Tag Archive | Milwaukee River

Grafton – Quality Life, Naturally


Grafton sign

“Holy Grail of the Blues”

Grafton is a village of 11,459 in Ozaukee County. Being close to Milwaukee, it is close to where all the fun is.  Grafton itself has plenty going on, and found out more after stopping at their Chamber of Commerce to get some information. From their website you can see their latest publication.

Grafton Chamber of Commerce

Grafton has a beautiful downtown with many historic buildings. Especially the Hotel Grafton on the right, now an apartment building.. Right here is also the Paramount Plaza and Walk of Fame, honoring famous Blues musicians who recorded here in Grafton.  The Walk of Fame is designed like a piano, with the honoree engraved into the black “keys”. The Grafton Blues Association keeps things happening downtown by hosting the Paramount Blues Festival here, the park even has a stage for performances.

Downtown Grafton

Walk of Fame in Grafton WIParamount Plaza info

Paramount in Grafton

Paramount Plaza stage

This so much looked like the cross walk in the famous Abbey Road album by the Beatles we HAD to recreate that here.

Abbey Road Re-Creation

 Many other interesting historic buildings downtown house a wide variety of businesses.

Heinz and Sons Auto Body in this beautiful stone building.

Heinz and Son's Auto Body in Grafton

Bloomin’ Olive Floral and Gift Gallery and Solari Salon in another stone house.

Bloomin' Olive Floral and Gift Gallery and  Solari Salon


The former Grafton State Bank building, currently empty but still impressive.

Grafton State Bank building


The West Falls Center has the distinction of being the tallest building in Ozaukee county and being on a hill makes it more so.  It’s  7-stories tall and looks like a flat-top pyramid. It was built in 1973.

The West Falls Center in Grafton

Especially interesting are the former flour and woolen mills, now the hub of art in Grafton.

The Arts Mill used to a flour mill and later a woolen mill, now grinding out great works of art.

Arts Mill in Grafton WIArts Mill back Grafton

Across the street is the Riverwalk along the Milwaukee River, and an overlook with a great view of the dam.

Grafton Riverwalk


Grafton Dam

Grafton is the place to go for great art, music and scenery. Come spend a day, or a week!


 Related Articles

* Paramount Blues Fest – Port Washington-Saukville Patch

It’s Amore on Brady Street – Milwaukee


Brady Street is a street with character and spunk.  It was settled by mainly Italian immigrants over a century ago and their decendants still own many businesses on this colorful street.  The TV show “Around the Corner with John McGivern” inspired us to come here.  He was right, what a fun place in the heart of Wisconsin’s largest city. Watch it here too.

We arrived early on this beautiful spring morning with businesses starting to open.  Brady St. has parking meters. If you don’t mind walking a couple blocks, we parked on the side of the street by Cass Park to park free. Great park for kids to enjoy. We couldn’t resist posing under the big cat archway.

Cass Park arch Milwaukee

We continued our walk and saw another little park, redbuds in bloom.

Park at N. Marshall and E. Lyon St.

We see a banner on the light pole as we reach Brady Street.

Brady Street banner


The first business we saw was Glorioso’s Italian Market, a wonderful place with lots of great food, some imported from Italy. We even had lunch there too, yum! Bring a cooler in the summer, you may be bringing home some of their meat and cheeses.

Glorioso's Collage

Another great place we stopped at was Dryhootch Coffee House. They have a special mission, they donate part of their proceeds to help vets. Learn more about this specific store here.   Our barista made us delicious café au laits and made us welcome! Al fit right in, being a Navy vet himself.

Dryhootch Coffee House


Thumbs up to Dryhootch!

Thumbs up to Dryhootch!

Berry Me Frozen Yogurt is another popular place.

Berry Me  on Brady St. Milwaukee


We reach one end of the street, The Dogg Haus is ready to serve up Chicago specialties.

The Dogg Haus

After lunch at Glorioso’s, we went to see the part of Brady St. we missed.  The street being 9 blocks long, there was a lot to see. St. Hedwig – Three Holy Women Catholic Church has been a cornerstone of this community since 1886.

St. Hedwig Catholic Church Milwaukee

The Dragonfly is a unique store inside as well as out, a gargoyle sits atop the roof overlooking Brady Street.


The Dragonfly in Milwaukee


Well, we finally make it to the other end of Brady Street. We come upon a bridge overlooking the Milwaukee River. What a view! This is the right side.

IBridge near Brady St. Milwaukee Right side view


The left side..You can see a couple canoeing down the river.  This will take you all the way down to where we were last year, the Milwaukee Ale House.

Brady Street Bridge left side


Milwaukee Ale House

Near the bridge is McCormack-Mervis Brady Street park, ending our journey today.  We hope you enjoyed Brady Street, we plan on returning again. What a fun day!

McCormack-Mervis Brady Street Park


Brady Street Park Milwaukee

West Bend – Geocaching Capitol of the Midwest

4-5-14 and 8-9-15

West Bend sign

West Bend is a vibrant community of 30,000  in Washington County that is quite beautiful and is quite active in the arts and recreation. It is also the county seat.  In fact, the city proudly proclaims themselves to be “Geocaching Capitol of the Midwest”™   We have not at this point taken up that activity, so we explored some of the other fine points of the city.  Just outside of the city we found a historic marker explaining an important fact about the rivers in the area.  In 2015 Al returned to West Bend to take a look at the new marker that was put up in 2014.  This marker is dedicated to their famous West Bend Aluminum Company. Just beyond the sign is the former West Bend building, converted into River Shores Point Luxury Condominiums.

Great Divide MarkerWest Bend Aluminum Company marker WM

West Bend River Shores Condominiums WM

Our first stop upon arrival was the former train depot.  Running next to it is The Eisenbahn State Trail which is 5  1/2 miles long. We saw many people using it that morning.

West Bend Depot

On a bench at the depot there were two cute frogs 🙂

West Bend frogs

The white building to the left of the depot is the new Museum of Wisconsin Art.  All of the art inside has been created by only Wisconsin artists.

Museum of Wisconsin Art

Just across the street is the Milwaukee River that once provided power to the community.  The river bends to the west here, hence the name  “West Bend”  was given the community. It was incorporated in 1885.

West Bend in Milwaukee River

After crossing the river on a bridge (behind this view, we explored their beautiful historic downtown.

West Bend downtown

West Bend downtown 2

The go-to outdoor store is Mountain Outfitters, they have equipment for a variety of sports for all seasons.

Mountain Outfitters

Candy Man and Theater

Also on North Main is  Candyman on Main and a two-screen movie theater, dating back to 1929.

After exploring downtown we headed up the hill to 320 S. 5th Ave to visit the historic Courthouse and Jail. It is the tall spire on the right.

West Bend Courthouse on right

West Bend Historic Courthouse

This beautiful courthouse is now a museum, the Washington County Historical Society has worked hard to make this a great place to visit.  We took about 90 minutes to tour the courthouse.  If you have enough time (45 minutes), you can also tour the equally impressive Jail to the left of the Courthouse.

West Bend historic jail

Here is a marker in front of the courthouse.

Court House Square

After our tour, we looked at the former house across the street from the court house, first owned by James Kneeland. It is now The Popular Inn.

The Poplar Inn-Freeland House

Kneeland House plaque

We really enjoyed our visit to West Bend and plan on returning again to tour the jail since we ran out of time. It was time to visit Port Washington!

Hot Website Links

* West Bend Chamber of Commerce

* City of West Bend

* Downtown West Bend

* Visit West Bend – A Living Masterpiece

* Museum of Wisconsin Art

* Washington County