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Worth the Drive: Ripon

Recreation

Five Ways to Play in Ripon 

1. Take a historic walking tour.

Experience Ripon’s unique array of architectural styles, from Watson Street’s 19th century business district to the residential area south of downtown which boasts fully-restored Victorian Painted Ladies. Learn about the city’s history as “The Birthplace of the Republican Party” while walking or driving these tours. Brochures and maps available at the Ripon Chamber office or the Little White Schoolhouse Museum.

2. Watch a movie at the first Marcus Campus Cinema. 

Take in a film at the first Marcus Cinema founded in 1935. The theater is located in Ripon’s historic downtown and is the only Marcus Theatre to maintain just one charming screen. First run movies are all just about $5, making it the most affordable theater in the state. 

3. Pet a baby clydesdale at Larson’s Famous Clydesdales.

One of the country’s only places to see more than a dozen clydesdales up close, Larson’s Famous Clydesdales is a family-friendly destination that offers a 90-minute guided tour and grandstand show complete with plenty of photo opportunities, a museum and clydesdale gift shop. Visitors can also pet a rare baby clydesdale. Tours offered Monday through Saturday, mid-May through mid-October. 

4. Go strawberry picking at Prellwitz Produce.

Spend the day in 16 acres of strawberry fields at Prellwitz Produce. Visitors can expect to find favorite strawberry varieties such as Jewel, Honeoye and Cavendish as well as new varieties that are planted each year. Strawberry season typically begins in mid-June and extends to early-July. Visit prellwitzproduce.com/berry-watch or call 748-3005 before heading out to the farm for the latest report. 

5. Experience the arts at Ripon College 

Ripon College offers multiple ways for students, faculty, community members and visitors to experience the arts. Demmer Recital Hall presents musical performances by college vocal and instrumental performance groups as well as guest artists. Benstead Theatre, located in the C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts, presents theatrical productions in its innovative flexible-space “black-box.” Tickets to all theatre performances are free. The Caestecker Art Gallery features shows by artists with national and international reputations. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Friday, 1–5 p.m. & 7–9 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 2–6 p.m. and during evening performances.

Hit the Trails

Hikers of all ages will enjoy the rustic walks abundant in Ripon

South Woods is a popular nature area featuring several paths winding through a variety of natural habitats. The nearby Annie Starr Woods, open to the public, was created by glaciers and is an excellent place to escape the city noise. Ideal for walking and biking, the 2.5-mile Northwestern Trail begins at the Ripon Public Library and offers visitors great wildlife viewing possibilities. You may encounter deer, woodchucks and even the occasional fox. Mascoutin Valley State Trail runs 12 miles between Berlin and Ripon, beginning on Locust Road, and is perfect for hikers, bikers and equestrians alike. Stop by Vines & Rushes Winery located on the trail for a glass of their Mascoutin wine. The grapes used to make the wine are visible on the trail. 

Selfie Spot: Little White Schoolhouse

Whatever your political leanings, the Birthplace of the Republican Party National Historic Site – known as the Little White Schoolhouse – has earned the designation of the “most selfied” location in Ripon. Make sure to partake in the tradition while you’re in town.

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Worth the Drive

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