Sunday, August 6, 2023

The No Plan Travel Adventure


Back in April I asked my son if we could take a trip over the summer, just a weekend, to somewhere neither of us had been to before. He agreed, but one upped the challenge...we wouldn't pick the city until we got to the airport. We can do this relatively easily because my husband flies for Southwest, and as family of an employee we can fly standby for free. We actually don't use this perq too often, because it's a big roll of the dice when you have a specific time and place to be, but it's tailor made for this adventure.

We rolled into BWI at about 4:30pm on Friday afternoon. We weren't super interested in going somewhere hotter than DC, we only wanted to take one hop, and it had to be a city we hadn't been to before. Pretty quickly we settled on Milwaukee or Portland ME. The earlier Milwaukee flight had been delayed, so we headed to that gate first to see if there were any open seats. There were, the Gate Agent was incredibly helpful, so off we went.

I paid for WiFi on the plane and then got to work finding a place for us to sleep. Weirdly I was having a hard time finding a room - AirBnBs were a bust also. I checked Priceline, and I definitely didn't want to rent a car - we wanted to stay downtown. The usual chains were just as expensive as the Saint Kate Art Hotel, which looked far more interesting. The Saint Kate deal also included breakfast, so we decided to go for it, and it did not disappoint. Our room came with coloring supplies, a ukulele, a record player and records, and very comfy beds. We loved it. 

I felt like every other person we passed as we walked around the River Walk that night was wearing high-end running shoes. Turns out Milwaukee was hosting the 3-day US Triathlon Nationals. Fun to watch and explained the hotel room deficiency.

Saturday we enjoyed the completely wonderful Saint Kate brunch, then headed out to the Milwaukee Art Museum which is right along Lake Michigan. It's a gorgeous building, and was a great find. The coffee shop was incredible - believe it or not these drinks are not cocktails!

While googling things to do, Mike found a quirky park he wanted to see - the Mitchel Park Domes - but it was a bit off the beaten path. We found local rental bikes (Bublr) and we were off. It was a beautiful day, and the domes were worth a visit, they were filled with incredible gardens.

We capped off our day with dinner at Mader's, a 120-year old restaurant that is "the best German restaurant in America." Good but a teensy bit touristy. Maybe because it was filled with noisy and hungry triathletes - ha!

We headed back the the airport Sunday morning and got seats home on the first try. 
Thanks Milwaukee for the wonderful weekend!

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