We are driving the backroads of Wisconsin near our family cabin when the thought comes to me, “Western Wisconsin is more beautiful than Eastern Minnesota.”
With rolling fields of wildflowers and long stretches of cornfields bordered by dense growths of trees, mingled with rivers and marshes and lakes and swamps — the variety is beautiful.
I particularly love that it isn’t flat.
It is moments like this that I consider staying in the Midwest. But there’s one problem: the bugs.
All that beautiful water comes with a curse of mosquitoes and flies that can make a moose run off a cliff (or so the story goes). And if a moose, which is meant to live in the wilderness, can be driven to such madness, is it any wonder that I might go a little crazy from those bugs, as well? Or from the humidity that comes with water, for that matter?
No, no. This seductive scenery looks beautiful from behind solid glass. But I know the truth. Though I must say, as we pass another rolling field of wildflowers bursting with greens and yellows and purples, sprinkled with butterflies, I am having a hard time remembering these bad points. And those bad thoughts leave my mind completely as we pass a field with at least 80 sandhill cranes gathered on the hilltop — what a sight!
We are in Wisconsin to celebrate our 15-year dating anniversary. Wow. A milestone. As Andy put it, “Our relationship can get it’s learner’s permit.”
Though many people stop celebrating their dating anniversary once they get married, we have always felt like it should be at least recognized. And at the very minimum, we go out for dinner. Because you see, here’s the thing, we’ve been committed to one another since Andy asked me to be his girlfriend all those years ago. There have been no breaks, no breakups, nothing. We’ve been together, working through all the hard stuff and making sure to enjoy life whenever we can. So really, shouldn’t this anniversary almost count more than our wedding anniversary? Debatable.
So instead of going out for dinner, we headed to the cabin for a long weekend of relaxation by the lake (cause, you know, living on a lake just isn’t enough — you have to spend time on another lake. We are truly blessed).
Our time was destined for relaxation, but we did bring up some entertainment.
And we wanted to make sure to get outdoors, even though the weather wasn’t supposed to be great.
Our first day there we spent mostly on the water, kayaking with the dogs.
It was a little windy, so we paddled over to one of the lakes connected to the one we were staying on. Soon enough, the wind had picked up to the point where we decided to head back.
But our day wasn’t over. We decided to head into Saint Croix Falls for a visit to Dancing Dragonfly Winery, which we hadn’t been to in many, many years.
It was a beautiful way to spend the evening, and we talked about how different the winery looked when not backed by foothills, but instead surrounded by trees.
We wound down the evening watching sunset on the lake.
The next day was cool outside, but the water was much calmer. We decided to head to the opposite side of the lake, where we explored a bit more.
We found a little inlet/boggy area that was just wide enough and deep enough for us to kayak into.
This really got our exploration juices going, and we talked a lot about what other areas we’d like to kayak, all while watching soft-shell turtles bask in the warm sunlight.
My goodness was it ever beautiful in there!
We eventually hit a dead end and headed back out onto open water. And after our nice long journey, we went back to the dock to let the dogs play in the water.
And later in the evening, we took the boat out for a sunset cruise.
Day three included a trip to the farmer’s market and more relaxation. The weather wasn’t too great, but we enjoyed hanging out by the fire, reading, and watching movies.
Our last day arrived, and after packing and cleaning up, we took one final boat ride in the rain. We saw a bald eagle and ducks, but that was about it for wildlife on this rainy day.
Still, it was beautiful. And Piper seemed to enjoy watching the water.
Way too soon, we had packed up and hit the road to head back home. We are so incredibly grateful to Andy’s family for sharing the cabin with us! It has always been such a special place for us, and we love to spend time there.
When we got back home, it was high time to give the dogs baths after that last rainy day. I can’t say Teddy was too pleased about it, but I sure was entertained by his reaction. More adventures coming soon — until next time!