“My purpose here [in My Life on the Road] is to tempt you to explore this country. American travel seems to need an advocate. If I’m going to Australia or Zambia, people tell me how exciting it is, yet if I am traveling anywhere in these United States, they sympathize and tell me how tiring it must be. In fact there are many unique satisfactions here.” –Gloria Steinem
Not even a chapter into Gloria Steinem’s book, and I could already feel that familiar feeling- the desire for the new, the different, the attempt to define at least the corner pieces in the puzzle of a new place. Wander lust. Though my odometer would read far less than hers, I too have logged many a mile traveling, both near and far, and her advocacy for American travel struck a chord.
This past fall, the Urban Farmer, Julep and I were Westward bound, en route to see my parents in a small, snowy, Iowa town. Along the way, we made Milwaukee our destination. Our choice may have inspired some jokes and some raised, questioning eyebrows, but we wanted to see Milwaukee, albeit as a brief stop along the way. “American travel seems to need an advocate.”
Food and architecture, aimless walking and reviving coffee. These tend to be my main goals when exploring new cities, and luckily, the Urban Farmer is cut of the same cloth. These loose agendas led us to the Milwaukee Public Market, where we ate breakfast sausage poutine with Wisconsin cheese curds and a brick-oven pizza (just in case we hadn’t consumed enough cheese). The Public Market was also the source of these adorable gifts and provisions for dinner, so we could enjoy our AirBnB retreat all the more.
With more time, more days, we would have explored the many rooms and collections of the Milwaukee Art Museum, but on these first-taste, dip-your-toes-in trips, there is only time for the shell. What a shell it was! Designed by Santiago Calatrava, whose skeletal forms I admired in Argentina, the many hand-poured concrete forms of this building were purely Milwaukian.
“I had clients who truly wanted from me the best architecture that I could do. Their ambition was to create something exceptional for their community…. Thanks to them, this project responds to the culture of the lake: the sailboats, the weather, the sense of motion and change.” -Santiago Calatrava
Taking in that view of Lake Michigan, in that cool wintry light, caused me to pause and enjoy feeling far from home. There was still a farm to see! Stay tuned.