Thanksgiving 2019
A Trip Report


We got the bright idea that since our normal October vacation was overtaken by various events (Heartoberfest, politcal events, brewery events, etc.), we thought we would take a long Thanksgiving week and visit our loving daughter in Chicago.

As Thanksgiving approached, Diana did book us a room for several days about an hour's drive away from her new home in North Chicago.  Do you think this was an omen?  Nah! She skillfully explained it was near several great things to do in Chicago (actually, in Schaumburg) that we could enjoy together.  That and there is nothing to do in North Chicago.  The town, not the northern part of Chicago.

We really did not have a lot of detail figured out, including when we would leave or what to do enroute to Chicago.  But Mark had vacation to burn so it would take us several days to drive the 6 hours to Chicago.  I believe we decided on Friday evening to leave on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. 

  En route to Chicago

Sunday Morning - we got a bit of a late start from Laurel's perspective.  The sun had been up for nearly an hour.  But our first stop was planned to pick up some pastries to eat as we began our trip.  We did pick up 2 long johns with walnuts - one with chocolate icing and the other with maple icing.  Laurel grabbed the keys and started the journey by running down a handicap parking sign.  The sign is probably totaled and. as I write this, we have yet to determine the determine the damage to the van.  But I can tell you that it includes the front bumper and driver's side quarter panel.  Oh, and the headlights now pointed a bit kiddiewankered.  But the van still ran with no significant rattling or other significant damage.  More on that later.  So the pastries will be a bit expensive.

Our destination for Sunday was a bit vague so it gave us some time to discuss something other than the new condition of the van.  Mark took over the driving from that point on too.  We wanted to visit a carved stone monument store we saw a few years back up near Green Bay, Wisconsin, so we headed northeast.  We considered several options to stop on the way, but eventually just ended up in Green Bay that afternoon.  
One interesting side note, the van's lighted dashboard was now occasionally blinking on and off.  But back to the travels.  
One option we considered to stay the first night was Wausau, WI.  We stopped into the town and besides lunch at Malarkey's Pub (, we went into the Wausau Center mall (  Mark actually bought some walking shoes at H. T. Cobblery and we found a little sign shop too ( where we picked up a lovely sign for the brewery.
Wausau was a nice little town, but we decided to keep on going and eventually ended up in Green Bay, probably 6 blocks from Lambeau Field.  The Packers were playing a night game in San Francisco that weekend, so that left pretty much nothing to do and pretty much had the town to ourselves that evening.
We did a bit of research and discovered a few items of interest - including wineries, chocolate shops, and lets not forget the monument store.  Monday's agenda was turning out to be busy.  Oh, I forgot to mention that car's sensor was indicating the the driver's side rear tire's pressure is low.  Dang!

Monday Morning - what to do first?!?   Mark insisted that we fix the tire.  Good thing, too, because they pulled out a sheet rock screw.  
After patching up the tire (thanks CarX) we headed out to the Seroogy's homemade chocolates (  This was a pleasant surprise and reasonably affordable at $21/pound.  We left with a pound of dark chocolates engulfing cashews, almonds, and filberts.  Also some mint dark chocolates and a variety of various stuff some people may find in their Christmas stockings (if we don't eat it all first).  As the trip went on, it became clear we should have bought more.
Okay, off to the monument store (  All we can say is if you win the lottery and want to embrace gluttony with marble, granite, or some other lovely cared stone statues, fountains, yard decorations, or just build a castle - this is the place to go.  Unfortunately, we learned the owners are tired of driving an hour each way to work each day and have determined they may have over extended their offerings.  They are intending to move and downgrade to just more of the lawn ornamentation.  But for now, they have no definite plans yet.
Now it was time to consider a brewery or winery.  We settled on going to the Von Stiehl Winery ( mostly because it was the closest - being on the southern end of Door County.  They have a wide variety of wines.  We were not overly impressed until we got to the Ice Wine, Port, and the apple ciders.  Oh, those were very nice.  Actually, the cider was done by Schmiling brothers cidery.  In the end, we walked away with a case of wine and cider and a few less dollars in our pockets.  
In the end, we stayed an extra day to squeeze in the side trips.  It was definitely worth the extra time.

Tuesday the weather reports were predicting gloom and doom with lots of cold, wind, and snow.  Time to head south - to Milwaukee.  This distinct German immigrant town had some things to offer.  First we went downtown to the  Christkindl Market (  Lots of little shops with tempting treats that we could not live without, including maple syrup, honey, liquor chocolates (cognac and Irish cream).  One of the shops serving up bratwurst and German potato salads also offered up some other suggestions of things to do - including tour 3 of the breweries.  Miller turned out to be closed that day, but we did go to  Sprecher Brewery ( and bought some beers, ciders and tap handles.  Very romantic, eh??  For a late afternoon lunch break we went to  Lakefront Brewery ( for a few more beers and kielbasa, cheese curds, and fish 'n chips. 
We had thought about going to the  Safehouse ( for an evening of espionage and intrigue, decided to play it safe an go a bit farther south to avoid the foot of snow close on our heels.  We finally settled on a night in Kenosha.  Other than dinner at Texas Roadhouse, evening was uneventful.  


As I mentioned earlier, Diana had booked us in the Country Inn & Suites in Schaumburg, just west of Chicago.  We decided to see if we could get there without driving on a toll road or using modern directional technology.  In the end, Laurel did pick up her smart phone and got us to the hotel.  It is a nice part of town.  Lots of shopping, eating, and entertainment in the area.  We hit a local shopping mall and wandered around.  Every shop was deep into their pre-black friday shopping frenzy, but it was not too busy the day before Thanksgiving. 
Thanksgiving day, Diana came over around noon and we had a lovely time catching up on each others lives.   Dinner was to be at a local restaurant (Clubhouse) at 4pm.  Very nice ambiance and food and no clean up.  Not a bad way to do Thanksgiving.   Afterward, we wandered around the outdoor mall area admiring the lights and occasionally checking out a store or two.  All in all, pretty much a relaxing day.
Friday we went over to North Chicago to check out Diana's new century-old house.  She has been busy putting in a library in her attic.  We are grateful to Malcolm for not feasting on our flesh during the stay.  That dog has serious territorial issues. 

Mad Dash Home

Laurel was becoming more and more concerned about the weather.  Up until then we had been ahead of the storms and south of the snow, but we needed to go back home into the heart of the beast.  So Saturday we decided to leave a day early and start heading home.  If the weather was too bad, we could use the next day waiting out the storm or trudging along slowly amidst the cold, wind, and snow.  Remember, she had abdicated driving after her little mishap 15 minutes into the trip.  Well, as we got into Wisconsin it started to rain. Then midway through the state, rain changed into more snow.  And then as we went by Tomah, one of those idiot lights came on the dashboard to check engine and the traction control was off.  Hmmmm.  Well, we chucked it up for one more thing for the mechanic and auto body folk can look into once we returned to Prior Lake.  Onward. 
In reality, it was not too bad.  We were greeted at home by an unplowed driveway which we got to the top of the driveway before the bald tires just couldn't get any traction.  Yep, one more thing to do with the van.  But we shoveled ourselves into the garage, unloaded the trophies we brought with us and breathed a sigh of relief that we were home safe and sound.

That is the trip.  We still need to plow out the driveway and visit the mechanic and auto body shop to put the finishing touches on van, but all in all we had a good time. 

Thanks for listening,
The Glewwe Family in Prior Lake
Mark and Laurel