Started our day early by making the 1.5 H trip from Two Rivers, WI to Milwaukee, WI so we could meet up with my long time friend, Alicia. The two of us met at Interlochen Arts Camp in Interlochen, MI about 11 years ago. I am so happy and very blessed that we have managed to stay in touch over the years. Alicia is a very gifted musician who majored in cello, while I studied Operetta/Voice during our 8 week stay. Interlochen Arts Camp is an amazing treasure tucked away in the woods and is situated in between two gorgeous lakes. To do the beautiful place justice, I would need to devote an entire blog to that sole subject, so maybe in the near future!
Our first destination was The Lakefront Brewery and surprisingly enough, we were early! To kill some time we crossed the bridge right next to the brewery and found an outdoor seating restaurant, Trocadero. It was located on the corner of a cross street and had an old world charm to it. We opted for outdoor seating to enjoy the beautiful sunshine. It was an absolutely gorgeous brick layered patio that had a nice water fountain feature in the center, with a French vibe all around. For lunch, Lucas selected an amazing seafood platter and I had the Tuna Salad. While I (being a Hoosier) thought there would be a bed of lettuce underneath my mixed tuna salad I was wrong. Alas, a snooty cold noodle salad arrived with long sliced bits of almost raw tuna laid across it. It actually wasn’t too bad, but I definitely favored Lucas’ plate!
After lunch we headed back over the bridge to begin our tour of Lakefront Brewery. We were told the 1:00 tour was sold out so we waited for the 1:30. In the meantime, we were given 4 tokens to be used to “cash in” on 6 varieties of their specialized beer. Both of us were able to enjoy 3 different selections before our tour started. Once called to begin, we lined up and noticed our tour guide was enjoying her favorite selection of beer as well! We all followed her down the stairs to the actual brewery and crowded around the first stop of huge tanks and supplies. There were about 60 people on our tour, this week is Music Fest in Milwaukee, which our tour guide suggested as to why the big crowd. After lots of jokes, laughs and a brief explanation about brewing, we lined up for more beer tasting and photo ops around The Brewers old prop (a gigantic beer mug) which is now stored at Lakefront Brewery. Next was a quick session of keg lessons, then onto the glass bottle line which was ended our tour quite properly. Directed by our crazy tour guide, our entire tour group sang in unison to the theme of Laverne & Shirley, “Making our Dreams Come True!” An older lady was selected from our group to place a glove over a passing bottle, as they did in the show. Such a fun way to end our good times at the Brewery! For $7 we enjoyed 4 drinks and turned our plastic drinking cup in for a pint sized glass, not too shabby once you include the tour.
After finishing up at the brewery, the next thing on our to-do list was to visit The Harley Davidson Museum. We found our way to Canal Street which was located in the downtown area right next to, you guessed it, The Canal. We were able to check out a smaller exhibit of everything Harley Davidson before entering the main museum. It was full of anything and everything with the HD logo on it; belt buckles, bandanas, wedding decorations and even a few smaller bikes. Once we were in the main museum, one of the first displays was of the very first Harley Davidson Bike from 1903! It was basically a bicycle with a small engine installed just in front of the seat on the main frame. Around the corner we found an entire room devoted to motorcycle engines. A large wall displayed the labeled engines and just below was a computer touch screen. Visitors were able to select an engine, press on the icon and hear the engine start up. We were able to locate Lucas’ Buell Blast motorcycle engine. Displayed downstairs were the ‘out of the ordinary’ bikes. We looked at the “King Kong” and the “Bejeweled” bikes to name a few. A bit further down the way was an area with a wide variety of bikes bolted to the floor that visitors were able to sit on and get their picture taken in. The whole museum was pretty neat, definitely worth the time to check it all out if you’re ever in the Milwaukee area.
After we finished our visit to the Harley Davidson Museum, Alicia met up with us by the parked motorcycles. We decided to grab a bite to eat so we got back in our cars and followed her through downtown Milwaukee, taking in all the Music Fest traffic. With this popular attraction in town, not a whole lot of parking places were available so we parked by the Public Market in The Third Ward. Alicia gave us the grand tour around the market. Everything you wanted all in one place; seafood, sushi, fresh flowers, spices, fresh produce, vegetables and a wine and cheese station. Alicia told us about a new restaurant that just opened up close to the market. We made the short hike over to Cafe Benelux, a trendy European eatery. We lucked out and grabbed a table on the roof top deck, great view of the Historic Third Ward. This place was pretty spectacular, (aesthetically and dining alike) with over 200 beers available for our choosing and 30 on tap. Milwaukee loves their beer! Our unique appetizer, sweet potato french fries, or frites, was served in a triangular wire basket including a sweet dipping sauce, yum! Dinner was absolutely amazing as well. Between us we ordered The Sprocket Burger, prepared with egg, The Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf and Pannenkoeken, a thin pancake/crepe item with yummy toppings, standard in The Netherlands. This place was a winner with all of us!
After we stuffed ourselves silly, a walk on the canal was in order. It was still a beautiful day as the sun set on Milwaukee, we passed over several bridges and streets to take in more of this amazing city. For you Hoosiers that have never visited Milwaukee, it seems to be about 3 times larger than Indianapolis. Multiple times we were halted on our walk as the bridge was being raised up for the larger boats to pass through. It was pretty neat to watch the street just lift up and plop back down again! A few years back Lucas had visited his Uncle Craig in Milwaukee and came across a top secret place, The Safe House. During our walk he was able to spot the secret side entrance from an alley way. We entered and were asked to whisper the password to the lady seated in the front room. Alicia was ahead of the game and entered in with no problem. Lucas & I, however, could “clearly not be trusted with the password” as we arrived with someone who knew the password and did not share it with us. So for permission to enter we were asked to hold out our arms and spin around the room as if we were airplanes, sound effects highly encouraged. After this performance a bookshelf opened up and we passed down the hallway into the bar area of the restaurant. There we found Alicia who had been watching our fun from a TV for all to see! Luckily, not too many people were watching our airplane scene as it was still pretty early in the night. It was pretty entertaining for us to watch others enter though. A disco dance and mimes trapped in a glass box were just some of the silliness required for others to enter. We checked out the restaurant which seemed to keep going on and on. There was a tube system like you have at a bank drive- thru, multiple signed pictures from celebrities, trick doors, odd decorations and peep holes. A very interesting and unique place!
After we checked out the whole place it was time to head back to the car and start the trip home to Two Rivers. We had a wonderful time checking out what this great city had to offer and a fun time with Alicia! Hope to see you again Milwaukee, Cheers!