I took a few days off of work to accompany my wife on a tour preview that visits Wisconsin Native American historic and cultural sites. On top of that, we had to cut our long weekend short so I could rush back to Milwaukee and debut with my new Irish music (mostly) band, The Rogue 6. On Sunday, my only "free" day of the four, I went to that most excellent of Milwaukee and Wisconsin traditions -- the Wisconsin State Fair!
Take a breath, grab a beverage and settle in for my recap. (In order, I think.)
- Aztalan State Park - the site of an ancient Mississippian culture settlement that flourished during the 10th to 13th centuries. Possibly Wisconsin's most important archaeological site.
- Great pastries and coffee at a Lake Mills' Water House Foods - a fantastic little cafe/bistro in the heart of Lake Mills.
- Man Mound Park in Sauk County. Like Aztalan, an amazing archaeological wonder of a 214' long man or ancient God. Sadly, farmers in the early 20th century plowed off the effigy mound's lower extremities and built a road through its knees. Still, a significant amount of the mound exists. Visit http://www.saukcountyhistory.org/manmoundpark.html for more information and pictures.
- Guitar shopping at Baraboo Music. Only walked out with a tuner and some guitar picks though.
- Lunch at Baraboo's Garden Party Cafe. Truly some great soup served here and definitely home made.
- A meandering drive through the countryside from Baraboo to Antigo through rainy, stormy skies. It was a beatuiful and unique way to see Wisconsin.
- A stop at the Langlade County Historical Society Museum in Antigo. We didn't go in the museum, but we enjoyed the walk around the permanently displayed 440 locomotive - the last steam engine to travel through Antigo in 1957. Awesome.
- Drove through the Wisconsin's northwoods from Antigo to Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reservation (Ojibwe). More specifically, the Lake of the Torches Casino, where he had the good fortune to have won a two nights stay. Gambled a bit and didn't lose, so that's a win right there!
- Pizza dinner at Lac du Flambeau's The New Flame where we enjoyed free apple pie shots with every Packers score (First preseason game -- fortunately, they didn't score very much!).
- Minocqua Farmers' market.
- Golfed 18 holes in Arbor Vitae at the scenic Trout Lake Golf Club - a northwoods course that's been around for 88 years!
- Minocqua fun at Minocqua Brewing Company, Otto's Beer and Brat Garden, a Friday night fish fry at Matt Morgan's, a stop at the legendary Thristy Whale, where we watched Minocqua's Min-aqua Bats' waterski show from the pier on a remarkably chilly August evening, a visit to the beautiful Norwood Pines restaurant, and lastly, a stop at the rustic Black Bear Bar. Fun night!
- Breakfast in Mincoqua at The Island Cafe. (Reviewed by me on Yelp!)
- Rushed back to Milwaukee so I could perform in the debut of a new band -- The Rogue 6, playing Celtic influenced music live at Milwaukee's Brocach Irish Pub (there's two Madison versions too). Again, another fun night. Super fun, even!
- Slept in a bit, mowed the lawn and then rode bike to enjoy the final day of Wisconsin's mid-August extravaganza -- State Fair!
I listed all of the above to demonstrate the wide variety of things there are to do and see in Wisconsin. Along the past 4 days, I've rubbed elbows with all types of Wisconsinites -- from the erudite to the unsophisticated -- and no matter whom, it was a pleasure. There is so much to see and do in this state, if I had a years's worth of 4-day weekends I couldn't see and do it all.
I've lived here my entire life, and have traveled considerably, but every time I return, I am proud to call Wisconsin home.
Now I can't wait to return to work tomorrow to get a little rest! ;)