Those that have been following our travels closely know that this past winter we ventured off on a snow-filled Wisconsin getaway… right in the heart of the polar vortex. While the temperatures were a little colder than we had anticipated (-13 degree weather with a windchill of -25), we had the BEST TIME exploring all that Madison, Wisconsin had to offer - even in some extreme icy conditions!
Now we just returned from a summertime getaway in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin (you can read more about that trip here), and it cemented our love for this beautiful, neighborly, and always surprising state.
Here’s why we’ll keep coming back to Wisconsin, no matter what season it is!
THE NATURAL BEAUTY
WINTER :: Winter in Wisconsin is postcard-worthy. Families ice skating on frozen lakes, tall trees covered in glistening snow, charming shops and cafes welcoming visitors in for hot cocoa and a warm place to sit… It’s lovely in every way. We were mesmerized by the weather, requesting a window table at every restaurant so that we could watch the snowflakes fall over the city.
SUMMER :: We didn’t think it could get more magical, until we returned this August. What we knew to be a winter wonderland had transformed into a green, lush, summer paradise. The Northwoods is what we would consider the ideal Fourth of July destination. We couldn’t get over how naturally beautiful Wisconsin is in the summer, and we can only imagine how colorful it is in the Fall! (That season is next on our list!)
THE FRIENDLY LOCALS
WINTER :: We always say that what makes a place is the people. There is no better way to learn, understand, and connect with a destination than through conversations with the people that call it “home”. During our trip to Madison, Wisconsin this past winter, we spent hours chatting with locals about the snowy weather, what life is like in Madison, and what restaurant really has the best cheese curds. (Important stuff.)
SUMMER :: This trip, we spent our first morning in Boulder Junction on White Sand Lake with a local fishing guide, Marty Clauson. Marty not only taught us how to fish for walleye, but shared about his love and admiration for the state of Wisconsin. He told us about his around-the-world travels, and how he’s never loved a place more than where he is now. Marty’s love for the Northwoods was contagious, and by the end of our fishing adventure we were about ready to move! That’s when you know you’re somewhere special.
THE WISCONSIN CHARM
WINTER :: There’s a kind of charm that Wisconsin possesses, if you’ve been or if you’re a Wisconsinite, you know what we’re talking about. It’s more than the pretty scenery, rustic accommodations and smiling faces, it’s a feeling. In the winter we were charmed by Madison’s big-city-charisma meets small-town-allure. We’d sit in a snug coffee shop and sip our lattes as we’d admire the striking capitol building from across the way… Madison was approachable, yet cosmopolitan, all in one!
SUMMER :: This trip, we experienced Wisconsin’s charm just about everywhere we went. We grabbed ice cream at the local Ice Shanty Drive-In and Mini Golf, an adorable ice cream shop meets mini golf destination that one could only find in Wisconsin. What’s better than a soft serve ice cream and a friendly round of mini golf?
We dined at the Blue Bayou Inn, a homey and whimsical restaurant serving New Orleans cuisine by candlelight. We feasted on homemade soups, a table-side salad bar, and blackened catfish, all the while watching the lake shimmer in the distance. It couldn’t have been more romantic!
One day we heard some people talking about the Min-Aqua Bats, the oldest continually running amateur water ski show in the United States, and we were instantly intrigued. Of course this kind of performance would be in Wisconsin! This free, interactive summertime attraction was spell-binding, and fun for the whole family. We couldn’t believe the tricks these young water skiers could do!
THE SENSE OF ADVENTURE
WINTER :: One thing we’ve learned from our Wisconsin travels is that Wisonsonites know how to have fun, even if the temperature is well below freezing. From ice fishing along the frozen lakes, to rooftop campfires underneath the falling snow, to whimsical botanical gardens that are begging to be explored… it was the winter wonderland we’d always dreamed of - and more!
SUMMER :: We couldn’t get over all that there was to see and do in the Northwoods… it was borderline overwhelming! From picturesque hiking and biking trails, to exploring quaint towns, and swimming in the literally hundreds of lakes, it’s a destination that would take weeks - if not months, to properly traverse. It’s perfectly rugged and untouched, making the Northwoods of Wisconsin an outdoor lovers dream.
We’ve been consistently surprised by Wisconsin. By its approachability, affordability, its pristine beauty, and even this time by how dog friendly it is! We’ve seen this state at its very coldest, and at its warmest, and we’re happy to report that we’ve truly loved both! We’ve still yet to experience Wisconsin in the Spring and in the Fall, so we’ll be sure to check back when we do. ;)