First a little back story…Back in May I saw a post on Instagram about a food drive. Earlier, I had started following a non-profit called Cruelty Free You + Me and they had organized a plant-based food drive to gather supplies for another organization that was getting food to people in need. I wanted to help.
That’s when I met Vick Hauptman. She’s the founder of CFYM and the organizer for the food drive. CFYM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, their mission is to help communities in need and to advocate for and support animal sanctuaries. One sanctuary they support is SoL Criations. A recent donation drive raised money for Vick to buy the supplies we delivered on our visit.
Roadtrips require seeking out all the vegan food and we found some great spots! Our first stop was Surya Cafe. We visited their Fitchburg location, which is attached to a yoga studio. The space was beautiful and peaceful, there’s no other way to describe it than saying it was very Zen. We seemed to be the only people there besides the cook and the manager, but it was lovely. We ordered online, then sat in their courtyard. The Sushi Bowl was fantastic.
We made it!
SoL Criations is a small family-owned sanctuary in Endeavor, WI. It’s a lovely 3-hour drive from the Chicago area (we left from Westmont, IL). Of course, that’s not including food stops, but when you’re traveling with awesome people, time flies!
The farm was transformed from a 20-acre alpaca farm to an animal sanctuary by Brenda and Jon Vetter. They started their journey to becoming vegans when they saw the interconnectedness of all life. Now it’s their mission to help others reawaken their innate compassion and make these connections.
Fun fact: Cria is the name for baby alpacas.
The sanctuary is home to birds (chickens, ducks, guinea fowls, etc), pigs, donkeys, goats, sheep, dogs and cats. They come from a variety of situations with some needing new homes because of owners passing away while others come from abusive situations or were very close to slaughter.
We had a beautiful afternoon meeting the animals. As we met the animals, Brenda shared the stories of how many of them came to live at the sanctuary. Most importantly, we gave quality pets and scratches to anyone interested!
Side note: I loved their little compost outhouse! It was adorable and sustainable. They used a lemonade jar over a sink to provide a way for guests to wash their hands. So perfect!
On our return home, we stopped at Pig Minds Brewing in Machesney Park, IL. Known for its handcrafted ales, it also offers an entirely plant-based menu! There were many items I wanted to try, but I settled on the Buffalo Chikin’ Wrap and I wasn’t disappointed. However, I wasn’t so crazy about the side of slaw. Stella had the Nashville Hot Chikin’ sandwich and declared it good. I messed up and ordered the kimchi for her side and she wasn’t happy about that. Overall, I would love to go back someday to try more options and maybe have a beer.
I totally love a good day trip and this one was among the best. We ate yummy vegan food and supported a beautiful sanctuary all within a day’s travel.