Barn Quilts

I’ve got a plane ticket to Wisconsin and a rental car booked. I’m staying at a farm in Boscobel. But where am I REALLY going?

I start googling the area.It looks like it’s in the middle of the country. Boscobel is home of the Gideon Bible. It’s also in the driftless area of Wisconsin. What does that mean? I read a little about that and decide I will ask the farm owners. I did and they answered. It is without drift. Seriously, it has not been affected by glaciers so it is very diverse with hills, valley and limestone outcroppings.

I pulled up the geocaching website to investigate the area this way. (See this post if you are unfamiliar with my hobby.) Some geocaches are hidden in areas of interest to visitors. I read several cache pages in the area and was panning around and saw this very long row of caches southeast of Boscobel. I read they were on a bike trail in Green County and there was one geocache for each of the different “barn quilts” located in the county? Barn Quilts?! More Googling.

Green County has a Cheese Day every 2 years and in 2007 they made plans to have quilts squares painted on 8×8 plywood squares and hung on barns across the county by the next Cheese Day in 2008. They had hoped to have 30 and ended up having 75 for the first event. Now they have 130. The quilts are still being put up today. The quilt squares represents a family quilt or just a favorite they have chosen along with the colors and volunteer groups from family members, church groups, 4H or Boyscouts paint the quilts, then they are proudly hung on the barn for all to enjoy. For more info Green County Barn Quilts

I quickly checked the mileage from the Madison airport to Monroe and Monroe to Boscobel and saw that I didn’t have time to visit them with my flight landing at 3:30. I checked with Delta and it cost $150 to change my flight time! I was disappointed. This was Saturday morning.

THAT very afternoon, Delta called and my flight had been cancelled and they re-booked me for a later flight. The message said if I was unhappy with the re-booked time I could change it for no charge. YES!! What are the chances? See, it was that kind of trip. I moved it for 5:30 am. I am going to see some Quilt Barns tomorrow. I was so excited!!!

Even with a long delay I was in my car with 2 gps units, camera and Green County bound by 2am. The hunt was on. I won’t bore you with the details of the gps not liking the addresses of Wisconsin that I had scrawled out, or the fact that the coordinates were some datum that I don’t recognize or that I couldn’t find a quilt map to print out, I will just tell you how gorgeous Wisconsin is and how once I turned off the main highways I stopped and took pictures of every single barn whether it had a quilt on it or not! Alabama has farms and barns and tractors and cows but Wisconsin was so VAST. The sky was so big. The silos so tall. I was in love. There were few cars on the country roads. I didn’t turn the radio on. I drove in quiet. I drove below the speed limit in my red rental car.

I passed a big barn and looked back over  my shoulder and saw it, I was grinning from ear to ear. A quilt. I did a happy dance on the side of the road. I took pictures I put it on Instagram and text it to my hubby and my mother. It must be like the birdwatchers who finally get a glimpse of the rare whatchamacallit.

Isn’t it beautiful? Doesn’t it make you want to go?? Driving further south and taking it all in I continued to stop at every view point. I waved at the farmers, I took pictures of cows, churches, and red barns.  At this pace I will never get to Monroe.  I stopped and found a cache at the train depot in the cute town of New Glarus. It is an original Swiss settlement and is called America’s Switzerland. They were having a Polka festival and I really wanted to stay but I just drove through the town with my windows down listening to the music and then moved on to Monroe.

When I rolled into Monroe Welcome Center at 3:30 I had found about 6 quilt barns without a plan or map. This was also the National Historic Cheesemaking Center so they had a nice display with huge copper pots. 

A nice elderly couple gave me the “elusive”  quilt map and told me all about the quilts and history behind them and the cheese days. They helped me find the cache there, I bought a few cheesehead erasers and signed the visitors book. I asked them how long they thought it would take me to get to Boscebel. Then ensued a “best route” discussion among my new friends. It was during this dickering that I decided they must be married. She wanted me to take best road route, he the more direct route.  I wanted the most scenic so I didn’t choose either of their routes.  They bid me well and to be sure and get out and stretch on my trip to Boscebel (2 hours) and to drive careful. Sweet couple.

Making my way through the countryside I came across my favorite quilt. It was the experience that made it so. I had been down this road and hadn’t seen a car in over 30 minutes. This barn was close to the road which most of them are not. I had finished taking pictures and had just sat in my car when I heard horses hooves and then I saw the Amish cart top the hill. A mother and father sitting in the front. The mother was holding a rosy red cheeked little baby dressed in a long white dress and bonnet and as they pass I see 3 little faces peeking out the back window at me. What a moment to treasure! It was perfection. I could hear the hooves long after I could see them. I just sat there and enjoyed the moment. I didn’t know there were Amish here. We have Amish in Tennessee so I know how they feel about having their pictures taken so I did not take any photos out of respect. It was the first of many Amish carts I saw on my trip but it was my favorite. 

same as above just zoomed out, see how vast they are

It didn’t get old. I was just as excited the 7th spotting as the first. They are elusive little buggers, especially if you are by yourself. They are a few I especially wanted to find but time did not allow, but truly I would love to vacation here and tour the whole area visiting the farms, tasting the cheese, shopping at the Amish markets and disovering more of this beautiful part of America.

This was the last one I found and it was quite by mistake. I was across the road reading about the windmills for a virtual geocache. I was out of Green County so I was out of the “zone”!   I love the old chimney in the background and the giant windmill  (which is 330 feet tall)  and think this makes an awesome picture with a mixture of new and old.

I was getting close to the farm now but I saw this vista and pulled over for one last shot. I was reflecting on how awesome my day had been and how blessed I felt, and was thinking this day just can’t get any better.

As I returned back to my car I hear the clopping of horses hooves. A wagon with a mother and two teenage daughters came into view. They looked like a scene from Little House on the Prairie, with their country cotton dresses and bonnets on. The daughters both waved as they passed. This happened over and over to me while in Wisconsin, when I was full, I would be blessed with another gift.

I drove just a mile or two and turned onto Riley Road and into the home of Jean and Mike Murphy. I was welcomed by Jean and her mother cat Vietnam and her dog, Josie. Jean and Mike and her other guest Laura were just sitting down to fresh homemade pizzas Jean had just pulled out of the oven. I was overflowing.

Staying at Jean and Mike’s farm and visiting the Amish store deserve their own post. Coming soon.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it. Katey



8 thoughts on “Barn Quilts

  1. You had the trip of a lifetime – I know you will never forget it! I enjoy seeing the visuals since I have heard the tale first hand! Sounds like a DCW trip needs to be based around this!

  2. What a wonderful experience for you — and for your readers! I was immediately caught up in the tale and the photos. Would love to take that trip, myself. Quilting really interests me, so the barn quilts are fun addition to the scenery. As always — thanks for sharing. jerry

  3. I love barn quilts, I found a man in North Carolina that makes them in different sizes and the colors you want. I’m planning to get one for my house in Black Mountain. I can’t wait they are so cool. I bet your trip was a blast! Keep blogging I love your way of seeing nature and things around you.

    • Hello. Can you give me the name of the man in North Carolina who makes these barn quilts? I would like to purchase one for our barn in Ridgeville, SC. Thanks.

      • Patricia, I just painted one for my mom’s workshop. It’s 3×3. Look at my post in April 2013. If you are interested in painting one yourself!

        I do not have any contact info on anyone who makes these but I would suggest searching the Internet. Best of luck!! Katey

  4. Katey, it sounds like you enjoyed as much of the “barn quilt tour” in our Green County, Wisconsin as your time would allow. Hopefully you saw our quilt hanging over our farm. It’s the Marine Star pattern, honoring our youngest daughter’s service to our country. Every year, I enjoy the many visitors who stop by with questions and comments about the project. So glad you had time to enjoy our little part of Wisconsin. Come back soon! If you go online and search Green County Barn Quilts, you should be able to download a map and information on all of our barn quilts.

    • Thank you Connie. I did download a map but still they can be hard to find. I was happy and giddy with each find. I so want to take my mom back and find them all. thank you for your comment and I wished that I had seen yours. Thank you for your daughters service. Katey

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