Last weekend Megan and I had the pleasure of riding up to Appleton Wisconsin with a group of friends. Their son goes to the Lawrence University music conservatory and they were on their way up to to see his final performance of the year. There was a total of nine of us in the group heading on up for the weekend. Leaving Park Ridge we went on up through Wisconsin though its always enjoyable country roads. We eventually found our way onto the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive. It is a nice collection of scenic country roads.
We stopped for lunch on the first day for a burger before continuing on north. When we finally got to Appleton I was impressed at how cool the town actually was. A nice looking college campus overlooked the river, which appeared to be dominated by an abandoned mill. As as result of the mill there looked like there were at least two locks or damns on the river. The mill has since been converted into apartments or condos, but much of the aging infrastructure around the mill, including old bridge pylons in the river remain.
Our hotel was the fantastic looking Franklin Street Inn Bed and Breakfast. It was an adorable converted victorian house with very vintage looking furniture. Megan and I waffled on our room choice and ended up with the very cool looking, but also very hot third floor attic room, with a seashell theme. The proprietor had the most northern accent I had ever heard in my life. What's more is that our group had the entire house to ourselves, which made for a great evening.
Dinner that evening was at the Stone Cellar Brewpub, just across the river. Again, I was completely surprised at how great the place was. Great food with all of the Wisconsin standards like beer, cheese and sausage. It really was fantastic. Later that evening we went to the recital which was performed in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. After the concert we went to the Viking Room, which is a bar located inside the university's union. Take that in for a moment. A bar, located inside the university. It was a strange sight, but it was a cool little basement hangout. Surprisingly it wasn't too crowded and drinks were apparently cheap.
The next day we began out trip back down to Illinois. We probably got started a bit later than most anticipated, but we went to go see the Horicon Marsh, which is a wildlife sanctuary. Part federal and part state land, it is home to migrating birds. It was well worth the side trip as it was a very pretty location. We only stayed for an hour or so.
Finally, before heading home we made one last stop at a taco stand near Delvin Wisconsin called Lopez's Anchor In. At first glance it appears to be your standard hamburger and hotdog drive up stop, and it does have that food, but what it also has is some delicious tacos and horchata. Megan got a horchata "smoothie", which was amazing.
Finally push put us back down to Illinois and home around 5:30 or so. It was a long weekend, but some great riding and some great sights.