Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Vacay Report!

Hey everyone! I hope you're all having a great Memorial Day weekend!! We're having quite possibly the best Mem Day weekend ever, so don't even try to compete. Just kidding, but we are having a great weekend and even though it's insanely effing hot out there already there's just something so wonderful about the start to summer!! I am about to wet myself I am so excited about the outdoor pools opening tomorrow at the Y! Seriously, at our little dinner party Friday night at around 8 pm it was still in the 80's and I got bit by my first 'skeeter of the season.

But here it is, some pics (last) and highlights of our recent trip to Wisconsin, Michigan (UP) & Iowa!

We flew in Thurs night and landed around 9:15. It was a great flight and Midwest was a wonderful airlines. Our stewardness was super nice, and came back a second time handing out extra choc chip cookies (they bake them on the planes....they're delish, just like Doubletree.)

Friday morning we went to the Milwaukee Zoo, which was FULL of school kids on end of year trips. It was an OK zoo, not the best we've ever been to. A lot of the animals live in glass cages, not the more open air type environments you see now. I guess that has a lot to do with the weather in Wisconsin. After the Zoo we did the Miller tour, which was also pretty fun. We love factory tours and this one was pretty ok, it wasn't as detailed as Coors or Ben & Jerry's, but still fun. From there we headed to the Milwaukee Museum of Art. They have a GREAT museum. It's so gorgeous, and certainly one of the most unique buildings I've ever seen. Their collection is a great size and spans lots of various time periods. I prefer the Van Gogh-Monet-Renoir type paintings and then the more modern (but not super modern) type works of Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and things of that time period. (The Museum of Modern Art in NYC is my fave!) The collection was huge there and I'm really glad we went. By this point we were starved and we headed over to a cute restaurant on Lake Michigan. It was about 3:30 and they were only serving appetizers, which was fine because we wanted a big dinner anyway. We had some seriously great shrimp, beef kabobs, and chicken skewers wrapped in bacon. The shrimp was coated in some panko and honey and was TO DIE FOR. From there we checked into our hotel, the InterContinental. I had booked us a room with a river view and it was just gorgeous. The whole place was great and other than the stupid $20 a day parking fee it was perfect. We had dinner at a brewery (is there anywhere else to eat in WI??) and walked around downtown enjoying the night until fairly late. Their downtown really isn't bumping at night, but it felt so safe. There wasn't a single homeless person out harassing people or a lowrider blaring rap to be found.

On Saturday we had a great morning run from our hotel down to the lakefront. I just love the lakefront running paths of places like Chicago and Milwaukee. We prob ran around 5 total miles, just sightseeing and enjoying the nice, completely unhumid morning air. Once we got back we cleaned up and headed towards Sheboygan. My travel books had declared Sheboygan the Bratwurst capital of the world and we weren't going to miss that! We parked by their riverfront but could only find pubs and seafood restaurants, no brats. We ended up asking a woman walking her dog where to eat, and she sent us to the Charcoal Inn. WOW, it was SO GOOD! My brat was just perfect. It's just a tiny littler diner but we were both so happy with our food and voted it the best place we ate the whole trip.

From there we headed to Green Bay to see where the Packers play. We don't care about football, but the Packers Stadium is sort of one of those legendary places you just want to see. We were pretty surprised when we pulled in and saw a lot of cars. And a Finish Line. When we walked into the atrium we found it insanely ironic that their Marathon expo was taking place, and on Sunday the Green Bay Marathon would be ending there. Too funny!! We walked around, bought some souvenirs and headed on our way. We spent the rest of the day doing some hiking in White Dunes State Park before we got a room about 4 miles from the Michigan border.

Sunday we drove around the Upper Peninsula a little before heading back across the state and down. It was a LONG day of driving. And a CHILLY day! Most of the day the temps were in the upper 40's/low 50's which is something we moved away from a long time ago here! We finally made it to Madison and we spent some time walking around downtown. It's such a cute little city and seems so nice. Their state capital building is ENORMOUS. It's almost as tall as the DC capital, they had planned to make it larger but DC made them change their plans. We could see it from 5 miles away when we got off the interstate. We walked around the capital for a while and down to Monona Terrace to enjoy the view of the Lake.

We spent Sunday night at the House on the Rock Inn in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. As we were picking a place to stay, I read about the Don Q Inn in one of my books. All the descriptions of their "fantasuites" sounded interesting, and it sounded like a quirky, fun place to stay. And since Brent's birthday would be the following day I didn't mind a splurge on a room. We pulled up and there were about 3 cars in the parking lot. We walked in to ask about the room prices and while Brent was talking to her about prices I saw the binder of actual room pics. I started looking through them and realized the rooms were what I would call "ick" and it looked like 1977 threw up all over them. And a lot of them had these large cheese tubs for bathtubs. Vomit. Vomit. Vomit. I was able to get Brent to start looking at the pics and we told her we'd think about it. Ick. Ick. Ick. Another massive selling point (according to the girl at the desk) is that "even though all the fantasuites are smoking no one stays in them much so they really don't smell". Nice.

So, we drove across the street to the House on the Rock Inn (see above link). The outside looks super nice. The front desk girl there told us it was a 4 star hotel. The lobby was nice. The outside was nice. So we believed her and ended up with a fab 1970's room. Yeah, obviously the definition of "4-star" for me is pretty different. Anyway we pretty much just came there to sleep so it wasn't a big deal. We did go down to the MASSIVE pool later that night. It had this huge kids pool with slides and an enormous fish that spews water. After doing some laps in the adult pool we headed to the kiddie pool, where I promptly learned that adults scrape their ass on the concrete floor of kiddie water slides. 6 inches of water is nowhere near enough water padding for me. Ouch.

Monday was a GREAT day. We headed over to Iowa and spent the morning exploring Dubuque. It's a gorgeous town on the Mississippi River. We walked around their famous courthouse (it's been in several movies), explored a park on the River and then road the scariest cable car in the world. It's the steepest one in the US, built in the 1880's (or maybe 1890's). I'm telling you, it was SCARY! The view from the top was great but getting there took me holding on for dear life. We also did some shopping and eating there before heading out to Monroe, WI, home of CHEESE!!! I did some serious cheese shopping, their prices were SO GREAT! Literally they distribute to the grocery stores I shop at, but the price was half there as what I normally pay. I recognized the wrapper and the lady there confirmed they do distribute to the grocery chains. I bought a block of cheese for $4.71 and last night at the grocery I looked at it there - $8! For the same exact thing!! So I stocked up and we got a mail order form, too. After filling up on cheese we headed to New Glarus, to enjoy the Swiss area. It was so cute and we got some great deals on some small antiques.

We spent our last night in Racine, on the coast of Lake Michigan once again. We ate b-day dinner at a pub there and then grabbed a kringle on our way to the airport. It was 50-something we we left Milwaukee and 81 when we landed here! Talk about a temp change...

Anyway, we had a great trip and it's funny how much Wisconsin reminded us of Tennessee. Lots of farmlands and farms, cows, rolling hills. It was just a lot colder!! It was so strange to see their trees just beginning to have leaves, and their tulips still in bloom!

I narrowed down our 2,000 pics to about a 75 pic slideshow so enjoy!!!! (You have to click on it to get the descriptions I put with it, otherwise some of them make no sense!!)


At 4:03 AM, Blogger Jack said...

Cool, thanks for sharing your vacation with us!

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Anne said...

Glad to find another museum lover. From the photos, it sounds like you're so right about the Milwaukee one being very modern and "different." Thanks for such a thorough travelog and terrific slide show. I hope the bum has healed from that kiddie pool scrape.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

That sounds like so much fun! I actually pointed hubby in the direction of your blog for a future trip. Thanks for sharing!!

At 6:11 PM, Blogger David said...

The Charcoal Inn. No credit cards. Cash only. $3 brats. My kinda place and yours too obviously. I love it when the locals steer you right!

At 5:06 AM, Blogger TriSaraTops said...

Sounds like a great trip!

And I totally got bit by my first skeeter last night! :) I was kinda excited about it. ha ha

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Cliff said...

I don't like the modern art too much. Some of it is too out there for me to consider as art.

Re your previous posts, that's a lot of cheese :0

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

Oh, I LOVE cheese!
Sounds like a great adventure.

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Just12Finish said...

Ahhh, got the cheese head pic. Mission accomplished!

Seriously, you guys got a ton of stuff done on your trip!


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