Sunday, October 24, 2010

happy halloween!

Guess who made which!

Friday, October 22, 2010

over the river and through the woods

After spending a couple of days in Wisconsin's Northwoods, Ian and I are refreshed and renewed -- and have a couple new favorite beers. We started hatching a plan a few months back when we got this book about Wisconsin craft breweries for our anniversary. Wouldn't it be nice, we thought, to sip and sample our way up to Rhinelander (where my grandparents live)? Well, we finally found a weekend that worked, Granny and Granddad gave it the okay, and we were off. 

First stop: Fox River Brewing Co., Oshkosh
This little brewery is attached to a huge restaurant. My family used to take our boat across Lake Winnebago and tether it to the piers on the river outside the brewery, so it was fun to be back. I love the paper-covered tables.

Second stop: Central Waters Brewing Co., Amherst
This gem is truly a diamond in the rough. Our Google map led us to an industrial park, and we were a bit surprised to find that this tasting room is located inside a pole building and surrounded by the brewing equipment. We met two great guys, Dave and John. I hope they're there when we go back.

Third stop: Cozy Kitchen, Stevens Point
According to the friendly associate at La Quinta's front desk, the only place to eat breakfast in Stevens Point is Golden Corral. Fail. We finally discovered this can't-miss spot in the heart of the downtown. The food was delicious and this place oozed down-home charm. The crowning glory was the mismatched mugs: Mine said "World's Greatest Friend" and Ian's commemorated the 1996 county fair.

Fourth stop: Granny and Granddad's, Rhinelander
After driving through an hour and a half of gorgeous landscapes, we arrived at my grandparents' home on the banks of the Wisconsin River. I hadn't been there for about four years and had forgotten how picturesque their property is, complete with Katie the Gordon setter, sheep, spring-fed ponds, and trails cut through the wooded areas. 

Last stop: Red Eye Brewing Company, Wausau
Wausau is about an hour from Rhinelander, so we said goodbye to my grandfolks and drove down to meet our friends April and Scott (and their cute little guy, Tucker) for one last beer. Sadly, the camera was being finicky, so our group looks more like an orangish blob. Despite that, it was a great time. We even got ourselves invited to their house the next morning, where Scott and Ian planned a country-roads route home. Yee haw.

Well, I've gotta wrap this up. I'm off to spy on the chickadees that have (finally!) discovered our top-secret bird feeder. But that story's for another day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

last hurrah

I enjoy shopping at farmers' markets all year 'round, but there's something special about visits in the fall. The air is as crisp as the Macintoshes and Macouns making their annual debuts at the orchard stands -- we grip our cups of steaming cider to ward off the prickling chill. Somehow the mums glow against the backdrop of both azure and gray skies, and the bluegrass trio's songs are softer, slower, more pensive. It's somber in a way, but it also feels like a celebration: Mother Earth's last hurrah before she sleeps.