2016.07.30 A Wisconsin Visit and a Hitchin’

It is Day 8 of our vacation and we are finding new ways to be late leaving the house.  Today it is Marissa being unable to find her toothbrush.  That one will be tough to beat!

Yesterday almost by accident, we realized that the town we are staying in is only 15 miles from the Wisconsin state line.  We had no idea we were that close.  All it took was one person to suggest we road trip to Wisconsin this morning, and plans were made.

Since we were heading east, it was easy to include a visit to Stillwater, Minnesota, on our itinerary.  This “other” Stillwater, AKA the original, actually has a lot in common with Stillwater, Oklahoma.  How about these slogans: “The birthplace of Minnesota” and “Where Oklahoma began”.  Stillwater MN has Pioneer Park while Stillwater OK high school’s mascot is the Pioneers.

We stopped in to take a look at their historic courthouse.  A lady had walked from the farmer’s market across the street carrying a flower bouquet, and invited us to look around.  She gave me the highlights of town and where to get the best pictures.  Thanks Melissa!

Courthouse in Stilwater MN

Courthouse in Stilwater MN

Courthouse in Stillwater MN

Courthouse in Stillwater MN

This historic courthouse was built in 1867, and the one it replaced (built in 1849) was the first one in Minnesota.  Prior to Minnesota becoming a state, it was the Minnesota Territory.  And I had thought Oklahoma being the Indian Territory before statehood was something special.

The St. Croix River and Stillwater's distinctive "Lift Bridge"

The St. Croix River and Stillwater’s distinctive “Lift Bridge”

There is a street known as the Street of Spires thanks to the Courthouse and churches

There is a street known as the “Street of Spires” thanks to the Courthouse and churches

Stillwater and the St. Croix River

Stillwater and the St. Croix River

The only Stillwater sign we could find.

The only Stillwater sign we could find.

Stillwater was a very neat little town – no surprise – and it was a nice novelty to spend a few minutes visiting there.

Around the corner from the end of Main Street in Stillwater is the bridge over the St. Croix River. We drove over the Lift Bridge and immediately pulled over for a Wisconsin sign photo op.

Steve and Marissa visit Wisconsin

Steve and Marissa visit Wisconsin

Wisconsin Road Sign Stop. You can see the Stillwater Courthouse on the hill in the background.

Wisconsin Road Sign Stop. You can see the Stillwater Courthouse on the hill in the background.

The Buick in the above picture had pulled over and a lady got out to ask if we’d like her to take our picture.  Wow!  Neal had mentioned yesterday that folks from Minnesota are “Minnesota Nice”.  Well, I think you can say the same thing for “Wisconsin Nice”.  They made a great impression on us.

There was not a town to speak of across the river from Stillwater, so we drove south a few miles to Hudson, Wisconsin.  We parked near the river and walked around a bit.

Plenty of sailboats on the St. Croix

Plenty of sailboats on the St. Croix

KK, PK, Miles and Marissa in Hudson Wisconsin

KK, PK, Miles and Marissa in Hudson Wisconsin

Hudson Wisconsin

Hudson Wisconsin

While walking the streets of Hudson, we came across the young lady in the above picture holding a giant rainbow pony that said “Happy Birthday” on it.

Steve: Is today your birthday?

Lady with balloon: (feigns embarrassment) Oh, I didn’t think anyone would notice…

(It was not her birthday, it was a gift for her niece.)

We had lunch at San Pedro’s Café (in the picture with the balloon) which was a Caribbean themed restaurant in the “White heart of Wisconsin” (Stephanie’s description).  This was amusing because we did not see any minorities in Wisconsin during the 2 hours we were there.

After lunch, it was time to hightail it back to Minnesota to get ready for “the hitchin’”.  This was KK’s term all vacation for Allison and Paul’s wedding.  Paul’s dad, Mike, particularly enjoyed this description and was using it himself by the end of the week.

The wedding was in downtown Minneapolis, just a stone’s throw from the new US Bank Stadium, where the Vikings play.  Allison had mentioned earlier in the week that the church rents out their parking lot for gameday parking, which I thought was pretty cool.

The wedding was an absolute blast.  The pastor was very funny and had the congregation laughing throughout.  At the end of the ceremony, one of the musicians prematurely started playing, and the pastor told him “Hold on there, Big Dog”.  In fact, PK said it was the best wedding she had ever attended (outside of her own son’s weddings of course).

Isaiah the ring bearer, with assistance from Preston

Isaiah the ring bearer, with assistance from Preston

Neal and Allison

Neal and Allison

Allison and Paul. Siblings Kelly and Matthew also showcased.

Allison and Paul. Siblings Kelly and Matthew also showcased.

What a great wedding.  Afterward, we drove to the reception about a half hour away.  The reception was unlike anything I had ever seen.  So many people spoke and honored the happy couple.  It was very neat.  Paul even gave his Christian testimony as part of describing the impact Allison has had on his life.  It was a very moving reception.

Preston & family made the cake and cupcakes. Blueberry-filled and tasty!

Preston & family made the cake and cupcakes. Blueberry-filled and tasty!

The fathers of the bride and groom were each provided ties to wear of their favorite teams.  So we had a Packer tie and an Oklahoma State tie.  Loved that touch.

Neal says "Go Pokes!"

Neal says “Go Pokes!”

Mike says "Go Pack Go!"

Mike says “Go Pack Go!”

Congratulations Allison and Paul!

Congratulations Allison and Paul!

Our best wishes to Allison and Paul.  We hope your life together is as beautiful as this day.

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