2020 was a year of wishes. A year of scrolling on the internet and daydreaming of all the activities I wanted to do. On more than one occasion, I told my husband that in 2021 our family would stop scrolling, and start traveling again. We’d fill our calendar with as many activities as possible, visiting new places and some old favorites. We are eight months into 2021, and I’d say we’re off to a great start. Considering all of the responsibilities we hold down at home, it would be impossible to take long trips on the regular, but we packed in a full itinerary right here in Wisconsin.
-Wild Goose Trail – This 34-mile trail offers great hiking and biking, as well as horseback riding and ATVs in some sections. We got our bikes out and started at the trailhead in Clyman. My family of four did an out-and-back for a total of 8 miles. The views were awesome, and it was so invigorating after a long winter!
-A few weeks later my husband and I took the Great Lakes Distillery Tour in Milwaukee. This was an informative tour with tastings at the end. The atmosphere was great, and the tour guide was a lot of fun.
-I slid out of Wisconsin for a long weekend in San Antonio, TX. That could be a blog in itself! I love experiencing different parts of our country.
-We had never been to the Elkhorn Flea Market, and thought we better find out what all the buzz is about. If you’ve never attended, it is a flea market/vendor fair with over 500 vendors! Antiques and hand-crafted items galore. We’ll definitely be back.
-Wisconsin experienced an early summer, and we were on the water by mid-May. We spent a beautiful day on Rock Lake in Lake Mills with friends. We were boating, and the lake was full of kayaks and paddle boards. I can’t think of a more appropriate way to start your Wisconsin summer.
-More recreation, please! We got our bikes out again and enjoyed the Glacial Drumlin Trail in Sullivan. We saw turtles, huge bullfrogs, pelicans, and so much more. This flat, well-groomed trail is pure joy for bikers and hikers.
-May also saw us on the river. We dusted off our kayaks and paddled the Rock River from Pipersville to Watertown. We do this often in the summer months and always enjoy the wildlife along the way (including bald eagles).
-School is over, so it’s time to hit the road! We started with a weekend in the Northwoods. So much to do, never enough time! We took a boat tour at Pirates Hideaway (ahoy mateys!), we mini-golfed, we shopped and dined, and of course took in a lot of the fresh scents and scenes only the Northwoods can provide.
-What’s summer without a Brewer game?! A big win and a great family memory.
-We love the Wisconsin Dells, and only had an afternoon to pack in the fun. We decided on a jet boat tour (a favorite!), mini-golf, and a visit to the Wisconsin Dells Craft Mall. You don’t need a lot of time to have an adventure in the Dells.
-My husband and I decided to spend our anniversary in Door County. We took a funny, informative, and tasty wine trolley tour. It took up most of the day, and really showed us around the peninsula. We also dined on the shores of Lake Michigan and hiked at Cave Point County Park. Amazing views!
-We kicked off July at Whitewater’s 4th of July festival. It was great to see carnival rides and so many happy faces again. While in town, we enjoyed dinner at Fanatico. My son is on a gluten-free diet and was able to have an amazing Italian meal here. Gluten or not, you won’t be disappointed.
-We keep it local on the 4th. There is nothing like Watertown’s 4th of July parade and tens of thousands of people know it. The floats are top-notch, the handouts are crazy (including live plants from Ebert’s Greenhouse), and the enthusiasm of a small town on the 4th is the greatest!
-A new experience for us was taking in a Milwaukee Milkmen game. This independent baseball team puts on quite a show. There’s non-stop music, family-friendly activities, and entertainment during the game. My kids loved it, and we’ve been back since.
-July is HOT, and we decided to cool off at River Bend Resort in Watertown. The fun never ends with a pool, large slides, and a HUGE inflatable obstacle course in their pond, not to mention dining on-site and live entertainment on select dates. My kids, ages 12 and 14, loved it here.
-A family tradition of ours is to attend EAA Airventure in Oshkosh. After a year in hiatus, we were not missing the 2021 show! The event runs for over a week, but we attended one full day. There is a reason this is called the largest airshow in the world, and the busiest airport in the world during the event. Acres of static airplanes and a 4-hour air show entertain hundreds of thousands of guests. We went on a day that also had an evening show, including a firework display you cannot see elsewhere. Highly recommend.
-August would not be the same without the Octagon House Ice Cream Social with First Brigade Band performance. Every year in Watertown, this nationally recognized civil war era band makes history live in front of an engaged audience. Not only do the ladies and gents wear appropriate period dress, they play on authentic antique instruments. It is quite the sight (and sound) to enjoy! Plus, the event centers around delicious homemade cake and ice cream. The whole day is a treat!
-Confession. I love to travel, but I would never leave town during Watertown Riverfest. I have attended every single year and won’t miss it for anything. This free, 4-day music festival rivals a large county fair. This year was no exception. The music, the craft fair, the car show, the food vendors, the special acts throughout the grounds, the fireworks and carnival…it’s all quality. It just ended and I can’t wait for next year.
-Be right back, Wisconsin. A trip to historic Charleston, SC had me exploring a new state for a week in August. Again, worthy of another blog post. Get to know the country. No two places are the same!
As full as my calendar was with adventures outside of Watertown, I spent a lot of time enjoying my own community. Here are some of the local events I attended:
The Watertown Whiskey and Wine Walk
Watertown Art Walk
Beach Party BINGO
Music at the Museum
Watertown Chamber 100-Year Celebration
4th of July Parade and Festivities
Trail Run for Tomorrow 5k
Downtown Watertown Craft Beer Walk
Movie Night Under the Stars
Octagon House Ice Cream Social
Watertown Riverfest 5k
I’m only getting started! There are so many opportunities to enjoy our great state through the fall and winter. I hope this provided some fresh ideas to explore our area and beyond. You’ll never get bored in Wisconsin!