When Will and Hallie were little and they (and by extension, all of us) had fewer extracurricular "responsibilities" during the summer months, we stayed up north for three, four, even five weeks. Now that both kids are pulled in more directions*, our time up north has shortened significantly and, as a result, almost always feels fast and furious.
We kicked off our trip with two weddings and two college tours, and then we spent a few days in Madison at my parents' house with my sister and her family. The kids always have a list of their favorite Madison/Midwest places they want to visit, things they want to do, and foods they want to eat, and we made it through almost their entire list.
Combinations of us played two rounds miniature golf (Madison has the best miniature golf courses of any I've ever played), one round of stick and ball golf, multiple rounds of disc golf, and too many games of corn hole, and Will, Carter, and my dad played in the neighborhood's weekly pick-up soccer game. We wandered Art Fair on the Square, where Will and Hallie had their caricature done my our new favorite caricaturist. We listened to live music, drank cold beer, and devoured greasy popcorn at the Union Terrace. We visited the animals at the Henry Vilas Zoo, swam at the beach on Lake Wingra, and went both water skiing and tubing on Lake Mendota. We also rode the Merrimac Ferry across Lake Wisconsin to Devil's Lake, where we hiked up Balanced Rock Trail and down East Bluff Trail, ate lunch overlooking the lake, went kayaking and stand up paddle boarding, and then stopped for ice cream after riding the ferry back.
We celebrated my dad's birthday, visited with my aunt and uncle, played with Bill and Molly (my parents' kitties, who they adopted after we fostered them through Six Kittens Rescue), and roasted marshmallows and made s'mores. We watched Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on the 4th of July, two US National Team soccer games, and Jurassic World Dominion. We went shopping at Orange Tree, Hilldale, Athleta, and Hallie's absolute favorite: Upstairs Target.
We ate cheese curds and Merkts' port wine cheese spread, drank Wollersheim Winery's Prairie Fumé wine and boxed water (where has this been all my life?!), and dined out at Porta Bella, The Village, The Laurel, Rocky Rococo's Pizza, Greenbush Bakery, Chocolate Shoppe, and Hubbard Avenue Diner. (Hallie and I ate at Culver's and Mickey's Dairy Bar when we visited Wisconsin and Illinois earlier in June, so we didn't try to fit those in on this trip.)
Other than visiting the Farmers' Market, we did just about everything we set out to do on this leg of our Midwestern adventure, and in record time.
Stay tuned for our next leg!