“YOU KIDS GET OUTSIDE!”

When I was a kid, and agreed I had too much energy for my own good, I heard this phrase repeatedly. Typically, it was by this point in the day my brothers and I had the daily chores done on the farm, Dad wasn’t in the immediate area to assign any others, and we were pulling a full-on death cage wrestling match in the living room. Mom, and probably my sister Annette too, had enough of the man-children destroying the house.

Ridge and Valley Hospitality’s outdoor patio and dining area.

This phrase has been top of mind as of late as we started our Airbnb up with not only a focus on a nice living space but also a very nice patio area with bistro lighting, a grill, and a fire pit for a campfire. So what is bugging me about this you ask? (If you didn’t ask you should have because here it comes.) Despite our best efforts to encourage guests to use the outdoor spaces more than half of our guests arrive, promptly go upstairs and lock themselves inside for hours on end, not using the fire pit, not eating outside or using the grill, or even venturing away from the property to another activity. Our latest guests, a very nice group of an adult big sister with middle school to early high school aged sisters, spent the first full 24 hours in the guest suite while the weather was perfect outside.

I can hear your first thoughts, “Well gee Marty, if they are young couples, put yourself in their shoes, what the heck do you think they are doing?” However, those who have used the outside spaces are the couples. My thoughts on this subject, most of those who have sequestered inside the property are from Chicago, Milwaukee, very urban locations. I suspect their previous habits led them to stay inside. They have marveled at the beauty of our area, and the outside of the property, but can’t break the old habit of staying indoors. Yes we have a small sample size, I will keep an eye on it and report back, but it leads me to a command for anyone and everyone who reads this.

GET OUTSIDE!

If you are from the Midwest, you remember this past winter right? I do! I remember the 30 degrees, below zero, temps in which it was so cold I saw two dogs with jumper cables trying to jump start a rabbit so they could chase it. It was snot-in-your-nose-immediately-freezing-as-you-stepped-outside cold. That is coming back folks, January and February in Wisconsin is not for the faint of heart. We have just a few months of pleasant weather left, get out and enjoy it!

If you are visiting Richland County in the Spring, Summer, or Fall, there is plenty to do outside. You can go kayaking down the Pine River, just contact Mark at Pine River Paddle and Tube LLC https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60233-d10594621-r566262170-Pine_River_Paddle_and_Tube_LLC-Richland_Center_Wisconsin.html

If you tell Mark we sent you he will give you a kayak that actually floats! Just kidding, Mark does an excellent job of setting you up and is a character worth meeting in his own right.

Ride or walk the Pine River Bike Trail: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60233-d10409287-Reviews-Pine_River_Trail-Richland_Center_Wisconsin.html

The trail closer to Lone Rock tends to be in better condition, as you get closer to Richland Center the elevation is lower and can be affected by floods on the river. I have ridden the trail many times and the wildlife on the trail is phenomenal.

Pier Natural Bridge Park, Rockbridge. https://parkscommission.co.richland.wi.us/county-parks/pier-natural-bridge-park/

This park is a great view into the Driftless Region of Wisconsin with some awesome rock formations and hiking trails.

Finally, and yes this is quite self-serving, check out Ridge and Valley Tours. https://ridgeandvalleytours.com

Get out on the farms, visit the calves, goats, yaks, beef cattle, and swine. Learn about the agriculture of the Driftless Area and how it is changing with the times. Come with us to visit wineries, breweries, and cheese factories of the area and enjoy a true farm-to-fork meal at the end. We only have 3 months remaining of the season and we have had many, and I mean many, people inquire about tours and comment they need to come join us before the end of the season.

Kids love the hands-on engagement with calves and young goat kids.

Time is running out, with less than 3 months left of the tour season we are well beyond half-way through. If you have a group of 5 or more, contact us directly at ridgeandvalleytours@gmail.com and we can tailor-make that tour that suits your interests. Let us know what you want to see and we will take you there, and back.

Get outside, now, time is wasting.

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