WISCONSIN - KENOSHA & MILWAUKEE WEEKEND
presumably you've already read Kenosha Day 1 and kenosha Day 2 (Part 1), but because this very short trip had very many occurrences i am breaking up the trip into several posts. here within i present the activities that ensued after watching the Big East cross country conference also known as : debauchery. but first, a shot of christiana coming through the race trail. PURE power.
after the race we went for a scenic drive along lake michigan and then into town. i could not believe how beautifully glacial the water was (the following day it returned to a dark ocean blue again - but on saturday it was absolutely stunning).
we parked the car in town and the girls checked out Kenosha Modern Apothecary, which was on my list of places to visit, while the guys waited at a local water-side pub. Modern Apothecary is a full-functioning pharmacy with an old-time feel. They offer a variety of natural products, essential oils and remedies as well as locally produced merchandise, too. I loved the furniture, decor, and layout. one thing I don't love is that they sell your every-day brands like Pantene and Suave (not that I have anything against these brands, but I felt like there was a bit of a mixed message for a venue with the name "apothecary" in it).
things i picked up:
- Camphor Essential Oil by New Directions - camphor is polarizing. if you love vicks, you'll love camphor. it's strong, but it's SO clean it's almost sterile. i use this under my nose if i'm congested, and i especially love it for under my nose during a run. it keeps my nasal passages clear, and i also find that the oil helps to keep my nose moisturized (i am privy to nose bleeds unfortunately). I'll be ordering this direct from New Directions since the same product I paid $9 for in-store is sold for $3 online but hey, price for entry right?
- Good Earth Soap Company Lavender Lotion Bar - I love lotion. Even more, I loved solid versions of beauty products - solid perfumes, salves, etc. This is a twist up bar and i use it at night on my hands because the lavender helps me sleep better. The brand is based in Green Bay Wisconsin, so tick that local box, hey!
- Perennial Soaps Thick As Thieves - Handcrafted in Wisconsin, vegan, palm oil free and small batch. what more could you want? i love that the batch number is actually hand written on the label and the scents are really unique. i chose thick as thieves becayse of its clove, cinnamon, activated bamboo charcoal water, and rosemary ingredients; the base is made with olive oil, coconut oil and shea and cocoa butters. i cannot wait to unwrap this soap but it's almost too pretty to use.
After shopping we stopped into an allegedly notorious pizza spot (which i would recommend skipping if you ever find yourself in kenosha - the pizza was not that groundbreaking and the service was quite poor. this place came to us via an uber driver recco mainly because of their extra spicy giardinera pizza which was just ok). i did manage to try the spotted cow beer from new glarus brewing. rumor has it you cannot get that beer outside of wisconsin so cheers to exclusivity.
we had some downtime back at the hotel before getting ready for dinner - the plan was to head out to milwaukee for a fun night out, but we only made it as far as dinner out of sheer exhaustion (cheering is hard!!), but dinner was 100% worth the trek. we discovered braise, a farm to table restaurant with a huge emphasis on sustainability, supporting local wisconsin farmers, and education (they teach classes on site and use the roof to grow herbs and vegetables). from the string lights outside, to the inviting atmosphere inside (hello reclaimed bowling alleys as tables!).
this spot is probably one of the top 10 restaurants i've ever been to, it was THAT good. my family was a little hesitant at first because it's not a traditional coursed menu - a lot of shared plates and family-style, but it let us taste everything and in the end they loved it. scroll through the gallery for a few of the highlights, including the RIDICULOUS pesto truffle chicken, polenta, and of course, the integral wisconsin cheese plate.
we closed the place down and chatted it up with the chef - we got the scoop on where they get their fish. the trout is from rushing water fisheries; the salmon is the exception to locally sourced food. and the good news? rushing water ships across the US, hooray! sustainable fishery found CHECK CHECK CHECK.
it was halloween night, so the couple bars we went into were extra eery. milwaukee is already, um, strange. throw in some face masks, alter egos, and my mom, aunt and uncle and you've got a potential issue on your hands. so we walked into one uber hipster spot which "creeped" out my family members and then into a dive bar which creeped out tae and me. the decision? back to the bUMPING hotel for a nightcap.
the next morning we had brunch at ashling on the lough which we lingered a bit too long over, continued to the lake for pictures and were late to check out of our hotel (you really can't take us anywhere). the spot was a VERY irish restaurant complete with the iconic kenosha bloody mary (cheese stick, meat stick, shot of beer on the side - what is it with the beer chaser? anyone?) the food was good, the service was great.
the restaurant is on the water and it was a really beautiful sunny day - how could we not stop for pictures here before leaving? little did we know a noreaster was about to screw up our entire trip home and keep us all in the midwest one night longer (albeit split up), but in the moment we savored our last meal together, looked back at things to celebrate (christiana), and toast to what we had in that moment (each other). because what other family books a random trip to kenosha just for fun (ok for running too). and what other boyfriend tags along?! my family has always been incredibly close - where some people have droves of friends, i have always cherished my aunts, uncles and cousins. i am truly blessed, and i'm doubly blessed that i am with someone who cherishes them too (for better or for worse). i'm not sure i'll be making kenosha a destination anytime soon (though there was lots of back seat talk about kenosha real estate) but i'm glad to have had the experience of discovering another small town, all its charms and eccentricities, and to see my girl christiana race.