I always enjoy a visit to Whitewater, but there is no better time to visit than the fall. The town has the nickname ‘Second Salem’ because there’s a history of witch gatherings, so it’s so fun to be there during spooky season. Whitewater is the perfect destination for a cozy couple getaway or a trip to crush some miles on the Ice Age Trail. Here is everything you need to know for your weekend in Whitewater!
This post is sponsored by Discover Whitewater, but all opinions are my own.
WHERE TO STAY
There are some excellent lodging options in Whitewater! On my most recent trip, I stayed at Fairfield Inn & Suites. The hotel is so nice and offers free breakfast, a workout room, and a pool. The staff was so friendly and the hot breakfast was delicious both mornings we had it.
I’ve also stayed at the Hamilton House Bed & Breakfast. We had the Renoir Suite, and it was incredible! We loved the fireplace, big plush robes, and attention to detail. The building also has a mysterious history and was used by different groups for all different purposes throughout the years. Gloria, the super sweet and accommodating Innkeeper, went to The Culinary Institute, so each morning guests get to start their day with the most remarkable breakfast!
HIT THE TRAILS
Whitewater is an IAT Community and has many segments for hikers to enjoy! If you visit during spooky season, you’ll be met with fall colors and the Mammoth Hike Challenge. During my time in this trail community, we met so many kind hikers while hiking the Blackhawk, Whitewater Lake, and Clover Valley segments.
Blackhawk Segment: It’s 7 miles from point to point and is the best labeled/blazed segment I’ve ever done! It provides great views of Lake La Grange and takes you along extremely tall pines and through a beautiful prairie. After completing Blackhawk, I recommend going up the road to have lunch at Avant Cycle Cafe, the coolest bike shop/restaurant. They are open Friday-Sunday 10am-5pm and have breakfast options, soup, and pastries on their menu. We crushed one of their massive Boar’s Head sandwiches, and it was just what we needed after a morning of hiking!
Whitewater Lake Segment: (Near the trailhead of this segment, you can find the Artesian Well with fresh spring water, so make sure you stop by to fill up your water bottle before you set out!) This stunning 4.6 mile segment was my favorite in the area! It takes you through some gorgeous woods and opens up to breathtaking views of Whitewater and Rice Lakes. This is one of the more challenging segments in the area, as it has a stretch with a decent amount of elevation change that makes for a great workout. After hiking up an appetite, head back into town to check out 841 Brewhouse. I highly recommend the Asiago Chicken Wraps as an appetizer–They were massive, topped with great sauce, and absolutely delicious!
Clover Valley Segment: This 1.6 mile segment is easy and super pretty, especially in the fall. It takes you along farmland and over many boardwalks. This is a State Natural Area, so be sure to keep your pup on a leash and on the trail the entire hike!
As always–remember to leave no trace on the trail. Pick up after your pup and if you pack it in…pack it out!
THE SPOOKY STUFF
Whitewater is such a great location for exploring the Kettle Moraine Forest area. While visiting, I highly recommend making the short drive to check out Old World Wisconsin. During the month of October, you can attend Legends & Lore, a storytelling event sharing folkloric traditions. Walk around and visit restored buildings from farms and villages across the state and listen to the stories behind iconic Wisconsin legends. You can find staff dressed in historic clothing and even see some tales acted out. Old World is truly a Wisconsin gem, and this is one of my favorite events of the year!
If you’re fascinated by the “Second Salem'' history, you need to stop by Starin Park Water Tower, also known as Witchtower, where witch gatherings took place in the past. Legend has it that you can hear noises coming from the tower on Halloween Eve! When you visit, take note of the iron fence built around the base of the tower. It has spikes that poke inwards. Doesn’t it look like it’s supposed to keep something in rather than out?
To learn more about the impact of spiritualism on Whitewater, be sure to take the Spirit Tour. These tours happen the third weekend of October, and on the tour, you will learn about the “spirited” sites. You can experience cemeteries under the stars and visit with Whitewater’s most (in)famous historical residents. Are you brave enough to learn all the spooky history?!
During October, you can also visit Shockwave Haunts, a well known haunted house. There are 2 haunts to choose from on Fridays & Saturdays in October from 6-11pm. Last year, I went to Shockwave Haunts with my sister. We bought tickets to both haunts and BARELY made it through one because she was so scared. We decided to give our tickets to the other haunt away to people in line, hopefully they had more fun than us!
WHERE TO EAT
During your visit to Shockwave Haunts, you can dine at The Fuzzy Pig. They have a beautiful farm market store, but the star of the show is Whiney’s Wine and Beer Haus right next door to the seasonal haunted houses. Their wine selection is incredible, the wood-fired pizza is delightful, and they have live music on the weekends! We really enjoyed the spinach and artichoke dip and the Bruschetti pizza. Next time, I’ll be sure to check out one of their wine slushies–I hear they’re great!
If you’re in need of breakfast, coffee, or a sweet treat, head to The Sweet Spot Bakehouse. They have a beautiful case of assorted baked goods, but the massive cookies and beautiful specialty cupcakes caught my eye right away. I ordered the cupcake of the month, caramel apple, and it was everything I could ask for in a dessert!
Rosa’s Pizza downtown could be your stop for a slice or late night eat, but I also highly recommend stopping in for their build-your-own ice cream sandwich! They have two cases of Chocolate Shoppe ice cream to choose from. I chose chocolate chip cookies and stuffed them with Zanzimint–it was to die for!
As always, be sure to drink locally! Right in downtown Whitewater, you’ll find Second Salem Brewery. Their name is a tribute to Whitewater’s nickname, and the beers are named after local legends. The beer cans have beautiful can art, and the beers themselves are great too! I really liked the Beast of Bray Road, a nice amber. They have happy hour Monday-Friday 4-6pm, so be sure to stop by for a flight!
I hope you have the best spooky season complete with a trip to Whitewater…I mean Second Salem!