Eat, drink and be merry—it’s impossible not to have a good time, indoors or in the great outdoors, in Fremont, Wisconsin. Situated along the south shore of Partridge Lake, and with plentiful access points to the Wolf River, Fremont is not just a quintessential summertime destination, but offers the best of Wisconsin life year-round in a quaint village of less than 800 residents.
The area was settled in the late 1800s and became the home of loggers, dairy farmers, cheese makers, and clammers, who supplied shells to two button factories in the area. Elsie Mae Yohr, nonagenarian and longtime Fremont resident, remembers Fremont having three grocery stores, two blacksmith shops, a big lumberyard and the button factories at one time. She recalls a big part of staying in the area was the closeness of the community.
“We got to know our people; we got to know everybody, and it was like a family,” she says.
And now, though it’s become an area booming with tourism options that continue to expand with each season, that tight-knit feeling remains, explains village president Bobbi Marks.
“You can go anywhere and know people,” she adds. “In Fremont, on a Sunday afternoon, if you feel like going downtown, you always know someone.”
Perhaps your interests are in the outdoors and include fishing, waterskiing, golf or a stroll down the river front. Or, maybe your more inclined to spend a long weekend indoors, snuggling into one of the many lodging opportunities to watch the snow fall—followed by a delicious old fashioned and a slice of melt-in-your-mouth prime rib.
No matter your interests, Fremont is more than worthy of exploration.
Six Things to Do Along the Lake & River
To the north of the village of Fremont, Partridge Lake is a 1,185-acre lake and visitors have access to the lake from a public beach and boat landing, as well as the landings along the Wolf River to the south. If waterskiing, wakeboarding or tubing are on your summer agenda, Partridge Lake is a popular destination to satisfy your aquatic recreational interests. Though it’s now mostly enjoyed for recreation, the lake also supports fishing, with largemouth bass and walleye most common, and panfish, smallmouth bass, northern pike and catfish also present. In the wintertime, there’s quality ice fishing to partake in.
Heading south to the Wolf River, it’s estimated thousands of visitors and fishing enthusiasts head to Fremont each May to experience “May Madness,” a term coined by locals. During the spring spawn, white bass are plentiful in Fremont, and it’s known as the “White Bass Capital of the World,” during this springtime assemblage. Information about the spawning schedule, which shifts from year to year, can commonly be found on the local social media pages of area bait shops, like Chico’s Landing, or the local marinas, like Anchor Point Marina.
If you’re in town on a Wednesday or Sunday night, you’ll notice nary a parking spot to be found along the riverfront on Wolf River Drive. That’s because Fremont’s beloved Webfooters Water Ski Show Team performs on the river, with their home base located just across from the village hall along the village’s main thoroughfare. The team, which includes skiers from 3 to 60-plus years old, has been entertaining locals and visitors alike since 1976. Webfooters is a highly decorated team as well, winning regional and national awards like “Best Ballet Line,” as well as top-five team in the United States for several years.
Even if you’re new to water sports, there’s a place for you in Fremont. For more than 20 years, the Gordy Bubolz Wakeboard School has offered wakeboard and wakesurfing coaching and camps for people of all ages and experience levels. Both half day and full day sessions are available on the Wolf River, ideal for this instruction because of its wind protection and the school’s lakefront facility.
If just relaxing in the sun is more your speed, Fremont has a spot for you, too. The Patridge Lake Park beach is located along Wolf River Drive, about a mile west of the downtown area. The large, sandy beach is open to the public, though it’s a swim-at-your-own-risk location. There’s also a pavilion at the park, which is first come, first serve and restrooms are open seasonally.
If you’re hitting the water while you’re in town, there are several options for boat and other water-friendly equipment rentals. Anchor Point Marina, for example, offers pontoons and houseboat rentals. Anchor Point Rentals & Retail, located on the Fremont River Deck, has pontoons, kayaks, standup paddleboards, and nightly boat slips. Located right next door to the Bridge Bar and Grill, Fremont WaterSports Rentals is another option for rentals in the Fremont area, offering pontoon boats and personal watercrafts, wave runners, and jet skis for rent. Meanwhile, Blue Top Resort offers fishing boat, pontoon, kayak and paddle board rentals.
Large Family-Focused Events and Small-Town Monthly Fun
The Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce releases monthly calendars detailing events throughout the area, and is the best bet for a comprehensive look at all there is to enjoy while visiting Fremont, including live music schedules. That said, there are two major events that occur annually and highlight the best in Fremont’s charming small-town offerings: Frolic in Fremont, held to kick off the holiday season, and River Days, held over the 4th of July weekend.
This year Frolic in Fremont is held Saturday, November 25, with the event’s home base at the Fremont River Deck. Typically held to coincide with Small Business Saturday, the event aims to brings the community together to kick off the holiday season with basket raffles, visits by Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Light Up Fremont Parade, live music and the Community Tree Lighting.
Fremont River Days is a weekend-long event held over the weekend leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, with activities held throughout the downtown each day. Live music, food trucks, kids’ games, the town’s cherished Kiddy Parade, and a huge fireworks display are part of the fun each year.
To immerse yourself in all things Fremont and get to know the area better, think like a local: visit Skipper’s Waterside Bar and Grill for monthly bingo games, and The Buss Stop Bar, Skipper’s and Wolf River Lodge’s once-a-month meat raffles. If you’re looking for a unique experience found almost nowhere else, Angler’s Bar and Grill hosts—of all things—lawn mower races throughout the summer.
Dining To-Do List
There are a plethora of bars and grills and restaurants in Fremont, and the area’s most popular sit-down breakfast, according to locals and visitors alike, can be found at The Hotel Fremont.
The enormous menu of offerings features everything from your basic breakfast—two local eggs, hash browns, and a choice of bacon or sausage (add house corned beef or pulled ham for an extra dollar), to a smoke salmon benedict, with brown-sugar cured, house-smoked salmon, poached eggs, spinach, tomato, capers and a dollop of dill hollandaise sauce over a toasted English muffin. There’s even a prime rib omelet for the steak-lovers in your life.
Or maybe treating your sweet tooth to start the day is more your thing—you’re in luck there as well. Whether it’s the house flapjacks or the variety of French toasts, including Boston Crème Pie, caramel apple brioche, or blueberry bread, you’ll be in for a real treat at “The Hotel,” as it’s known to locals.
If you’re in the mood for a quick breakfast sandwich or pastry, a nourishing sandwich for lunch, or a hand-crafted coffee, then the Smokin’ Bean is your go-to spot. The menu offers enticing options from week to week, featuring mouth-watering items like chicken bacon ranch paninis, a dried cranberry or grape chicken salad sandwich on a fresh, flaky croissant, and a sausage, onion, pepper and cheese egg bake. This is all in addition to normal breakfast fare, like cheese, egg, ham and bacon breakfast sandwiches.
Lunch and Dinner Hot Spots
Straight off the boat, you might just be looking for just a light bite. There’s plenty of those to be found along the Wolf River. At the Bridge Bar and Restaurant, the Bridge Bar Twist is a one-and-a-half-pound pretzel served with marinara, nacho cheese and garlic butter sauce, perfect for splitting with your boat mates. You can support local business with your noon nosh by choosing the Bridge Bar’s beer-battered cheese curds, which are made with fresh Union Star Dairy cheese curds, made right in Fremont. They’re dipped in a Leinenkugel’s beer batter and served with garlic aioli.
At The Nauti Turtle, lovers of sushi will be pleasantly surprised to see sashimi tuna on the menu. There’s also a smoked salmon spread for sharing that has won over a legion of fans, as well as tempura shrimp.
Along the river, many establishments offer a wide array of seafood options on Fridays, with additional sea-faring staples throughout the week. This year’s Chamber of Commerce fish fry contest, awarding honors for the best fish fry in Fremont, ended in an initial tie between the Gala Resort and Hahn-A-Lula Resort. The Hahn-A-Lula’s fish fry options include all-you-can-eat perch on Thursdays, and all-you-can-eat pollack with all the fixin’s on Friday, while the fish fry at Gala serves up whitefish, bluegill and perch and all the normal accouterments.
The Bridge Bar & Restaurant serves its popular Leinie’s Friday fish and seafood fry to kick off the weekend, while their main menu offers mahi mahi and salmon sandwiches, and a salmon salad—for those looking for a lighter dinner.
For when mid-week munchies hit, the Gala Resort is a must-stop for half-off homemade pizzas (and $3 old-fashioneds) on Wednesdays. Offerings include the signature Gala Deluxe, made of sausage, onion, green peppers, and mushrooms, the Gala Land N’ Sea with sausage, onion, and shrimp, or try one of the other many specialty pizzas: the Gyro, Rueben, Buffalo Chicken, BBQ Chicken, or Philly Steak. Year-round, visit The Buss Stop for New London-made Jolly Bob’s pizza and a beer. The pizza receives a lot of local fanfare and makes the perfect quick dinner or lunch.
The chicken from The Hotel Fremont is a very popular choice for those wanting to take home buckets of golden, crispy nighttime nourishment, making it the perfect quick pick-me-up after a long day on the water or on the area’s snowmobile and UTV trails. If sitting down is preferred, the hotel has an expansive dinner menu with everything from gourmet pizzas to pasta, fish tacos, and delicious burgers and sandwiches—like the My-Hami Cubano and Ya Mon Salmon.
If you’re looking to make dinner at your cabin or vacation rental, visit Let’s Meat. Opened this past May, it aims to be the neighborhood meat, deli and specialty food market, offering fresh and frozen meats, as well as the side dishes to complete your meal. Rose’s Fresh Veggies will be located on-site throughout the summer months, with fresh produce and canned goods. You’ll also find campfire-ready meals, specialty cheese, beer and wine, ice, fire food, sweet treats and more.
Serving Up Cocktails & Dreams
A party atmosphere can be found any weekend in Fremont, and along the path of town establishments, you may find yourself working up a thirst.
It’s not a Wisconsin weekend if you can’t find a good Bloody Mary or Virgin Mary—and if you’re in Fremont, it’s not hard to find a Bloody Mary of epic proportions. In fact, the Chamber hosts a Bloody Mary contest each year and this year, The Buss Stop—open 365 days a year—was victorious for the second straight year.
The award-winning Bloody Mary is made with the bar’s secret recipe. It’s then topped off with a beef sausage stick, string cheese from the local Union Star Cheese Factory, Brussels sprout, cherry pepper, olive, pickle and their special homemade mushrooms—also a secret recipe!
Down Wolf River Dr. at The Bridge Bar, in the summertime you can put your hand(s) around a 46-ounce Bridge Bowl Fishbowl, with several options to quench your thirst. The Caribbean is made with Blueberry and Raspberry Stoli, Blue Curacao, lemonade and pineapple juice. Or, for a more localized flair, the Wolf River is a concoction of Deep Eddy lemon vodka, Deep Eddy tea vodka, peach schnapps, iced tea and lemonade.
If you’ve made your way north toward The Nauti Turtle, a vacation-esque drink menu awaits you. Sure, you might not be in the Caribbean, but it probably won’t matter if you’re sipping on the Nauti’s Rum Runner, made with top shelf rum, black berry brandy, crème de banana, orange juice, grenadine, pineapple and 151. Or try the Nauti Turtle’s native drink, made with Malibu rum, Midori melon, pineapple, OJ and peach schnapps.
If sitting outside and people watching while having a cocktail is up your alley, you can take a seat at the Fremont River Deck’s tiki bar, known as Bobber’s, during the summer months. While inside there is event space for the community for weddings, parties and the like, outside visitors can enjoy a quick cocktail while absorbing all the sights and sounds of summertime in Fremont. If you do work up an appetite, you can order off menus from many of the surrounding bars and restaurants.
Or drift your way through Sunday along the Wolf River in the summertime and make a stop at Hahn-A-Lula Resort, which offers music and an outdoor bar on Sundays — or head just off the river to Pine Grove, which also offers free music. It’s the perfect way to stave off those Sunday scaries and slip into the new week with a brighter outlook.
A Menu That’s Gone to the Dogs
In a cool twist to its offerings for visitors, The Nauti Turtle offers a separate menu that’s literally gone to the dogs. For our favorite four-legged friends, days relaxing in the sun while motoring down the river — or walking the riverfront — can really work up an appetite.
On tap for Fido or Fifi, “The Nauti,” as locals call it, serves three choices in 8-ounce or 16-ounce portions: the Ocean Reef Turkey and Lentils; the Conch Key Chicken and Brown Rice; and the Bahia Beef and Macaroni. They’re served on the board walk only, per human health code, and each choice is a gourmet event, with deliberate care taken in choosing the ingredients for your pup.
The Conch Key, for example, is made from ground chicken thigh, brown rice, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, chicken liver, spinach, blueberries, and fish oil for the diner’s optimal intake of essential vitamins and minerals.
Stop by to help keep your furry friends nourished while they chase frisbees or swim in the cool waters of the Wolf later in the afternoon.
Camping, Cottages, the Cobblestone … and one of Capone’s Favorite Haunts
Four different options for lodging
The village and surrounding area boast many attractions for vacationers and its lodging accommodations include hotel/motel rooms, cottages and resorts, as well as campgrounds.
Camping is probably the most popular form of lodging in the summertime, with several campgrounds to choose from offering both seasonal and overnight or short-term spots, like Blue Top Resort, Hahn-A-Lula Resort, Fremont RV Campground, Gala Resort and Campground, Wolf River Lodge, Red Banks Resort, and now Angler’s Bar and Grill, which recently opened a 53-site campground.
The Cobblestone Inn and Suites is a more traditional choice for travelers, with a light, free breakfast offered throughout the week. Located in the heart of the action, it’s a great place to lay your head at the end of a long day of snowmobiling, fishing or enjoying the riverfront.
If you’re looking to stay somewhere with a neat glimpse back into the town’s history, The Hotel Fremont offers 11 rooms that sleep two to four people, with three communal bathrooms. There is also overnight boat parking available for guests. Ask to stay in Room 10, which is rumored to have been a favorite of John Dillinger and Al Capone. It’s said they favored that spot in the hotel because it had a view up and down Wolf River Drive, while the river allowed a quick escape if the law was hot on their tail.
There are also cabins for rent, through established businesses like Blue Top Resort, Clemin’s Resort, River’s Edge Resort, and Wolf River Lodge. No matter what your preferences, the Fremont area offers something for every preferred vacation lodging atmosphere.
Unique Opportunities to Stop, Play and Stay a While
There are several unique opportunities for those with a wide variety of interests in Fremont, as well as spacious parks with playgrounds for parents who are ready to let their little ones roam free for a while.
A community gem, the Neuschafer Community Library offers books, DVDs, games, toys, and more. They boast a full calendar of activities, so there is always something to do for visitors of all ages. Located at 317 Wolf River Dr., they’re in the perfect location for a quick stop in while visiting the riverfront or a longer stay for a much-needed mental break from a cabin-full of visitors, or a few hours of quiet respite from rainy weather.
Just across the river and to the east of the library, the Fremont Area Historical Society (FAHS) has its home in the Beaver Dam School. It was chartered in 1998 by 16 area families who all shared a common interest in preserving the local area’s history. Inside you’ll find historical documents and materials from the Village and Town of Fremont and the surrounding communities, perfect for an afternoon or long morning of exploring for history buffs. Be sure to ask if Elsie Mae is volunteering if you visit, as she’s well-known for having the best memory in the village of Fremont at 90-plus years young. A town treasure and a wealth of information, she has extensive knowledge of the area’s infancy and the founding of Fremont, through to modern day and its many changes throughout the years.
If you have little ones and need to let the wild rumpus roar, there are two parks with playgrounds perfect for parents to take a break and kids to run off frenetic energy. Wolf River Crossing Park is located on the south side of Hwy. 110, adjacent to the main boat launch area. In addition to the playground, there are also restrooms open seasonally. On the east side of the river, just south of Riverview Drive, is Riverview Court Park. This park has a large, grassy area and a playground.
Golfers will enjoy an afternoon on the links when they visit Weymont Run Country Club. Established in 1972, the par 36, 9-hole course has bluegrass fairways and bent-grass greens. With a 35.1/125 slope rating, the course is a challenge to the more experienced golfer, but it’s also relaxed enough for the novice golfer. There’s also a practice green to warm up on, and a driving range is available close by.
Diddles Soaps and Gifts, located along Wolf River Drive, offers handmade goat milk soaps made in Fremont in small batches using milk from Lamancha goats. They’re also home to about 30 local crafters, offering a large variety of home décor, metal yard art, and gifts. Anchor Point Rentals & Retail, located inside the River Deck, caters to boaters, campers, shoppers, and outdoor enthusiasts with apparel, accessories, locally made candle and scent lines, décor, candy and more. The Corner Store, located a short drive from Fremont in Zittau, offers an array of unique home decor for all seasons and holidays. From small furnishings, new and old, to pictures and wreaths, you’ll find just about everything in home décor there.
If you’re in the market for a new boat, pontoon, snowmobile or any of the related accessories like water skis and wakeboards, make a stop at Fort Fremont Marine. For new and used watercraft and related accessories for fishing, ice fishing and hunting gear, the fine folks at Mid-State Marine are also a must-visit.
A River Front in Full Swing
Throughout the year, but especially during the summer months, Fremont’s waterfront is buzzing with excitement—and the melodious notes of expansive genres of music. Nearly every establishment along the throughfare and in the extended area has live music on the weekends during the warmer months, and frequently during the fall and winter.
No matter what your taste there’s something to appease the ears of every visitor.
“I love Fremont for the atmosphere,” explains KaLyn Schwartz, Fremont Chamber of Commerce’s director of program services. “There’s always something going on; there’s always live music somewhere, or an event happening.”
For live music schedules, the most comprehensive list can be found on the Chamber’s website and social media, updated frequently throughout the month. Or simply walk along Wolf River Drive and allow your ears to navigate you toward your favorite music. If you’re further out of town, don’t forget to check in with Angler’s Bar and Grill, located to the northeast of Fremont, which is also known to host live music.
As Schwartz explains, “Most of the time on Saturdays, people start with breakfast at The Hotel Fremont. From there everyone opens around the 11 a.m., lunch time — so that’s when it really starts to get busy. Most of the music runs [from] 1 to 4, some [establishments] do 2 to 6 p.m. And you can just hop everywhere. You can have lunch at one place and listen to the band, and then you can move on and have a couple of cocktails somewhere else and listen to a whole other band.
“I don’t know how it all started,” adds Schwartz with a laugh, “but somebody started it, and everyone ran with it and now it’s so popular.”
Gas Up the Vehicle and Head to Fremont
Jean Smith, area resident and a volunteer for the Fremont Area Historical Society, is excited about what she sees for the future of Fremont.
“There seems to be a new energy, I think, in Fremont,” she says. “With the new ownerships of the different businesses that have long-been in Fremont, they’re getting taken over by next generations, who think differently and are energizing Fremont now with great ideas.
“You see the Fremont River Deck that has been created in the last couple of years for entertainment purposes, and you see the Fremont hotel, you see the Bridge Bar and they’re all improving those properties and have new and great ideas to attract more tourists.”
“It’s where I grew up,” KaLyn Schultz adds of Fremont’s draw. “Everyone feels like family.”