Thursday, June 20, 2013


When I left off yesterday, we had departed St. Louis and were en route to Milwaukee (via Bloomington). We arrived in Milwaukee that Sunday (5/28) evening and went straight to our hotel: Brookfield Suites, just outside of Milwaukee. It was a much older hotel than our St. Louis hotel, but our suite was nice enough. The hotel itself, however, had some great perks: a fabulous free hot breakfast in the mornings (we're talking made-to-order omelets, people), the fastest free WiFi of any hotel we stayed in, and a free open bar happy hour nightly from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. And on Brewers game days, that happy hour included free snacks like popcorn, chips and salsa, and cotton candy (with hot dogs and burgers for purchase) and games like cornhole right there in the lobby. Very fun! I would say I drank more in Milwaukee than I had in years.

Our Milwaukee hotel! The open-air lobby (top left) reminded me of our hotel in Ixtapa, as well as the Oberoi (where Eric stayed in India)

Left: Made-to-order pancakes for Ellie at the hotel breakfast! Right: Ellie enjoying that pancake!

Anyway, upon arrival we pretty much just got settled in and called it a night.

The next day (Memorial Day), we did our usual morning routine: breakfast at the hotel, hang out (there may or may not have been some SpongeBob in it for Ellie), let Ellie nap then get on with our day. When Ellie woke up, we immediately headed out to catch a Brewers game at Miller Park, the first MLB stadium of our trip. Ellie slept long enough that we were a bit late to the game, but that was just fine.

The weather that day was brutal. The temperature was in the low 50s, but the "feels like" was in the 40s. And it was misty-rainy and windy. Awful. Luckily, Miller Park has a retractable dome and I had the forethought to pack some warmer clothes, just in case. Those warm clothes came in handy right off the bat because the parking lot for Miller Park is ENORMOUS. We parked what felt like miles from the park. We passed some crazy tailgaters (people, this is not tailgate weather), took some pictures and then made it inside the park.

Eric and Ellie by our parking space, roughly miles from the stadium

Phew! Getting close!

Miller Park

Outside Miller Park

When we got inside, we did a little stadium exploring, grabbed some lunch and went looking for photo ops.

The field

Another baseball stadium crossed off the list!


Loves it.

You know how most ballparks these days do some kind of character race during the game - like the Presidents' Race in Washington, D.C., the pierogies in Pittsburgh, and various other racing condiments in nearly all other stadiums around the country? Well, apparently, the Brewers were the first to do that, with an assortment of racing sausages. The race takes place before the start of the seventh inning, and we thought we'd never make it to seven innings to see such a thing. However, Ellie's nap ran long and thus, we arrived late to the game, so we were able to catch the sausage race! And not only that, we were able to catch the sausages afterwards, as well!

With four of the five racing sausages!

After the sausage race, we decided we'd had enough baseball for the day and were ready to do some more sightseeing. However, the near-frigid weather was a concern, so we picked up a beanie for Ellie from the team shop on our way out.

Totally looking like a local!

Thanks for a fun afternoon, Miller Park! 

We still have several more baseball stadiums to cover on this trip, but SPOILER ALERT: Miller Park was Eric's favorite! He felt (and I agreed) that it was a fun atmosphere, with lots of things for the fans to do (photo ops and such), and overall was just a really fun place to watch a game.

From there we went downtown to do a little sightseeing. We parked near the Art Museum and checked that out first, as we heard it was a sight to behold. We didn't take the time to actually go through it, and they were setting up for an event in the lobby, so we mostly just admired the architecture on the outside.

The Milwaukee Art Museum

Then, we walked along the riverfront for a bit.

Eric playing the role of Tourist Dad perfectly; "No Swimming" (because we totally wanted to) - but climb the rocks at your own risk; and a skyride along the riverfront.

Our ultimate destination was the Historic Third Ward, which we heard was a pretty neat area. We were also told that the Public Market was a must-see. However, presumably because it was Memorial Day, everything was closed, the Public Market included. It was literally a ghost town - not a single shop or restaurant open, and nary another soul on the street. The area seemed rather cute, but I wish we would've been able to actually experience it!

The Historic Third Ward

Ellie took advantage of the quiet streets to catch some shut-eye.

Sleepy Brewers fan

In an effort to keep Ellie sleeping, we continued along the water in search of the Bronze Fonze. Success!

Scenes from the waterfront!

By that point Ellie was awake again and we were chilled and tired, so it was back to the hotel to warm up and eat some local Glass Nickel Pizza (Milwaukee style, with real Wisconsin cheese!) for dinner. Then, off to bed.

According to our itinerary and corresponding reservations, Tuesday (5/30) was to be Eric's day to golf at Whistling Straits, something he was very much looking forward to. However, the weather worsened overnight and the forecast was calling for more chilly temperatures in addition to a 90% chance of thunderstorms. Yikes! Not exactly ideal golf weather. Sadly, Eric decided to cancel his tee time.

However, I had a genius idea. Our itinerary as it was had us departing Milwaukee on Wednesday, en route to Cleveland by way of South Bend. Then Thursday was to be spent sightseeing in Cleveland before everyone arrived for my family reunion. I had the thought that we could cut our Cleveland sightseeing (we'll be back there again, I'm sure) and extend our stay in Milwaukee by one night, giving Eric the opportunity to reschedule his golf day for Wednesday, when the forecast looked significantly more appealing. After checking with both the golf course and our hotel, all systems were go, and thus we gained another day in Milwaukee.

So, what to do with this new-found free day? Why, drink, of course. We decided to spend most of the day relaxing but to go out for brewery tour in the afternoon. We opted for Lakefront Brewery (gotta go local, I say). For the nominal tour cost, they give you not only the tour but also four six-ounce pours of their fine beverages and a free pint glass to take home. Sold!

Lakefront Brewery

We arrived early and got started on our beers right away. I personally preferred the Riverwest Stein, while Eric most enjoyed their root beer (it was some good root beer!). Ellie enjoyed walking around.

Ellie roaming the brewery before the tour started

Beer. Yum.

Left: One of my "pours" plus two of our tokens for more beer! Right: Cheers!

The tour itself was good, although the lengthiest portion involved just standing in a room listening to our guide give a long speech about the history of Lakefront (and brewing in general), the process, etc. Obviously I expected all that, but I thought we'd sort of talk as we walked. Instead, it was a long stretch of just standing around, which made for a fidgety baby. We did get to actually go through the brewery at the end, however, and it was pretty cool.

Inside the brewery

Hard to make out, but this is bottles on a conveyor belt

Listening to our guide at the end of the tour

After our brewery tour we went back to our hotel and grabbed some dinner (and more drinks from the free happy hour in the lobby, of course). Then it was off to bed so Eric could rest up for golf day!

Coming up tomorrow:  Eric plays Whistling Straits while Ellie and I enjoy a Girls' Day In!

To see more pictures from Milwaukee, click here for the Brewers game/Downtown and here for the brewery tour.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

That hotel sounds awesome and love Ellie's little hat adorable!!!