We asked writer and March 2017 issue contributor Kristine Hansen to share with us the reasons she loves Milwaukee. Here are her picks:
1. Cheese. I love that in Milwaukee you can walk into any grocery store—even a gas station—and snap up artisan cheese. Low-brow spots aside, I do have my favorite retailers for scoring a cheese stash, including Brennan’s (which even indicates a cheese’s awards on the packaging), Outpost Natural Foods and Clockshadow Creamery (freshest cheese curds in town).
2. Nature within a short drive. Within an hour’s drive of downtown Milwaukee you can be in a state park: Lapham Peak Unit (Kettle Morraine Southern Unit) and Kohler-Andrae State Park, for example. I love to camp and hike in these natural gems and try to get up to Door County (four hours north) twice a year.
3. Housing affordability. Living in California for two years exposed me to real-estate prices that made home ownership seem out of reach unless you were an actress or a tech mogul. In Milwaukee, you can buy a three-bedroom house for around $200K, pay it off in a feasible timeline, and have money to spare for travel, concert tickets and more, unencumbered by a steep mortgage.
4. Family Farms. Wisconsin is second only to California in its number of organic farms. This means that farm-to-table restaurant menus aren’t hard to find. I’ve had the privilege of working on two local organic farms with Community-Supported Agricultural programs as a workshare volunteer, where you receive a free box of food from the farm in exchange for toiling in the fields.
5. Access to Lake Michigan. Growing up in a Chicago suburb, I learned that parking along Lake Michigan in Chicago is impossible and expensive. Cruise down Lincoln Memorial Drive and score a parking space right on the shoreline—for free—and walk to Bradford Beach. In the ‘burbs are gorgeous unpopulated beaches (Doctors Park in Fox Point and Klode Park in Whitefish Bay are my two faves).
A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). Hansen is a contributor to our March, 2017 “Chef Issue,” writing this month’s story, “Family Business: Burghardt Sporting Goods.”