Kohler, et. al.

I had the day off of work today, and it being a lovely day -- clear, dry, insectless, and not too hot -- my mom and I decided to take a day trip southeast, namely to Kohler, where I haven't been in years. We stopped at the Woodlake shops, which were mostly dead, to peek in at their garden center and the Woodlake Market, which has a small selection of locally-grown produce. We had deli sandwiches and salads there for lunch. Mine was egg salad on a whole wheat croissant; totally yummy:

Next, we meandered (word of the day!) eastward to Sheboygan where we tooled around the marina and took in all the boats. Quite a few people were out on the beaches, sunbathing and probably attempting to swim -- although I imagine Lake Michigan is still frigid.

The seagulls were loving it.

We ended up going through the tiny town of Sheboygan Falls, back through Kohler in search of their "downtown," although I believe it truly consists of the American Club hotel and a spa. And the Kohler factory. It's a planned garden community, so I imagine the downtown is a lot less like a typical, traditional main-street Wisconsin town. Just looked like a big hotel to me! Looooots of cute, cute houses, though. We had fun looking around and yard-peeking. Commenting on cute houses or complaining about ugly ones is a favorite pastime.

Then it was just a scenic drive home, through Kettle Moraine State Forest.

We took a detour up to a tiny little itsy bitsy town called Collins where a restaurateur I recently met renovated an old saloon and turned it into a restaurant. It was an odd time of day so we didn't stop, but it's definitely on the list as a destination dinner spot in the [verryvery] near future!

Day trips keep me in line. I'm not exaggerating when I say that my small hometown makes me crazy. It doesn't help that I live next door to a bar, which in turn is next to two other bars, and across the street from another one. It's Wisconsin! It's loud! And rambunctious! Downtown after dinnertime is nothing but bar-goers, which is great if you're a bar-goer, and not-so-great if you're trying to sleep.

It's an amazing release to be able to drive twenty minutes out of town and find back country roads and scenic spots that take you somewhere else altogether. We drove through some tiny towns I've never heard of, some with absolutely gorgeous old houses and gardens, and some with adorable old bank buildings and gas stations from decades past. And it felt so awesome to be so close to where I grew up--and know everything so well--and simultaneously feel worlds away. Everyone deserves to get out every once in a while; in my case, it keeps me sane.

So I'm back in town now, and there is cornbread in the oven. I had a bunch of buttermilk to use up, so I'm making bread, and mom is making buttermilk oven-fried chicken. We're meeting up to share chow.

Of course, full report will be provided a.s.a.c. (as soon as consumed).

Cheers to a beeeeeautiful heartland day.

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