The Big Picture
I say I am from Wisconsin with great pride, but I often encounter the “OMG A hick!” look (Rolling eyes, raised eyebrows, scowling face half turned away…) but I know those people have never been to Wisconsin or have never bothered to try to see Wisconsin. Ask my friends who I have brought here and they will tell you – this is a state to visit!
Don’t worry about the weather. There is just the right season for everyone – Wisconsin is the quintessential four season state. In summer it gets hot, in winter it gets cold, in the fall it’s crisp and colorful, in the spring it’s earthy and green. Just come in your favorite season and the place will charm you. (for most of my Puerto Rican friends, that would be August.)
I grew up in southern Wisconsin (Janesville, county seat of Rock County) and currently split my time between downtown Milwaukee and rural Rock County. I spent my summers as a child in Northern Wisconsin, near Boulder Junction at summer camp. For high school, I went to school in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin (yes, we do have a lot of quaint town names!) Madison, the state capital was another oft frequented place. I was not then a person who went to Door County, Lambeau Stadium, or Wisconsin Dells…
The question I am most often asked when I say I lived in Wisconsin is how many cows did my family have? Dairyland and cheese seem to be synonymous with Wisconsin, but when I was growing up paper was actually the biggest industry here. I never have lived on a farm (which isn’t to say I wouldn’t like to, I would!) but the farms of WI (I am going to abbreviate from now on) are one of the most beautiful features of southern Wisconsin’s landscape. In fact, when I used to work in NYC, I commuted to Park Ave through Grand Central Station. I loved that commute because when I came up out of the subway into the grand hall of the station, Kodak had a HUGE photograph on display up on the east side of hall. I loved walking in and seeing those photos. I think they changed monthly. Once, I walked in and saw a big red barn against a brilliant blue sky with rolling green fields all around it and I said to myself “That has to be WI!.” That was the first and only time I went over to where the information about the photo was displayed to check. Yes, it was Wisconsin.
There are farms throughout the state, but as you reach the midpoint (traveling northward) you start to see forests taking over. Northern WI is actually best known for forests and lakes – a vacation haven that most Chicagoans have known about for well over a century.
My travel blog wouldn’t be complete if I ignored my home state. I travel here as often as I can and I play tourist while I am here – there is so much more to the state than the small part I experienced as a child and I have loved discovering it and showing it to my family and friends.
I am going to divide my Wisconsin musings into four sections (for now). The three area I visit frequently Milwaukee (In and Around), the Farm (In and around, which includes lots of Rock County and some of the surroundings) , Up North (this is the area in and around Boulder Junction) and then a hodge-podge I will ineloquently call Everywhere Else!