Saturday, February 18, 2017

Milwaukee Statue Walking Tour

Abraham Lincoln in front of the War Memorial
The weather has been incredibly warm for February, so maybe you're itching for a nice walk, but you want to avoid the mud along the trails.  How about a walking tour through Milwaukee to look at public art and statues?

You can download GPS My City and use it anywhere you go.  I have it so when we travel to foreign places, I can download city maps (for a cost) and use them without wifi being necessary. There are many city walk tours, or you can even design one for others to use.  Here's the link to the Monuments and Statues Tour in Milwaukee. It says it takes 2 hours, which is exactly the amount of time you can park in downtown at most metered spaces, but that's just one way. If you use the app MKE PARK, you can get reminders about when your meter is going to run out.  Though I like the intent of this walk, I broke it into 2 pieces and did it on 2 different days, with some modifications which meant seeing many more statues that were not on the original tour.

Day #1.
If you park north of Juneau park, near the log cabin, you don't have to pay to park.  Then you can walk through the park, take a detour over to Cathedral Square as the tour suggests (you can see the bell tower of the cathedral, so even without a map, you can easily find it), return to see the War Memorial which has a tour of its own. Grab a brochure inside at the top of the stairs to view the statues and art work.  This is a good place for a bathroom break too.  The restrooms are between the War Memorial and the Art Museum.  Then head over to see the statues in front of O'Donnell Park by the flag pole, and maybe some art work at the Art Museum. The cafe there is nice for a drink or snack if you have time. From here, you could continue over to Discovery World to play with some of the outdoor musical art, then walk to Lake Shore State Park for a great view of the lake. This whole tour took me about 2 hours.  

Day #2.
Park at the Milwaukee County Historical Society, where there is nearly always on-street parking available. You'll start by looking at the art in Pere Marquette Park, which is marked #6 on the map. Then walk along the river passing a few other art pieces to see Gertie the Duck (4) and the Fonz (5).  You can walk from Gertie to see Gandhi (7) at the courthouse, but take the route along Plankinton so you will see the Statue of the Mail Carriers. You're not far from the Hyatt hotel now, so if you want to see the plaque about Roosevelt getting shot, stop there at 333 W. Kilbourn. From Gandi, I walked to the Milwaukee Central Library where there's a Benjamin Franklin statue inside, as well as a good place to use a restroom. Right out front of the library are several statues, including the Civil War Memorial (8). Continue down Wisconsin Avenue to Marquette University where you will find the oldest building in the US- Joan of Arc Chapel, which is surrounded by a few statues.  You'll find Joan of Arc, Father Marquette, and behind the chapel to the west is Mother Teresa. The chapel is open 10-4 if you'd like to stop in to have a look.  Head back to Pere Marquette Park via the Wisconsin Center so you can enjoy the artwork outside the building and continue to the outdoor sports wall of fame at UW Panther Arena on 4th Street. You should be able to see your parked car by now.  This walk took me less than two hours, but I could easily have spent more time inside the library.  It's one of my favorite buildings.  Take a tour there one day if you have time.

There's another city walk tour for landmarks, which walks along the lakefront looking at buildings. It is a much longer tour, taking you from the water tower to the Allen Bradley clock.  This one would be more fun on a Bublr bike, and there are plenty of places to get a bike, even in February! Download the app and you can see in real time where there are bikes.

Whatever you decide to do, get out and enjoy this nice weather while it lasts!  I'd love to hear about your city walks.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Door County Sled Dogs Need Your Help

Normally in February I'm talking about sled dogs, but in a much different way.  I did get to see the Door County Sled Dogs at Red Arrow Park over the weekend, but there was no snow.  The event should have been held in a park with dog sled rides, but the weather didn't cooperate.

It was the birthday bash, and they were adorable as always.  They have great needs, and since they aren't giving rides this year, they haven't had an opportunity to bring in funds for much needed medical bills, food, and other great doggy stuff.  Take a moment to look at the wish list and help out if you can.  Or better yet, make a donation via the link on the website. They are all rescues so it takes a village.

At the Birthday Bash, the dogs were on hand for photos and petting.  My kids and grand kids did some heavy petting. We don't have a dog ourselves, so I feel fortunate that we are able to hang out with them once in awhile.

The next big event for the dogs to meet the public will be at Serb Hall on April 22.  Follow the Sled Dog webpage for details. Here's the flyer from their page.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Winter Hiking Near Water

Ice along the wall at Big Bay Park, Whitefish Bay
Though it's getting colder again, this is a good time to release all the stress from your life and get outdoors. Being in nature does wonders to clear the mind, lower blood pressure, and calm the nerves. Turn off the TV and step outside. Listen to the waves lap at the beach. It's bliss.

I was at Doctors Park last week before we had new snow. With water everywhere from snowmelt, I'm sure it is very slippery now, on the stairs and ramps.  Be sure to bring your hiking poles or wear yaktrax (I'm including the link in case you're new to Wisconsin winters).  Make your way to the lake to see these beautiful nuggets of ice.  I think this one is appropriate for the month of February, don't you?And the stones along the beach are quite pretty when the water is cold and clear, washing over them. In years past, this beach was under ice formations, so this is warmer than usual. I took the stairway and it was doable.
Stairway to the lakefront

The lake isn't frozen

Nugget of ice looks like a heart
The restrooms seem to be finished now, but are locked up.  Still, it's nice to have toilets and running water when you're at a park in summer.  Thank Friends of Doctors Park and Milwaukee County Parks for this nice structure. It has an attached pavilion.

New restrooms 

Attached pavilion
Today the sun was out, so I made my way to Big Bay Park in Whitefish Bay.  The ramp was snowy but not slick.  The stairways winding through the woods are near the spring though, which means many of the steps were covered in ice.  I'd take the ramp if you aren't sure about your footing. The low hanging branches had been hit with water and turned into beautiful ice.  Enjoy the photos, but get out and do some hiking and let me know what you're seeing this week.
Snow covered rocks make a beautiful back drop for photos

Look at those icicles!

Just a small dose of Jack Frost here

I love the dogwood this time of year. You can see the ramp to the lake behind it.
Looking for more ideas to make it through Milwaukee's winter?  Check out my post about 100 Things to do in Milwaukee this winter.