Barley & Hops, this place was tops!

One of the cities that is within a 90 minute drive from our hotel is Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I had flown into Milwaukee once and driven quickly out of it. That was the sum total of my adventures in the fair city. To visit Milwaukee on one of the best July days was a one day highlight of my summer.

We started out at the Miller Brewery. I didn’t have any idea what I was in for. It was a great mix of history, manufacturing and olfactory experiences. To add to the significance for me was the fact that Mr. Miller began his brewery exactly 100 years before my birth. They were probably whooping it up pretty big celebrating that year on my birthday and their 100th anniversary.

Our day involved lots of walking and smelling of mash and wort and other funny words that produced an odor that permeated the east side of Milwaukee. The folks around don’t mind I’m sure since the Miller Brewing Company employs 700 people and covers 82 acres of real estate in downtown Milwaukee. The one fact that impressed me the most was that a machine can fill 2000 cans in one minute! Now THAT my friends is automation!

After our tour and trip into the Caves of the place where Fred Miller kept his beer cold with ice harvested from nearby Lake Michigan. The dark, dank odor of oldness was pretty strong there but the visual delight of Miller himself explaining it all thanks to laser lights and high tech sound made me forget my nose for the moment. “If those walls could talk” came to mind as I pictured the 1000s of barrels of beer that would have been stacked up over the years and the many hands that placed them there.

If the political scene is getting to you, a trip to Wisconsin that DOESN’T involve politics may be just the treat you are looking for.


A town, a lake, another state….

When we talk to the locals about places we don’t want to miss while visiting the Midwest, the one destination that continually comes up in conversation is Lake Geneva.  The town within walking distance bears the same name. The first time we heard about it was in relation to snow mobile races. We didn’t make it for that but thankfully the call to return to our home in Florida was delayed long enough for us to enjoy some of the summer offerings that the region has to offer.

We were not prepared however, for the beauty and ambiance of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Oh my, the sights, the unique culture and the clear water of the lake were a treat like none other that we had experienced here. Being from central Florida, we are accustomed to springs and clean rivers. We are happy to say that we found a whole lake that looked fresh and unpolluted in Wisconsin.

Our favorite aspect of Lake Geneva was being able to walk around the shoreline of the lake, literally walking on the private lawns and lake fronts of residents who not only PERMIT it but actually encourage the public usage in order to enjoy the beauty the lake shore provides. There are walkways and decorative fences and fountains and stepping stones….a virtual smorgasbord of tempting sights for the eyes. Thank you Lake Geneva residents for allowing us the privilege of seeing your beautiful estates from the back and your breathtaking scenery from the lake shore. May we tourists never abuse the privilege by vandalizing or littering your property that you so graciously offer. We can’t wait to go back!