I think everyone in the area would agree that this has been an interesting year weather wise. Our summer was not the warmest and this fall has been unusually warm. This weekend (naturally on our weekend off) most of the state was forecasting rain. We made the best of it by checking out the new Sylvan Hill Mountain Bike Park in the morning while the rain held off then strolling around downtown Wausau.
After an exciting yet challenging ride at Sylvan hill we built up an appetite and decided to check out The Mint Cafe. I know I know, for all you locals your probably gasping and thinking “You live here and haven’t tried The Mint?” Well our experience was fantastic. We knew we picked a hot spot because when we walked in there was a bit of a wait but it was well worth it. Located at 422 3rd Street Wausau, this cafe was established in 1888!
There were so many delicious options to choose from. We started with a cup of chili which was very good! Oliver got the Malibu chicken sandwich and I got the turkey and swiss croissant sandwich. Normally I am one to like my food saucy and covered in ketchup I thought I would need something on this since it was just carved turkey and melted swiss but it was delicious on it own!
Sitting at this adorable table looking at the memorabilia got my love of history and nerdy brain thinking “WOW this cafe opened in 1888” think of all the historic events that have happened since then! The Titanic sinking, both world wars, all the decades and how trends have changed. I sat with a movie montage playing in my head of all these people coming in eating and socializing what they would have been wearing and talking about and here I am apart of that.
When the friendly waitress came by to ask if we saved room for dessert our normal response would be “no, we’re way too full” but this time we decided to go for it! Oliver got strawberry cheesecake and naturally I had to get mint chip ice cream. I mean its the mint cafe its only fitting! I left full, happy, and the taste of mint on my tongue.
Check out The Mint and other great restaurants in downtown Wausau’s River District starting this week until Friday October 20.
Oliver and I have been together for 8 years, spending our free time hiking, biking, and exploring the beautiful world that surround us. Back in 2011 my aunt and uncle in Arkansas offered us a free place to live if we helped around the house and pitched in with monthly expenses. At 19 years old your thinking “heck yea!” “There’s nothing to do here!” “This is my opportunity for a fresh start, make new friends, and get a change of pace.” This offer came right in the nick of time because Oliver had just lost his job and I was working part-time at Bath-n-Body Works. We couldn’t afford our monthly bills and rent. Needless to say we were almost instantly home-sick.
We moved to a larger city than our home in Wisconsin so we had plenty of job opportunities. Thankfully we both found jobs fairly quick. We went through a temp agency that placed me full-time at a car dealership as a receptionist/office assistant and Oliver got a job working for a company that dismantled airplanes and scrapped the parts. I also got an offer to work as a vendor at the local movie theater, which came in handy since that was a primary source of entertainment. Working kept our minds busy, but dealing with morning and evening traffic left my mind to wander back to my Wisconsin roots. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry for home more than a few times.
Thanksgiving was coming up and Oliver and I planned a visit back home with family. I was so excited! After 10 hours in the car we had finally made it to the Wisconsin boarder. It’s hard to explain what emotions hit me when I seen that glorious sign: “Wisconsin Welcomes You!” The phrase home-sweet-home seemed so cliche until this moment. It was so calming to be on roads that were familiar and know that in 2 short hours I’d be sitting on the couch surrounded by all things home.
When it came time to leave I was so sad, I desperately wanted to stay put and not return to my new life in Arkansas. Oliver and I had a 12 hour car ride to talk about our life and where we wanted to be and we concluded that Wisconsin was it. When we got back to my aunt and uncle’s house we spent our evenings job searching and applying. It took a while, but Oliver found a factory job and took it. I didn’t find a job until a few weeks later and wanted to fulfill a two weeks notice with my current positions. He packed up his truck and headed home to Wisconsin to start his new job while I stayed back. That was the longest 2 weeks! It also happens to be the longest amount of time we’ve been apart from each other since we started dating in 2009!
I was so anxious to get home I was pulled over for speeding by a state patrol and as luck would have it he gave me a written warning and told me to slow down! Phew!
The whole point of this is to establish a backstory as to why we would do a Wisconsin Adventure Challenge. The reason is simple, Wisconsin has so much more to offer than what typically comes to people’s minds when they think of this proud state. Cold snowy winters, Green Bay Packers, cheese, and beer. While all these are very true we also have some beautiful county and state parks, stunning landscapes, thrilling entertainment, and just about everything else in between. If your ready to see the other side of Wisconsin and can appreciate a beautiful hike, bike ride, family fun festivals, exciting sports, and maybe a craft beer with squeaky cheese curds at the end of the night then consider the Midwest and this Northwoods paradise! Let us, a couple of proud Wisconsinites show you all this great state has to offer!