TRAVELS FOR WHEN THE WEATHER IS FINE
Floating Through Summer
Nearly 32,000 miles of waterways wind through Wisconsin, so it’s no wonder river tubing is a popular summer activity. Outfitters like S&B Tubing, based in Albany, rent tubes for leisurely, four-hour trips down the Sugar River. All you’ve got to do is put in, and the outfitter will pick you and the equipment up at a designated spot downstream. A shuttle takes you and the rented gear back to your car. “You go from being in a town, to being completely in nature, surrounded by eagles and trees and water—I’ve done it my whole life,” says S&B Tubing owner Jenny Bryant. She recommends shoes and sunscreen for the trip, since the water reflection doubles sunburn potential. You can even rent a tube that holds a cooler, so you can bring beverages or food along.
Floating outfitters such as Sandy Shores Tubing in Mauston, and resorts like the Wisconsin Riverside Resort in Spring Green, are among outfitters renting tubes on the Wisconsin River. What a way to make a summer splash!
Fun fact: There are over 1,000 miles of designated bike trails in Wisconsin. So how does a gal pick just one as the ideal trek on a midsummer’s day? I’m partial to those that are practical and scenic, thus a 15-mile bike jaunt out to Abel Contemporary Gallery in Paoli is at the top of my list.
Leaving my abode in downtown Madison, a quick cruise down State Street makes the Southwest Commuter Path easily accessible via East Campus Mall. Nominal altitude shifts through the fringes of the Monroe-Regent neighborhoods offer a smooth funnel onto the Badger State Trail in Fitchburg. And cruising past overgrown prairies and colorful wildflowers add up to 5 more blissful miles of solitude before turning onto Sayles Trail. This short, final stretch opens onto Sun Valley Parkway—a quiet, country road that within a mile brings me to the gallery’s front door.
The only thing that could make an afternoon of pursuing art and cycling even better would be a cold, local beer. Hmm…think I’ll take a slight detour down County Highway PB for a pit stop at Wisconsin Brewing Company on the way home.
Lest you lose heart, it is possible to bliss out with your tween or teen. It may just involve a little spa time. Avani Spa at The Abbey Resort in Lake Geneva offers a spa package especially for teens.
My daughter and I got exfoliated, polished, massaged and otherwise lulled into relaxation. Start by robing and awaiting services in the fireplace lounge. Depending on her age, your daughter may not be able to enjoy all the areas and amenities (limited to adults and guests over 16) of the women’s lounge—aromatherapy inhalation room, steam room, whirlpool, sauna—but you can while she’s enjoying each of her 25-minute mini-services. With the It’s All About Me Teen Spa Day package ($179) she can expect a massage, clear skin facial, manicure and pedicure.
Then, if she’s old enough, you and your daughter can join all the other berobed guests at the spa’s outdoor lounge or sunroom style pool, where you can order in lunch (and wine for mom), swim a few laps, steep in the hot tub, nap and gab—for hours, until the spa closes. And gab your teen will, after this kind of a special day. Make it a weekend and book a room at the resort, enjoy a fancy meal at 240° West and more fine company, make s’mores by the water-view fire pit, then snuggle up for the night and gab some more.