Milwaukee 2016:
Day 1


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Milwaukee 2016: [Day 1 - Friday] [Day 2 - Saturday] [Day 3 - Sunday] [Day 4 - Monday]

Friday, September 2, 2016: We left Indy bright and early and decided to start vacation eating right by going someplace we've never been for breakfast before: White Castle. Oh, my, that was a good choice. That waffle breakfast sandwich was pure heaven.
We got to use our new I-Pass for the second time in a month as we drove through Illinois. Here we are not slowin' down for nothin'.
Our first stop of the trip was at Waukegan Liquors.
When in Illinois, one does need to stock up on the local goods, such as Malört. See if you can guess from this photo how many bottles we bought.
No. Way. Gumballhead in Illinois? We can't find this in the stores in Indy, but here it was.
We loaded up with four six-packs and were rewarded with a matching Gumballhead box.
Our real reason for being in Waukegan was to visit the house on Chapel Street where Debbie's grandparents used to live from the 1930s through the 1970s.
A block or two away is the house where Debbie's great aunt Beatrice rented an apartment on the top floor, accessible by this outdoor staircase.
We drove north just a little to visit Illinois Beach State Park, where Tom very unsuccessfully tried his hand at skipping rocks. It turns out that Lake Michigan is really more ocean than lake.
From here, Chicago was still visible off to the south.
See?
We noticed some milkweed along the road as we walked back to the parking lot, then spotted this monarch caterpillar on a plant as we started looking more closely.
Wisconsin! After a trip to La Crosse for a cousin's wedding three weeks early, it was nice to be welcomed back again.
We headed to Kenosha, ...
... home of Elsie Mae's Cannery and Pies.
It's a wonderland filled with all manner of delicious fruit-based things.
Like Packer Jam, whatever that is.
We decided on buying packages of apple crisp and onion crackers, plus dandelion, cherry/rhubarb, green chili/basil, and rhubarb/pineapple jam.
We also got cranberry apple maple and strawberry mini-pies to go for lunch.
We continued through Kenosha to Racine, ...
... to O&H Danish Bakery.
This bakery does a thriving mail order business selling Danish kringle, ...
... plus they have a spacious storefront.
So many kringle flavors! How to choose? Each one of these boxes held a different flavor.
We were tempted by the lefse but it was too early in the trip to start buying food to take home.
Food we wanted to eat soon -- that was fair game. We bought an almond macaron kringle to eat later that day.
In the city of Racine, we drove to the Golden Rondelle Theater, a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced building on the campus of the SC Johnson company. We were hoping to visit the gift shop but learned that it was only accessible at the end of a tour. We didn't have time in our schedule for a campus tour, ...
... so we peered through the fence at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Administration Building and Research Tower, ...
... and Fortaleza Hall, which has an amphibian plane suspended from the ceiling.
We had some spare time before our next stop, so we went down to the lake again and enjoyed the sunshine and perfect low-70s weather.
The main reason we didn't have time to tour the SC Johnson campus is because we were booked on the 2:00 tour of another SC Johnson building: Wingspread.
Wingspread was the home of HF Johnson Jr.'s family.
Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design it in 1936 and it was completed in 1939.
The home was later donated by the family to the Johnson Foundation for use as a conference center.
The home is now open to the public, with free tours provided by the Johnson Foundation.
While we waited for our tour to begin, we admired the many original details of the house, including this lamp and a bank of light switches.
All around us was original furniture. Check out these hexagon ottomans and the round firegrate.
The center of the home is absolutely stunning. Light pours in from the dozens of skylights and repeats the light pattern on the huge chimney in the middle of the room.
Huge windows and doors on all four sides can be opened to bring the outside in.
Our tour guide pointed out many of the original features of the home, including this automatic record player, originally stocked with 78 rpm records.
Some of the original furniture included several built-in bench sofas and more beautiful fireplace grates.
In a room that used to be one of the children's bedrooms, we watched a film about the creation of the home, featuring interviews with HF Johnson's children.
This room overlooks the built-in swimming pool.
As does this one, formerly the children's playroom, which now features a large conference table.
Here's the view of the terrace and the bedroom wing from the playroom.
This is the only second floor portion of the great room.
From here, a spiral staircase leads to a glassed-in lookout with views over the property in all directions. For safety reasons, it isn't accessible to the public.
Here's the view down to the dining room where a slide-out dining table used to reside.
In two corners of this part of the room, openings in the floor allow music to come up ...
... from the music room below.
In the only two-story wing (of four wings total), there were several bedrooms. This room contains priceless original Frank Lloyd Wright chairs.
This room featured another beautiful fireplace grate and an unusual hexagon-shaped bed.
This room contained a LEGO model of Wingspread built by Jameson Gagnepain.
It's just like being there! Which, of course, we were.
This was the daughter's bedroom, a miracle of a room with windows on all sides, ...
... with a balcony at the very end. The room is cantilevered, which we would see later on.
Here's the beautiful staircase leading back to the main floor.
The lower floor of the bedroom wing contained storage rooms and now features restrooms for visitors.
This wing of the home used to contain carports, but those have been walled in to create office space for the Foundation.
Here's a closer look at the formal garden we saw when we arrived, ...
... and here's the grapevine-covered patio.
Even the planters are cool.
Here's the exterior of the bedroom wing, ...
... with a closer look at the cantilevered bedroom from the front, ...
... and from the lawn behind.
From here, we headed to Milwaukee, ...
... where our first stop was Sobelman's.
We had a seat outside, ...
... and had a tough time deciding which of their famous Bloody Marys to order.
These two were tempting but no one really needs a Bloody Mary larger than their head.
We settled on an order of bacon cheese crack (deep-fried cheese dusted in bacon), with the Bourbonado (with a skewer of bacon-wrapped chicken with bourbon sauce) and the Masterpiece (with a cheeseburger slider). Both came with beer chasers and garnishes that included lemon, shrimp, sausage, pickle, olive, mushroom, tomato, cheese, Brussels sprout, asparagus, green onion, and celery. After dinner, we picked up a bottle of Sobelman's tasty jalapeño ketchup to take with us.
Finally, we headed to our final destination of the day: Sleep Inn near the airport.
This quiet, clean hotel was our haven for the next three nights.

Kringle is served!

Day 2 >


Milwaukee 2016: [Day 1 - Friday] [Day 2 - Saturday] [Day 3 - Sunday] [Day 4 - Monday]

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