Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Big Adventure

Patient Husband and I just returned from a big adventure!!  It was too short lived but gave us so much to look forward to another time.   We had two days of work/fun across Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  His work group was taking the trip as a Public Relations jaunt to bring attention to West Michigan as a vacation destination.  I tagged along because this it been a dream of mine since I was a child to cross the lake.

    Lake Michigan has always been a big part of my life.  Every summertime Sunday while we were growing up was spent with our cousins and parents at the beach. We took our kids to the lake for evening swims and pizza on the beach when they were little.  Now we have the luck to be living here.  But one thing I've never done was go across the lake.  

 See that dotted line?  That's connecting Muskegon, our launch site to Milwaukee, our destination.

 Lake Michigan is not a lake you can see across.  You need a boat.  A big one.  And we we took this one.  It's a ferry called Lake Express and it gets us across the lake in about 2.5 hours.  Amazing! 
 You can take your car, motorcycle or bicycle or have the option of renting a car when you get to Milwaukee.
 Monday was a very windy day.  Very windy. Very.  Storms were predicted the whole week before and we were sure the trip would be cancelled.  But  we had blue skies and sunshine ( but very windy!)
 My cousin told me to be sure to stand outside on deck as we left the channel and when the boat sped up as it sped into the lake.
 Almost there!
 Now there is nothing between us and Milwaukee but water!!

On the boat we talked to a man who lived in Milwaukee and asked him what we should see if we've never been there.  He suggested the Public Market, which coincidentally was across the street from the restaurant where we all met for lunch.  This man said on his return trips he is in big trouble with his wife if she doesn't bring home a Brookie.   A brookie is a brownie around a cookie.  Well. Twist MY arm!!  We bought two.

 One of our stops was to connect with a brewery and Lakeshore Brewery was recommended by this man, also.  Patient Husband and I had to put the brew to a taste test.  I don't drink beer so asked for root beer.  They had the most amazing thing I've ever had.  It was called Golden Maple root beer and it was a golden yellow color.  They use maple sugar to make it.  I wasn't too sure about all this strangeness so the helpful young man behind the counter gave me a taste.  Well, I didn't look back!

 We were early meeting the group for supper so took a short walk at the recommendation of the waitress in our meeting place.  We found, just one block from the restaurant, this signpost.  We chose Old World 3rd St. Area because we were just killing about 30 minutes time.

  We turned a corner and were in Man Heaven.  Patient Husband was beside himself over this street.
One beer hall/ brat restaurant after another after another.  We returned here for a small taste after our dinner.  This HB Munchen Old German Beer Hall was the destination.  PH has some of their steins from Germany and they are among his prized possessions.  Imagine finding this place!   They have a great deal for lunch.  Buy the drink and the food is free!!

 Next morning after breakfast we walked back to Man Heaven street and went to the Wisconsin Cheese store. 
 And walked the river front.

When we got back to the launch for the boat home, we realized we needed to put more gas in the rental car before returning it.  We turned down a couple of streets and found the charming neighborhood called BayView.  It's a darling working class neighborhood that's bustling with quaint places,  neat homes, sweet gardens and people walking.  Isn't that the gauge of a nice neighborhood?  People out walking?  It is for me.  It was so sweet I asked PH to just drive around for awhile.  It looked like my grandma's neighborhood before it went to seed.
    We found this Italian grocery store.   Now,  I could wander through ethnic grocery stores for hours. Food is my thing.  Take one look at me and you'd know that.  I love the first sniff as I walk in the door,  looking at the exotic ( to me) ingredients, and I never get past the bakery counter. 
 I brought three of these home and they're in the freezer, waiting for the day I need a special treat.

And, of course, the cookies.  I bought two.  They are also in the freezer, along with the brookies.  Someday I'm going to need a cookie hug and there will be a little bit of Milwaukee waiting for me.

We had lots of fun discovering a new place, remembering the places we will come back to someday, realizing how easy it all is to take the Lake Express across and all too soon, it was
time go say goodbye and head for Michigan.

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