My final day of adventure in Milwaukee started out with coffee at Colectivo - Lakefront to connect with one of my cousins. Splendid walk down to the lake -- so much greenery! And yes, I took an alternate route on my way back to The Plaza -- equally as lovely. A lake by the lake and a forested path made it easy to forget I was in the city.
Checked out of The Plaza (I was going to miss my lovely 2-door closet!), and meandered out to the Public Market. I timed it perfectly with lunch, so it was a wonderful swirling mess of people.
Considering I was already at this end of town I decided to continue on to the Clock Shadow Creamery. Might as well fit in at least one tour while I was here!
The creamery tour was pretty educational, and we were able to check out the view from the roof of the building. Neat! Hopped up on knowledge, I thought I'd go for a second learning opportunity and check out the Harley Davidson Museum.
On my walk to HD I passed MobCraft Beer. OH! What is this?! Google, Google, Google. Yes! But they don't open for another hour. Okay, the HD tour and maybe a pit stop the Great Lakes Distillery (which I spied on the opposite corner) could easily fill my time. I had just over two hours until I needed to leave for the airport.
I hauled my sweaty backpack up over the bridge and was welcomed into the museum entrance with a blast of ice cold AC. Heaven! Turns out the tour was $20, which is not bad, but I decided I'd rather spend my $20 at the distillery than checking out harleys (sorry HD fans, I'm a sportbike girl!). Back up over the bridge I go. Two hours until go time.
Great Lakes Distillery did not disappoint! The bartender suggested one of their current features, a lavender collins. I had no idea what what was in it, but the bartender said it was perfectly refreshing for a warm day. Ohhh, so good. I'll take a second!
One hour left. Time to hit up MobCraft Beer.
The space was rad, the beer was delicious (lots of options on tap!), and the owner was very welcoming. This was the perfect way to close out my adventure in Milwaukee.
Not quite the end of MKE!
My Uber driver to the airport was awesome! She was a fun, sassy lady with great stories to share from her Uber experiences.
Back home I was welcomed with an insanely wonderfully overly exuberant pair of pups happy to have me back. Thank you Pack Up + Go for the perfect surprise adventure. <3
Happy Birthday to Me!
Main goal of the day: kayaking
Pack Up + Go included the postcard Life Is Better At The Beach (see the envelope post), which suggested several adventures near or on the water. Milwaukee Kayak Company didn’t open until 10am. As an early riser, I had plenty of time to kill.
I took the long route to Holey Moley Coffee + Doughnuts. Actually I initially wanted to stop at Colectivo Coffee – US Bank. Strolling through the city like I know where I’m going, I come up the area of the coffee shop: a giant corporate looking building. Crap.
ME: Uh, excuse me sir, if there a Colectivo Coffee shop around here?
Guy: Yes ma’am, inside the US Bank building.
ME: Inside? Dang.
Guy: Yea, in their cafeteria area.
ME: That sounds like a lot of work to get to.
Guy: (chuckles) Nah, just go up the escalator.
Ish. Corporate life is not where I wanted to start my birthday. I wandered away toward Third Ward to find Holey Moley, which turned out to be an excellent option. Back to the rad brick buildings, the Third Ward had a great atmosphere.
Post caffeine and sugar binge >> lakeside walk.
Oooo, a lighthouse!
Hello random girls, would you mind taking a photo of me doing a random yoga pose in front of the lighthouse? Not weird at all, right? That’s me.
Less than a block away from Milwaukee Kayak (or so the map said), I feel like I am lost. I see no storefront for anything. It looks like a parking lot/shipyard, I see a man getting stuff out of his car that looks likes it has been up on blocks for a while…and yet I still wander in. Seems legit. O.o
Thankfully I finally noticed signs for the kayak company and make my way to several boxcars being used to hold the kayaks and other river equipment. Nifty! A very nice lady and to younger girls were there to run things.
Me: Hi, I’m here to kayak.
Lady: Did you make a reservation?
Me: No. Do you have any openings left?!
Lady: No problem!
Me: I’ve never kayaked before, is that a problem?!
They pulled out a kayak, got me fitted for a lifejacket (she definitely stressed that I shouldn’t take this off, lol), loaned me a dry bag for my purse, gave me tips for where to go (along with a laminated map on the kayak), and sent me off!
The water was calm and the weather was perfect. I had the rivers to myself most of the time. Seeing the city from a different point of view was fantastic -- easily one of my favorite parts of the trip.
Several hours later I returned sweaty, suntanned in an odd pattern, and starving! Purple Door Ice Cream was my first instinct for a close option on a hot afternoon. Halfway there I ran across another Colectivo Coffee location: Foundry. Conveniently I’d gotten a text from a friend between my first attempt at Colectivo and now telling me it was a definite point of interest. This location had a good looking patio, so I gave it a chance and was thanked with the ultimate pesto veggie wrap. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Thennnn I made it over to Purple Door Ice Cream. A fresh waffle cone and a scoop of lemon ice cream…uh, duh, yes please!
So there I was, a sweaty smelly mess, wandering through downtown happily enjoying a giant ice cream cone. Birthday bliss!
A long walk and clean-up session at the hotel had me ready for an evening beer. Milwaukee Ale House was my brewery of choice. Definite win. Guess what I did after…yup, a long scenic walk! There was really so much good scenery here! I wandered along the Riverwalk to take in the sunset and wind down for the night.
Hello 34, I've arrived and I’m happy to be here.
5:15am, Monday, July 11, 2016
My Uber driver pulls up. Eeeeee!!!
Bye pups! Don't kill anyone, or at least don't get caught. Love you!
Uber driver: Airport, huh? Where's your luggage?!
Me: (holding small backpack) Just a 3-day!
UD: What airline?
Me: I don't know!!
(I tell him about Pack Up + Go)
Me: But now I can open my envelope!!! (Rip open envelope!) ...Milwaukee!!!
UD: No way! I'm from Milwaukee!!
(Insert excited conversation about the contents of the envelope and additional tips from my driver until we arrived at the airport)
About the time I was opening the envelope I received the email containing my boarding pass and some additional information. So many things to open and read all at once!!
My prep email arrived exactly a week before departure. Not gonna lie, I definitely looked up a weather map of the US for dates of my trip! I had a several guesses, some more likely that others, but I didn't want to dig too deep to give away the surprise.
I'm a pretty firm believer in celebrating birthdays. And in getting yourself a birthday present. Why wouldn't you celebrate yourself?! You're awesome!
This year I am turning 34. I remember when I was very young and thinking I was NEVER going to get to my 30s. That was so old and so far away! Surely the world would end before that time came. Thankfully I was wrong. Not only because that means the world is still kicking, but also because I'm still kicking. Yay, I'm still alive and loving life! And those many years between then and now have been AMAZING! I love getting older, no joke.
Thus the gift of a surprise adventure to me, from me. Enter Pack Up + Go, 3-day surprise vacations. What a grand idea! One of the hardest parts for me in planning a vacation is choosing where I want to go. And I don't enjoy picking out airfare or trying to find a hotel. This company does all of that for you!
And bonus, it is a surprise!
Hell yeah, I signed up!
And I signed up solo. I'm turning 34 and have never been on a vacation completely by myself. Time to expand my experiences...and be able to do whatever I want whenever I want!
I filled out their survey:
> I want to travel by plane, train, or bus
> I want to spend X amount of $$ (this covers transportation to the city + the hotel)
> Departure date selected (remember, you're only gone for 3 days)
> Listed out the five most recent places I've visited, the trips I have coming up, and where I grew up (they try to not send you to those locations)
> I'm interested in X type of travel (I chose all of them)
> My hobbies/interests: Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants, Craft Beer/Breweries, Cafes/Bakeries, Historical Sights, Parks/Nature, Fitness/Exercise, Outdoor Sports, Book Stores
> This trip is for: My birthday!
And now, I wait!
Going into 2016 I said I was going to take a break from travel. I had gone on several trips in 2015, so this year I figured I should settle down a bit and finally work on some house projects I'd been putting off. Time to act like a 'normal' responsible adult, as boring as that sounded.
That lasted four months, and I think I only made it that long because I already had a road trip planned for April. The moment I got in the car for my trip, there went all of my feelings of needing to feel responsible and adultish, right out the windows I rolled down for the dogs to hang their heads out on the way to Colorado. Weeeeee!!
Not long after returning home, the adult responsibilities tried to sneak back in. I realized my washer was steadily going downhill. I knew that as a wise and responsible adult, I should purchase a new washer now before this one officially died and left me stranded with a large piles of clothes to wash. So I promptly scheduled a new tattoo appointment instead. Ha, take that feelings of responsible adultness! You're not winning this time!!
One month later, guess what happened? Yup, the washer died. Adulthood came in like a wrecking ball. Now I was definitely feeling tied down and domestic. Ew, dang you adulthood! Well played.
I started plotting my escape -- nothing cures the feelings of being boxed in like a good ole adventure! But where should I go?! I remembered a friend's post about some sort of surprise vacation company...perrrrrfect. I have a birthday coming up -- I'll give myself a surprise vacation!!
An hour after ordering my washer I purchased my surprise vacation! Not today adulthood, not today. Adventure wins!