Summer nights in Solon Springs
In Wisconsin, big-name musicians find their way to a small-town park.
© Beth Gauper
A crowd listens to a blues concert at Lucius Woods County Park in Solon Springs.
Just two miles from the start of the Bois Brule, another famous river flows in the opposite direction.
It's the St. Croix, flowing out of Upper St. Croix Lake and toward the Mississippi River. The two rivers are separated by a continental divide but became an important water highway for Indians, explorers and fur traders.
Today, their two-mile portage trail is part of the North Country National Scenic Trail and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On the western edge of Upper St. Croix Lake, 23 miles from the town of Brule, Solon Springs is a small resort village that makes an excellent weekend getaway.
We had another shopping destination in mind — Oulu Glass, in an old Finnish enclave just north of Brule, the paddling and fishing hub just to the north, on U.S. 2.
Jim Vojacek sells his art glass at galleries in Duluth and Bayfield, and I have two of his vases in art-nouveau swirls of blue and green.
I was dying to see the mother lode. But when I walked into the gallery, my eyes nearly popped out of my head.
“Sometimes, people come in and say, ‘I don’t think I can look at all of this today,’ ’’ said Kyra Robinson, Sue Vojacek’s niece, who was minding the overflowing shop.
Needless to say, I spent some money. In this corner of northwest Wisconsin, there’s more to do than paddle.
Trip Tips: Solon Springs
Oulu Glass sells its work in a whimsical gallery near Brule