It is a small town in Wisconsin with a population that hovers around 900. It is in Pepin County, the smallest county in Wisconsin, located on the western edge right on the Mississippi River. It has a K-12 school system, a marina, two gas stations, a beautiful public library, a village president and board, two churches (Methodist & Lutheran), and is the home to the birth site of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Thousands of visitors each year from around the world (32 countries in 2005) come to see where the famous author was born. Little House in the Big Woods is the book based on her days near Pepin, and each fall the town celebrates Laura Days, the second full weekend in September.
Pepin is a city in Wisconsin.
Pepin is about 70 miles southeast of Minneapolis/St. Paul. If flying, come through that airport. If you have your own plane, you can come in through Red Wing Airport, about 30 miles away. If you’re driving, it’s right on Wisconsin Hwy 35, also known as the Great River Road because it runs along the Mississippi River.
Walk or drive, those are your choices. There’s no public transportation, but then you can walk from one end of town to the other in about 15 minutes.
There are a lot of bicyclists that like to ride around the lake (85 miles). Mopeds are big with the locals, and motorcyclists can be heard for miles every weekend from April to November.
There is a large, busy marina. Dan’s Pepin Marina has some transient docking. The Pickle Factory restaurant has their own 200 foot dock for their customers, and there’s a public landing with a fancy, updated fish house for cleaning your catch.
“Lake Pepin ought to be visited by every poet and painter in the land.” William Cullen Bryant
Visit the Laura Museum April-October.
The town is on Lake Pepin, a 28 mile x 3 mile lake which is also a wide spot on the Mississippi river. You can fish year round on the river. Minnesota runs along the other side. Sailing is huge on this lake because it is surrounded by bluffs that make the winds shifty. Even on a calm day you can usually find a puff or two to move your boat.
The Tiffany Wildlife Refuge, a 14,000 acre area just outside of town, provides a home to over 300 species of birds. Fish are everywhere, and whether it’s 80 degrees or 10 below, the fisherman are out dropping lines in the water – even if they have to cut through the ice to get there.
Shopping opportunities start with BNOX Gold and Iron, a jewelry shop and art gallery on the waterfront.
Dockside Mercantile is also on the river, “offering clothing, shoes and gifts for your real life”.
Smith Brothers Landing is a great place to find plants and iron work, while enjoying a walk along the beach.
T&C Latane’ is where with fire and simple hand tools Tom and Catherine Latane’ produce inspired metalwork.
Lakeview Art & Antiques is a fun place to find a little bit of everything old.
The Country Stop of Pepin is an outside market that has produce and lawn ornaments, along with other seasonal stuff.