Wednesday, September 14, 2016

State #31 Brewers Mini-Marathon, Milwaukee, WI, September 10, 2016, Part One

I just got back from a quick overnight trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to run in the Brewers Mini-Marathon there. I flew out on Friday morning, catching a 9:20 am flight after dropping the kids off at school. I arrived around noon time there, secured my rental car and headed straight to the running expo to pick up my race number. The packet pick-up was held at the Milwaukee Brewers baseball stadium, Miller Park. This is also the location of the race start and finish, so it was a fitting place to pick up our garb, too.
Miller Park: baseball stadium for the Milwaukee Brewers.
My first impression of the Milwaukee area, as gleaned from the airport, drive to the city and arrival at Miller Park baseball stadium was that this city was all about cheese, sausages and beer. Not a bad thing. Just from my short arrival time, it seemed that my eyes were bombarded with those three commodities nearly everywhere. 

Hank Aaron commemorative statue outside Miller Park.
The stadium looked impressive, and as I walked around the outside of the building, I noticed some statues honoring Hank Aaron, Robin Yount and Bob Uecker. They were nice tributes to those important members of the organization over the years. Once inside, we were directed to the second level for the packet pick up. There wasn't much of an expo up there, basically just packet pick up and a few vendors selling things or giving things away. I left pretty quickly and headed to my hotel to check in.
Downtown Milwaukee seemed nice. I found the Hilton where I was staying and parked my car and headed out on foot to do some exploring. I walked along Wisconsin Avenue in the direction of Lake Michigan. The weather was sunny, warm and perfect for a stroll around. Along the way, I stopped in a few shops and wandered down Water Street to the public market there. The market was filled with food stands and tons of goodies for purchase. I don't think I've ever seen so many chocolates and cakes all in one place! Oh the temptations! I made it out of there only buying blueberries to include in my breakfast for the morning.
Entrance to Historic Third Ward neighborhood.
As I exited the market, I could see the Historic Third Ward neighborhood up ahead on Water Street, so I went to check it out. I don't know the background of this area, but it is super charming and filled with boutiques, pubs and restaurants and trendy stores. It is an artsy neighborhood, boasting the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Along my way, I encountered a historical marker telling of a shipwreck in Lake Michigan that greatly affected the Irish community that lived in the area. According to the Third Ward Neighborhood website (linked above) there was also a devastating fire that destroyed much of the area back in 1892. It is a beautiful area now, and I enjoyed taking it in. If I lived in the city, I think I'd want to live there.
Historical marker in Third Ward neighborhood.
I continued walking around, eventually getting down to the lakefront area where the Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World (a science museum and aquarium), and the Betty Brinn Children's Museum are located. 
Milwaukee Art Museum and iron sculpture.
The area was gorgeous, and I imagine it is lovely having all those museums right next to each other. The art museum looked like a whale or a ship, and I found out later that the part of the museum I thought looked like a whale's tale is actually supposed to represent a bird. It also opens and closes slowly throughout the day to alternate between being a bird and part of a ship. So, I guess I was pretty close. I took in the amazing views for a bit and then headed back down Wisconsin Avenue toward my hotel.
Milwaukee Art Museum from footbridge.
Discovery World from footbridge.
Park and water feature below footbridge.
Lake Michigan view from back side of art museum.
Along the way, I hit TJ Maxx (to look for some new jeans--unsuccessfully) and a Walgreens (for water). There was a really cool river walk area on the way that was lined with restaurants and shops and apartments. People were beginning to gather for happy hour or dinner, so I decided I should head back to do the same. I stopped in a small park to take a call from my family, and the park just so happened to have been yarn bombed. The trees looked like they were wearing colorful sweaters. How cute!
Knit bombed trees... 
And light pole...

This one was my favorite!
I ended up back at the hotel and decided to check out the Miller Time Pub (when in Rome...) that was in the lower level. I had a local Lakefront IPA and chatted with the bartender and her family who happened to be sitting next to me. She filled me in on the bird/ship change that the art museum makes and also told me about the "Bronze Fonz" statue down in the river walk area I had just passed. Apparently he is there sort of as an homage to the Laverne & Shirley/Happy Days connection to Milwaukee.
Room service rigatoni & meatballs and salad. Perfect for tonight.
I decided to order room service this time around, as I hadn't found an Italian restaurant in the area that would fit the bill for my traditional pre-race dinner. A nice plate of rigatoni and meatballs along with a salad arrived at my door, and I enjoyed it while catching up on some Modern Family reruns that were new to me.
Brewers mascot "Hank" bobblehead that was in the packet pick up goody bag. 
All in all, the day was fun. It is always a pleasure to explore a new city and see what I bump in to. I wish I had more time to hang out and go to one of the museums or take a run in the lakefront area, but I guess I'll just have to save those things for another time. 
Race shirt & number, ready for the morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment