Little store featuring Amish goods in southwestern Wisconsin was worth the stop

Wal-Mart offers convenience and low, low prices, but I shudder every time I step into one of their stores.

Same, same sameness overwhelms me as much as the Wal-Mart greeter and the harsh overhead lighting.

But as we meandered across southwestern Wisconsin last week, we stopped at the sort of little store that sets my heart a flutter and gives me hope in a Wal-Mart world.

The Ottervale General Store, a darling restored 1890s mercantile near La Farge, Wis., is tucked a half mile off the main road and nestled in a forest. Run by Kickapoo Valley Heritage Art & Tours, it’s dedicated to educating “about the Amish, round barns and history of the beautiful Kickapoo Valley and Ocooch Mountains.” Despite emphasizing all that is low-tech, they have a nice little Facebook fan page here where you can see pictures of the outside and inside.

It’s filled with locally handcrafted goods including foods, jewelry and a rack of beautiful Amish rugs that drew me to it the instant I stepped inside.

I indulged in three of these unique and, I’m told, durable floor coverings to replace the rugs in our kitchen, which became passé when repainted earlier this year.

Before: Kitchen/patio entrance

After: Kitchen/patio entrance with new Amish rug.

And Wal-Mart shoppers might be surprised by the low, low prices on these rugs: I paid $18.49, $21 and $26 for these handmade originals. And just like you might expect from such a homespun storefront, we got free advice on local sightseeing and lodging.

Despite the remote location of the Ottervale General Store, it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area. Enjoy the journey.


4 responses to “Little store featuring Amish goods in southwestern Wisconsin was worth the stop

  1. Love, love, love the texture and colors of the Amish rug…well done!!

    • You’re right — it’s the texture that was so appealing about that whole rack. So much better than my old rugs.

      • One of my colleagues at school years ago, wrote a book about making her husband baggy pants out of fabrics she purchased from the Amish in PA…as advertisement to her customers!!

        The book is called “Dan’s Pants.” I’m sure I’ll think of her name at 2 am..then I’ll let you know! Ha!

  2. May I put in a plug for the Cherry Grove store on the edge of Browerville, Mn., a Mennonite establishment. It is a wonderful grocery store to explore–clean and cheap as well as varied and interesting.

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