Summer vacation: The leftovers

Tonight we are back home in The ‘Ville and reflecting on what was a most glorious summer vacation.

We trudged out of bed at 6 this morning. Phoebe and I took one more walk through the Third Ward to a parking garage to find our car. A couple business owners, who were already at work, watering their outdoor gardens and setting up for the day, smiled and greeted us along the way. “Well, you’re up early,” one woman said to Phoebe as she walked happily beside me, dangling one of her teddy bears.

We had the car packed by 7, said our goodbyes and then headed for the interstate. As we merged onto the overpass, I took one last look at the skyline to my right. I sighed a happy sigh and said to Kates, “That was a great vacation.” She smiled and answered, “Yes, it was.”

Our journey back to The ’Ville was flawless. Phoebe is a pro now when it comes to long car rides, and we only stopped three times today for what probably amounted to about 20 or 30 minutes. We walked into the house at about 4:15 this afternoon.

It was an interesting and yet weird feeling driving back into town. “It feels so natural now, and yet in other ways it still doesn’t seem right,” I said.

“If only our families were closer,” Kates said.

* * *

When we leave places with which we‘ve established a connection, at least for me, it seems there’s always a burning desire to capture all of what makes the place so special. Or return to them to experience some of the things you might not have seen or done the first time around.

Our view
 We certainly did that the last few days.

With a second floor apartment in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, thanks to Orrin and Kelli, serving as our home base from Wednesday until this morning, we got to feel for five days and four nights as though we were part of the Third Ward community. From our multiple stops for lunch or takeout at the charming public markets, Bella Café or The Irish Pub to the fact that after a couple days we began to recognize familiar faces as we walked the neighborhood.

The sights and sounds of the city life were pure bliss. Not to mention the sounds of Milwaukee city life and the roar of Harleys passing on the streets below. During the evenings as crowds descended on the Third Ward for Summerfest, the neighborhood really came alive.

Here’s some shots from our visits to the public market …

* * *

I spent Friday morning soaking it up by myself. I walked the entire Third Ward, marveling at the old architecture and snapping photos at almost every street corner. I also made a point to stop inside the Art Museum to admire its breath-taking architecture and interior one more time. I ended up with a walk along the Lakeshore State Park before circling back past the Summerfest grounds, picking up some Starbucks goodies for Kates and I, and returning to the apartment.

Here are some of my favorites scenes ... For more, check out my Flickr album.

* * *

As for Summerfest, I shall call this year “a cleanup year.” I saw artists I'd been wanting to see for a long time, and I'll be OK if I don't see them again.

It’s worth noting that while I was watching America last night, Britney Spears was performing at the adjacent Marcus Amphitheater. Occasionally, we could hear the roar of that crowd. … This video appeared today. Kind of cool.

I’ve also been reminded tonight that next year is the 45th anniversary. And it starts in 352 days.

Here's a full review of Summer Vacation 2011:

aSummer vacation: Day 1
aSummer vacation: Day 3
aSummer vacation: Day 7
aSummer vacation: Day 7; Summerfest: Night 1
aSummer vacation: Day 8
aSummer vacation: Day 9; Summerfest: Night 2
aSummer vacation: Day 10; Summerfest: Night 3

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