The House on the Rock

After a few very crazy weeks – bacheloretting around Chicago, two wedding weekends, a Hamilton history lesson, and just soaking up as much Wisconsin as possible – I’m returning to my regularly scheduled blogging. Or at least I hope so. I’m currently still in Wisconsin – I have one more event to attend this weekend – but Sean’s on his way back to Tbilisi now, so things have calmed down considerably. I’m actually currently not sure exactly where he is since his flight was canceled and rescheduled. He tried calling me at 3:58 am, but now I think his phone is off so I can only hope he’s airborne.

I’m not particularly worried, but communication is always tricky in transit.

Anyway.

Last week we did a little mini-tour of central Wisconsin which included the very strange House on the Rock. And what an experience it was.

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Construction of the House on the Rock began in 1945 by a man named Alex Jordan who envisioned a manmade retreat filled with all his favorite things. The architecture of the house is as weird and wacky as the numerous collections currently housed in this massive space. The 14-room house is the original structure of what is now a complex of many buildings, exhibits, and garden displays. Exhibits include the dollhouse room, the organ room, the carousel room, the Streets of Yesterday, and the infinity room, just to name a few.

A collector all his life, Alex enjoyed visiting museums and experiencing the world as it once was. I’m not one for museums, and thankfully, Alex never intended for his collections to feel like one. Instead, the House on the Rock feels more like a fantastical journey into the imagination of one man and is truly an experience unlike any other.

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We, unfortunately, only had time to experience two sections of this massive three-part tour. Or perhaps it was fortunate our time was limited, and we had to rush through the parts we did see. While this wasn’t your average everyday museum, it was still very bizarre. It didn’t help me personally that I hadn’t eaten much and was hopped up on coffee as we meandered through room after room of displays. It seemed every time we entered a new section of the house things took a turn for the peculiar. I did enjoy the complex music machines and whimsical nature of the Streets of Yesterday, but once I peered into the imitation shop windows the creepy factor set in. Why so many dolls?! Why is everything so dark? Was this Alex Jordan guy ok? I have so many questions.

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Our tour ended with the carousel room, and at this point, I had had enough. I was hot, dehydrated, hungry, and thoroughly creeped out. Between the music, mirrors, and of course, the carousel itself which showcases a dazzling carousel with 269 animals, 20,000 lights and 183 chandeliers, I got some major vertigo and had to step outside. Sean agrees I did as well as I possibly could, and it was time for some food and normalcy.

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I don’t know if or when I will return to the House on the Rock. Part of me wants to see the third section we missed, and part of me wants to run screaming from the whole experience. I’d say if you happen to find yourself in Spring Green, it’s definitely worth a curious glance at the very least.

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