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  • Writer's pictureLara Draxler

Married and Family Travel-2018

After we got home from our honeymoon, we slipped into married life. As with all blended families, I was an overnight stepmom to three kids. We had lots to learn about each other and blending as a family unit...heck we still do :) But I can say, we learned to embrace family time as well as couples time. As we navigated a new custody/parenting plan with our kiddos within the first six months of marriage, we still managed to find time to do fun things together too.

One of my favorite traditions that I started with my bonus kids was "Mondays with stepmom." At that time, I was only working part-time and was off on Mondays. We went to Valley Fair Amusement park, on hikes and picnics, shopping trips, pool days, and more. See pic below for bonus kids and I out on our first adventure in MATCHING SHIRTS. At the time, I thought it would be easy to keep up with everyone in bright neon shirts; however, we still have these shirts today and I don't think I could ever part with mine. We made so many great memories, and I still enjoy bonding with bonus kids over special activities and outings.

As for Chuck and I, we continued to enjoy traveling and going on date nights. Because we had splurged on our honeymoon, we felt that we would be much more budget conscious for summer travel when the kiddos weren't with us.

We chose to do some Wisconsin sightseeing. Our first trip was to Reedsburg, WI near the Wisconsin Dells, about 3 hours away. We stayed at the most charming bed & breakfast called Parkview B&B. We chose a room that had communal bathroom (which we ended up getting to ourselves) at a steal of a price. The food and innkeepers were wonderful and also gave us great food recommendations. With breakfast and a beautiful room, we spent less than $150 for lodging all weekend. We also enjoyed walking in downtown Reedsburg in the antique and used book stores.

Park View B&B Reedsburg, WI

We enjoyed eating at the Dell Bar in the Dells (only a 20 minute drive away). It is a beautiful old supper club with wonderful steaks and cocktails...very Mad Men vibe. They my have had the best old fashioned I have ever tasted...and I have tasted a few. Our favorite attraction in this area was the House on the Rock.

My master's degree in in museum studies. I have seen all sorts of museums revolving around the collections of some eccentric person. This place beat them all! The original part of the house was a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home built by Alex Jordan. He was a collector extraordinaire. I have never seen such endless things! The House on the Rock was fascinating. It is definitely worth the visit to explore his amazing home, property, and collections. Great weekend or day trip option.

crazy hallways at House on the Rock

The other weekend trip we took was at the end of the summer in 2018. I had read about the most charming and delightful resort town on the other side of the state called Elkhart Lake in my Midwest Living magazine. The town has been a summer resort destination since the Victorian era, and it did not disappoint. Again, we opted to stay at a beautiful old B&B near the lake and took the communal bathroom option to save money. It was very frugal yet not lacking in quality. The inn was called Jay Lee Inn and it was exactly what we needed--affordable, clean, great breakfast, and within walking distance to everything we wanted to see in the charming historic district such as a farmer's market, ice cream parlor, the gorgeous lake, and old Victorian resorts with gorgeous old dining rooms.

We really enjoyed prime rib dinner at Siebken's resort. It felt like I was traveling back in time eating in the beautiful old Victorian dining room.

That weekend we also enjoyed visiting Wade House historic village near Elkhart Lake. It is a WI state historic site with period dressed interpreters, fascinating museum and old buildings to explore, animals and wagon rides. If you like history, this place was really fun.

Wade House historic inn

Again, I would highly recommend either destination for weekend and summer travel. I love traveling anywhere and the state of WI doesn't disappoint with endless places to go visit.

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