There are 93 days in meteorological summer in the northern hemisphere, which in 2021 means summer starts Sunday, June 20th and ends Wednesday, September 22nd. But anyone who lives in metro Milwaukee knows that summer starts much earlier here, at least in the minds of its inhabitants. On the first 50+ degree day of the year, you can find people wearing shorts and sunbathing on Bradford Beach. They are of the mindset of Henry David Thoreau who said, “One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” Yes, winters are hard, and spring can be fleeting, but summer, S-U-M-M-E-R, “Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”
The Team Wimmer Staff, like most Milwaukeeans, is gearing up for summer. As you dream, plan and plot out your precious summer days, you may want to consider the 15 summer events we love!
Biking area Trails – Matt, Project Manager
Matt enjoys biking the many trails in the Milwaukee area. One favorite is the 14-mile paved Hank Aaron State Trail which runs east-to-west from Lake Michigan to the Milwaukee/Waukesha County line. Another favorite is the Milwaukee County Parks’ Oak Leaf Trail with over 125 miles of trails, nearly a quarter of which run along the scenic shores of Lake Michigan. If you’re more into mountain biking, you might want to consider joining the Metro MTB (Metro Mountain Bikers), which has built and maintains over 20 miles of trails in the area.
Hank Aaron State Trail: https://www.hankaaronstatetrail.org/
Tosa Farmer’s Market – Anna, Architecture Intern
Anna’s favorite summer event is the Tosa Farmer’s Market held every Saturday from 8 am to noon beginning May 30th through October 17th. The market is located at 7720 Harwood Avenue in Wauwatosa, just west of Café Hollander and right along the Oak Leaf Trail so feel free to show up on your bike. Don’t bring your dog, though, unless he’s a service animal. Dogs are not allowed at the market.
The market boasts 45 farmers and food producers offering produce, plants, bread, cheese, fish, meat, poultry, coffee, breakfast items, and other treats. The first Saturday of each month features local artisans selling handmade arts and crafts.
Bugline Trail – Angie, Construction Administrative Assistant
Biking on the Bugline is one of Angie’s favorite summer activities and no wonder why! This 16-mile asphalt trail winds through forests and fields and offers beautiful views of the Oconomowoc River as well as former Lannon stone quarries that have become lakes. The trail extends from Menomonee Falls to North Lake and was developed from an old railroad bed in the 1980s. More recent improvements make this one of the most popular recreation trails in the state.
And now for a short trivia break…according to Kenneth Casper writing for Wisconsin Explorer, “The route follows rolling kettle moraine landscape ‘like a caterpillar on a grapevine,’” which explains the crazy name.
State Fair – Deb, Vice President of Operations
State Fair means summertime to Deb and her family. They love checking out all the new foods at the fair – everything on a stick, right? Deb especially loves the 4H exhibits because they bring back memories of her own 4-H experiences when she spent an entire week at her local fair. The Wisconsin State Fair will run from August 5th through August 15th. If you purchased admission or main stage tickets for 2020, they may be valid in 2021. Go to the FAQ page of the State Fair website to find out.
Kayaking the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers – Joyce, Staff Accountant
Whether you own a kayak or just rent, floating down the Milwaukee, Menomonee and/or Kinnickinnic Rivers and stopping for lunch at one of the many riverside restaurants is one of the most pleasant ways to spend a summer day in our area. There’s something for everyone along the riverbanks such as interesting architecture, beautiful bridge spans, and incredible people-watching. There are numerous rental companies along the Milwaukee river’s banks, including pontoon rentals if kayaking sounds like work to you. Either way, you may want to stop at one of Joyce’s favorite riverside lunch spots, the Twisted Fisherman on the Menomonee River or take the Kinnickinnic River to Barnacle Buds for their Bloody Mary bar. Cheers!
Access points in Milwaukee County Parks: https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks/Explore/Trails/River-Trails
Grant Park and 7 Bridges Hiking Trail – Alyssa, Admin Support
You’d be hard-pressed to find a public park more beautiful than Grant Park in South Milwaukee. Alyssa and her family especially enjoy the gorgeous beach and playground. Other highlights include an 18-hole golf course and the historic 7 Bridges hiking trails. In fact, the hiking trails were developed as part of a WPA project during the depression and they include wooden bridges crossing a babbling brook and paths that wind through woods and ravines. When you need to refresh after your hike, stop at Ferch’s Beachside for a cold beer, a burger and custard. If it’s Monday night, stay for the live music on the beach.
Interactive Google Map view of Grant Park: https://wisconsin-explorer.blogspot.com/2015/08/hiking-seven-bridges-trail-in-south.html#Trail%20Map
Milwaukee County Zoo – Stefanie, Property Support Specialist
There’s nothing like a classic day at the Zoo and Stef and her son are big fans. They recommend the animals, of course, but also the train and carousel. This summer you may want to stop by and welcome the newest resident of the zoo, a brand-new baby camel born April 13th. He weighed in at 94 pounds and is expected to be 1,800 pounds and 7 feet tall as an adult. After all that walking, you’ll want some snacks. Stef’s favorites are popcorn, ice cream and cotton candy.
Buy Zoo admission tickets here: https://shop.milwaukeezoo.org/#/Admission
Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks – Theresa, VP of Property Management
Fireman’s Park in Germantown is a great place to be on the 4th of July, according to Theresa, who loves the full day of events. After the parade, hang out at Fireman’s Park for music and entertainment. Bring your picnic or buy food at one of the (limited) vendors. You don’t need to live in Germantown to join the fun!
For more information: https://www.gtownkiwanis.org/2021/03/09/germantown-4th-of-july-fireworks/
If you’re interested in a summer day trip, here are a few great ideas…
Road America – Todd, IT Manager
Todd’s favorite summer event is attending races at Road America in Plymouth, just outside of Elkhart Lake, which is about an hour from Milwaukee. His particular favorite is the July Vintage Race. Road America is a world-renowned 4+ mile racetrack and the longest permanent road course in the United States. This summer, for the first time since the track opened in 1955, Road America is hosting a Nascar Cup race over the 4th of July weekend.
Solu Winery – Lisa, Project Coordinator
Solu Winery in Cascade is at the top of Lisa’s summer must-do list. Solu is part of a 660-acre property in the Kettle Moraine known as The Highlands, which includes other venues, such as a fishing pond and sportsmen’s club, which virtually guarantees you’ll see hunting dogs taking a quick swim. Lisa enjoys the great outdoor live music every weekend and recommends the winery tours and tastings. You can even bring your leashed dog for some fun in the sun.
Solu Winery is about 20 minutes from Road America in case you want to include both locations on your itinerary.
When Wednesday, September 22nd rolls around and summer draws to a close, take comfort in the wise words of John Steinbeck who said, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
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