Where to go for a cheap shopping weekend?I need an idea for a friends weekend that includes some good thrift stores for thrift shopping and an inexpensive place to stay and eat within 100 miles or so of Menomonie, WI. - Margaret from Menomonie, Wis. Well, the nearest thrift stores to you are in the Twin Cities, and there are a lot of them, but that's no fun.
You and your friends need to drive just a little bit farther to the Bargain Nooks in southwest Wisconsin. They're non-profit thrift stores that have 95 percent Land's End catalog returns at super low prices — right now, they'll have a lot of new swim suits, and there are always new shirts, pants and shoes, $4-$10. They're in Spring Green and Mineral Point, which also have many artist galleries and shops; New Glarus, where you also can stock up on European pastries, sausage and imported chocolate; and Platteville and Darlington. You could stay inexpensively at the Quality Inn in Mineral Point, 608-987-4747, though you'll get a lot more charm at the Chalet Landhaus in New Glarus, and it's not that much more expensive. For details, see Power shopping in Wisconsin and Grazing in Wisconsin.
For more about the towns, see Drawn to Spring Green; Mining for art in Mineral Point and Swiss at heart.