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Stuck in Milwaukee - "surprise" trip mini report

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Stuck in Milwaukee - "surprise" trip mini report

Old Aug 14th, 2008, 08:28 PM
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Stuck in Milwaukee - "surprise" trip mini report

Do you see the glass half empty or half full.... On my way back from LA to NYC I wound up with a cancelled layover flight due to weather in NYC and "stuck" in Milwaukee...

I took the "pink" discount hotel voucher and went to the airport hotel --- nothing to see there... and then I thought... wait a minute, I'm in Milwaukee, what is that like?

And everything changed... I quickly recruited friends to help me find the nicest hotel in the city -- we happed on a historic one called the

Pfister Hotel : a dreamy hotel from yesteryear... doorman greet you and take your bags, to the bell hop who waits quietly while you are checked in giving you time to take in the gorgeous, stateley, and refined lobby... words do not do this place justice, the ceiling is painted with angels in the clouds and surrounded by gold, oversized, leaflets of sorts, soaring above your head... an intricate stairway is marked by two golden lions that reminded me of the MGM Hollywood days, and the carpet and music just flow through the air...

The rooms are just as fine, with expansive views of the city, (and Milwaukee is quite a fine city), plush linens, clean, dreamy bed and a marble bathroom that is fit for a king..or queen... or both...

So you get the idea... next, I asked the locals for some advice and found myself heading to the lake front -- ok -- Lake Michagan is huge -- a sea really... I could not see across the lake nor see it's boundaries and it was a perfectly sunny day... the water was blue and sailboats floated on the fresh water... A wedding picture place locals were taking pictures and having parties at the musuem and waterfront restaurant...

Next, I headed to the cities riverwalk... local boaters were driving up to the boardwalks and parking their boats to goto one of many (I counted 20) restaurants within a bird eye view of thier vehicle... so we have a big lake people, a river that boaters puddle around in and go to dinner and drinks with friends and family, and a river walk --- so you walk around the river and take it all in...

I started in daylight and ended during nightfall where the lights that reflect the water and bring to life the buildings of the city of Milwaukee give the city a glow that I have not seen elsewhere! The city uses colored lighting on purpose to create a sense of place and continiation from one part of the River Walk to another... An art building of historic magnitude and character changed lights from vibrant blue, to shocking red, to a mood light of green from within,,, a white art deco building, had pale lit colors of purple, pink and blue that seemed to mimic the colors of some lit up fish on a building being reflected in the river down below... I loved this place... and I felt perfectly safe into the nightfall here... ok so on to the eats...

Mader's German Restaurant:
Besides the breweries on Riverwalk and in Milwaukee (Miller and Pabst Blue Ribbon I was told -- but unverfied) you have German food... and this is no ordinary German food...

I did not think I even liked German food but my how I have changed...

Imagine walking into a complete replica of a German hall in a family for 5 generations... complete with wooden chairs hand carved with forest trees, a overwhelming collection of beer steins, a $3million art collection and a private collection of rare/unique Hummels... I am not even into Hummels and I was quite impressed...

If you drop by here even just for a beer, be sure to get the most amazing roll I've ever had in my life... a pretzel roll! It looks round, like a roll, but it is a soft, hot, pretzel ... if that wasn't a treat enough, it is served with get this, hot, cheese sauce!

The server recommended the "Taste of Germany" and I figured, why not... yes, it is more food than you want to eat, but the taste is the point here...
The plate included:
-Wiener Schnitzel: Strauss veal cutlet lightly breaded and pan sauteed, served with chive buttered spaetzle and lemon
-Sauerbraten: delicious, mrinated for ten days and oven roasted and served with red cabbage
-Mader's Famous Pork Shank: Claiming to be a number one favorite for 100 years. Updated to a wonderfully delicious skinless shank with an apple demi glaze
-Homemade sauerkraut
-And nice, oversized dumping with a bit of gravy on it, delicious

Of course, I claimed the occasion to have a German beer, Spaten brand, which was served up in an beer stein to boot

I love this place... Oddly, Paul Newman likes this restaurant,,, why is this odd, the last restaurant I raved about on this board (El Cholo in Santa Monica, CA) also mentions Paul Newman as a big fan in the menu... apparently me and the old soul have similar taste... who new?

The next day, I had a bagel at Brueger's bagel (i just happen to be a fan so I stopped in), grabbed a local paper to see what is what in the area, and checked out a tea shop, cheese shop (milwaukee is in Wisconsin you know -- cheese heads for you football fans), a gift shop that was truly unique across from my hotel and a total suprise, the hotel had a women clothing shop to die for-- unique boutique items that are practical (meaning I would wear them) -- I found this my last 15 minutes before my shuttle back to the airport -- oh my...

I am sure Milwaukee has much to offer that I missed, but I'll tell you what -- I'll be back, and next time, on purpose...

http://www.thepfisterhotel.com
http://www.madersrestaurant.com/

So, next time your flight gets canceled may I suggest embracing the city and enjoying as I did...

Onward!

Amanda
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Old Aug 14th, 2008, 11:05 PM
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Nice report, Amanda! Good for you for making such good use of your unexpected layover!
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 03:37 AM
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Great report on a wonderful town, Amanda. I love your spirit!
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 05:38 AM
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There is actually quite a bit to see between NY and LA. It just seems like people on the east coast and people on the west coast don't really care about the middle. I'm glad we have a new convert who is willing to take the time to share her find!

It was very clever of you turn your annoyance into a mini-vacation. With our fast paced lifestyles we've all sort of forgotten that travel used to take a long time and that was part of the reason to travel.

Milwaukee is a cool town. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I haven't been there in years and years and you remind me that I should go back. Thank you.

We always sort of giggle when people first see a Great Lake and expect to wave at the people on the other side. My favorite were the tourists at Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan guessing that they trucked in all the sand.

So welcome to the midwest. Come visit us often!
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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Good for you! It's definitely more fun to see the glass half full and you made the most of it.
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 06:13 AM
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Milwaukee has a lot to offer especially in the summer and most people who have never been here are pleasantly surprised.

Very nice report Amanda and glad you had a nice time!
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 08:39 AM
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Milwaukee has an art museum designed by Calatrava. Fantastic.
http://www.mam.org/
http://www.dreamsalivemagazine.com/s...ure/index.html

This weekend is Irishfest. Every weekend in the summer is a different "fest" starting with Summerfest which is about a 2 week music festival on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Also, Festa Italiana, Polish Fest, German Fest etc.

http://www.milwaukee.com/festivals/

Also, Milwaukee Symphony, Milwaukee Ballet, the Milwaukee Theater, Marcus Center etc, etc. Home of the Bucks and the Brewers, Admirals,etc.

There is a lot going on in Milwaukee and a great place to visit.
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 10:13 AM
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Many thanks to all for the good word. The festivals mentioned sound great.

You know, I am on my way to Palo Alto for a few months and I've decided to detour and check out a festival in Milwaukee on my way... oh and spend some more time in that clothing store I mentioned... he he

Airtran offers a new flight from Milwaukee to San Fransisco and many other towns so I figured, why not?!

I am encouraged by the posters and this trip to visit other places in the middle of the US... what else is there to discover?

New topic... stay tuned...
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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My brothers went to Irish Fest two years ago, bratsandbeer. They loved it! Sure wish I was going this weekend.

IMHO, another great thing about Milwaukee is Miller Park. A great place to see a ball game!

Have you ever been to Chicago, Amanda?
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Old Oct 11th, 2008, 06:57 AM
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No, I've never been to Chicago... Why do you ask?
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Old Oct 11th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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It sounds like Milwaukee was a beautiful surprise. Sometimes I enjoy a city more when I have no expectations or pre-conceived ideas of what it will be like. Thanks for the report.
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Old Oct 11th, 2008, 07:16 AM
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Amanda, I asked whether you've ever been in Chicago in response to this:

"I am encouraged by the posters and this trip to visit other places in the middle of the US... what else is there to discover?"


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Old Oct 11th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Growing up in Northern Indiana,I spent the majority of every weekend of my school years (including college) on Lake Michigan.

I now live in Michigan and still venture over to the west side of the state to visit the lake for some R&R.

I have friends and colleagues who grew up at the Joisy Shore and laugh in my face when I try to explain how big and beautiful our lake is!

I figure the fewer people know about it's splendor the less crowded it will continue to be...though it's getting busier & busier!

Take a trip to Traverse City sometime in your travels - you won't believe you're in the Midwest!
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Old Oct 11th, 2008, 10:48 AM
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CAPH52 - perfect, i'll add it to my midwest discovery list... thank you!


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Old Oct 11th, 2008, 01:01 PM
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Amanda, I just saw this thread of yours. Who knew? Not me. I now want to go to Milwaukee! It sounds delightful. And I am one on the west coast that must confess outside of always wanting to visit Chicago I never thought of visiting any other midwestern cities.
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Old Oct 11th, 2008, 04:14 PM
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I was there a few years ago and also enjoyed myself very much. Maders is wonderful and I felt like I was full for about 3 days after eating the very same thing you had.
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Old Oct 11th, 2008, 10:36 PM
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Since Lake Michigan is over 300 miles long and over 100 miles wide, no, you cannot discern its boundaries no matter how sunny the day!

My experience at Mader's included dining with a vegetarian. The vegetable plate consisted of: a potato pancake, a baked potato, a tomato baked with parmesan, a bit of broccoli swimming in butter, and (my personal favorite) an onion ring. Cannot recommend this place for vegetarians!
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Old Jun 27th, 2010, 03:26 PM
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Thanks for the wonderful post!! You have given me a reason to be proud to live in this state! Milwaukee is a great city that I don't take full advantage of, but you've made me see it with new eyes! Oh and you didn't get to see the bronze Fonz!!? No trip to Milwaukee is complete without that. You'll have to come back now
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Old Jun 27th, 2010, 05:40 PM
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I don't think the Fonz statue was here two years ago.
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Old Jun 27th, 2010, 08:42 PM
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I loved your report Amandaamanda. We get to Milwaukee off and on and you visited all of my very favorite spots. It is a wonderful city. Glad you made lemonade our of lemons.
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