Stop and Learn in Watertown

Wilkommen to Watertown


Downtown Watertown

Watertown is a city of 23,000 with a rich history carefully preserved.  It was founded by Timothy Johnson.  He arrived at the Watertown site 12-10-1836. He also co-founded nearby Johnson Creek. If you are heading to Watertown from the west, at Rest Area 13, where you can see a historical marker describing hills left by the glaciers called Drumlins.

Drumlin historic marker near Johnson Creek

 German immigrants built many of the historic buildings all over town.  It’s home to the famous Octagon House (shaped like a stop sign), built prior to the Civil War.  The house is now the base of operations for the Watertown Historical Society, and is open for tours April to October, and some special events Nov-March.

Octagon HouseOctagon House marker in Watertown

Also on site is the first Kindergarten in the US.  The white building is behind the Octagon House along with the an early settler’s farm,  both restored. Watertown has many brochures for self-guided walking tours available.

First Kindergarden and Farm

 A marker commemorating this school is on the side of the building.

First Kindergarden marker in Watertown

 The red barn also has a marker.

Red Barn plaque in Watertown

We also paid our respects at Memorial Park, where a tall Civil War Monument stands, erected in 1899.  Also more recent monuments to soldiers in more recent wars.

Memorial Park Watertown

The downtown is quite beautiful too.  Be sure to stop by the Chamber of Commerce if they are open.

Watertown Chamber of Commerce

The beautiful Watertown Public Library, the present building in use since June 14, 1907.

Watertown Library

The Cole Memorial Bridge is the centerpiece of downtown, the Rock River runs under it.

Cole Memorial Bridge in Watertown


Cole Memorialbridge plaque


We also discovered this site was also important during the Black Hawk War of 1832.

Black Hawk Trail marker in Watertown

Many murals also adorn the sides of many buildings highlighting Watertown’s early history.  Here is a pretty circus mural, picture taken in 2010. It is somewhat obscured now by the business occupying the building.

Circus Mural in Watertown

 Watertown is known also for many buildings constructed of brick made from a special light color clay found near Milwaukee.  Because the clay was so plentiful, Milwaukee was dubbed “Cream City”  The Octagon House is built from this brick.

We have also enjoyed patronizing some of the great businesses here. Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters is our favorite place for the best coffee ever! Not just coffee but a cafe serving breakfast and lunch.

BB Building cropBerres Brothers Billboard in Watertown

Another great place is Mullen’s Dairy Bar downtown.

Mullens Dairy Bar

Another favorite place is Glenn’s Market and Catering. They make their own meat products and so much more!  Even have a selection of gluten-free products. We highly recommend stopping here for your grilling and party needs!

Glenn's Market sign in Watertown Glenn's Market and Catering in Watertown

 We also enjoy shopping at the Bethesda Thrift Store when we stop in Watertown. We always find great stuff here!

 Photo by Bethesda

Photo by Bethesda

Across the street from Glenn’s is the former Railroad depot, now Garden Path Floral Garden and Gifts.

Garden Path Florist depot in Watertown

If you look right of the depot, you see an impressive large building up on a hill. It’s Maranatha Baptist University, since 1968. One hundred years earlier in 1872, it was Sacred Heart College, then Sacred Heart Military Academy in 1955. Read about the early history here.

Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown


There is much more to learn in Watertown and will be back again soon!

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Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee


It was a cold, snowy day in February, a great time to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. We are not bikers, but we know people who are.  What a fun place!  We learned the history of the Harley through the many exhibits. They even played an important role in WWII. I never knew!  There was even a chance to see the room where they restore bikes and store ones not currently on display.

StatueHarley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee

IMG_07882-19 139

2-19 194


The last area of the museum featured a large screen and cycles you could sit on and pretend to ride for a great photo-op.

On cycle 2

The museum also has two restaurants on site. The Motor Bar and Restaurant, and a less expensive cafe also.  We had lunch at the cafe, great food! Don’t forget the gift shop, lots of great items there too.  It was a wonderful day. Even if you are not a Harley fan going in, you may be one going out!


Milwaukee Mitchell Botanical Domes


3 Mitchell Domes

We have been married for 13 years and have had many adventures, but had overlooked Milwaukee for attractions. This was our first destination, Mitchell Botanical Domes.  It has 3 domes, the Show dome, Desert and Tropical.

It was a rainy December day and we needed to see some green plants and flowers. First though, we saw three lighthouses. The first was North Point Lighthouse, beautiful!  The 2nd was Milwaukee Breakwater Lighthouse.  I call this one “Sentinel in the Mist.” The 3rd was red Pierhead Lighthouse.

North Point Lighthouse


red lighthouse 2

We arrived at the domes, looking forward to seeing exotic flora. Pretty lobby too.

Mitchell Domes Sign


Inside  Michell Domes building

We went to the Show Dome first, it was all decorated for Christmas with poinsettias, snowmen and Christmas trees. We had our picture with a snowman. This is the one dome that changes with the seasons and holidays. The other two are more static.


We then went to the Desert dome. I felt like I was back in Arizona. The last time I was there was in 1992.


Then the Tropical Dome, it felt like a hot summer day, we needed that with the cold rain falling outside.

100_4982tropical flower

We had a great time here, we were hungry and it was time for lunch. We went to Oscar’s nearby.  The are known for great hamburgers. They weren’t kidding! Not only that, a bunch of people in Santa suits rode up on their bikes.  It was Santa Rampage day for the local bike club, essentially pub-crawling in the holiday spirit. You never know what you are going to see in a big city like Milwaukee.


Bleu Cheese Burger100_5061

Surf and Turf in Milwaukee

5-16-13 0930 AM

Wisconsin’s largest city is not only known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and cultural attractions like the Milwaukee Art Museum, it’s also known for beautiful and parks and its maritime heritage.  Milwaukee is also Wisconsin’s largest Harbor Town.

Al and I explored this aspect of Milwaukee Thursday when we paid a visit to the S/V Denis Sullivan docked at Discovery World, it’s home port.

Discovery World 2

The crew were getting the schooner ready for the summer season beginning May 25. A new main mast had just been installed and final adjustments being made.  We chatted with them a few minutes. In fact, she was given a shakedown cruise within the breakwall that very morning while we were walking on the Lakeshore State Park path along the lake.

Denis Sullivan shakedown cruise

A little history on the pier in this area. We did the loop of the “island” joined to the mainland by a bridge. after I crossed I saw the Denis Sullivan sailing.  We also saw the red and white lighthouses from there.

Cargo Pier 2Lakeshore path

bridgewhite lighthousered lighthouse 2

From our parking spot we had a great view of the Art Museum.

1125 Wings up 2

After our walk we were hungry so went to the Milwaukee Ale House for lunch. It was 11:25.  It’s located in the Historic 3rd Ward. Quite the striking red brick building.

Ale House

The views were just as great on the patio, it is alongside the Milwaukee River and the restaurant has 6 slips available for people boating in. The Milwaukee Boat Line gives tours along the waterways of the city. One of their boats, the Vista King  went right by our window while we had lunch.

Vista King

After lunch we headed to South Milwaukee to visit Grant Park. Quite beautiful there, and plenty of wildlife, especially fat raccoons looking for food.  There are seven bridges and steps leading down a deep ravine with a creek running through. It led to access to a beach on Lake Michigan. Very beautiful!

Grant parkraccoon

ravineLake Michigan outlet


It was a great spring day with perfect weather and lots of fun!


History is Kept Alive in Cedarburg

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This was our first time in Cedarburg together, my first in about 17 years. It’s in Ozaukee county, 20 miles north of Milwaukee. We arrived at 8:45 AM and our first stop was Covered Bridge Park.  This is the last covered bridge of this design in Wisconsin, crossing Cedar Creek.

Covered Bridge 2

Last Covered Bridge sign_2645Al and Laurie Text

After the park we went to their Washington Ave. Historic District. Over 200 buildings in Cedarburg have been preserved and restored, bustling with many interesting businesses.

The city used to have a train called the Interurban that took workers to Milwaukee. The train is long gone, but the original train depot is still there. There was a Little Free Library designed to look like the depot. The train track corridor is now the Interurban Trail for bikes and pedestrians. It’s 30 miles long.

Frametext Interurban DepotLittle Library depotIMG_2766Riding the Interurban

Interurban bridgeWashington Ave Historic District sign

Cedarburg Historyclock

Two impressive structures are side-by-side on Columbia  Road. First is  Landmark Feed, Seed and Supply, first a grist mill constructed in 1855. It’s 5 stories high and towers above Cedar Creek.

Grist Mill


Next to it is The Pagoda Fine Jewelry store.


Here is some interesting history on the mills and Cedar Creek.

First 100 Years

Mills on the CreekOrigins of Cedar Creek

The nearby Fire Department and Municipal Building are also in historic structures.

Fire Dept cropIMG_7672

We continue down Washington Ave to the Cedar Creek Settlement.. It’s a group of historic industrial buildings that now house about 30 shops including three restaurants.


We had lunch at the Anvil Pub and Grille there. It is the former blacksmith shop, and anvils were scattered throughout the restaurant.  Our food was delicious!  A stone hearth oven cooks the food now instead of softening iron for blacksmiths. They had historic pictures of when it was a working blacksmith shop.

Anvil BarStone Hearth Oven

Blacksmith pic

We had a great visit here, this summary barely scratches to surface of our 5 1/2 hour visit.  I encourage you to come if you can, the shopping is fantastic!  I leave you with this mural I found painted on a wall.


Milwaukee Art Museum

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The first adventure we had this year was a visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish Architect.  It was our 2nd trip to Milwaukee, the first one was in December.  There is plenty of indoor fun when the winter winds blow.  Our approach to the museum was from behind, it’s striking no matter which side you see it on.

Art Museum 2Art Museum Banner

We were there to view the Rembrandt Van Dyck Gainsborough collection. It’s a traveling exhibition from the Kenwood House in London. See my link since cameras were not allowed.  Also some great views inside the museum.


On our return visit the highlight was the retrospective of African-American fashion as portrayed in the Ebony fashion magazine. The exhibit ran from Feb 5 to May 3rd, and were were there for the opening day.

Ebony  Exhibit entrance at Milwaukee Art Museum

Ebony fashion show at Milwaukee Art Museum

In the lobby is this beautiful blown glass sculpture designed by Dale Chihuly.  There was neat cafe too, it looked like we were in some futuristic scene.


The view  inside looking toward the path we saw the outside on was just as breathtaking.


In one of the gift shops they were selling London souvenirs since the featured exhibition was from London.


Milwaukee Art Museum gift shop

There is much to see here, this great museum is well  worth the visit if you come to Milwaukee.

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