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Montello Family Vacation Ideas Include Fishing, Movies, and Sour Lollipops. Montello Has Wisconsin's Oldest Tree Imagine a spot with enough small town charm that it could be a movie set - that's Montello. It has the ideal small town atmosphere, the old stone buildings, faded billboard signs, two lakes, and as the center piece four waterfalls cascade over red granite into the old quarry.  This quaint little town is in central Wisconsin, a blip on the tourist map but just minutes from White Rock Lake Resort and great fishing adventures.
My cousin and I discovered Montello on our first escape from parents. We had two choices Princeton or Montello, and we took the road heading west. Small towns in Wisconsin are always comfortable, meaning real and friendly, meaning folks make eye contact. Residents answer questions with eagerness and an unmistakable accent, likely caused by eating too many cheese curds. Even before we saw the governmental green population sign, I had an image of Montello.
One stop light controls the traffic and provides a those waiting for the light to change, time to enjoy the waterfalls tumbling into the quarry. Montello has an interesting if limited assortment of shops, the town works for me. Providing an  ice cream shop, antique stores and a movie theater and Montello delivers, the comfortable and friendly. 

Not-to-be missed is B & B’s Country Store. Located on Montello Street within view of the falls, this is the spot to shop for good stuff, like jawbreakers, candy lipstick-sweet tarts, and candy buttons. They also have bubble tape (sour apple) and blow pop way sour lollipops. The 100-year-old building, with hardwood floors, wooden cases and marble counters, creates the feeling of and an old-time candy store. Candy is still scooped from glass jars. Above all, they offer a lovely menu of ice cream flavors with toppings and malts as well as shakes. Want to try a coke float? This is the place. During our week in the area we were able to return five out of the seven days to enjoy hand scooped and packed luscious Wisconsin creamy ice cream.  It is not all sweet, sweet, sweet. They also sell coffee, tea, toys, games, candles, handmade soaps and lotions. 

Take in an old movie. The obvious benefit to Montello is the old movie theater. Old meaning vintage, it is slightly quirky in a fun way, no high resolution screen, no balcony or surround sound, yet it works. The comfy burgundy colored leather seats are framed by slightly worn yet still black, wrought iron. Two aisles divide the 1960s space making it friendly. Be forewarned that the theater has one show time daily and only one movie per week, on the plus side you won’t be able to argue on what movie to see. The movie selection is always a popular one. We saw da Vinci Code. The snack prices are great. Imagine paying $1.00 for popcorn! And the movie ticket was only $3.00, making it very affordable teens or families. The theatre is located on the main street near the red granite water falls which makes it hard to miss. 

Montello is wireless, really! Well, maybe not the city but, there is a spot. For most teens, and I am no exception, staying connected to my friends even when I am away with the family, is important. So, I am always looking for connection spots. White Lake Beach Resort has wireless on the deck near the restaurant and I discovered that the local laundermat in Montello also has wireless connections. Do the laundry, surf the web, and check e-mail in one location, cool. Montello Wisconsin Swan on the River

Trivia and cool facts abound. While in Montello it is impossible not to hear about local stuff. For trivia buffs these facts will come as no surprise. For example, it is the home of the largest tree in Wisconsin. The awesome cottonwood sits in the front yard of the Old Granite Mansion, one of Montello’s most famous historical spots. We did a drive to confirm its existence. It is also a fact that Montello granite is some of the best in the world. It may be seen in plenty of monuments and mausoleums including the Custer monument and the monuments to Wisconsin soldiers at Gettysburg and Chickamauga. Perhaps most noted, Montello granite was used for the sarcophagi of General and Mrs. U.S. Grant at Riverside Park, New York.

Montello, has small town charm. It could be a movie set. To see it in person (from White Lake Beach Resort) turn west on Highway 23. That will get you ice cream and a movie. For pizza go east to Princeton and for cheese curds you will have to go to Berlin. 

Make it Happen
White Lake Beach Resort. 19th Avenue Montello, Wisconsin 53949. (608) 297-2278 or
Montello Movie Theater. 30 East Montello Street 53949. (608) 297-7300.
B & B’s Country Store. 28 W. Montello Street WI 53949. (608 297-7511, toll-free 1-877-335-0180 or  
Freitags IGA Foods. If you find this store, you will see the laundermat with Internet connections. This IGA sells cheese curds, just in case you feel the need.  628 Main St. 53949. (608) 297-2848.

Content and images posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Updated copyright 2014.
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