I grew up on a chunk of land with beautiful hiking…hiking trails all over the place…from the very south in Perrot State Park to the very north where we have the Strum Community Trails…

Rob Grover

Tourism Coordinator, Trempealeau County

On this episode, we are chatting with Rob Grover, Tourism Coordinator for Trempealeau County located in the Driftless Region and the Mississippi River Valley of Southwest Wisconsin. 

Amy Gabay 00:09
The River Travel Podcast is about travel stories along America’s rivers and the road trips that will take you there. Come with us as we chat with festivals, attractions, eateries and destinations that call river valleys home. Come for a visit and find out more at rivertravelmagazine.com.

Brent Hanifl 00:31
This episode we’re chatting with Rob Grover, tourism coordinator for Trempealeau County located in the Driftless Region and the Mississippi River Valley of Southwest Wisconsin. Rob, what are you excited for visitors to see in your area?

Rob Grover 00:44
Well Brent, we have such beautiful, beautiful scenery. You know, we’re right in the Driftless area, we hug the Mississippi River, we’ve got some incredible valleys and hills and coulees. And I think, of course, I’m biased, right, but I think it’s the most beautiful part of Wisconsin. I’m so excited to have people come to Trempealeau County, discover how beautiful it is. And not just that though, because you have a lot of pretty areas. But we also have an incredible mix of really cool businesses, whether it be a clothing boutique, you know, or all sorts of clothing, boutiques, whether it be our outside restaurants, our apple orchards, all sorts of really neat places to come see and things to do. I’m excited for people to come here and again, fall in love with the landscape. And then also discover all the hidden gems that we have in Trempealeau County because we have such a diversity of things to do and see. If you love the outdoors, we’ve got it for you. If you love again, like boutique shopping, we’ve got it for you. If you love sitting outside at an apple orchard while you’re drinking a beer and eating some pizza, we’ve got that for you. So, really however you like to recreate, Trempealeau County’s got it. So I’m just excited for people to learn more about Trempealeau County. It’s an incredible place.

Brent Hanifl 02:00
One thing I’m really excited about is the music, the festivals, a lot of them outdoors, too, for those people that want to stay outside. Could you give us a rundown of some of the festivals in your area? Maybe ones that should definitely be put on a person’s bucket list.

Rob Grover 02:13
We have some awesome festivals. So one of the cool things about Trempealeau County, if you look in the old days how it was settled, there was a lot of different ethnic groups that came to Trempealeau County. And a lot of our local festivals still kind of reflect some of that heritage. Like in Arcadia, you have Arcadia Broiler Days peddled by a lot of Polish and German people, so a lot of the food and the events reflect that. But also we have a growing Latinx population in the Arcadia area that’s really been infused into Arcadia Broiler Days. So now that’s a really cool one to get to. One of the big events that we have here in Trempealeau County, which a lot of people will probably be familiar with is Ashley for the Arts. It’s a huge music festival right in Arcadia, but it’s not just a music festival. They also have hundreds of vendors selling all sorts of really interesting artwork that local people and people from the region make and all sorts of awesome events. You know Arcadia is a town of probably about 3,000 people. And that weekend over 50,000 people they estimate come, but it’s such a well oiled machine and it doesn’t feel crazy like that. So you’ve got to get to Ashley for the Arts, it’s a great event. One of my favorite fall events that we have in Trempealeau County, it’s Galesville Apple Affair, man that is a lot of fun. So it’s a one day festival. It’s actually held at the Trempealeau County Fairgrounds, which is right in Galesville. It’s very much a fall festival, if you will. So they’ve got tons of vendors, they’ve got great food, the world’s biggest apple pie they claim, at 12 feet, that’s there. So you definitely want to try to get to Apple Affair as well. But if you go to our Trempealeau County website, you can find all of the different festivals listed on there on the schedule. Almost every weekend in Trempealeau County, there is some festival going on. Or there’s some really cool event whether it be live music or or a craft vendor fair, something like that. Almost every weekend, you’ll find something like that in Trempealeau County going on. So we’ve got so many great events that you really want to get out.

Brent Hanifl 04:17
I see you on social media all the time, actually, you’re doing a lot of interviews with local businesses, local eateries at festivals, and you can check it out on their Facebook Live page section. What are some of your favorite activities, you know, your personal sort of choices?

Rob Grover 04:32
I grew up here in Trempealeau County, born and raised, fifth generation to come from the family farm here. So, I love Trempealeau County from birth, frankly, and I grew up on a chunk of land where there was beautiful hiking to do. And actually there is tons of wonderful hiking trails all over the place. From the very south at Perrot State Park or the National Wildlife Refuge. To the very north where we have the Strum Community Trails which is a brand new set of trails that were just developed in the last 12 months about 100 acres on an old ski jump area. You know, to the center of the county where we’ve got Petric Park, which is right between Independence and Arcadia. So I love getting out there and just going for a hike. And what’s so great about Trempealeau County, it’s got it all, if you really want to challenge we’ve got some really beautiful, challenging hiking trails for you. If you want something, you know that that’s more casual, we’ve got that for you as well. So I love getting out there and just it can a good hike with friends. You know, I also like getting out on my kayak. Trempealeau County has some really great waterways and lakes and streams and that sort of thing. So you know, we’ve got the Trempealeau River, we’ve got the Black River, of course in the south, we have the Mississippi River. Interesting in the Driftless, we don’t have a lot of natural lakes, but we have a lot of the cities have these really beautiful lakes, dammed up lakes, if you will. But they’re beautiful for outdoor recreation, for getting out on your kayak and doing that so. And then bicycling as well. You know, just like I said, with hiking, Trempealeau County is world renowned for our bicycle trails because we almost all of our roads are paved. And Trempealeau County prides itself on having pretty good roads. So you’re going to get some of the most interesting, beautiful routes to hop on your bicycle on. And again, just like hiking, there’s challenging routes, and there’s really simple ones too, that you can enjoy. So there’s so much to do. You know, probably my favorite thing to do is on a beautiful Friday or Saturday night, I try to get to one of the orchards or the pizza farms, or one of the outdoor restaurants because there are a ton of those, whether they’re on a family farm or or located in one of the cities. I just, I just like to sit outside with a good cold drink and some good food. There’s a lot of places that make you know their food from locally sourced ingredients, and just sit outside with some good drinks and good food and just enjoy the beautiful scenery. So like I say, we’ve got it all here in Trempealeau County, and I feel blessed to live here. And I think when you get out and see it, you’re going to fall in love with it.

Brent Hanifl 06:58
Yeah, I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity. Besides for those who want to be a little bit more adventurous, there’s also just an opportunity just to chill and relax and sit by the river, ort that stream or that lake you were talking about and have some good food. So, what can people expect when coming to the area, you know, in terms of hospitality or food, drink, places to stay?

Rob Grover 07:17
Yeah, well, one thing you will find out what people in Trempealeau County, the old idea, even though you know we’re not in Minnesota, but they always say Minnesota Nice, right? And I would say Wisconsin Nice as well. People are really, they’re very welcoming. And the business owners and the business community, they’re going to be really excited to see it because I think folks that live in Trempealeau County, again, they love it here and they want to share it with the broader world, right? So when you come to Trempealeau County, you’re going to find a lot of hospitality. Let’s say you end up at one of our wineries or one of our breweries or restaurants. And if you want to learn more about the county, those are the best places to pick up even more information like okay, where should I go next. And you’re going to find helpful people that will say, well, you know what, you want to try the place down the road because they have the best this. Or go up a few miles and you’ll find a really neat walking trail up that way, you’re gonna find a lot of great hospitality. You’re also going to find a good mix of places to stay. So we don’t have a lot of chain hotels in Trempealeau County, but we have a number of professional, kind of family owned individual motels, hotels. And we have such a growing diversity of Airbnbs that sort of thing. And some bed and breakfasts. So there really is a cool diversity of places to stay. And again, in those places, you’re going to find such great hospitality as well. So yeah, a lot of fun stuff to do. Like I said earlier, no matter what you’re looking for Trempealeau County’s got it for you. If you’re looking for just a really chill, sit on the porch with your coffee all weekend and read and just reconnect with nature, we’ve got that for you. If you want to bounce around, go, go, go see different things, we’ve got that for you too. So you’re going to come to Trempealeau County, you’re going to have a great experience, you’re gonna have a lot of fun, and you’re gonna find people that are really welcoming. And again, I said it a couple times already, I think you’re gonna come here and fall in love with the place, it’s gonna be a place you come year after year, because there is so much to do and see.

Brent Hanifl 09:10
If people want to find out more, you know, potentially book a trip or just check out the other happenings or events that are going on, what’s the best avenue for them to go to?

Rob Grover 09:18
You bet. So I would always say go to our Trempealeau County website. So trempealeaucounty.com/tourism, and you’re gonna find all sorts of good information there. We put a lot onto our social media onto our Facebook page. So we’re always sharing events that way, so you kind of can get a taste for it there. You can call us right here at the Trempealeau County Tourism Department. So, (715) 538-1923, you’ll probably get me and I can give you some awesome ideas. You know, that’s my favorite part of this job is someone calling up and saying, hey, I’m coming there in a couple weeks, what should I do. And we get a lot of those calls. And you know, I can help you plan a trip, I can help you get more information on what you’re looking for. If you’re specifically looking for bike trails we can hook you up, if you want to know a good place to a good landing to put your kayak or canoe and we can do that. If you’re looking for whatever, we’ll try to connect you with that. So yeah, I really encourage people to check out our website, check out the Facebook page, and we’ll get you connected.

Amy Gabay 10:19
Experience the great American road trip and take a ride on the nation’s scenic byways and back roads that highlight rivers throughout the United States. Explore the people, places and culture of river towns throughout the US. Visit rivertravelmagazine.com. You can subscribe to the River Travel Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.

River Travel Podcast

The River Travel Podcast is about Travel stories along America’s rivers and the road trips that will take you there. Come with us as we chat with festivals, attractions, eateries, and destinations that call river valleys home, come for a visit and find out more.

Experience the Great American Road Trip and take a ride on the nation’s scenic byways to back roads that highlight rivers throughout the United States! Explore the people, places, and culture of river towns throughout the US.

You can subscribe to the River Travel Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it!