A perfect summer Thursday in Portage for the museum lover:
Begin the day by experiencing history in the restored 1832 Indian Agency House, built for John Kinzie, Indian Agent to the Ho-Chunk. The house stands on its original spot overlooking the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers and facing the site of Fort Winnebago.
Then take a half-mile trip over to the Fort Winnebago Surgeons’ Quarters and enjoy a guided tour of the only remaining building of Fort Winnebago. This 1824 French Colonial house sitting on its original foundation served as the home of surgeons from 1834-1845. See authentic period displays and intriguing Fort Winnebago artifacts, including the original hospital operating table. Walk across the beautifully manicured lawn and see Garrison School, a one-room schoolhouse kept in the original condition when it was used continuously from 1850-1960. Following Surgeons’ Quarters tour, head east on Highway 33 about one mile to downtown Portage and enjoy a home-cooked meal at one of a number of diners in the downtown district.
After you have satisfied your appetite, go to the Portage World War II History Museum, located in the middle block of downtown Cook St., and see unique, astounding artifacts from the war effort, both on the home front and abroad. The guided two-hour tour is full of interesting information; everyone—hardcore war history buff or not—is sure to appreciate some aspect of the museum.
From there you may still have time to catch a tour of Museum at the Portage, located just a half mile away. This museum, formerly Pulitzer Prize winner Zona Gale’s home with her study preserved, is full of artifacts and images from Portage’s rich history. Portage also happens to be the home of the American Legion State Headquarters & Museum located on the north side of town. This museum is packed with artifacts from the history of the American Legion including uniforms, medals and more.
A perfect summer day in Portage for the art lover:
Portage is a town that loves and appreciates the arts. The downtown district has several venues that display art as well as sell arts and crafts. The Mercantile in the middle block of Cook St. in downtown has a gallery along with unique items for sale. Also within walking distance is the Drury Gallery located inside Portage Center for the Arts on Cook St. Each Thursday afternoon, the Farmers Market located at Commerce Plaza is a bustling parking lot full of activity offering fresh fruits and vegetables along with homemade crafts. Cap off the afternoon by dining at one of our nice eating establishments, then see the latest flick while throwing back some tasty buttered popcorn at the seven-screen Portage Theatres. Equipped with surround sound and 3D capabilities, the theatre is a perfect way to cap off a day of taking in the arts.
A perfect summer day in Portage for the recreation lover:
Enjoy a quiet, peaceful canoe ride on the Fox River in the morning. Stop for lunch at a number of diners in Portage, then walk along the Ice Age Trail. Or jog along the Wisconsin Levee Trail, a paved 2.5-mile trail running alongside the Wisconsin River. Or bike along Columbia County's many scenic byways.