Wisconsin Wanderings

Old Jul 9th, 2012, 05:24 AM
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Wisconsin Wanderings

Last week, DH and I took DD to camp in northern Wisconsin along the Minnesota border; we made several stops both directions:

Madison - we will make up any excuse to stop in Madison, one of our favorite cities! We dined at Ella's (www.ellasdeli.com) - a favorite deli - with a HS friend of DH's, his wife and two young children. We had a seemingly long wait (40 minutes) even though they told us 10 to 15 minutes. Sandwiches were great as usual. They have a great little sampling plate for toddlers - apple sauce, yogurt, cheese, etc. Dessert was Babcock Hall ice cream at the union - while enjoying the sunset out on the terrace. Would have been perfect except for the excessive heat! We stayed at a Residence Inn on the east side - clean, typical Residence Inn.

Wausau - stopped here en route to Door County. We stayed at a nearly empty (July 4th) Courtyard - nicely redone contemporary lobby but mundane rooms. We ate dinner at the Great Dane Pub, a short walk from the hotel across the parking lot. Good pub food and great beer. (It's a Madison based brewery with several restaurants. www.greatdanepub.com) We had breakfast at 2510 Restaurant (www.2510restaurant.com) - fantastic and reasonably priced! The french toast is made with cinnamon bread - yum! We got some tasty cookies for the road as well.

Door County - I had trouble finding a place to stay that didn't have a minimum stay of three nights (this was the couple of days after July 4th and we only planned on staying for two days), wasn't expensive (over $200/night) or too frilly! We ended up at the Colonial Gardens B&B (colgardensbb.com) in Sturgeon Bay, a great choice! We had a two room suite - plenty of space. Our only complaint was the lousy shower head. Breakfasts were great - and brought on a tray to the room. (I don't think there is any public space where all guests would be able to eat breakfast.) We drove all over Door County, exploring whatever caught our fancy - lots of cute little stores in cute little towns! We bought great cherry related items at Seaquist Orchards (www.seaquistorchards.com) in Sister Bay. We had a great dinner at Chop (thechopsisterbay.com) - they went out of their way to accommodate us by putting a table in a shaded spot that they don't normally use. We melted while eating dinner at Fred and Fuzzy's (fredandfuzzys.com), a very popular place! We sampled the ice cream at Wilson's (www.wilsonsicecream.com) in Ephraim - yummy - huge portions! We went for a nice walk in Whitefish Dunes State Park and then enjoyed the beach at Peninsula State Park.

Oshkosh - we made a short stop at the Experimental Aircraft Association's Air Venture museum (museum.eaa.org). Fantastic museum for anyone who loves flying!

Milwaukee - it was on our way home, so we just had to make a pilgrimage to Kopp's Frozen Custard (www.kopps.com). Yummy!!!
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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Ahhhhh this is everything I love about Wisconsin! Couldn't have offered you a better itinerary if I'd tried. As someone who grew up in the Milwaukee area, spent many summers in Sister Bay, and is currently living in Madison... I'd say you're doing Wisconsin right!!
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 02:35 PM
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DH grew up in Milwaukee so we also drove by his childhood house. His sister was jealous when we told her we stopped at Kopp's!

We definitely need to plan a longer trip to Door County with our daughter...
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 03:50 PM
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What a fun trip. Love the ice cream stops. We've also enjoyed Ella's diner and the ice cream at UW's union.
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 06:20 AM
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Somehow I forgot another highlight of our trip:

Green Bay - DH is a huge Packers fan so we stopped at Lambeau Field! What a sight - the atrium is fantastic. The organization has definitely found a way to make use of (and money from) a facility that is nominally used just a few times a year. We went on a guided tour of the stadium - our guide was a retiree who has been giving tours for 17 years and he still did it with the enthusiasm of a newbie!

We also stopped at the Nation's Largest Kitchen Store, Cooks Corner. www.cookscorner.com Picked up a few things we "needed".
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 09:56 AM
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Since you're Wisconsin travelers, thought you might have some ideas for me. Looking for a place for a 5 - 7 day stay near but not in the dells. Don't need the tourist stuff (well, maybe 1 day). Mostly want a lake, fishing, swimming, hiking... 13 yo kids would love to learn how to water ski. Would like something with dining options as this is my vacation too. Hope to stay within about a 3 hour drive of the state line. Thanks!
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Old Jul 11th, 2012, 12:21 PM
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jodmom - Door County would fit the bill. Or is it too far?
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Old Jul 11th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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I agree, Door County would be ideal. The water in Lake MI is chilly, by my standards, but lots of folks get in!
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 08:41 AM
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Yeah, it depends on which state line you're talking about! From Chicago, Door County is an easy drive up the lake, a little longer than 3 hours but goes by fairly quickly barring rush hour traffic. Unfortunately I think that's as close as you'll get to Door County from any state line. I've never been, but Lake Geneva might be an option! Also, Devil's Lake isn't ~technically the Dells, great hiking/camping/swimming, though not sure about learning to water ski - but could be fun. I'd say seriously consider Door County, even if it takes a little longer than 3 hours. I promise it'll be worth it!

And the water isn't that bad, especially this time of year... But I'm used to it at this point, I grew up swimming in the lake so I'm sure your kids will love it. Especially if you go anytime from now until Sept. and stay on the western bayside of the peninsula, the water will be great! I was just in Sister Bay a few weekends ago and went swimming, so you guys should be fine
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