I’m back to finish the other blog post that I started a few months ago.  When last I wrote about our summer vacation my family was deep in the landscape of the rural midwest.  We pick up the narrative as we meandered our way from Galena, IL to Mineral Point, WI.

We arrived in Mineral Point and I thought, huh, this looks like it could be a cool town but it’s not exactly a thriving town.  Mineral Point is tiny.  We arrived mid-week to learn that most things in Mineral Point are only open on the weekends.  The place is strange.  They have many things that a town this size shouldn’t have i.e. a huge public swimming pool, an opera house, a train museum, a really old house museum, a school for arts and crafts, and a living history museum.

We settled into our home for the next few days and decided it was a pretty good place to rest one’s head.  Maple Wood Lodge isn’t the fanciest of accommodations, but it was lovely in it’s own quiet way.  It’s set a few miles outside of town on a 20 acre parcel.  The yard is large and well-equipped for family fun with a fire pit, volley ball net, hammock and teether ball.  From the yard you can start out on a few different hikes that let you explore the property.  The hikes are short enough that even small kids can hike the distance, but long enough that you feel like you’re sort of on a hike.  I think we would claim Maple Wood Lodge as our favorite place that we stayed during the trip.

The highlight of Mineral Point for Mazie was definitely Pendarvis, the living history museum. I’m not sure what happened, but something about Pendarvis clicked with her and she couldn’t stop talking about the place for the next few weeks.  Even today if you mention the name, she will start off anew on the wonders of Pendarvis.

Pendarvis consists of several very old stone houses constructed in the early and mid 1800’s.  The historical society runs costumed, guided tours through the houses that tell about the various families that lived there and what life was like for them.  It’s worth a stop if you are in the area.

We had a hard time finding much else to do in Mineral Point as most of the town is closed during the week.  I think Mineral Point is a cool, little spot, but if we ever returned, I would go on the weekend.

After a few nights in Mineral Point we loaded up our awesome mini-van and hit the road for Cedarburg, WI.  Cedarburg is located just a bit outside of Milwaukee.  It feels old and preserved, but in a touristy way.  It’s similar to Stillwater, MN, but bigger.

Our accommodations in Cedarburg were strange,  but interesting.  We stayed at a farmstead that used to be in the country, but is now smack dab in the middle of suburbia.  The farmstead consists of the owner’s house, the old barn which the owners use for antique storage and two small cottages that are rented to people like us.  The good news about the cottages is that they could be really, super cool and extraordinary.  The bad news about the cottages is that they aren’t; in fact they are a little creepy.  We wouldn’t ever stay there again, but it was certainly more interesting than hanging our hats at the local Days Inn.

We had a nice time in Cedarburg.  We visited a covered bridge that seemed too simple to be entertaining, but ended up providing at least an hour of enjoyment.  We walked the Main Street and shopped the many stores.  We sat down at Tomaso’s, a weird pizza place with great pizza (sauce on top) and superb cheese bread.  We dined at a restaurant with mediocre food and a fabulous outdoor patio that took all disappointment out of the meal because of the view.  We watched a dumb movie in our creepy cottage.  Jamie and Mazie made art at a local studio while Tyler napped.  It was a simple and sweet way to end our road trip.  I would return to Cedarburg again, especially with older kids.  I think the area has plenty to offer a family for a long weekend.

Next year there will be no road trip through the rural midwest.  I’ve promised Jamie and I’m going to keep my promise!