Reserve your own room at River District Hotel for the nights of Sept. 26-28 608-326-7878, 130 S. Main St., Prairie du Chien, WI 53821; block of rooms is under Abby Marier/French Canadian Family Group. Rate is $129.99 +tax =$145 per night. Rooms have 2 queen beds; include hot breakfast with omelets to order, heated pool, happy hour cheese & crackers, cookies & milk before bed.
7:30 pm HOTEL LOBBY FIREPLACE: Meet new friends and make plans over happy hour.

MONDAY, SEPT. 27; meet in hotel lobby 8:30 am

The Vertefeuille house dates to 1810. (photo from Mary Elise Antoine)

MEET OUR COSTUMED GUIDE, Mary Elise Antoine, a historian of the upper Mississippi specializing in the material culture of French-Canadians — architecture and furnishings, life styles, Native American connections. LEARN about the BATTLE for PRAIRIE du CHIEN in the War of 1812, treaties between the U.S. and Native nations 1825-1929. TOUR 2 HISTORIC HOUSES made with piece sur piece log construction. After a box lunch, ENJOY voyageur chansons and story telling at a third historic home. TAKE A BREAK: nap, walk through the nearby historic downtown, shop … Dinner on your own. Return to the our hotel for a short READERS’ THEATER on ZEBULON PIKE’s 1805-06 expedition through Prairie du Chien.

TUESDAY, SEPT 28; meet in hotel lobby 8:30 am

At The Barn, we end with a festive dinner.

Visit the old FRENCH CEMETERY, the oldest house (newly-restored) and St. Gabriel’s Church. Lunch on your own at a nearby cafe. In the afternoon, TOUR the FORT CRAWFORD MUSEUM (check out the genealogy tree and extensive background on the five original families). CONSIDER the 1825 and 1829 INDIAN TREATIES signed there and discuss them from the points of view of those who signed it. Take an afternoon break. PERIOD MUSIC and DANCE by Jane Peck and Danielle Enblom at Germaine dit Gauthier house. FESTIVE FRENCH-CANADIAN DINNER at The Barn Restaurant.


On the way home, visit a historic park:

  • Pike’s Peak State Park, McGregor, Iowa; Free. At the peak, view the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. In 1895 Lt. Zebulon Pike chose the confluence as a possible site for a fort.
  • Effigy Mounds National Monument: 151 IA-76, Harpers Ferry, Iowa; Free. The 200+ mounds preserved here are considered sacred by many tribes. A visit offers opportunities to contemplate the meanings of the mounds and those who built them.
  • Nicholas Perrot State Park: 26247 Sullivan Rd, Trempealeau, Wisconsi. $11 entry fee. A historical marker near the entry identifies the site of Nicolas Perrot’s winter fur trade post from 1685. It became a French fort in 1732.

Bring: a costume or artifact appropriate to the era, stories, genealogy, portable chair, water bottle.

  • Cost: $100 per person to reserve: includes box lunch, dinner, entertainment and our guide Mary Elise. To register by Sept. 1, send your name, phone, email and check to :
                            Don Marier at 2158 Commonwealth Ave., St. Paul 55108.

More complete schedule and information will be emailed upon registration.


The map of Prairie du Chien is from 1870 (Wiki Commons).

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