House on the Rock
About 40 miles west of Madison is where you will find the House on the Rock, which is without question a very unique Wisconsin tourist attraction. The brainchild of architect Alex Jordan, the House on the Rock started out as a private weekend retreat, but its unusual architectural style soon captured the attention of many. Due to the growing influx of visitors, Jordan eventually decided that his curious House on the Rock should serve as a tourist attraction. It was back in 1961 when this quirky Wisconsin tourist attraction was first opened to the public, and it's done well to bring tourists in ever since. In addition to the original fourteen-room home, the House on the Rock complex has grown to include other buildings, various exhibits, and even a few delightful garden displays.
The House on the Rock stands atop a 60-foot rock outcropping, which overlooks the scenic Wyoming Valley. When you first view the main house, it has an Asian appearance, looking much more like something that you would expect to see in Japan instead of Wisconsin. Word has it that the house was intended to mock the creations of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who's Taliesin home is located just to the north. It is rumored that Wright unceremoniously dismissed Alex Jordan from his Taliesin project, causing a rift between the two. Self-guided tours are offered at the House on the Rock in Wisconsin, and while seeing the house from the outside is a treat in and of itself, getting an inside look reveals a magical world that was created out of Alex Jordan's imagination.
There are three different self-guided tours that you can choose from when visiting the House on the Rock in Wisconsin, and they are offered during the Regular Season, which runs from late April to early November. Since the different tours at the House on the Rock cover different parts of the overall complex, it's recommended that you buy the Ultimate Experience Tour ticket, which allows you to enjoy each of the three tours at your leisure. The ticket is good for a year. There's a lot to see here, so it's nice to split up the experiences if possible. The main house is certainly a must-see, and its warm and tranquil setting extends through each of the original thirteen rooms. A fourteenth room, which is known as the Infinity Room, was added in 1985, and it is the next stop once you've admired the original house's blue stained glass windows and early collection pieces.
The Infinity Room extends out over the valley, and its 3,264 windows offer a spectacular view of the surrounding hills and forests. It's a nice complement to the somewhat cramped and dimly-lit original rooms, which are intriguing in a different kind of way. Before you even enter the main house, you'll stop at the Gate House, which was added in 1961. The Gate House is basically the home's foyer, and its stone walls and impressive fireplace set the tone for what's to come. You'll want to note the music machine that is found in the Gate House. It's one of various music machines that are spread about the complex. These music machines replicate chamber orchestra pieces, not to mention a range of other songs. The Gate House, the Original House, and the Infinity Room are all included in Tour 1, and if you also enjoy Tour 2, highlights include the Mill House, the Streets of Yesterday, and the Carousel. As a side note, fans of carousels and other carnival attractions will also enjoy a visit to the Circus World Museum, which is found in nearby Baraboo.
The House on the Rock's Mill House was built in 1968, and its huge fireplaces are among its main draws. You'll also get to admire some of Mr. Jordan's special collectibles, which include antique guns, dolls, and suits of armor. The House on the Rock in Wisconsin is an eclectic place, to say the least. As for the Streets of Yesterday, it aims to recreate a nineteenth-century street. Features include a brick road, a sheriff's office, and a carriage house, and antique decorations. After walking along the Streets of Yesterday, you'll head over to see The Carousel, which is definitely a top House on the Rock attraction. It is said to be the world's largest. No less than 269 handmade animals grace the Carousel, and it also boasts 182 chandeliers and some 20,000 lights! There are plenty of other great rooms and exhibits to see during your visit to the House on the Rock in Wisconsin, so you can easily spend the better part of a day here. After enjoying the first two tours, you can come back again for the third, which includes the dazzling Organ Room and the Circus Room, among others.
For those looking for lodging near this unique Wisconsin tourist attraction, The House on the Rock Inn, the North Lodge, and the House on the Rock Resort are all close by. The House on the Rock Inn offers comfortable rooms, 3 swimming pools, an exercise room, and a nice lounge, among other things, while the North Lodge specializes in simpler guest units that are great for the budget conscious traveler. As for the House on the Rock Resort, it's the nicest of the nearby lodging choices, and among its amenities are a 27-hole championship golf course, a spa, and a good on-site restaurant. Special vacation package deals are available at each of these lodging establishments.
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