::: TRAVEL :::HER TAKE ~
Sometimes things don’t go exactly as we have planned. Upon arrival at the state park nearby Kenosha, WI we were hit with the reminder that we were not the only ones that frequented campgrounds, in fact, the campground was full. Well, that wouldn’t be such a big deal if the nearest campground wasn’t about forty minutes out of our way and in the wrong direction. Alas, we decided now was a good moment to spring on a hotel room. While many of the traditional online searches tend to yield the best response, i.e. hotels.com
, etc. Sometimes speaking with a real person will actually get you the best deal. So I called around and got a pretty dang good deal if I do say so myself. By the time we rolled into the hotel we were in dire need of a shower and a bed, so I guess it worked out for the best. Sometimes, spending the additional sixty bucks is worth the creature comforts (especially after having roughed it in the venue parking lot the night before). We didn’t get a lot of time to explore Kenosha, WI, but it seems like a very cool place with lots of very cool people. And it’s close to a great lake, so lots of people have boats. We’ll be back to enjoy this again sometime.
SO…. big change on the way. We had been discussing an upgrade of our vehicle for eons. In fact, the 4runner alone had over 218,000 miles on it! It was time. Cie had been doing loads of research to find us the perfect replacement, and yes, that included Hop going to a new home as well. Thus, we made a slight alteration in our plans and after leaving Kenosha, made our way back over and down to Iowa to check out a Mercedes Winnebago Sprinter Van. You might be saying to yourself, “hot dang, that sounds fancy!” And oh it is. In fact, after the trade in and lots of negotiation, it still took most of our life savings for the down payment, and we’ll be looking at a monthly for years to come. With that said, holy mother of standard of living improvement! When you spend 24-7 on the road for over 15 months in a 4runner with a car-top carrier, pulling a teardrop camper, you become more and more aware of what you had vs. what you have. A couch…ah….a toilet… mmm…a shower… Well, you catch my drift. Anywho, this baby has it all, in an itty-bitty living space. It’s worth it. And we love it.
Now, driving down the highway to Sheboygan in our new pimp ride, we were reminded just how beautiful mother nature can paint the world. With leaves changing and autumn engulfing us with our new panoramic view, we couldn’t help but smile and get excited about our continued adventure. That said, it was a lovely drive and Sheboygan was again filled with good people. We pulled up the new van right next to the venue which overlooked the river, and with a bit of chill in the air and fog settling in, it proved the perfect first evening spent in our new home.
It might seem silly that the third night after we just got a brand spanking new ride/home, we stayed at a resort, but you can’t really turn down a two bedroom condo. As we drove into Wisconsin Dells, memories of my childhood seeped in as if my sisters were still sitting on either side of me and I could still taste the ginormous Paul Bunyan pancakes with maple syrup that the Dells offers up on an oversized platter, remember coasting along the lazy river at Noah’s Ark Waterpark, and experiencing the sheer excitement of making the transition between land and water on Wisconsin Dells’ ducks. Being an Iowa girl, Wisconsin was just a hop-skip-and a jump away growing up, so the tourist destination of Wisconsin Dells had been on the docket more than once in my childhood. And I was smiling from ear to ear with excitement on our drive in. The booking agent at the resort even hooked us up with Duck tickets, and it was just as fun as I remembered. In fact, I may have appreciated it more because I was older and got all of the corny jokes about the landscape and rock formations that the tour guide/duck driver dropped at every opportunity. And Spring Brook Resort, which housed our venue for the evening was lovely. It’s one of those places where you could see yourself spending at least a week and never getting bored, yet still feeling cozy and at home in the accommodations.
It was hard to tear ourselves away from the Dells, but we had to make our way onto our next spot, Monroe, Wisconsin. Monroe is a small city hall centered Midwestern town with a cute little town square, that happened to hold our venue for the evening. Since we were rolling in just before gig time, we pulled up right in front of the venue and were met with the eager eyes and questions of some of the locals. We even gave a brief tour of our new home. Oh, did I mention his name yet? Brace yourselves… Jack. He’s a Jack of all trades, he enjoys a good day of doing Jack squat, drinking some Jack Daniel’s, he’s our new buddy Jackers… okay, you get the picture. Jack definitely stands out in a crowd. He’s tall. You can actually stand up inside of him, unlike our former friend Hop, who you were lucky if you were able to sit up completely inside of and not bump your head. As I said before, Jack has taken us to a whole new level. Thank God.
::: TASTE :::
HER TAKE ~So, we’d been excited for a while to check out Sazzy B, in part because of it’s fun name. Upon arrival however, we found that the venue had accidentally double booked. This sometimes happens. It had happened to us once before on the tour, so we’d learned to go with the flow. We pulled up a bar stool and enjoyed sipping on a smooth glass of Jameson whiskey awaiting our turn to entertain the crowd. Not such a bad way to wait.
Glas is primarily a coffee shop but also serves food. With the evening chill in the air, I ordered us both a cup of the butternut squash soup as well as a burrito. Cie ended up eating up both burritos and I devoured the soup, as the burritos were pre-made and full of cheese. But both hit the spot for us. We even came back the morning after the show and grabbed a cup of coffee and a soy chai for the road. Good stuff.
Spring Brook Sports Bar & Grill had a couple of good local brews on tap, so we each enjoyed a pint of the Spotted Cow. We also supped on some tasty pasta with parm and roasted tomatoes as well as a tasty tuna steak. We took the food back to our condo that the resort had put us up in for the evening and enjoyed a late night of feasting and relaxing. With football to watch in the morning and ducks to ride in the afternoon, we were definitely overwhelmed with a sense of overall satisfaction that could not be described but felt nonetheless after a long week.
The Bean and Barrel in Monroe is not your average restaurant, bar, or coffee shop. In fact, in the words of the waitress for the evening, if you work there you are not just a barrista, a bartender, or a server, you have to be all three. This place seems to touch on all things tasty. We each enjoyed a couple of brews as well as a BLT wrap and sweet potato fries. Everything is made to order, so we left with warm food and ended the evening with smiling Buddha bellies.
::: TUNES :::
HER TAKE ~Sazzy B in Kenosha is a great space. It’s set up as a lounge with a nice bar and good sized dining room. Diners are there to enjoy a good meal and listen to good music. The audience was engaged and the service was top notch. This is a great place to sip on a glass of whiskey or enjoy a bottle of wine with a loved one and have the added perk of great live music. While we played a short set due to the double booking, we’ll be more than happy to come back and share some more songs again down the road.
Glas in Sheboygan is still establishing itself as a local hotspot for music. It’s the new kid on the block. That said, it’s got a neat two tiered set up with a balcony area overlooking the main dining hall. This gives it a bit of a listening room feel which worked well for the evening. It also has a great outdoor space on the waterfront with a large deck/patio that I could see being a great space to enjoy some acoustic music during the warmer months. We had a nice crowd and a chill evening of some of our more introspective tunes.
Spring Brook Sports Bar & Grill hosts live music regularly on the weekends. As a part of the resort, and really center to the resort, it seems to be the local watering hole where everybody knows your name or will by the end of the night. This is not your typical resort. It’s a resort filled with vacation homes and a few rental condos. But most of the folks who come there own their places. Therefore, the bar and grill really gave the familiar small town vibe with all of the upscale comforts of the resort mentality. Live music on the weekends being one of their assets as well as a great food and drink menu, and even better people. What’s not to like?
If the Bean & Barrel in Monroe doesn’t have what you like, you should probably stay home, because these guys literally have everything from ice cream to espresso, local brews, to home cooked meals. And live music seemed to be just an added bonus for this small town spot. Set up in the front window, we enjoyed spending the evening sharing our music with people stopping in for a scoop or enjoying a full meal. It was an eclectic and interesting evening full of small town characters where we left knowing just as much about the audience as they knew about us, and happy to have made the stop.
TRAVEL. TASTE. AND TUNE IN.