Thanks so the unseasonably warm weather, cheap gas prices and many schools starting winter break on Monday, now could be the perfect time to take a road trip! Janesville, Wisconsin is only 76 miles southwest of Milwaukee and boasts a rich history and a flare for fashion and food.
Although the lack of snow isn't helping raise your holiday spirits, Janesville still boasts its title as a holiday hub with several shops that'll put you into the season mood. One of the more eccentric stops is Raven's Wish Art Studio and Gallery, run by Alicia Reid, in downtown Janesville.
The studio is known for it's creative and original artwork from 100 local national and local artists. Alicia says you can come in here and find almost anything for anyone, and she guarantees it won't even break the gift budget.
Loyal customer Karen Molay has been coming to Raven's Wish for years for two big reasons. One: she's been Alicia's accountant almost the entire time the studio's been in operation. Two: she loves supporting local businesses that have great items.
"The variety that you find here and the price marks that you can find all in one store," Molay said.
She also said that you just can't beat it. Raven's Wish doesn't just have paintings, there are glassware, clothes, and tons more.
Afterward, head to Lucy's Look Lake, grab a bite and possibly a free drink with the roll of the dice. Lucy's Loon Lake has two locations in Janesville, owner Lucy Newell-Anderson says her cafes are all about making you feel good and putting money back into the town.
The cafes offers vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free meals made with locally grown, fresh ingredients.
"Although we have a niche market...We have a great staff that puts recipes together so that it doesn't taste like it's gluten free, " Newell-Anderson says.
Taste testing is highly encouraged.
Walk off your healthy meal on one of several different tours at the Rock County Historical Society Museums, admission for adults starts at $8 and $4 for children. During the tour of the Lincoln-Tallman Mansion, you can learn about our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln's first visit to the house, as a Senator.
Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Megan Walker says Lincoln was both impressed and embarrassed by the grandeur of the house, which could explain how he ended up staying one night instead of two.
She says Lincoln put his boots outside his room for the servants to polish, but after they were cleaned, his boots were accidentally placed with the rest of the family's.
"It was considered improper to walk around in your socks. So Lincoln just stayed in his room and ended up missing his train for the next day," Walker says.
Other interesting facts, the Lincoln-Tallman house was a mansion built before it's time, Walker says.
The House, built in the mid 1800s, has running water, central heat, gas lighting, and a telephone system. Walker says tours aren't just for adults, there are several different sessions and options that cater to young children.
Then end your Janesville visit at the Rotary Botanical Gardens. Admission for anyone three years and older is only $5. The gardens annual holiday light show runs until January 3 from 4 to 8 p.m.
The 20-acre garden is covered in 370,000 lights, with 100 decorated trees, and 500 dangling icicle lights.
Rotary staff say there are numerous brand new additions, as well as sections that are back by popular demand.