Because every man needs a plan, and some of us need that plan with pretty pictures, we present Where to Take Her: a series that answers a gentleman's most pressing lifestyle questions and recurs whenever we get around to it. Next up: the fall day trip. Go forth.
Ardent – Milwaukee, WI – This James Beard semifinalist serves freshly imagined, Wisconsin-centric dishes. Just five tables here. Reservations only.
Holland State Park – Holland, MI – With more than 90 primitive campsites walking distance from Lake Michigan, you’ll be able to pitch a tent no problem. Plus the drive through Harbor County is always welcome. Slim chance for an Indian summer, but you’ll have a lovely stretch of beach if the temps do happen to rise.
Mississippi Palisades State Park – Savanna, IL – Yes, there are towering limestone bluffs you can climb, but mostly you come here for the phenomenal vistas of the Mississippi River. You’ll find those viewpoints hiking the south trails, which are well-maintained. Bring a camera. Pack a lunch.
Oktoberfest – Glendale, WI – The oldest Bavarian Oktoberfest in the Midwest, this is quite the rager. German brass bands! Spanferkel! Is that yodeling? And of course, beer and brats. Fridays and Saturdays through September.
Weston’s Antique Apple Orchard – Berlin, WI – This small roadside orchard specializes in heirloom varieties. Names like Cornish Gilliflower (circa 1800s U.K., tastes like cloves) and Chenago Strawberry (circa 1800s New York, smells like roses). All in all, more than 600 trees with 100+ impossible-to-find varieties. Take that, apple cider donuts.
Vistro Restaurant – Hinsdale, IL – Paul Virant’s new spot in the affable suburb of Hinsdale is a cozy, family-friendly bistro with a solid wine list and cocktails — not to mention pork Milanese and wood-fired pizza. Check the menu before you go.