Hello, August. The month of humidity. Of lazy summer days. Of making summer memories and planning fall plans. Ever since I was young, August has signaled a few landmark events for myself and all Wisconsinites:
- The Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee
- The Legendary August 15th Relocation: Madison’s whole-city moving day
- School supply commercials
- The Sturgis migration
- Finally turning the air-conditioning on!
- Numerous festivals involving brats and/or beer
- Fruit-pickin’ season
- The sausage races at Miller park
- Getting to the American Players Theater before it’s too late
- Losing frisbees in cornfields (Or is that just my family?)
- Fireflies, fireflies, fireflies!
This summer, Sean and I spent ample time in Wisconsin. We visited friends and family, and played tourists as often as we could. We seized every opportunity to create a true “American Summer”.
As I sit on the airplane, traveling back to Cambodia, I reflect on how rockin’ of a summer it was. Let me share it with you.
Disc golf. Invented by a Californian in the late 70’s, it doesn’t get any better than this. You spend the afternoon walking through a manicured park, throwing frisbees into metal baskets.
More disc golf. You can really get lost in the woods.
Our collection of discs. My motto is, “Buy two, lose one.” Most courses have a gnarly rough, where we have lost multiple discs. This summer I made a personal record and lost two: one at the bottom of a pond and another down a ravine.
Freshwater lakes! Lots and lots of them. They say that Michigan is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, but Wisconsin surely has them beat. (Sorry, Viking folk.)
Lake Geneva. A Wisconsin postcard town. Sean snapped this photo as the mail boat drove by—this is how the residents of Lake Geneva receive their mail. Founded in the 1800’s as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of Chicago, affluent residents took the train up from Chicago and built decadent homes. The only way to receive mail was by boat. To this day, you can hop aboard and take part of an old tradition of delivering the mail, rain or shine.
Wisconsin’s storybook turtles. I am lucky enough to average one sighting every summer.
The White House! A tour of America is not complete without a trip to the country’s capital. We visited Sean’s brother, Kevin, who was awesome take the day off and show us all the sites. He was a fount of knowledge and energy! (Kevin, if you’re reading this, you’re the best!)
Just as a trip to America is not complete without a stop in DC, one does not simply venture to DC without visiting the Smithsonian.
As much as I loved the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, we absolutely adored the Smithsonian Zoo. And, if you’re debating a trip to DC yourself, keep in mind that all Smithsonians are completely free to the public!
If you’re sick of cliches, then I recommend you stop reading now, because we actually went to DC over the Fourth of July weekend. Watching the fireworks over the National Mall was unrivaled, challenged only by the mouthwatering Ethiopian food cart I found minutes before the big booms.
Nothing beats the heat like a milkshake. And milkshakes we had. If you find yourself in DC, slake your thirst from museum touring with a visit to Bullfeathers for the best shakes this side of Appalachia.
Horseback riding! My sister shows horses, so Sean and I went to one of her competitions this summer. She completely cleaned up, and wrangled first place in all of her events.
Mullens ice cream. Founded in 1932, Mullens is a Watertown, Wisconsin staple. They handmade their ice cream, and you dine over formica tables and checkered wallpaper.
Photo compliments of http://mullensdairy.com/history_photos.html
Boating. If you’ve been keeping up with Angkor’s Away, then you know Sean is the proud owner of a GoPro Hero 3+. To my chagrin, he took it on the tube this summer and snapped this awesome photo as he flew off the side into the abyss of Eagle Springs lake.
Swimming. Our friends have a cabin on Eagle Springs lake, and initiate new visitors to the “hot springs”. Telling her it was a hot springs, we smirked from the comfort of our dry swimsuits as my sister dove the bottom of a frigid cold spring spouting out of the mud.
Only a two-hour drive from my parent’s house, Chicago is a must-visit. We met up with our friend Eric Walker, whom we taught with in Kuwait.
We had great weather for a long walk throughout the city!
An afternoon on the Memorial Union terrace. Sean wanted to catch a few of the World Cup games, so we settled in for an afternoon of sunshine and beautiful views.
Amusement parks. I relived my childhood memories at Little Amerricka, a traditional amusement park. Many of their rides are from the 1950’s—including this coaster!
Mini golf. Need I say more?
And of course, a ride on the carousel. You are never too old for a whirl on the merry-go-round!
There you have it. Our very American summer. But it wouldn’t be complete without…
…a game of cribbage, Miller High Life, a bloody mary topped with a burger and bacon, and a Sprecher root beer. I think I gained a few pounds just looking at this photo.