Men’s day out in Baraboo

December 18, 2022

My wife wanted to go Christmas shopping in Baraboo with our little friend group.  We’re three married couples, and we like spending a day together.  It’s fun.

Spending a day shopping with our wives, though?  Oof.

Of course, we went.  We went to Baraboo because we heard their downtown is great, with shops that sell way better things than you get at a big box store.  I’ll admit, it was really nice.  

I’ll admit something else: I wasn’t sure whether this was my kind of place.  I was wrong, but we’ll get to that later.

We split up after grabbing some coffee at this place called Coffee Bean Connection.  Our wives left right away, we sat for a while.  We’d have liked to stay longer – seemed like a nice place – but after browsing the coffee selection (stocking stuffers!) and different coffee makers, we headed out to try some shopping, too.  That’s why we came, after all.

First place we went was a place down the street called Eclectic Treasures.  We went in thinking “meh, just some kind of antiques place,” but then we saw a wall of vintage 1970s and 80s lunch boxes.  That took us back.  And piles of old tools that… tell you what, with a little work, that would look great on the man cave wall.  

Vintage beer glasses, too.  We found more of those down the street at Oak Street Antiques, where we also found a collection of vintage vinyl from as far back as the ‘60s!  And more of that at another place  called Eye of the Beholder.  We almost lost Ron in the vintage comic there.

This all led us to the Spin Shack, down the street and around the corner.  They had both vintage and new vinyl there, and classic video games, too.  That was right across the street from the Radio Shack, and I can’t resist browsing through electronics.  And drones.  I love drones.  

Then the music store.  Baraboo Music.  Walls of guitars, and banjos, and keyboards, and… well, I don’t know what all those things were, but there were a lot of them.  And if you can’t play it yet, they offer lessons.  

Baraboo seems too small to have a place like that, but there it was.

Then we remembered we were supposed to be Christmas shopping and wandered into Spirit Lake Trading Company.  Polished stones, crystals, glass bowls shaped to fit on driftwood bases (those were pretty cool) – and then the clerk said: “Don’t miss the fossilized poop.”

Fossilized.  Poop.  The most common kind of fossil there is, he said.  

Do you know someone who needs some fossilized poop for Christmas?  Of course you do.  Everybody does.  And a bourbon flavored candle.  

We’d been at it a couple hours already and were thinking about food and maybe a drink.  Seems like we’d passed a lot of places.  We stopped in Jen’s Alpine Café because they had a list of different kinds of homemade pie, and then headed toward a local brewery, the Al Ringling Brewing Company, just a couple blocks from there.  An actual brewery, in a little downtown like this.  We had to see it, and… that’s when we ran into the wives.  They’d been waiting in the Coffee Bean Connection, and came looking for us.

Get this: they were annoyed that we were taking so long.

We realized that we have to come back.  There are three different collectible stores on the Baraboo Square that we didn’t get to, and so many different bars and restaurants.  And a place called DEZ Tactical Arms (found that on the website, too) where you can rent a gun and try it out on their range.  And 608 Axe Throwing just up the road from Coffee Bean.  

So, see, I was wrong.  We had a lot of fun Christmas shopping in downtown Baraboo.  Next week we’ll come back and get some actual Christmas shopping done.