Hiking, Growing, Gazing at the Villa!
Join us for a tour of the Villa St. Joseph grounds with a guided sunset hike and ridgetop stargazing. This popular annual event offers a family-friendly experience with the unique opportunity to visit the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration villa gardens and grounds with afternoon views from the bluff and a starry night sky from telescopes. The event is the only public tour of this private property each year.
Participants who tour the beautiful hilltop property will learn about the sustainable horticulture techniques that produce hundreds of pounds of fruits and vegetables for the Sisters each year. Included will be a tour of the state of the art greenhouse. Along with the greenhouse/garden tours, guides will lead group hikes of this unique and peaceful land out to the spectacular bluff overlook. Snacks and outdoor games will be offered by Conservancy sponsor Verve, a credit union, while we wait for the sun to set. This family-friendly event will include face painting and a constellation craft activity for children. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own picnics.
This event is offered by Mississippi Valley Conservancy as part of its celebration of Wisconsin Land Trust Days, in partnership with the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) and the La Crosse Area Astronomical Society.
4:30 p.m. – Arrival and Check in with Conservancy staff
5:00 p.m. – Welcome
5:00 p.m. – Group A: Greenhouse/garden tour and Group B: Guided hike
6:00 p.m. – Break for refreshments, craft, relaxation, and socializing
6:30 p.m. – Group B: Greenhouse/garden tour and Group A: Guided hike
7:30 p.m. – Break for refreshments, craft, relaxation, and socializing
8:15 p.m. – Star Gazing with the La Crosse Area Astronomical Society
9:30 p.m. – Event ends
What to bring: Water bottle, blanket for sitting on the ground/stargazing, insect repellent and sunscreen (if desired), hat and sweatshirt (if desired), hiking shoes or boots (optional). There will be refreshments and snacks, and you are also welcome to bring your own picnic.
Advance registration is required by September 11 for this free, family-friendly event. Our system requires individual registrations for each attendee. Parent's email can be used for child registrations.
From La Crosse, take Hwy 33 east to St. Joseph’s Ridge. The Villa is at the end of the town. Please park in the parking lot that is just past the Villa on the left, watching for Mississippi Valley Conservancy signs. Please do not pull in and park in the actual Villa parking lot.