If you're looking for countryside that large numbers of vacationers haven't yet discovered, try this beautiful stretch of the Mississippi River that's surrounded by high bluffs (it stretches southeast from Red Wing, Minnesota). You can just drive through the area if you want—there are plenty of overlooks for picnicking and lots of interesting byways—or you can go sailing or fishing on the water.
Lake Pepin is actually the widest stretch of the Mississippi River—more than 3 mi/5 km from riverbank to riverbank. The lake exists because the fast-moving Chippewa River flows into the slow-moving Mississippi, creating a natural dam. Take time to stop in the small towns that are found on both sides of the river. In Wisconsin you'll find Nelson (cheese factory and store); Pepin, (Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder was born there—7 mi/11 km northwest is a replica of her home, "Little House in the Big Woods"); and Stockholm (the oldest Swedish settlement in Wisconsin, which has lots of antiques and craft shops). No matter what town you stop in, make some time for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie: Pastry is accorded great reverence in these parts. Lake Pepin is 210 mi/338 km northwest of Milwaukee.
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