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Worth the Drive: Chilton

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Fun on the Farm

Agri-tourists have lots to love in Chilton

077-CHL-Polly's-MazeNo fishing license? No problem. Spend a day reeling in perch and bluegill at Evergreen Valley Fish Farm, no license necessary. The farm, located near Chilton, has three man-made ponds offering fishermen and women of all abilities the chance to catch a fish. Keep the fish you hook for a per pound fee or catch and release. Evergreen Valley Fish Farm is open by reservation only so call ahead to make an appointment.

For visitors looking for produce, each season brings something new to Meuer Farm. In June and July, guests can head out to the fields and pick their own strawberries and peas. The farm’s pick-your-own pumpkin patch is open mid-September through October, as is the epic 10-acre corn maze in two phases. The farm also hosts food and art events, including a summer dinner series that includes a cash bar, four-course dinner prepared by a local restaurant and farm presentation. Check out their website for dates.

Fall is a great time to visit Chilton, particularly Heritage Orchard, open late summer through fall. Located about 10 miles west of Chilton overlooking Lake Winnebago, the orchard offers dozens of apple varieties for picking. Visit the farm market for freshly picked apples, pumpkins, squash, award-winning apple cider and apple cider donuts. Select your treats and head out to Hawthorne Hollow for a picnic.

Don’t let the name fool you – Polly’s Pumpkin Patch offers much more than pumpkins. From pick-your-own strawberries in June to pre-picked blueberries in August, visitors will find the freshest summer berries alongside homegrown vegetables, cheese curds and baked goods in the farm market store. In fall, guests can weave their way through the 15-acre corn maze, test out the 40-foot slide or play a game of pumpkin bowling.

Seven Ways to Play in Chilton

077-CHL-Quinney-Winery1. Go to an outdoor movie.
Take in a double feature under the stars at Chilton Twilight Drive-In Theater. Arrive early to squeeze in a round of mini golf before the show. Open Wednesday through Sunday during the summer.
2. Step back in time.
The Calumet County Historical Society Museum is located in Chilton and has many items from the area’s past on display including antique machinery, old cars, photographs and more. Open Sundays 1–4 p.m., June through September. Free admission.
3. Stroll the riverwalk.
This ¼ mile paved trail hugs the South Branch of the Manitowoc River and provides a rare moment of quiet within an urban setting. The best access to the riverwalk is located at the Chilton Public Library.
4. Taste cheese at Vern’s.
Vern’s Cheese has been a fixture in Chilton since 1964. Their specialty shop has everything you need for a proper picnic, from cured meats and crackers to local wine and beer. Of course, there is plenty of cheese to sample as well.
077-CHL-Farm-produce5. Pick up some local produce.
The Chilton Farmers Market runs Fridays, June 16–October 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chilton Eagles Club. Swing by the freshest seasonal produce and locally made goods, which make perfect souvenirs from your visit.
6. Visit a winery.
Quinney Estate Winery, located west of Chilton near Lake Winnebago, is a family-owned, 5-acre winery and vineyard that produces small batch wines from grapes grown onsite. The winery focuses on three wines per year and the Marquette Reserve has won awards at the San Diego International Sommelier Challenge over the past three consecutive years. The winery is open by appointment only so call ahead to arrange a tour.
7. Enjoy live music.
The Thursday Night Concert Series at Hobart Park runs through August 10. Some locals prefer to watch the music from their vehicles parked on the green space in front of the bandstand. To show the musicians your appreciation after a song, honk your horn and flash your lights.

Bonus Attraction: Rummage Queen
There’s a 24/7 rummage sale located in a storefront on Chilton’s main drag for those midnight shopping cravings. Operated by Rowland’s Calumet Brewing Co. Owner Pat Rowland, the store is rather unassuming from the street. Inside the unmanned store, it looks like a thrift store that runs on the honor system (but there are security cameras, so no funny business). Several dozen local families contribute to the sale with items like clothing, household essentials and decor. Simply document your purchase by placing the item’s tag in a binder and place your money in the locked cash box. You might not find any family heirlooms, but the novelty alone is worth a stop.

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