Northwest Native: Wisconsin Trip: Madison

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Wisconsin Trip: Madison

I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July weekend! I'm going to start recapping our Wisconsin trip today!

We flew from Portland to Minneapolis/St. Paul and didn't get in until almost nine p.m. local time. We had to wait around so Michael could find out the outcome of game seven of the NBA finals (he's a huge Lebron fan) and he seriously almost cried when the Cavaliers won.

After we got the rental car, we drove a little over halfway to Madison. We reserved a room at a hotel in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. One thing that struck me about Wisconsin that first night (this was my first trip to the midwest) was holy crap, how are there ten mile stretches of the highway with no exits?! Aside from that, the thing I noticed is there were constantly giant billboard advertisements for McDonald's. At one point, when we were deep into a super long stretch with no exits, there was a massive lit sign in the middle of nowhere...and it ended up being for McDonald's. So odd.

We woke up in Black River Falls and went to a little restaurant called The Mocha Mouse for breakfast.

They also had a cheese shop, so obviously we hit that up, because when in Wisconsin...

We bought cheese curds (my fave), a smoked cheddar, and chicken soup flavored cheese (which was so bizarre because it tasted just like freaked me out).

The reason for the Madison leg of the trip was to see my friend Abby, who I met and lived with in Australia. She's one of my best friends, and she's been out to the PNW three times and this was my first time visiting her! We went to the UW Madison campus, which I officially declared the coolest campus ever. I've never been to a campus that just sits right on the edge of a lake. I also haven't been to a campus that has a bar on site, aside from in Australia. I would've loved being able to be on campus, order a glass of wine or a cider, walk a few feet and be sitting on the waterfront (I know that most of the school year is dreadfully cold though, so I may be romanticizing it a bit).
Hashtag awkward foot.
Hashtag Michael's pose idea. (Alternate hashtag: favorite dress ever [which is on sale for $8!!!]!)

We also stopped at the UW Madison bookstore and modeled some cheeseheads. I really wanted to buy a cheesehead and wear it at the wedding, but it just didn't happen. Womp womp.
This picture is now one of my favorite pictures of all time.

After that lovely lakeside/cheesehead experience, we went to Culver's, at my request. Abby used to work there, and she told me how much better frozen custard is than ice cream, so I obviously needed to try it. We got fried cheese curds and concrete mixers (aka a DQ blizzard but with custard, basically) and I can't decide if I wish we had Culver's here because oh my gosh holy deliciousness or if I'm glad we don't because I would weigh significantly more than I do.

Abby's boyfriend grilled dinner for us and then we went out for drinks that night. And the next day we got an early start to head to Devil's Lake, where we rented a paddleboat! It was a first for me, but I've only wanted to do it for at least fifteen years since they did it in 10 Things I Hate About You. It was tons of fun. (Excessive photos/no words to follow.)

We went to the outlets at the Wisconsin Dells after that and I made my first ever purchase from Express. For all you bloggers out there obsessed with pineapples, run to your nearest Express outlet and see if they have this shirt (it's white with pink pineapples, if you can't tell)!

We went to dinner with Abby's parents and then we went to a bar where Abby's boyfriend had a volleyball game. Summer is huge in Wisconsin since so much of the winter is miserable, so they have bars with sand volleyball courts everywhere. Abby's boyfriend is on three different teams--he has volleyball after work on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights! As Abby's mom said at dinner, Wisconsinites try to cram as much fun into summer as they can.

The next day we went to breakfast at a diner and headed out for the two and a half hour drive from Madison to Green Bay!

Linking up with Sweet Little Ones for Tuesday Talk!

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  1. Mattie it looks like you guys had the best time! I'm laughing out loud about the ten mile stretches without an exit!! Welcome to the Midwest!! And that pineapple top!!! All the heart emojis :)

  2. Love that y'all tried on the cheese heads and ate all the cheese while you were visiting! When in Wisconsin, you must eat all the cheese, right? I also love that you tried out paddle boating because of 10 Things I Hate About You! That movie was my movie in high school, and all I wanted to do was go paintballing after watching that movie! It sounds like you had the best time on your trip visiting your friend!

  3. I can't believe you've never been to the midwest :) I'm on the far eastern side of the MW but we have super long stretches of highway without an exit, too. It's nearly screwed me over with gas more than once... You trip looks so fun! Can't wait to hear more!

  4. Yep - I want that pineapple shirt now.
    OK - what are cheese curds? I just cant get pass the name. Its probably just chunks of cheese - or is there something more to it?
    Looks like a great time!!

  5. Yup, I'm on the pineapple bandwagon, and those pink pineapples are so cute. So glad you had a great weekend! My husband's cousin lives out there, and we've always wanted to go for a visit.

    Meg, Borrowed Heaven

  6. I want to go to a cheese store!! Sounds like you had a great time!!

  7. What a fun trip!! I love getting to see old friends, so this sounds like my type of trip! ;) Also, chicken soup flavored cheese....whaaaaaat?!

  8. Culver's concretes were my FAVORITE in college. One of my best friends lived by one and I stopped there way too often. And yes, welcome to the Midwest with the exits spread few and far between!

  9. Yes to all the cheese (though I am not so sure about that chicken soup flavored one! Haha). Culver's is so great. A campus right on the lake sounds so nice! :)

  10. So fun! Jealous of all your cheese tasting this weekend!

  11. My friend lives in Chicago, and it sounds like they have the same mindset about summer as Wisconsinites do! I guess when you spend much of the year freezing, you have to take advantage of the warmth haha! Sounds like you guys had a great trip, and that pineapple shirt is SO cute!!

  12. Looks like so much fun. I loved visiting Madison, WI. Such a cool place. I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

  13. Looks like an amazing trip, especially since you were able to visit your longtime friend. Madison looks beautiful by the way. And mad props for paddle boating, I always feel like I'm dead weight whenever I've done that lol.

  14. The Midwest is great, huh? Highways without exits is very common, haha! The drive from Omaha to Denver is pretty dreadful because of that (and looking at nothing but flat land & cows). Madison sounds like so much fun! I've heard that their campus is beautiful too. Did you at least end up buying a cheese head as a souvenir?? Your pics with it are hilarious! Looking forward to hearing more about the rest of your trip!

  15. I never imagined Wisconsin's campus to be lakeside. Not sure why. I dated a guy who had gone to school there, and this was a fact he never shared. The water is so pretty & clear too. Texas lakes are often muddy and brown. Blech.
    I love all things cheese, so I'd go crazy in a Wisconsin cheese shop. And, there's a frozen custard place here that I'm addicted to!

  16. Oh my goodness! This all looks so fun! And as a pineapple obsessed I'm so sad that I don't own that shirt!

  17. What a fun trip! Love the cheeseheads! Your pineapple top is so cute!

    Doused In Pink

  18. When we drove from Minneaopolis to Chippewa Falls, WI I made a comment that I had never seen so many McDonalds that close to another in my entire life - sooo crazy! I didn't get a trip to Culvers on my WI trip but its on my list for next time.

    LOVE that pineapple top!

  19. woot woot for Wisconsin visits! I'm biased but i say it's the best state in the country (except during winter time, haha.) Madison is such a cute city and the food scene is amazing! When I'm away from Wisconsin I crave cheese curds like no other! as i'm sure you learned cheese is very important to us Wisconsinites and we put it on literally everything.

  20. What a fun trip- I was having major heart-eyed emojis over all of that cheese! I've never really thought about it before, but you're so right on summer being enjoyed to the fullest in the midwest because the winters are the worst! Love your pineapple top & the scalloped shorts!

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