• Melanie

A cold holiday trip

Bill and I made an exodus to the Midwest to celebrate the holidays with each of our families. When I moved to Nashville almost ten years ago (!), I was fully ready to leave the long, cold winters of my homeland of Chicago behind. Of course, about 75% of our trips back have been in cold weather, which always solidifies that I moved to the right place (I still love seasons, and Nashville's short winters are just right).

Ice in a boat launch, dusted with snow
Ice in a boat launch, dusted with snow (so cold!)

When we visited Wisconsin, we stayed in a riverfront motel in Winneconne called The Landing. I booked it with some hesitation, but it was the only lodging in town, population 2383 according to a 2017 count.

The Landing motel in Winneconne, WI, located on the Wolf River
It's not luxury or five-star, but if you want a great place to fish in nice weather (or a chill place to drink beer in cold weather), The Landing is clean, comfortable, accommodating, and friendly

Riverside view of The Landing in Winneconne, WI
Look closely: you can put your fishing pole in one of the holders, then watch it from the bar while you enjoy a cold one

Luckily, it ended up being an absolute blast (and spotlessly clean). As cold as it was, we were welcomed by the locals like we were family, and it warmed us right up. The "office" (read: bar) allows dogs, so Sapo The Dog was right at home and made some fast friends. They even had a crock pot of ham, with buns for sandwiches and some EXCELLENT homemade horseradish. We spent Christmas Eve drinking New Glarus Spotted Cow (New Glarus beer is only available in Wisconsin), eating ham sandwiches, and rubbing elbows with the locals. Though not a conventional pre-holiday, it far surpassed my expectations, and was a bright spot in a very trying trip.

We spent most of the time in Chicago indoors with family and friends, but I did get an excellent family photo at the end of our visit.

Roy Collins with his progeny
Late night on the last night in town. It was great to have everyone together.

Bare trees in winter rush by on I65.
A blur of trees, somewhere in Indiana

Traveling around the holidays can be really demanding, and this trip was no exception. Trying to see both families was definitely too much to take on. It was one of those trips where I was glad to head home.

The clouds along the way were amazing. There was a storm front coming in, and we watched it approach across the flatlands.

Though there were some difficult moments, the trip was fun overall. I don't plan to head back to the homeland anytime soon, but I'm sure I'll be back sooner than I think.

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