Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wisconsin Dells Part 2

This is Part 2 of my blog about my getaway with my guy to Wisconsin Dells. 

Day two started with breakfast on the patio that overlooks the pool at the White Rose Inns. This is something I definitely love about B&Bs --the breakfasts are always so good.

We were provided a few options - quiche, french toast, scrambled eggs or a yogurt parfait. I went with the quiche and my guy chose the french toast.
The patio is covered from the sun and built around a gigantic tree. We were the first ones up for breakfast as we wanted to get an early start on the day so we enjoyed our breakfast in peace with just the birds chirping from the tree overhead.

The quiche was spinach, mushroom and cheese and really delicious, but the potatoes stole the show. Just the right amount of rosemary and butter when they were pan fried, making them the best part of the breakfast. So delicious.
 My guy loved his french toast too and we both cleaned our plates. We spent a short time relaxing a little bit enjoying the morning air.
Then it was off to Devil's Lake. I bought a State Park pass this year and asked my guy if he would mind hiking with me. I promised him the views from the trails would be totally worth it. So we headed off on the East Bluff Woods Trail.

The path was very scenic at the bottom with a crick running next to our trail. We ventured out on a few rocks to take some pictures.
Because I had never been to Devil's Lake before, I knew the trails would be on a incline, but I didn't realize that it was literally up hill the entire way.
 We took some breaks to recover as it was quite the workout.

But like I said, once we got to the top, it was all worth it. The views are just breathtaking. I was so proud of my guy ( a non-hiker) for doing this with me. I'm sure there was a point on the way up that he was contemplating if it was all worth it, but he agreed that the view was spectacular.
And then the walk back down, though long. was definitely much easier (all downhill). We could actually talk to each other. When we got back down to the bottom, we took another break by the crick, took some pictures and just enjoyed each others company and nature.

Then it was back to Wisconsin Dells and time for lunch. I was emailed by a manager of The Cheez Factory in the Dells a few months back and offered a meal in exchange for sharing about their restaurant on my blog. In a post next week, I will give you all the details on lunch. But here is a brief overview. The Cheez Factory is a completely vegan restaurant - something that I have never eaten before. To say that my guy was a little hesitant to eat vegan food would be an understatement, but he said he would try it for me.

The food was incredible and I am so glad that we had this experience. Our minds were completely blown away with the quality and flavors of the food. My guy said that he would even eat here again if we came back to the Dells. Watch for a complete report next week.

 After lunch, we went back to our room and relaxed a bit by the pool. We even went in but the water was just a tad too "refreshing" for us to stay in longer. Maybe if the weather was five degrees warmer outside and less windy, we would have lasted longer.

 We went back to the room, showered and headed down the strip to take in a little mini golf.

The place wasn't very busy so we could take our time at each hole. I haven't mini-golfed in probably 10 years so it took me a little bit to get my swing back. We were pretty much even at the end of the course.

 And again the views from the course were spectacular of the upper dells.

 At the end there was a petting zoo and this little goat was really friendly wanting snacks.

We weren't super hungry but decided to get some dinner. The night before I saw this place called The Cheesey Tomato and on our way to mini golf, we checked out the menu. It sounded really unique and delicious. I was sold at donut grilled cheese!
We ordered and then were told they would come find us and sit wherever. They are renovating the property a bit, but still had tables outside over looking the river. We sat down at one that overlooked the boat tours and took in the views.
My grilled cheese donut was really good and just the right size. It had a dab of jelly in the middle and was  sprinkled with powder sugar. This was a sweet-savory combo that I really enjoy. I would definitely get this again and might try making it at home.
My guy's BLT was on nice buttery, toasted bread and had a really fresh taste. We both enjoyed our meals and then decided to grab a drink across the street at the Showboat Saloon and see if American Pharoah could complete the Triple Crown.
Showboat Saloon had a very diverse beer selection with a few unique firkins and many micro-brews on tap. I got an Oberon and a Ballast Point Sculpin for us and let my guy choose which one he wanted.

Showboat has been in the Dells for many years and I'm sure the building has some great history. I did a little research and found the building is from 1907 and was originally a tavern, then a candy shop during Prohibition, and then back to a tavern after. The same floor is still inside the place today!

American Pharoah did win the Triple Crown and the crowd in the bar was really into it. We finished our beers, walked the strip a bit more, and then headed back to our hotel for some relaxation. Our tired legs needed it after our long day.

The next morning was a little too rainy and chilly to eat breakfast on the patio, so we ate it in the cafe in the basement of the main building at the Inns. We both chose the egg scramble and it was just as good as our breakfast the first morning.

Then it was time to get on the road and head back home. We stopped at a restaurant in Johnson Creek for lunch and finished off the trip with another great meal. Unfortunately I didn't get the name of it and it's not showing up on any maps. It looked rather new and was a great sports bar atmosphere.

The weekend was a great mix of new experiences and relaxing. But most importantly it was time that we got to spend together and really enjoy each others' company. Until our next trip!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wisconsin Dells Part 1

My guy and I took a long weekend and did a mini getaway to Wisconsin Dells. We left shortly after 1 pm on Friday and figured we would stop for lunch when we started heading north. My guy says that when you are vacation, you should try someplace new and not go to the franchises to help add to the vacation experience. I agreed completely. So, we stopped for lunch at the Rodeside Grill in Windsor, WI.

The area around the restaurant looks like it's under construction but the restaurant has been there for a few years. The inside reminded me of a log cabin with a lot of wood everywhere and the tables were decorated with different themes--we were at the Christmas table.

We spent some time looking through the menu and deciding what was going to satisfy us for the rest of the journey. My guy ordered the Blue Gill Basket - very fitting with it being Friday. The basket came with plenty of blue gill pieces, french fries and tartar sauce. I had a few bites and the fish fell apart nicely. The breading was light and crispy and didn't overpower the fish. This was a great choice.

I selected the San Fransisco Chicken Sandwich that had guacamole, mozzarella and a cilantro cream. This sandwich was a little messy to eat, but it was delicious. The cilantro cream is what set this sandwich apart from the many other chicken sandwiches I have had in my life. It was light and added a different flavor. I couldn't finish the whole sandwich because it was so big. We both agreed the fries were great too - nice and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. 
With full, happy bellies, we continued north to Wisconsin Dells. My guy hadn't been to the Dells in quite sometime, but I am very familiar with the city. I got off at the first exit and took him through town so he could see all the changes. And then we arrived at our B&B - the White Rose Inns.
The White Rose Inns is a combination of B&B houses and a motel. It's set off the strip on the north end of town. Across the alleyway is a nice park and on the other side is the Wisconsin River.
 We stayed in The Gate House and the Lily Room which was an upstairs one room suite with a fireplace, recliners and a small deck.

 View from the deck of the Wisconsin River.
Because we were still full from lunch, we decided to do some exploring of the area. We checked out the river first.
We noticed a boat tour on the river and noted that we needed to find some more information on that when we were out and about. We went back to the strip and found an information booth about the Upper Dells Boat Tours (amongst the hundreds of t-shirt shops, fudge shops and old fashioned photo stores). The sales woman was very informative and told us about three different trips the boats take 1) a voyage where you dock twice and check out the natural area 2) a dinner boat that goes up and down the river 3) the ghost tour that you dock and walk on land in the dark and get scared.
 We decided to do the voyage where you dock twice and bought tickets for the next boarding.
Our boat was about half full so everyone was able to sit on the top to check out the views on a gorgeous evening. Our tour guide Gabe was very informative and although he had a lot of information to tell us, he didn't make it sound scripted at all.

We found out that the land on either side of the river was purchased many years ago for $1 an acre so that it would stay pristine and never be built on. Eventually the land was given to the state and now the DNR owns it so it will stay in its natural state. This is so awesome because in this day and age, people want to build up on beautiful land and that won't happen here.
 We went through some very narrow passages and our captain spun us around without an issue.
 We got really close to rocks in certain areas but never hit them.

The first area that we docked and went ashore was in the narrows with rocks towering over us. A boardwalk was built for us to walk over the natural waterfall and check it out. At the end is concession stand with a few snacks and restrooms.

The paths were narrow in spots and because it's all rock around us, the temperature was a lot cooler on shore.
Then it was back on the boat and across the river to another landing spot where we saw the Jumping German Sheppard of Juneau County. The story is that a gentleman took a picture of this rock and people didn't believe it was real. So he had his son jump it to prove that it was real and he many accolades for his photo. They don't use people anymore to jump it, but a German Shepherd that is trained to jump there and back. My video doesn't do it justice but this was pretty cool to see. The gap is over 5 feet wide.
At this stop on the trip, we talked with Gabe and asked him if he got sick of doing the same script over and over. He doesn't mind it and is really into the history. He grew up in the area and knew how to drive a boat so he joined the company and has been working for them ever since.
The trip back down the river was gorgeous with the sunset lighting up the rocks. Because we were the last tour of the day, we were out for a little over the two-hours that the tour typically lasts.
When we got back into town, we were pretty hungry so we checked out the strip near us and decided on Alabama's Dixiland Bar-BQ and Suds. We picked a table in the back and checked out the decor. All of the farming items on the wall are from someone's personal collection. The place was really decked out.
 While we perused the menu, we ordered a pitcher of beer.

You will notice there aren't many people in the restaurant, but we ate dinner really late. There were some people more towards the front and also seated outside.

I selected the pulled chicken with beans and fried okra for my dinner. The BBQ sauce had a nice kick to it and just look at all that chicken! The beans were very flavorful and our server suggested a dipping sauce for the okra because they don't have ranch. It was from their sister-business next door that was Cajun joint. It was a really good sauce.
My guy ordered half a chicken, potato salad, and corn fritters. The chicken fell right of the bone and he loved it. The corn fritters were so good too. The potato salad was a little different and had an olive in the top of it. But both of us left again very satisfied and were glad we picked something unique to try.
After dinner we walked back down the strip and watched a street performer and did a little people watching. The Dells definitely is a place for families to getaway for a nice weekend. We knew we had a big day ahead of us the next day, so we headed back to our room and relaxed for the rest of the night. Stay tuned for part two!