Things to Do When You Stay in Sparta, WI

Wisconsin’s biking-friendly attitude is just one of the many wonderful reasons guests love to spend their vacations and weekend getaways at Franklin Victorian Bed & Breakfast. Located in the heart of the scenic Hidden Valleys region of Southwest Wisconsin, Sparta offers visitors a myriad of activities and attractions, including kayaking and canoeing on the Kickapoo River, Amish country tours, hiking, golfing, horseback riding, Family Aquatics Center, cross country skiing, wineries, breweries and of course, Biking! There are so many things to do and see in western Wisconsin alone!

Many TABS are highlighted below, but feel free to contact us for more information on a particular activity of interest to you. The Innkeepers will be happy to help you find out more, and they will even help plan a local itinerary for you. Be sure to check out our current specials to combine your favorite activities with a great value in lodging at Franklin Victorian Bed & Breakfast!

Concert In The Park – 2017 
Enjoy an outdoor concert Wednesdays during the summer months from our band shell located in tree -hearty Evans Bosshard Park, Hwy 16 East right here in Sparta. Be sure to bring your lawn chair or blanket. Hearty Concessions will be offered at each Concert -enjoy dinner and music in the beautiful park.
Start time: 7 PM – Concerts are free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated. Schedule is subject to change

New Sparta Family Aquatics Center: Memorial Park,  Rusk Ave, (608) 269-5344
50 meter pool – Zero Depth Entry – 290 ft Tube Slide – Lazy River –
3 meter and 1 meter high dives and more. Pack up your swim suits and cool off this summer.

KEPS Naturals– Jacki, Dennis, (K)endall, (E)mber, (P)ayton & (S)kyler
brings you all-natural, handmade products made with care by myself and my family! As a Mother of 4 children, I wanted to create a hobby that all of the family could take part in. Keps is it!  We hope to bring you many products and clothing you will benefit from and enjoy. It is our focus to use quality clothing, products, including mainly Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils and Organic ingredients.
122 South Water Street, Sparta, WI 54656,Phone number: 608-487-9514

Urban Nest & Lizzy’s Boutique– an upcycle and painted furniture shop located in downtown.120 S Water St, Sparta, WI
For more information about Urban Nest  & Lizzy’s Boutique, check out their Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram pages. You can also email them at or call 608-487-9445.

Wildwoman’s Vintage Clothing and More,  Downtown Sparta: Fancy, funky and fabulous, featuring vintage/retro/new apparel, accessories and so much more! Surround yourself with glamor, color & whimsy. Located at 210 S Water Street, Sparta, WI. Phone for hours or appointment at 608-269-6217.

Quilt Corner: Located in Sparta
A friendly place for all your quilting needs, specializing in quality cotton fabrics, notions, patterns and books.
Featured products include: Grace Quilter Machines, a large selection of Thimbleberries & Kansas Troubles fabrics, 100% Hand Dyed Wool & Felted Wool, Classes, Clubs, and much, much more!. Stop in and meet Connie and Crystal. Located two blocks from the B&B at 219 N. Water. 608-269-1083.

Yarn Stash: Located in Sparta the shop has beautiful yarns made from llama, alpaca, wool, silk, cotton, and more for your knitting or crocheting needs. 112 N Water St, Sparta, WI 54656. (608) 269-5648, see website for hours.

Ole & Bean Creations: 102 Jefferson Ave. Sparta
Most of our items in our store are priced under $15. which fits for most. Handmade Soy Candles & Tarts, Essential Oils & Aromatherapy Items, Kitchen Towels, Scrubbies, & Dishcloths and so much more! Something for you and your gitf-giving list.
Tue-Fri 9 a – 5p, Sat: 9a-3p

Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center: Norskedalen (which means the Norwegian Valley), is a nature and heritage center dedicated to preserving, interpreting and sharing the natural environment and cultural heritage of the area surrounding Coon Valley in southwest Wisconsin. Events- Sept & Oct: Norskedalen Corn Maze, Threshing Bee, Civil War Immersion Weekend,  Haunted Trail Hikes, Pumpkin Walks.
December Old-Fashioned Christmas.

Fort McCoy: Sparta, WI
Have you ever dreamed of touring an army base but were afraid of recruiters? Have you ever wanted to relive those Army days without the KP? How about having your picture taken next to a tank? Take a guided tour of Fort McCoy to experience all this and more! A driving tour and History Brochure is available by contacting the Public Affairs office at 608-388-2407.

  • Horse Back Riding at Redrock Trail Rides: 5-stars
    Redrock is on a 100 year-old, 365-acre working dairy farm located just five miles from Norwalk on the Elroy-Sparta bile trail. There are 12 miles of ridge and valley trails to ride well-broke horses, and enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. Trail rides are offered from Spring to Fall. No winter rides.
  • ~Trail rides are offered 7 days a week, advance reservation recommended and should be scheduled by noon on ride-day, at the latest. Trails average 1.5 hour and are pro-rated to the quarter hour. 608-344-1359
  • Red Ridge Ranch Horseback and Sleigh Rides: Red Ridge Ranch offers horseback trail rides and sleigh rides through 250 acres of rolling farmland and wooded hills and during the winter. Sleigh rides a reservation is required. Bring your camera to capture all Wisconsin beauty! 608-847-2273

Down a Country Road – Cashton, Wisconsin a quiet and beautiful place in the country, nestled in a southwestern Wisconsin valley. Located two miles east of Cashton along State hwy 33. The Kuderer farm is home to the Village Shops at Down a Country Road, including The Amish Shop, The Little Red Shed, Emma’s Kitchen, and Country Corner Ice Cream Shoppe. 608-654-5318.  We also have a self-guided Amish Touring Map at the Franklin Victorian B&B.

The Olde Newry Store Gifts- 608-343-2971. Home Decor & More is located between Cashton & Westby, WI on State Hwy 27 at the junction of Co.  Owners Chuck & Kathy Kuderer. The Olde Newry Store was built in the 1800’s and was used as a general store/grocery store for many years. It was also used for other purposes over the years, and most recently as an antique store.

Sparta Cinemas 6: 608-269-SHOW (7469), 1010 Maple Avenue, Sparta. Shows and show times listed on the website. ~ Frugal Fridays! Every Friday watch one of our 1:00 shows and get your ticket, a junior popcorn and drink all for only $6.00! For shows and showtimes click on link. 

  • Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum: Deke Slayton was an American pilot in WWII, and later became one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts. The museum was founded in March 1999 by a core group of residents who wanted to honor Deke Slayton memory in his hometown of Sparta, WI and to commemorate the county’s rich bicycling heritage. Few people realize that bicycles were the starting point for airplane technology, which of course progressed into modern flying methods. Explore the progression from the earliest patented bicycles, to the Wright Brothers’ incorporation of bicycle technology from their bicycle shop into early flying creations, to the Wright Flyer… and all the way into outer space!
  • Monroe County Local History Room & Museum: Telling the story of men and women who lived and worked in Monroe County through interactive exhibits and engaging displays, photographs, documents, memorabilia and historic artifacts record all periods of Monroe County life. The Research Room welcomes all those interested in genealogy and the history of Monroe County. All right in downtown Sparta! Free Admission. (608) 269-8680
  • The Little Falls Doll & Railroad Museum: The Doll Museum contains hundreds of dolls from the 1800s to the present. The Railroad Museum displays many railroad items, a 1,000+ book library, and a Milwaukee Steel Bay Window Caboose. There is a large picnic shelter with tables and grills, swings for the children, and an outdoor train running on a varied schedule. Open from 1 April to 31 October. Noon-5 p.m. Closed Wednesdays.
  • Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center: Catch the aroma of cranberries…at the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center as you see, touch and taste Wisconsin’s No. 1 fruit crop. A Wisconsin crop staple for over 150 years, the cranberry has shaped the state’s agricultural methods. Discover the history of the cranberry in the U.S., from Native Americans to today at this nearby Warrens, WI museum. 608-378-4878
  • Cranberry Marsh Tours & Harvest Day Arpin Cranberry Company owners Bob and Jacki Lundt have recently begun offering tours of their Warrens, WI marsh to leisure travelers. Click here to download a brochure. We also have a driving map available at the B&B. 608-387-0466
  • Wetherby Cranberry Company Wetherby Cranberry Company in Warrens, WI also offer tours to motor coach groups. In addition, the Wetherby marsh holds a public harvest day annually on the first Saturday of October.
  • Glacial Lake Cranberries– 715-887-4161 Fresh Cranberries, Tours in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. Guests have said it was wonderful with great information.
  • The Wegner Grotto: A Grassroots Art Environment Drive through the WI countryside north of Sparta, and you may stumble across an amazing sight of concrete and glass! The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto is a grassroots art environment near Cataract. Admission to this beautiful exhibit is free, but donations are appreciated and are used to restore and preserve the beautiful works of art. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day with closing ceremonies at 6:00 p.m. on the Monday of Labor Day.

Sparta Butterfest – Sparta June 8-11,2017
Located at Sparta Memorial Park just three blocks from our bed and breakfast. Arts & crafts, free entertainment stage, carnival, car show, huge parade, food and music on the grounds all weekend long.

Warrens Cranberry Festival This annual Wisconsin festival is the largest cranberry festival in the world! Over 130,000 attendees descend on nearby Warrens, WI to celebrate Wisconsin’s #1 fruit crop. See the opening parade and over 1250 booths featuring arts, crafts, and tasty treats! This is such a popular event that we recommend making your Sparta inn lodging reservations early!

  • 2017 Dates: September 22,23,24

There are other area Cranberry Tours- Glacial Lake Cranberries
They have been written about in Midwest Living and our guests very much enjoyed. Glacial Lake Cranberries, 2480 County Road D, Wisconsin Rapids, WI.
Phone:715-887-4161, Reservation: 715-887-2095

La Crosse Oktoberfest– Huge parade and festival!

  • A Healthy Touch Massage Therapy & Bodywork, LLC 110 E. Main St, Sparta, WI 54656 / 608-269-1321 e-mail: Offering: Multiple forms of Massage, Couples, Therapy, Aesthetics, Nail Technician
  • Cura Salon A 5-Star ~ Full Service Salon, Massage Therapy, Nail Technician. 2470 Riley Rd, Sparta, WI 54656 / 608-487-9510 T-Th-8-8pm, F 8-5 pm, Sat. 8-3 pm
  • Grandad Bluff the Bluff is located on the east side of La Crosse, and is the area’s tallest bluff at 600 ft. It is the site of a public park where one can view a panoramic vista of La Crosse, the Mississippi River and three states and it’s open year-round during park hours. The land was donated by the Joseph and Irene Hixon family in 1912. It has been voted one of the most scenic views in Wisconsin.
  • La Crosse Walking Tours the La Crosse Public Library has created a series of self-guided downtown walking tours for visitors. Discover the history and architecture of this Mississippi River town in both commercial and residential areas. Over 100 historically significant sites are covered on the tours, with topics including town development, riverboat days, architecture, and more. Self-guided Historic Walking Tour maps are available at the La Crosse Visitors Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, hotels, and various businesses.
  • Hixon House Restored to its turn of the century elegance in 2005, this National Historic Landmark contains 90 of its original furnishings, and represents an architectural and historic treasure.
  • Hixon Forest Nature Center- Hixon Forest traces its roots to the founding of Grandad Bluff and was donated to the City in 1912 as a park. Nearly ten miles of hiking and multi-use trails crisscross the wooded bluffs on the eastern edge of La Crosse. Four designated parking areas provide convenient access to the trails, which can also be reached by bike or on foot via connecting trails from Myrick Park, or even downtown La Crosse via Riverside Park. The Hixon Forest Trails offer access to the popular Grandad Bluff Park and its stunning views of the city and river valley, as well as four other designated vistas. Hikers and mountain bikers can also connect to Human Powered Trails at the top of the ridge (across County Hwy FA). Visit the City of La Crosse’s Parks, Recreation, & Forestry website for trail maps.
  • Mississippi Valley Conservancy is a regional, non-profit land trust based in La Crosse that has permanently conserved more than 15,000 acres of blufflands, prairies, wetlands, and streams in southwestern Wisconsin since its founding in 1997. The MVC’s land protection work preserves scenic beauty, protects wildlife habitat, and provides opportunities for hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, bird watching, hunting, fishing, biking, and nature photography.  The hiking trails are easily accessible.
  • Pearl Street Brewery, 1401 St Andrew St, La Crosse, WI, 54603, (608) 784-4832 Brewed and Bottled in La Crosse, WI since 1999. Located in the historic La Crosse Footwear building with they expanded 30 barrel brewery. They have live music, events, “Tasting Room” retail shop and more!
  • Grand National Tractor & Truck Pull: This annual June Budweiser Dairy land Super National event in Tomah, WI brings fans from all over the country for four days of monster fun, hosted by the Monroe County Agricultural Society. Proceeds benefit the Fairgrounds venue and support efforts to update the grounds and facilities so that farming education and fairgrounds entertainment can be continually brought to the community.
  • Great River Road: The Great River Road in Wisconsin goes from Prescott south to Prairie Du Chien, Cassville, Tenneyson, and the Illinois state border. Much of it runs along the base of bluffs and adjacent to the Mississippi River, and is one of Reader’s Digest’s seven suggested American Drives to Take.
  • Burnstad’s European Village & Restrauant. Imagine you are on vacation in a small village in central Europe. You stroll cobblestone paths, looking into unique and quaint shops. This village has a restaurant and pub. The restaurant has amazing comfort foods – both old world favorites and native finds. The pub has classic cocktails, regional beers and wines.

Antiques Dealers

  • Crawford’s New & Used, 604 E Wisconsin St, Sparta, WI (608) 269-0590
  • Janusheske Antiques, 14911 Hwy 27, Sparta, WI, Phone: 608-269-6253
  • Jennie’s Antiques, 102 N Water St, Sparta WI 54656, Phone: 608-269-4646
  • Sparta’s New & Used Shop, 904 Avon Rd (Interstate 90, exit 25), Sparta, WI 54656, Phone: 608-269-5555
  • Other Antiques Dealers in downtown La Crosse

Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

  • Guadalupe-Shrine-MapThe Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is nestled alongside a bluff in south side La Crosse, Wisconsin. It is a place of religious pilgrimage. A Pilgrim Center provides a restaurant and religious gift shop. An orientation film is available. An outdoor walking trail winds up along the bluff, with stops at various devotional areas, reaching the plaza and entry into the Shrine Church. Seeking peace and beauty? Visit the Shrine. Open Daily 9a.m.-4 p.m. Summer hours 9a.m.-7p.m. 608-782-5440. For Printable Map Information click on the map option to the right.

Carriage Ride for Any Occasion…by Hemmersbach Percherons Horses

At Cinderella Carriage we offer many services, we have taken part in many bride’s special day, as well as surprise parties, anniversaries & birthdays.  What better way to make your special someone’s dream come true! With a “Pumpkin” Cinderella Carriage, The Wagonette, or Vis-a-Vis Carriage ride. Weddings, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Family Reunions and more…Reservations required. (608)-606-0614, 30321 State Highway 27, Cashton, WI



Sparta Floral and Greenhouse: 608-269-4141

Give us a call and pre order your flowers for your special someone and have ready in your room when you arrive. One day notice please!


Sparta, Wisconsin Hand Built Bridges, by the Five Shovelmen

#1 Beaver Creek Covered Bridge– Built of commonly available materials, this bridge was built by volunteers, many of them of high school age or even younger. It was the first covered bridge of the current era to be built in downtown Sparta, and has impacted much improvement in the immediately adjacent area. Built in a blighted part of the community in 2009. The project was the first improvement in the area, which is now a beautiful plaza area complete with a farmers market.

  • Builder- The Five Shovelmen of Sparta, Wisconsin
  • DimensionsSpan length: 48.0 ft.
  • Total length: 48.0 ft.
  • Deck width: 9.0 ft.
  • Vertical clearance above deck: 8.0 ft

#2 Ben Bikin Park Footbridge– Multiple Kingpost through truss bridge over LaCrosse River. The Ben Bikin’ Park FootBridge was in response to a long standing civic goal to better connect the Bike Trail with downtown Sparta. Civic organizers had long been working to create a better trail system to guide bicyclists from the DNR Trail System on the City’s Southside to downtown district to better facilitate tourist commerce.

  • Built in 2011
  • Builder – The Five Shovelmen of Sparta, Wisconsin
  • Design- Multiple Kingpost through truss
  • Dimensions-Span length: 60.0 ft.
    Total length: 60.0 ft.
    Deck width: 12.0 ft.
    Vertical clearance above deck: 12.0 ft.

#3 The Pointe Covered Bridge– This is a beautiful covered bridge located in Evans-Bosshard Park. The bridge spans 48 feet, and has a 14 foot suspended approach on each end of the bridge to accommodate the highest water.  The truss style is a Multiple King Post, and is connected through plated embedded in the wood, also known as stealth plates. Roof and floor loads are brought to the truss nodes.The siding and roof details were completed during the Winter of 2013, with the final masonry details following in an abbreviated spring of that year.

  • Builder- The Five Shovelmen of Sparta, Wisconsin
  • Dimensions-Length of largest span: 48.0 ft.
  • Total length: 76.0 ft.
  • Deck width: 12.0 ft.
  • Vertical clearance above deck: 10.0 ft.

#4 Mary Morrow Covered Bridge– This is an authentic Town Lattice with real wooden treenails holding all connections. Town lattice truss bridge. It was built to replace a failing bridge in the winter of 2013-2014. The Mary Morrow Covered Bridge captured in the evening from the Morrow Home bank. (photo)

  • Design- Multiple Kingpost through truss
  • Builder- The Five Shovelmen of Sparta, Wisconsin
  • History-built to replace a bridge in the same location
  • Dimensions-Length of largest span: 48.0 ft.
    Total length: 60.0 ft.
    Deck width: 9.0 ft.
    Vertical clearance above deck: 10.0 ft

#5 Five Shovelmen Bridge– Located in Amundson Park going over the La Crosse River.

The bridge will connect the City of Sparta to the Elroy Sparta Bike trail system.  (This phase isn’t complete yet)  there will be a trail through the woods along US Silica’s property line over to Hammer Rd.  Then run down Hammer Rd and to the bike trail.

Once US Silica is done mining the bridge will serve the City of Sparta as a gateway to the new recreational area including Smith Lake, beach, boat launch and rustic camping sites.  The bridge was funded by US Silica and a DNR Stewardship grant that the Parks and Recreation Department applied for and received. 

  • Built- in 2016
  • Builders- The Five Shovelmen of Sparta, Wisconsin

#6 Bridging The Communication Gap- Bridging the communication gap the Five Shovelmen complete unique sign in Evans-Bosshard Park in 2015. The sign have park events and follows the town theme of the covered Bridges.

The Five Shovelmen have done so much for our town of Sparta, WI, THANK YOU!


Whitetail Ridge…the place for winter fun! Bring your skis and snowboards and head to Whitetail Ridge Ski Area where you can carve through the freshly groomed powder or zip down Fort McCoy’s Snow Tubing Hill. Wildlife often makes an appearance along the beautiful trails. Equipment Rental is available. Open to the public. 608-388-4498, 608-388-3517, or 800-531-4703.

Mount La Crosse Ski Area: Downhill skiing and snowboarding, chair lifts, tows, races, rentals, instructions and runs for all ability levels. 608-788-0044

Red Ridge Ranch Horseback and Sleigh Rides: Red Ridge Ranch offers horseback trail rides and sleigh rides through 250 acres of rolling farmland and wooded hills and during the winter. Sleigh rides a reservation is required. Bring your camera to capture all Wisconsin beauty! 608-847-2273

Open skating at Sparta Ice Arena: Open skate session are held from 6 to 7:30 pm during winter season. Cost is $2.00 per person and skates are available for rent at $3.00 a pair.

Cross Country Ski Trail Information:

  • River Run Golf Course and Sparta Parks:  “In the winter the entire park, including the Golf Course, is open for cross-country  skiing.”Public welcome to skiing; break your own or follow previously broken trails. Just a few blocks from the Franklin Victorian Bed and Breakfast.
  • Black River State Forest: At Millston, 27 miles. Groomed; has 24 miles of classic trail and 4 miles of skate trail. State park sticker required.
  • Perrot State Park: At Trempealeau, 42 miles. Groomed; has 9 miles classic and 1.2 miles skate trail.
  • Wildcat Mountain State Park: At Ontario, 28 miles. Groomed; has 7 miles classic and 5 miles skate trails.
  • Coulee Experimental State Forest: South of Bangor off WI 162 and Cty II, 20 miles. Both classic and skate trails, groomed by local club.
  • Whitetail Ridge: At Ft. McCoy, 9 miles. Classic trails, groomed only with drag.