Yesterday I had to be in Milwaukee for a media event for The Local Tourist. Coming from Elgin, I could have taken 90 east to 294 to 94, but that is definitely not the way the crow flies. Even though it has the potential to be faster, that route adds twenty miles, several tolls, and unlimited aggravation. Instead I left a little early and took the back route. Interstates offer little variation, while two-lane roads can be filled with surprises. 

For example, shortly after I crossed the border into Wisconsin I turned a corner right in front of a gem. The Wilmot Stage Stop, which opened in 1848, is the oldest tap and dining room in the state. Originally the Wilmot Hotel, six generations kept this piece of the 19th century alive. Known for serving classic surf 'n' turf, you could visit its past in the second floor museum.

This piece of Wisconsin history closed abruptly earlier this year, but it's reopening in January. They're accepting reservations beginning December 1, and you can bet that I'll be calling to schedule our visit.

Next time you have to travel any distance, consider skipping the interstate and taking the two-lanes. You never know what you might find.