Wisconsin is a pretty magical place if you ask me. It’s considered the land of beer, cheese, and brats. Not that I’m obsessive about beer or brats, but I’m definitely all in like flynn for the cheese. Ben and I visited America’s Dairyland for a friend’s wedding in October. We flew into Milwaukee on a Thursday then road tripped over to Madison where we’d ultimately spend the weekend.
On the way to Madison, Ben and I made a spontaneous pit stop at Rock Lake. Located in Jefferson County, it seemed to be the perfect lake to catch a shot for the ‘gram. TBH this wasn’t part of our original plan. The lake we intended to visit was Lake Mendota. With flight delays and our rental car pickup taking longer than expected, there was no way for us to make it Lake Mendota before sunset.
So we detoured.
Shoutout to Google Maps and Ben trusting me to get off the highway for Rock Lake. He was skeptical, assuming it would be in a restricted neighborhood or something. We were lucky enough to find a random parking lot on a side street along with public access to the lake.
It was beeeeeautiful and THAT LAKE BREEZE WAS NOT PLAYIN’. I froze while Ben snapped away on our camera. As soon as we got the shot we booked it to head the rest of the way to Madison.
Once we got into town we went out to dinner with friends at Tipsy Cow. Their local goat cheese curds were phenom. I wouldn’t hesitate to claim that they were the best thing I ate all weekend. Accompanying those with the local lamb burger had me in heaven at Tipsy Cow. The lamb burger came served with a sunny-side egg on top which gave it such a nice melty texture. I even forgot to snap a picture of it. As a blogger I can tell you: that’s when you know something’s DAMN GOOD.
Friday was wedding day for our friends Jenny and Aaron! We had some time to kill before the wedding so a group of us ventured out to Schuster’s Farm in Deerfield, Wisconsin. This farm was adorable. They had a pumpkin patch perfect for the ‘gram, a corn maze, childhood games (anyone remember tether ball?), and some cute animals to see. We spent hours there. It truly felt like fall on the farm and this Florida gal was as happy as could be.
That evening Ben and I put on our Friday best to celebrate the marriage of our friends. Jenny and Aaron got married downtown at the University Club in Madison. The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was full of 90’s hits, dancing, and lifting chairs of people in the air (a Jewish wedding tradition). It was such a fun night with some of our closest friends that led to a short-lived night out in downtown Madison. Emphasis on the “short-lived” LOL.
On Saturday I was admittedly riding the struggle bus (a sure sign of a fun wedding). Since it was our last full day in town I tried to buck up as much as I could. Brunch sounded like a good idea so Ben and I headed out to Heritage Tavern. If you ever visit this Madison treasure – definitely try the hazelnut french toast. I’m not big on sweet breakfasts, but I’d make a special exception for this one anytime. Ben enjoyed the “old fashioned” ham and cheese omelet. We also ordered a side of Heritage Tavern’s maple lamb sausage to split. Every meaty bite was sweet with a zingy little tang.
Ben and I strolled around the capitol building after brunch, mostly to take in some fresh air. The scenery was amazing. The building itself was beautiful but the fall foliage added such a special touch.
Later in the day we met up with friends that had road tripped up from Illinois to hang out. Our plan was to hit a few breweries then see where the night led. We (they) drank our way through Karben4 Brewing, Alt Brew, and Working Draft Beer Company. This gal didn’t (couldn’t) drink much, BUT I did enjoy a small plate of savory pimento cheese and biscuits at Working Draft. I’m 100% convinced that was my stop off of the struggle bus and onto the incline of feeling better that day.
The day of brewery hopping flew by and before we knew it, it was time for dinner. A group of us went out to BelAir Cantina for some Mexican food. Our table was covered with plates of tacos, rice, beans, salsas (the green one was SO GOOD), chips. All the good stuff. In front of me I had a plate of three tacos: the spicy pollo, the ninja pig, and the fried avocado & bacon. The ninja pig pulled through as my favorite – I loved the crispy texture of the pork paired with the freshness of the cucumber and jicama slaw.
We went out that night after dinner to one bar in downtown Madison. ONE BAR. Apparently being 27 years old means you can’t “hang” anymore. Just kidding. To be honest, Ben and I were both exhausted from the weekend. I was still slightly hungover and we had an early morning roadtrip back to Milwaukee ahead of us in the morning to catch our flight home. Hitting one bar downtown sounded just right. The bar we visited that night was Cask and Ale. Funny story. Cask and Ale actually has locations in Florida. Funnier story. They’re really not that far from where we live. I’ll be hitting up those locations when I’m ready for a redo.
Wisconsin doesn’t ring in at the top of my list as a vacation spot, but clearly that was the wrong assumption to have about this state. The places we ate at and the things we did all made for such a fun (and cheese-filled) weekend. This is one of the reasons why I truly love out of state weddings. Not only do you get to celebrate the love between two of your friends, you also get the full opportunity to make a mini vacay out of a place that you may not have considered visiting otherwise. It’s a full win/win in my book.
For the commenters: have you ever visited Wisconsin? What are some of your must see and do places there? Did I mention any of them above?