In the city
One of the principles of our road trips is that we don’t drive every day. We spend at least one day exploring a place before moving on and today was a day for exploring Milwaukee. So we didn’t rush to get up, we lingered over breakfast and it was almost ten before we set out. We decided we’d make our way through the Grand Mall opposite our hotel and catch the loop trolley for a bit of an orientation tour around the city.
Except the trolley didn’t start until 11am.
And the shops didn’t open until 11 either. At least there was an interesting design in the floor!
So, we decided we’d walk over to the Historic Third Ward, which allowed us a glimpse of the river on the way.
It was a fine morning, sunny and quite warm, so it was surprising to find so few people around.
We soon found ourselves in the historic area and here, there was a little more life, thank goodness.
The market was the centre of things this morning and we were happy to dive right in and see what was going on.
Loads of yummy things – bakery, sweets, chocolates, a wine bar and, as we’re in Wisconsin, cheese! Lots of cheese!
We had a quick tasting and chose a couple for a lunchtime picnic. The day was shaping up nicely.
Resisting the lure of the foot-long king crab legs (my favourite!) we carried on through the market to explore a little more of the district.
It was full of life, the sidewalk bars and cafes were buzzing and we were happy to stroll around for a while. This couple were enjoying a HUGE bloody mary at the Wicked Hop, somewhere I’d recognised from our Godson Paul’s facebook page recently. Maybe we’d return for dinner this evening?
A little further along the way, there was a fun paper store – not Paper Source but somewhere pretty similar.
Just across the road was a Pendleton shop and a life size bronze of a chap sitting outside. Why? We had to go and find out – he was a fireman and this was a converted fire station. OK.
Inside was a selection of goods commemorating America’s National Parks – of which we are fans. But there was nothing we really wanted to buy so we pushed right on past the cute chap sitting wrapped up for the winter and back out into the sunshine.
Actually, this historic district wasn’t quite as extensive as first impressions had suggested, so we walked back to the market, enjoying a fine view of some of Milwaukee’s grand old architecture on the way.
Returning to our original plans, we waited by the loop trolley and hopped on board here.
Being naughty children, we scooted to the back seat and enjoyed the ride around the city.
A few questions were answered – we’d wondered what the large and important structure on the hill there was, so were pleased to learn it’s the courthouse. Except, just how enormous a courthouse does this city need? Good grief!
We continued through one or two small parks, including this one with a statue of Robbie Burns. Why? I have no idea.
Now, we were almost at the lake and a glimpse of the waterfront was sufficient to tempt us further. We’d like to see more of that area – perhaps this afternoon?
We got off the bus near our hotel and walked over a different bridge to get there. I rather liked this little bronze of Gertie the duck on the bridge structure – read her story here.
So, having collected our car, we drove right back down to the waterfront, past the Art Gallery.
A procession of old cars was passing along the lakeside road and though I’d have liked a closer look, the traffic was moving quickly and we had to keep going.
We were getting hungry and spotted the ideal picnic spot by the lake.
Who’d have thought it? Sand between the toes!
I’m not sure the water was very clean though, even if a few children were paddling. Our cheese and fig marmalade picnic was delicious, with a fresh loaf of bread, sweet nectarines and some handmade cookies from the market too. We were well set up to drive a little further along the lake shore, ogling the million dollar properties as we went.
What a great place to live!
We didn’t find the ice cream cafe…but we did find the Chicos. They knew we were coming too, because everything in the store was 40% off! Though I tried on several tops, only the black one came with me and the others stayed on the rack.
And though we didn’t find the recommended ice cream cafe, we did find an alternative!
With a Barnes and Noble right opposite too, we couldn’t resist a late afternoon browse of the magazines. But when did they become so expensive? I picked up a copy of Modern Quilting and got as far as the till before spotting it was $14.99. I decided to spend a little longer browsing and returned it to the shelf when I was done.
Back in the city, we left the car back at the hotel and decided to keep going. By now we were all feeling a little weary, so didn’t stop and returned along the riverwalk to the Third Ward where we’d begun our day. There, outside the market building a bridal party was gathering for photos in the early evening sunshine.
We were heading to the Wicked Hop, having learned that not only are their Bloody Marys special, they are said to be the best in Wisconsin.
Three plates of baby back ribs later, we were delighted with our choice. Yes, the Bloody Marys are pretty remarkable too!