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Vacation At Home

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We had many plans and ideas for spring break – visit my sister in Hawaii, go to Mall of America, fly to Mexico and stay at an all-inclusive. In the end, we vacationed at home to allow us to be available for practice for my son’s high school tennis team.

If you think about it, there is usually a good reason why you chose to live in the area you do. How often do you take advantage of all that your city has to offer? A few years ago, we visited a dear friend in Durham, North Carolina. Before we arrived, we had researched the top 10 things to do in Durham. Our friends who lived in Durham had not done them either, so he felt compelled to make sure we crossed out every item on that list before we left. It was fun for us, and it showed our friends some things in their own city that they had neglected. That seems to be the case with many of us.

 

So this year, we vacationed in Milwaukee for spring break, and due to all the tennis practice my son had, we crammed it all in to one day! Let me tell you what we did.

First of all, I love surprises and I’m told that I’m a control freak. So, rather than laying out my entire days’ plan, we started the day at 9am with my children knowing only the next activity on the list. I love to keep them guessing, and they find it fun too!

We started off at the Moorland Park Driving Range. Wisconsin can be iffy in the spring and today was no exception. It was a chilly 32 degrees. Fortunately this outdoor driving range has heaters. We had a great time hitting golf balls onto the driving range. It made us hopeful for the upcoming warm weather and reminded us of the good times we had on the golf course last summer.

Next we went to Alpine Lanes bowling alley. There is just something about bowling that my children love. I don’t think it’s the rental shoes, or the bright colored balls. Maybe it’s getting to throw something and knock things down. Whatever the attraction, we bowled two games, and had fun doing it. We love to tease each other and try different things. My son tried to see how fast he could throw a ball – I think 22mph was his tops. They bowled left handed and right handed and straight and threw curves. There was a little score editing happening at the end in an effort to beat a family member, but it was all in fun.

About now, we are starting to get hungry. We decided to head to the shopping mall and visited Southridge mall where we started in the food court. I love mall food courts. It’s the rare meal time where each person can have whatever they want, and I don’t have to cook any of it! My favorite is bourbon chicken and cornbread at the Big Easy. My children usually gravitate to Subway, so all of our choices are relatively healthy.

When we  vacation, we typically buy souvenirs. Instead of souvenirs, we decided just to shop for things we would use. Hitting the major department stores, we split up – boys and girls and headed off to our sections. It was fun not to be pressed for time as sometimes happens in the evenings. We could browse and be delighted by the merchandise we found. We met back up, made our purchases and headed off to the next stop. Something about shopping just seems to make the children happy, so our day was going well.

I love big cities and I love downtowns. We headed to downtown Milwaukee and the third ward. On a prior visit, we stumbled across a red elephant shining on the sidewalk. We learned it was a spotlight from the gourmet candy store – Red Elephant Chocolate. My family is fond of elephants and chocolate, so we made a stop. We learned about rare chocolate, read the elephant facts on the wall and one of us ate chocolate.

Next we crossed the street to the Milwaukee Public Market with fresh food and tons of local vendors. We started with some great coffee, then ate and drank our way through the market stopping off for ice cream and a smoothie. I love perusing the kitchen gadgets, smelling the flowers, and admiring the variety of foods. When my son was very young, I took him to the fish market and let him eat mussels to his heart’s content. We headed up to the second floor to sit and finish our snacks and admired the teaching kitchen – thinking perhaps we would join in on a future class.

Next we headed to the lakefront. Milwaukee is called "A Great Place by a Great Lake", and we definitely agree. I love McKinley Marina and seeing all the boats. At this time of year, they were all bundled in their blue tarps wishing for spring as much as we were. We headed to the tennis courts on the lakefront by Alterra Coffee. It was chillier than when we normally play tennis, but we had a good time smashing the tennis ball around all the courts – since we were the only ones playing!

When the children finally tired of tennis, we headed to Benihana’s steakhouse to finish off the day. There is nothing like hibachi Japanese style cooking to make us happy. We love the humor of the chefs as they clang their kitchen tools around and toss shrimp into their chef hats. Of course, the food is delicious, and the entertainment is just watching the chef cook. If only they felt the same way when I cooked at home!

With our tummies happy, our muscles exercised and the sun setting, we headed for home. The day had been a success. We had lots of fun and laughs in our hometown, and the best part was looking forward to sleeping in our own beds. Try it out for yourself and vacation in your own home town and tell me all about it!

Cindy Wendland is a web designer, writer and creative director of Brain Brawn & Body. You can contact Cindy at cindy.wendland@brainbrawnbody.com.

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Cindy Wendland is a web designer, writer and creative director of Brain Brawn & Body. You can contact Cindy at cindy.wendland@brainbrawnbody.com.

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