At the beginning of last year, I did a blog post on my books of 2020 and I mentioned The House on the Rock, which I read about in American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I talked about it all the time and I thought about going several times for a long weekend. Last week, we finally made it a reality.
We had intended to wait until May, but with some things in our life changing, we didn’t want to lose our chance, so we decided to go asap. We booked a room for the following week, leaving at night after I got off work, and coming back two days later on a Saturday in time for me to get back to my other job on Sunday.
Honestly, I don’t even know how to talk about this place. It was the most bizarre, amazing, fantastical place I have ever been and I already want to go back. The website says that it takes 2 hours to walk through the exhibit, but some friends of mine said to take two days. My husband seemed to be leaning towards the “two hours” time slot, but being the wonderful gentleman that he is, he humored me and we got there a little after 11am so we would have 5+ hours to enjoy it all.
As you can maybe already tell, my other half was going for me. It wasn’t that he explicitly didn’t want to go or anything like that, it’s just something that he would have never picked if it wasn’t for me. Partway through the exhibit, he changed his mind. I think he took more pictures than I did!
There are 3 sections, or according to me, 3 and 1/2. Section 1 is the original house and Japanese gardens, section 2 are the exhibits, and section 3 contains his collections. The half section I’m referring to is the intro exhibit where you see some pieces and photos and learn about the builder, Alex Jordan himself. It is very interesting and it really helps set the tone for the whole tour. I can’t say it helps it all make sense, because that amazing place could never make sense, but it at least explains the intriguing individual who had those amazing visions.
Picking a favorite part is almost impossible. Almost. In my Books of 2020 blog post, I also spoke about the book Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. My favorite story in that lovely book is called “The Tarot Witch.” It’s a 17 page story about two brothers who become fascinated by an old, breaking down, coin operated fortune teller machine in an arcade. They’re convinced that The Tarot Witch inside is a real woman and that they must save her. It is one of the most magical stories I have ever read. Lucky for me, The House on the Rock has its own Tarot Witch, Ms. Esmerelda, who resides in The Streets of Yesterday. She must really know all just like she says, because for the cost of one token, she gave us two fortunes. There is another one of these machines in the restaurant in the Tribute to Nostalgia section, and as I stuck a token in, I realized she didn’t have the same magic as Ms. Esmerelda did.
I have to say that I would not want to go through The House on the Rock alone. I like creepy, but usually in books and on TV. The House on the Rock had some parts that I admit, had me clinging to my husband’s hand a little tighter. It is definitely something I recommend going to see with a loved one. Even if they’re skeptical about going, there is truly something for EVERYONE.
About partway through section 2, we found the little eatery in the Tribute to Nostalgia section. For some reason, it seemed like a really long time without food! It was probably simply because we spent so much time taking pictures in the Heritage of the Sea exhibit, but I was starving! I have to confess, the food was only one of two small disappointments. The food options consisted mostly of concession stand foods. We enjoyed it just fine, but I felt like such plain food was in stark contrast to such a magical place. We did get to try Blue Moon ice cream at the ice cream parlor though, and that was really neat.
My other disappointment was the fact that you couldn’t go into any of the buildings in the Streets of Yesterday. The Streets of Yesterday was so visually stunning, it was my favorite section. I only wish you could go into the buildings instead of only peering in through windows. If they had a restaurant in the Streets of Yesterday, I think I would try and take up permanent residence there! I could have looked at that lovely scene forever.
While he didn’t officially say, I think my husband’s favorite part was the Heritage of the Sea, where there is a famous 3 story sculpture of a massive whale-like creature being attacked by a giant squid. It is breathtaking to see, and the scale models of ships and other nautical treasures along the way keep your eyes busy. It is truly a marvel.
We took so many pictures that it was hard to only choose a few, but the ones here were my “Greatest Hits.” If you haven’t ever been here, I encourage you to consider it for your next getaway. Next time we go, and there will most certainly be a next time, we want to take two days to see it all. We left the house around 4 and it didn’t close until 5, but we both felt that we would enjoy it more of we took it in over two days instead of one.
If you go to House on the Rock or if you’ve been there before, I really want to know what your favorite part is and why. And if you know of other fun things to do in the Spring Green, Wisconsin area, please comment here!