I love exploring. Last weekend, I was driving my older son to his girlfriend’s house in another town and happened to notice a sign for the Richfield Nature Park along the way. On the way home, I asked my younger son if he felt like exploring, and next thing you know, we are discovering a cool new local attraction that I hadn’t even known existed!
At first glance, Richfield Nature Park, in Richfield, Wisconsin, seems as though it’s not much to look at. We walked a small trail around part of the park and thought there wasn’t much to see. It was nice to get out in Nature for an afternoon, but it only took us about ten minutes to walk the trail. Then we noticed that that road we drove in on continued beyond the nature park and went past an old red barn. At first, it wasn’t obvious if the barn was part of the park, or if it belonged to a neighboring property. We decided to follow the road and see what lay beyond. (more…)
Have you ever played the tourist in your own neighborhood? Many of us, when we think of taking a vacation, immediately think of Paris, or Disney World, or any number of exotic locales that we have to save up for years to visit. But once in a while, it’s nice to open your eyes to the tourist hot spots in your own back yard.
A few weeks ago, I took my kids to Madison, WI, which is only about an hour away. I had been there before but had not seen much more than the state capitol building (my dad has a thing for state capitols and has dragged us to see capitol buildings in more states than I care to count at the moment) and the zoo.
Anyway, we had a great time seeing attractions that I didn’t even know existed. This got me wondering what else I have missed right here in Wisconsin while I’ve been sitting around dreaming about visiting anywhere but here. (more…)
Perc Place, located in Hartford, WI, is one of my regular writing haunts. It has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to writing, if you can manage to be there during the right time of day. The walls are covered in painted replicas of old Life Magazine covers and are accompanied by a variety of knick-knacks that always seem to provide an interesting focal point while you’re contemplating your next sentence.
Perc Place seems like a coffee shop at first glance, but its main focus appears to be the restaurant business. Don’t visit expecting to use their WiFi during busy mealtime hours, as it’s only available during their slow times. While the lack of internet access can occasionally be a pain, I find that it mostly keeps me from getting distracted when I should be writing.
I like to enter through the back door and avoid the crowded restaurant section in the front of the building. If you’re here to write, you want a cushy chair or couch cushion in the back where it’s quiet. Well, quiet-ER. The old regulars can get a little rowdy from time to time! (more…)
I’m writing to you this morning from Café de Arts in Waukesha, WI. It’s a cute little café in a big, old Victorian house with a huge sunflower painted on the side. I so want to open my own business in an old house in my town and paint the house purple with a huge sunflower on the side. I even have the house picked out. It’s a foreclosure that’s been sitting empty for about three years, just calling me to buy it.
I have a dream of opening my own writer’s studio/café/bookstore where I can hang out with other writers and discuss our craft in a homey setting. I’m picturing fluffy couches with books lining the walls, and a barista conveniently stationed in a cozy corner.
I’d hang out all day, writing in my notebook in between talking story with my customers. Sometimes, I would offer writing classes and workshops for more focused work. Ultimately, I would create my own little writing community where I can plug in to my local writing scene and keep my creative juices flowing while offering the same service to others. (more…)
On our way home from Amish country Saturday, my SignifO and I decided we wanted to have lunch at some kind of small, family-owned restaurant rather than the usual boring chain. So, when we came across Mullin’s Drive In, located in Fox Lake, WI, we had to stop and eat.
Mullin’s sign boasts their car hops come to your car to take your order, but that’s not all. The property includes a large yard full of picnic tables where patrons can take a seat in the shade while car hops take their orders table-side. A car hop/waitress greeted us as we exited our vehicle and directed us to take any table we liked, and she would be right with us.
Yesterday, my significant other (I’m going to call him my SignifO from now on) and I decided to take a drive through Amish country in the Dalton, WI area. I found a map of Amish businesses online, and we headed off on our adventure with dreams of Amish-made candy, cookies, and quilts dancing in our heads. Anyway, that’s what was dancing in my head. I can’t speak for his head.
It was a beautiful overcast day, the occasional splattering of rain interrupted by the occasional beam of sunlight breaking through spotty clouds: perfect driving weather, in my book. Our first stop was at a furniture shop on N County Line Road near Dalton. As it turns out, this and most of the other businesses listed on our map are operated right out of the Amish families’ homes and/or barns. This particular business does not have a showroom at all, so there was really nothing for us to look at. (more…)
This summer, a gas station down the street is giving away free tickets to Mt. Olympus water park at Wisconsin Dells with every 10-gallon purchase of gas. I’m a part-time teacher/freelance writer, so of course I’m always broke. Deals like these are usually the only way I can take my kids on such extravagant outings, so of course I bit the hook on this one. Approximately 3 weeks and 40 gallons of gas after finding out about this special, I was ready to take my kids to Wisconsin Dells! (more…)
This afternoon, I took my kids to see Oliver! at the Schauer Arts and Activities Center in Hartford, Wisconsin. We’ve been to a number of plays in Milwaukee, but I thought it would be a great experience to visit a new theater. Plus, the Schauer Center has a reputation for offering city-quality shows without the hassle of big city parking.
Located in downtown Hartford, the Schauer Center is attached to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum in a rustic building that reeks of “Up North” ambience. The theater is just as nice as, if not nicer than, some of the venues I had previously attended in Milwaukee.
Side note: speaking of Milwaukee theaters, I would advise that you avoid The Milwaukee Theater unless you can afford front row seats. (Unless, of course, you enjoy watching plays on a stage that appears, from the nosebleed section, to be the size of a postage stamp.) (more…)
Last weekend, my parents were in town for a quick visit, and we decided to take them on a scenic day trip around the Milwaukee area. We started off at The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill, which is located just a few miles north of Milwaukee. I lived in Milwaukee for six years, but it wasn’t until moving out of the city that I discovered this gem. This was the first chance I’d ever had to take my parents to see it.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you feel about being challenged to climb an endless supply of rickety stairs to breathtaking heights,) the scenic tower was closed for our visit. But, the view from the balcony in front of the main chapel is still amazing, even if you don’t make it up to the top of tower. (more…)