TaTiana's Road Trips: Fort Atkinson

Fort Atkinson is an hour west of Milwaukee

FORT ATKINSON -- Black Friday is only a few weeks away and some of you may have already finished looking for the perfect gifts. But for those of you still looking for gift ideas, on this week's TaTiana's Road Trips are a few suggestions.

Fort Atkinson, built along the Rock River, is an hour west of Milwaukee. The town is known far and wide for its Fireside Dinner Theater, but there's more to the local shops than just the items in the storefront windows. 

For instance, Rock River Canoe Company allows you to buy or watch owner, Kim Grunow, and 10 novice to expert builders, create canoes, kayaks, boats, or paddle boards. But Grunow said if you're coming to watch, you might get the itch to build one yourself.

"Boat building isn't hard. As I tell people, it's not difficult, it's just different. Some coming from Janesville, and Lake Mills, and Cambridge Area," Grunow said. "Everyone is more than welcome to stop by he continues, just make sure to call first."

Jerry Bailey said his canoe has taken him 12 months to get this far. He's excited to finish it this December. He said it's given him a new found confidence,

"It's been very enjoyable," he said. "Initially I was wondering whether or not it'd really be able to do it. But as you get into it, you find out, it's not all that complicated."

After you find the perfect boat, head down Nasco's two stores. It's actually one giant general store that expanded into two large buildings. 

One store sells various arts and crafts supplies and the other sells practically everything from educational tools to farm equipment.  Nasco Store Manager Mike Matley said Nasco has 23 different catalogs to help visitors choose; as the second largest employer in Fort Atkinson and distributor of more than 85,000 products world wide, there's a good chance Nasco has what you want.   

Matley said the store has been in business for almost 75 years and encourages visitors to come visit, because there's more than just shopping.

"Set up a tour and he have a lot of surprises that we can show you," he said. "At the end of the tour, you get goodies to use in the store."

If you're a true lover of all things dairy, head down the street to the National Dairy Shrine in the Hoard Museum building. It's a free of charge visit for both the shrine and the Hoard Museum. 

The museum's director Merilee Lee says you can thank your cheese curds for former Wisconsin Governor William Hoard. He was one of the seven men responsible for convincing state farmers to switch their focus from Agriculture to Dairy Farming. 

Governor Hoard is from Fort Atkinson and has numerous ties to the dairy industry, so the Dairy Farm pays tribute to him and the large history of dairy facts and artifacts.

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