old Temple to learn about Buddhist teachings and reaching enlightenment.
Be sure to also head to the Unitarian Meeting House in Madison designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1946. It’s recognized as one of the most innovative examples of church design in the world. It’s also named to the National List of Historic Places. Then slow your pace at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens and be inspired by the 16 acres of outdoor gardens, including a sunken garden with an 80-foot reflecting pool.
After relaxing in nature, head back to the city and explore Madison’s sights of the resplendent State Capitol during dinner at Harvest Restaurant, located on the Capitol Square. Then return to the Parsonage Bed & Breakfast for your last night.
Don't let the journey stop there! There's so much more to feed the soul and enrich your life here.