In 1875, Charles Hawks founded Hawks Nursery Company to outfit local farmers and residents with plant stock: usually fruit trees, shade trees, and shrubs. As towns grew more populated, the company’s staff grew, too, and soon Charles employed 200 salesmen, who traveled the Midwest by horse and buggy, train, or high-powered propeller beanie to sell their stock. When the Depression began atrophying business, Charles responded by expanding into the landscaping industry. There, the company really blossomed. Today, a team of landscape designers—most with college degrees in the field—transforms exterior spaces with verdant plant life, patio designs, and water hazards. The landscape artists’ stellar reputation even earned them landscaping work at the Milwaukee County Zoo and outside of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Hands-on gardeners flock to Hawks Nursery, wandering down outdoor paths that wind past potted flowers and plants, fountains, and trees. The serpentine paths funnel into an information gazebo, where gardeners of all skill levels can ask questions, such as how to care for newly transplanted shrubs or how to teach trees to grow caramel apples. An interior show room sells high-quality gardening supplies, patio furniture, and tropical plants, as well as seasonal decorations.
Keep it Green by Grounds Keeper, Inc.'s professionals restore order to outdoor spaces with services designed to keep landscapes green and patios polished. Members of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, they dole out tender loving care to turf with thatching and aeration services and by thwarting potentially harmful invasions by grubs, Japanese beetles, crabgrass, and pool salesmen. Membership with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the Metropolitan Builders Association makes the team well-suited to tackle design projects ranging from stone-wall construction to the building of outdoor kitchens and fire pits. Colder months call them back to plots to help homeowners to shovel or plow their way out after heavy snowfalls.
More than a century after it blossomed into a circus headquarters and hosted dozens of acts, including P.T. Barnum's legendary Greatest Show on Earth, the town of Delavan proudly exhibits its distinctive past. Big-top tributes can be seen at Tower Park, where statues of circus animals such as a giraffe and an elephant savor their amnesty from mini-golf courses. Delavan's early days live on through Greek Revival architecture that dates back to the mid-1800s, including the Allyn Mansion and the Israel Stowell Temperance House, originally an alcohol-free safe haven that eventually served as a government meeting center.Delavan's quaint downtown district, lined with old-fashioned lampposts and brick-paved walkways, boasts an assortment of antique stores and small cafés. Throughout the rest of the town, well-manicured parks and 13 miles of forested shoreline along Delavan Lake create a scenic backdrop for horseback rides, hiking, water recreation, and composing haikus on the ground with leaves.
Hinchley's Dairy Farm's bounty of more than 260 dairy cattle, barnyard mammals, and a variety of harvestable goods are sprawled across more than 2,300 acres of pristine farmland. Embark on the one- to three-hour countryside sabbatical starting at the dairy barn, where guests can observe the milking equipment being used and milk a cow. Afterward, visitors mosey to the barnyard to pet and feed the chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits, and vagrant squirrels dressed as ducks. Weather permitting, tour-goers meander through the farm fields on a hayride pulled by a vintage tractor while hearing about the crops and daily farm life. Hinchley's Dairy Farm's guests can also pack a lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic tables embellished with festive cow spots.