We are officially halfway through our road trip through the upper midwest. (Feel free to read about days one, two and three). 

When we go on our road trips, not all of our destinations are necessarily known to draw tourists.  Sometimes we have to spend the night in an area just because it is on the way to our next destination.  

It is during these times that we get acquainted with small towns.  I have never lived in a small town – I have lived in suburbs my entire life.

That was where we found ourselves last night – in a small town halfway through the lower part of the  Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Bob's Big Boy restaurants

The only restaurant in town was Bob’s Big Boy and we were greeted by a giant moose dressed as Bob.  The food was good and it reminded me of eating at Bob’s Big Boy restaurants as a child in California.

For some reason, there was a moose dressed in another outfit in front of our hotel as well.

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This is the view from our hotel this morning.  It was cloudy and cold at 41 degrees.

We dressed warmly and left on our way toward Wisconsin and further adventures.

Upper Peninsula

This is the view that we saw from the car 90-percent of the time as we drove through the Upper Peninsula, which is sparsely populated.

As we were driving, I saw a young bear cub romping toward the trees and the beach – pretty cool!

Upper Peninsula

We crossed into Wisconsin and stopped by a small restaurant that is a favorite among locals.  As we stepped out of our car, we noticed that the temperature was 40 degrees warmer (81 degrees) then where we had left from that morning. 

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The food was good, but basic.  Bratwursts, hot dogs and burgers made up the menu.  You could tell that the restaurant was very popular with newspaper articles posted on the walls, t-shirts for sale and a lot of customers.

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When in Wisconsin, you shop for cheese.  My husband loves cheese, so I made sure to buy some for him.

chocolate cheese fudge

There were many types of cheese and while my husband likes trying out unique flavors, I figured that he wasn’t up to having chocolate cheese fudge.

I did end up buying garlic cheddar, smoked cheddar and chipotle cheddar cheeses.

An piece of a tree trunk makes a nice planter for annual flowers at the entrance to the Green Bay Botanical Garden

An piece of a tree trunk makes a nice planter for annual flowers at the entrance to the Green Bay Botanical Garden. 

As we entered Green Bay, Wisconsin, we decided to visit the local botanical garden.

Road Trip Day 4

As my loved ones know, when I am in a garden, I tend to walk off and disappear as I take pictures of plants.  Thankfully, my husband and my mother are understanding about this tendency.

Curve your garden paths to add interest and a bit of mystery as to what is around the bend

Curve your garden paths to add interest and a bit of mystery as to what is around the bend. 

As a horticulturist and garden writer, I have a large photo library of plants.  Some of the writing I do is not limited to the southwest, but for all regions of the United States.  So, I like to take opportunities when I travel to take photos of plants that I will use later.

Lavender Peonies

Lavender Peonies 

I have a list of plants that I would love to have in my garden – but that do not grow in my desert climate.

Red Peonies

Red Peonies 

One of those plants on my list are peonies.

I love their full, ruffled flowers borne above bright-green foliage.

Did I mention that they are also wonderfully fragrant?

Lavender Peonies

Lavender Peonies 

The Green Bay Botanical Gardens were filled with flowering peonies in a myriad of different colors.

Maroon Peonies

Maroon Peonies 

I have photographed peonies on previous trips, but I’ve never had the opportunity to see so many different-colored peonies in one place.

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Peonies bloom once a year in late spring into early summer depending on the variety and climate.

They die back to the ground in winter.

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While peonies will grow in most climates, but they need cold temperatures in winter, so they do not grow well in zones 9 and above.

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts ‘Alba’ 

Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) are another flowering plant that I would grow, if I could.  They love cool, shady gardens.

Their flowers resemble a ‘bleeding heart’, hence their common name.   Available in both pink and white forms, this flowering perennial is just lovely.

White Bleeding Hearts

White Bleeding Hearts 

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Do you have a bird bath in your garden?  I like the simplicity of this stone one.

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When visiting botanical gardens, I am always getting new ideas for the garden.

While I have seen trellises created from branches before, I think this is the best one I have seen.  The branches are large enough to be able to provide support for climbing plants.  Rebar posts are used to anchor the trellis.

I think that I may have to make some for my own garden.

False Indigo (Baptisia australis)

False Indigo (Baptisia australis) 

Blue-flowering plants help to visually cool the garden, which can be welcome during the warm summer months.

Blue Forget-Me-Nots

Blue Forget-Me-Nots (Myosotis sylvatica) 

Blue flowering plants look great when paired with white, pink or pale yellow plants.

Willow Amsonia (Amsonia tabernaemontana)

Willow Amsonia (Amsonia tabernaemontana) 

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From a design standpoint, I like how a strip of blue phlox was planted to divide two separate plantings – don’t you?

Wild Red Columbine

Wild Red Columbine (Columbine canadensis) 

Wild red columbine was planted throughout the garden, in order to attract ruby-throated hummingbirds, which is the only hummingbird species found in Wisconsin.

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As I got ready to leave the garden, I spotted this guy working very hard cutting back the weeds/grass with a brush cutter.  The slope was steep and it was a hot day – it made me glad that my garden doesn’t have steep slopes.

*After leaving the gardens, we drove through the city of Green Bay.  Now, if you haven’t heard of the fervent fan base of the Green Bay Packers football team, than you must have your head buried in the sand.

Packer Stadium

Packer Stadium 

Spend just a few minutes in the city and it is obvious that they love their football team.  How do I know this?

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Across the street from the stadium are homes that back up to the street.  Without exception, every house has some sort of Packer decoration.

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From a decorated gate, a raised deck encircled with etched glass with the Packer emblem and a giant football statue – the neighborhood has it all.

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You can even buy cheese in your favorite Packer shape.

*I hope you are enjoying reading about our road trip adventures.  Thank you to those of you who have commented!

Tomorrow, we are off to more road trip adventures!

This was the last full day of our Northeast road trip.

We spent the night at a wonderful bed & breakfast, called the Willard Street Inn

Each road trip that we have gone on, we splurge for one night and stay at a fun bed & breakfast.  (Our other nights have been spent at Hampton Inn’s across the Northeast and we really like them as well).

This house was built in 1881 and was the home of a Vermont senator (I forget his name).

It was beautiful inside…

The breakfast room overlooked the gardens…

There was also fresh-baked Parker cookies and fresh lemonade…

The staff was fabulous and even carried our luggage up three flights of stairs to our room.

This is the view from our window that overlooks Lake Champlain…

Before we left Burlington, VT for New Hampshire, we had to eat our breakfast first…

I had strawberry-banana pancakes, applewood smoked bacon and fresh fruit.  It was delicious!

Before leaving, I took pictures of the garden…

Bachelor’s Button


White Dicentra

Yellow Bearded Iris


Don’t you just want to sit in the garden?

After we left our bed and breakfast, we headed for Sugar Creek Maple Farm in Woodstock, VT.

On our way, we passed by many picturesque farms.

It was fun traveling the road through the green mountains and see what was around the corner…

We arrived at the farm and were greeted by some new friends…

At first, I thought this little goat wanted to be friends, but I think he really was hungry…

Thankfully, there was some goat food for me to feed them.

After we visited with the goats, our attention was drawn to this adorable little calf…

She was so friendly…

And she like to lick our arms.  Her tongue was a little rough, but she was so sweet!

Quite honestly, meeting her was the highlight of our entire day 🙂

After we visited with the animals, we saw a trail leading to a little chapel on the farm.

Inside was a pulpit that had an old Bible open to 1st Psalms.

They had pictures of the beautiful weddings that they have here sometimes.

We passed a post with little signs on it.  As I looked closer, I saw that it showed the annual amount of snow that they have received in different years.

It is hard to believe that so much snow can fall in one place.

Now, it was time to see where they made the cheese and maple syrup…

We passed by one of the draft horses that they use to haul the sap from maple trees in early spring.  I said “Hi”, but he mostly ignored me.

Because this is a working farm, when we entered the building, we saw them wrapping the cheese in foil and then dipping it in wax.

Because they package their cheeses this way, it can remain unrefrigerated for a few days.  

We were invited to taste the different varieties of cheese.  They were delicious, but I narrowed it down to three – Vermont Light, Mellow Cheddar and Cheddar Sage.  I know my husband will enjoy them as much as I will.

Then we tasted the different grades of maple syrup.  Did you know that there are different grades?  It’s not that one is better then the other – but they are different colors and are harvested at different times.

I chose a 16 oz. container of ‘Fancy’ maple syrup and I was able to fit into my suitcase.

I think I will make french toast later this week 🙂

We left the farm and continued our journey to New Hampshire.

I wish that I could say that we explored New Hampshire and did some shopping, but we decided not to because….

It started to rain very hard and continued the entire day.

We did however, find a yarn store and bought some yarn for future projects.