After the trip to the Apostle Islands, the next series of trips were either hanging around Madison or taking day trips near Madison. On the first day back I went to the Olbrich Gardens, which I had been wanting to go to for a long time. The Olbrich Gardens are amazing…they have a conservatory with tropical plants, as well as a really neat maze of botanical gardens outside. It was well designed and filled with a variety of plants. I imagine it’s a neat place to work! There was even a golden temple that was donated to the gardens from India. I was disappointed we couldn’t stay longer, but Boo had to give someone a tour of the WI LA department. Hopefully I’ll get to come back where things are bloom again.
Also, Madison is home to the largest concentration of Jens Jensen designed “Council Ring” landscapes. The last one he designed before he died is in the Glenwood Children’s Park. It really is quite a humbling experience to get to tread in the footsteps of great designers, and I really love coming to this park. It is along the bike trail and is such an interactive retreat from the city… They have equinox festivals there and do yearly restoration work which I participated in last year. I think one of the reasons I enjoy Madison so much is its very diverse range of spaces and experiences. After living here a year, I still find myself exploring much of the city and discovering new things.
A few years ago I read A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. It was first published in 1949, and has been a very influential book for those interested in conservation. It was really one of the only books like this written at the time. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to actually go and see the inspiration for this book- Aldo’s shack and where he lived in Baraboo, Wisconsin!
‘The Shack’ began its life as a chicken coop! When Aldo purchased the farmland, he converted it into a cabin. The shack used to be surround by farmland, but now it was surrounded by woods and prairie and was just a short walk from the Wisconsin River.
The now forest had lots of pine trees, which Aldo writes about in his book. Inside the shack it is still set up like how they lived there. There were also some family photos taken by the Leopolds. The shack hasn’t changed since the foundation acquired it. I couldn’t imagine living here with a large family like they had, especially through long and cold Wisconsin winters.
A short walk away from the shack is the Wisconsin River. There is a sandy area you have to walk through to get to it, now we knew why this area is known as Sand County! The land restoration of Aldo’s property was done by himself and his family. A large amount of the restoration was given to a pine forest, and an open prairie landscape.
>This morning I went to the 10th annual Dog Paddle at Woodland Park’s swimming pool. They have the event on the last day the pool is open for the season. It is sponsored by many companies around Lexington, but is put together by Friends of the Dog Parks. It is a great event, and so much fun to watch!
It poured on us for a while, but thankfully cleared up! It was funny, even though the dogs were swimming, most of them seeked shelter when it started raining!
Ate Lunch at Rocky Roccoco’s Pizzeria
Drove to Bayfield, WI from Madison (~6 hours)
Set up our tent at the Bayfield Area Campground
Ate dinner at the Northern Edge
I should have known that, as much of our other travels, the first day would not go well, especially anything planned for Friday the 13th. So we started on our journey for the Apostle Islands at the National Lakeshore in Bayfield,WI, but decided to stop at Rocky Roccoco’s Pizza to eat some lunch. The pizza was delicious, but as we got up to leave I noticed we had been sitting at Table 13. And we ended up leaving Madison a bit behind schedule around 1:00 pm or 1300 hours. Finally, we drove the last 100 miles on Highway 13. It was sort of spooky with all those 13’s in one day, I guess we survived. Well, at the last minute, we did get drenched setting up the tent in the rain, but we enjoyed a nice dinner on the lake to make up for it.
The trip up the Apostle Islands was really fun. If you ever go, then definitely take Highway 13 for part of it, it’s gorgeous and looks different than Southern Wisconsin. Boo says it all when he says the first day of getting to someplace always has a twist to it. As we drove closer to Bayfield we saw some extra large dark clouds. And then it poured! Travel guides aren’t lying when they say weather changes quickly around the lake. Needless to say, we got soaked when setting up the tent and then froze to death while eating dinner. At least we learned what we could do next time (if it ever happens again!)
The next morning after sorting through our soaked gear we ate breakfast and made our way to downtown Bayfield to take a tour around the Apostle Islands by cruise ship with the Apostle Islands Cruises. We got to see plenty of the islands and a few light houses along the way. The trip was narrated, so that made it even better. We found out the rich history that this place has and checked out some of the amazing scenery.
Kayaking on some shipwrecks
The next big adventure on our list was a sea kayaking tour… This was probably one of the most exciting experiences of the whole trip and most grueling, too! We decided to go with a tour group called Living Adventure. The place was super professional and I had lots of fun. All the staff was friendly and the scenery was just amazing. I definitely want to go back someday and go island hopping with this group.
I really enjoyed the kayaking trip! I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but I think it’s something I would like to do eventually. The tour company was really great, I felt they really knew what they were doing and were concerned about everyone having fun and being safe. We even stopped for a while, held onto each others canoes in a big group and ate some bakery chocolate chip cookies our tour guide brought.
Picked blueberries at North Wind Farm
Drove Star Route Road
Ate lunch at Big Water Cafe
Mailed postcards and shopped along Rittenhouse and Manypenny Streets
Drove Highway 13 back to Madison stopping at Concrete Park and Pittsville along the way
Drove to Milwaukee
Flat tire while attempting to tour the Lakefront Brewery
Checked into Days Inn Hotel of the Arts
Spare tire flat on the way to Harley Davidson Museum & a tow to Firestone by the Better World Car Club
Dinner at Moe’s Irish Pub & Riverwalk along the Milwaukee River
The trip to Milwaukee began early afternoon with a small commute from Madison. I made the long trek from Kentucky a couple days before (9 hours!), but was glad to be in Wisconsin and ready for a jam packed vacation.
Our first stop in Milwaukee was to be Lakefront Brewery which is on the Milwaukee River. We made it to the brewery just in time for the tour…except they were sold out of tickets… So we figured we would go ahead and check into the hotel and go from there. Except….we had a flat. So while the tire was changed, I made sure traffic was slowing down, since we were parallel parked. We made it to the Days Inn Hotel of the Arts, which was really nice (I recommend). We took a mini siesta and planned to go on to the Harley Davidson Museum, since they were still open. So we set the GPS and made our way. However, the GPS took is a really weird way to the museum, including a backroad by some warehouses. The road was filled with potholes…and as soon as I said “We’re going to have to get the spare patched…” it happened…another flat! I would say that the Hotel of the Arts is highly recommended for anyone staying in the Milwaukee area.
Mitchell Domes Conservatory
Lunch at Potbelly’s Subs
Tour of Growing Power
Tour of Pabst Mansion
Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Game
Late dinner at Rockbottom Brewery
We opened our eyes that morning with better hopes for the day. We stuck to the schedule we had set for that day, which began with a visit to the Mitchell Domes and Conservatory. They’re three domes, which exhibit tropical, desert, and a featured exhibit in the 3rd dome. This season’s was the river and steamboats. The domes were neat, but they are in need of some maintenance, especially on the grounds around the domes.