We’re so excited to be back on the road again in Stan the Tan Van. We’ve missed his rumbles and creaks—here’s hoping that three times a charm with radiators. Currently we’re en route to the sunshine state for some vitamin D replenishment. You may have noticed that we’ve been stationary for a while, spending the last few months in Wisconsin.
Before you think we’ve gone completely mad by choosing to winter in Wisconsin, the truth is we didn’t plan to be there nearly so long. One thing we’ve learned thus far from travel, is that things rarely go as planned. Due to windy circumstances we wound up in Wisconsin earlier than expected and extended our stay to help my mom after surgery. It’s the least we could do since my parents let us crash in their downstairs for 3 months. See how I managed not to say, “lived in my parent’s basement” there? I’m pretty much in denial about that.
I’d love to report that we did all kinds of fascinating things while in the snowy north, but there weren’t any white walker battles or zombie dragons around. (I really hope everyone’s caught up on GOT. If not, my sincerest apologies.) Don’t get me wrong, we loved our time in Wisconsin. Getting to see our families and catch-up with friends this last year has meant the world to us. We’re so lucky and grateful for their support of our non-conventional lifestyle (and for the basement space of course). You likely don’t want to read about my cribbage losses though and I probably already talked to too much about puzzles last week so here’s a brief update about some of the excursions we’ve done. These are also things you can do to keep busy if you’re ever in Wisconsin during the frigid winter months.
A friend once told me that she noticed Wisconsinites are obsessed with facts. If you’ve ever had a conversation with Tom, you’ll know this to be true—and realize that Wisconsinites may be the real inventors of “alternative facts” (cringe). Well, one of the “facts” I’ve heard Sconnie folk declare is that the state of Wisconsin outdrank the country of Germany one year. After some research (and by that, I mean Googling) I haven’t been able to find an ounce of truth in this statement. That said, there are over 100 breweries in the state so spending an afternoon at one is pretty easy to do. We took a day trip to the Potosi Brewery which boasts the world’s largest cone-top beer can, a museum, restaurant, and generously poured flights. Plus Potosi is fun to say.
We’re typically obsessed with museums, but we only visited two this time while in WI. The first was the beer museum at the Potosi Brewery. Is that cheating? The second museum is the outdoor Wisconsin Concrete Park. I swear this place is way more exciting than it sounds. It’s in the weird roadside attraction category (which is also one of our obsessions). The outdoor park contains 237 mixed media sculptures created by Fred Smith between 1948 and 1964. The subjects are everything from local events to mythical creatures. You can read the full story here. There are tons of museums, both large and small all around the state.
Confession time: Turns out I’m a huge baby when it comes to going outside in the cold. For real, I may not have stepped foot outside for at least 5 days straight at one point. There was a reason (a reason made up of negative numbers in the forecast) that we moved away in the first place. Fortunately, it eventually warmed up to a balmy 20 something degrees and we did some snowshoeing in the woods.
4. Sports, sports, sports
This one is a rite of passage for any Wisconsinite. Drum roll please…I attended my first ever Packer game. We didn’t paint our bodies green and gold or anything, but it was a monumental moment nonetheless. Sports are a pretty huge deal in the cheesehead state and I have to say I’ll never cease to be amazed by how much and how long Wisconsin can bring the party. Seriously, from 9 am until…well, I don’t know when exactly because I fell asleep at 6 pm.
5. Farmer’s Markets, Public Markets, Local Grocers
Wisconsin’s known for Friday fish fry and comfort food (you gotta keep warm somehow), but there’s also a large natural, fresh, and local food scene if you know where to look. Many of the farmer’s markets operate year-round with in-door locations during the winter months. The Milwaukee Public Market is like a smaller Pike Place with lots of diverse delectable stands. And last but not least, there are numerous local specialty markets throughout the countryside. Natural markets, meat shops, fresh cheese stands, and Scandinavian bakeries abound. I expect that these places exist throughout the country but that they’re not high on Google’s list (like this blog, ha!) so you have to ask the local residents in order to find them. It appears we now have a new mission.
What have you been up to this winter? What was your favorite outing? Also, if you know of any local markets in southern Florida, let us know!