Weekend shenanigans

Unexpected gems to visit in Menomonie


Photo by Evelyn Nelson

The Devil’s Punchbowl is a 10-15 minute drive outside of downtown Menomonie, where there are a variety of hiking paths and waterfalls to explore.

Welcome to the first installment of “Weekend shenanigans,” a weekly column that shares the exciting things we Blugolds are keeping up to over the weekends. 

With the middle of the 2020 fall semester approaching — and the midterm season ending — I was eager to have some spare time to continue exploring Wisconsin and the new state I call “home.”

Not far from Eau Claire, is the small town of Menomonie, Wis. It is home to not only UW-Stout, but also a variety of hidden gems that are worth exploring.

Claudia Lecher, second-year business student, drinks a coffee and works on homework at the Raw Deal coffee shop. (Photo by Evelyn Nelson)

For the last several weekends, my friends and I have made the short 30 minute drive over to explore new shops and enjoy the changing leaves in a new place.

Here is a list of must-stop locations to visit in Menomonie:

  • Drink: The Raw Deal (603 Broadway St S #2457, Menomonie, WI 54751) A local coffee shop and roasters which features organic, local and fairtrade ingredients for each drink. Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there is plenty of space in the restored warehouse storefront to sit comfortably and social distance with others. Best menu item: Freshly made organic pressed juices — the “Heal,” made with apple, orange and spinach, is one to try.

    The Raw Deal is a coffee shop and roasters located in downtown Menomonie, Wisc. The pressed juices are locally sourced and made fresh to order. (Photo by Evelyn Nelson)
  • Food: Menomonie Market Food Co-op (814 Main St E, Menomonie, WI 54751) Switch up the regular restaurant routine and purchase locally sourced goods at this co-op. With a large selection — from soups and bread to fresh produce — there are plenty of options to satisfy any cravings or health and diet considerations.
  • Shop: Town & Country Antiques (244 Main St E, Menomonie, WI 54751) Out of all the antique stores in downtown Menomonie, Town & Country stands out in an adorable way. From the outdoor signage to the rare finds inside, there is something for everyone at this antique store. A great way to purchase second-hand at an affordable price and support a local business. My most recent find: Enamel mugs for camping.
  • Play: The Devil’s Punchbowl (410th St, Menomonie, WI 54751) With a love for exploring nature, there’s no other place like the Devil’s Punchbowl. With a combination of hiking paths, stairways to the open waterfall and scenic plants or wildlife, it is the perfect spot to run around and play. A fun tip: Bring a picnic in the middle of the cavern — trust me — stop and enjoy the beauty.

    Evelyn Nelson, second-year column writer, eating pizza at the Devil’s Punchbowl in Menomonie, Wis. (Photo by SUBMITTED)

In keeping with COVID-19 safety guidelines, it often seems there are way fewer things to do over the weekends than ever before. But, after traveling to Menomonie and its local shops, I saw people were doing their best to stay safe and still provide a welcoming experience for new visitors itching to explore.

Plus, keeping in mind the busy schedules of students, a spontaneous, short drive can be easily accomplished — with still plenty of time for the rest of the days’ responsibilities. 

More often than not, that is what ends up happening with my friends. 

This next weekend, give the city of Menomonie and its small wonders a try. 

Nelson can be reached at [email protected]