Vacationing in Racine, Wisconsin

Anyone know what this is called so I can get one for my yard?

Looking for a cheap way to finish up my vacation on my own, I decided to pick up my mom on the way up to visit my sister near Racine, Wisconsin, and camp out in her living room.   The heat was the only thing that really held me back from doing a lot outside.  We suddenly were searching for things that we could do inside because I had had enough of the heat.  Her pool was the first thing I did upon arriving!  One morning my mom and I went to the Racine Art Museum.  The grounds were just beautiful, and we did walk around a bit enjoying all the flowers and art on the outside before heading inside.  We enjoyed the local artist displays on the ground floor much more than the borrowed art from reputable galleries on the second floor so I guess we revealed that we don’t go to  many art museums!

One evening we headed downtown for Racine’s First Friday celebration despite the heat.  It did help that the sun had gone down but was still hot.  On the first Friday of each summer month, all the Racine shops stay open late and there is live music all up and down the street.  I never realized all the specialty shops  and local artists that are located in downtown Racine.  I highly recommend that you make a special trip to the downtown area if you want to take advantage of some unique shopping!  They also had a local contest going on where artists decorated chests, and the chests were displayed all along the small downtown area.  Several of the unique chests were decorated in the same theme as the store they were near.  It was fun to check them all out!

Visiting the Wind Point lighthouse was another highlight.  The area surrounding the lighthouse was a very nice park area, and we were able to view Lake Michigan from the undeveloped shoreline.  I was tempted to walk alongside the water a ways, but the direct sunlight was just too much.  Except for a family playing near the water,  the shoreline was deserted with a pebble beach and soaring birds.  I tried to skip a few stones, but I think I have lost the knack somewhere along the way.  I thought I had some pictures of the beach, but my battery ran out and I was unable to find the last pictures before it turned off.

Next up was the Bristol Ren Rest.  We had planned to go on Saturday, but after listening to the weatherman say there would be a break in the heat on Sunday, we held off and went on Sunday instead on our way back home.  I have always been a huge fan of the Minnesota Ren Fest so really didn’t expect the Bristol fest to compare, but I was pleasantly surprised at how big it was and the entertainment was just about as good.  The food definitely was!

We did not have much time for all the shows, but the guy in the picture above was just great if you are geeky like me and know about D & D.  If you say, “Huh what is that?” don’t worry about it!  My mom enjoyed it too, though.  We basically ate as we went, listened to acts as we ate, and shopped before we had to leave for home.  I also kept marveling at how cool it was compared to the entire last week.  We never would have never made it on Saturday, and I wondered how the festival even stayed open on Saturday without scorching the workers!

Shopping is always fun in Wisconsin so we did that a few different times checking out the outlet mall and picking up our outlet Ghirardelli chocolates.   Why they need an outlet store for chocolate is beyond me, but I am sure not complaining! We stopped at the cheese store pictured above.  (No, I am not still at the Ren Fest).  I guess people even take bus trips to this place because as we were checking out, a guy came over the intercom announcing a bus was incoming.  This store is just full of cheese and meats and things like garlic olives along with wine and beer.  There is a place inside to eat if you wanted also.  The checkout lines were long, but it was quite an experience.  I learned that white cheddar and what I’ll call regular, yellow cheddar is the same thing except for food coloring!  I never knew that.  My favorite item that i have tasted so far is a chocolate fudge Harvarti cheese!  It tastes like a rich chocolate cheesecake.

I did manage to get to a bike trail one morning.  This trail was one of those trails where one minute I felt all alone out in the prairie and the next curve I was going through a subdivision or even in the middle of a town.  It was fun to see how the beautiful homes were landscaped as I could see a lot of their backyards.

I kept trying to get close to the cattails because they were really thick along the first part of the trail.

In the news right before I headed out, we heard about an alligator that had escaped from the zoo in this area so I kept my eyes peeled looking for it!  This  would have been a perfect place for it to hide, but I did not see any beady eyes peeking out of that green gook.

Overall the trail was pretty well-marked except they call all “feeder” trails that eventually join up with the Oak Leaf Trail the same name so as I cycled along, I would see a sign saying Oak Leaf Trail to the left but I kept going straight and I was also on the Oak Leaf Trail so that caused a bit of confusion.  So even though there might be a short trail from a school or neighborhood that lead to the main Oak Leaf Trail, all the signs simply said Oak Leaf trail so be sure and check out Google maps before you go.  One last picture below of my favorite wildflower that trip.

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