Spring Break. A week when students get a breather in the middle of their spring semester (only if they weren’t assigned any homework). A week when students go back home, lounge, let their parents do their laundry and make them breakfast. Or, it could be a week to travel with friends or family to a relative’s house or to a resort for some good ‘ol rest and relaxation. But…for me, it’s neither of those things.
I’m in Menomonie. But you see, this is not as bad as you might think. I work at a desk at Stout, so I have the week off from work, unlike others who have part-time jobs. There are plenty of things do to over Spring Break in Menom.
I have a week planned of adventure, new places to explore, and ideas that any curious students could try, even on a weekend once you all get back from break.
I’m going to document all week for you guys and give you tips on how to stay curious and excited about the times when you have to stay in Menomonie, but everyone else chose not to (I do have friends who are here, so they might be mentioned).
Monday morning my friend Brittany and I drove two friends to the MSP Airport in Minneapolis, because they were heading to Florida for the week. We left at 5am and arrived back in town at about 7:40am. This could’ve been a fun trip to the cities: leave SUPER early then spend all day studying, reading, writing, or even shopping, but Brittany has a full-time job, so she couldn’t. But that’s always an accessible fun day-trip for those of you have a car with you at school. We did stop at the Starbucks in Hudson, though. I had a gift card and it covered my Iced Americano with white chocolate & cream (I strongly recommend).
I went back to bed for a couple hours and then met my friend Annie at the Raw Deal. There we did some “business-y” type stuff. I don’t know what to call it because I don’t do it very often…
She filled out some applications and tax stuff, while I planned out my last year as a Stoutie (if only you could see the tear rolling down my cheek right now)! I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to finish on time and that I would have to spend another semester enrolled, but I think it’ll all work out to graduate in four years. It’s possible. I promise! My advice: keep up with that ALL throughout college, not just until the last minute, like me. I read for a little bit, too. Taking a day to sort through the tedious details of your life can be very refreshing and take some huge weights off your shoulders.
Today started out very relaxing, having woken up and read for a little while before my roommate, Jenae, and I went to Eau Claire. We went to Big Lots. If you haven’t been to a Big Lots, you are seriously missing out. They have TONS of really cheap drinks (Jones Soda, Refreshers, Perrier water, tea, etc.) and awesome snacks. They also have a lot of “health” snacks, which is nice, since they’re not a million dollars a bag of gluten and GMO-free snacks. Jenae and I went a bit crazy. But we saved so much money! I also bought some stuff to show you guys how to make cold brew coffee in your DORM ROOM! Excite.
Later in the evening, my friend Claire and I drove out to Downsville and stargazed. We also watched the St. Patrick’s Day Northern Lights solar storm! I had never seen them before, and even though were dim, it was still a really exciting experience. Exploring the wilderness (country) around Menomonie will never disappoint you. Every direction will find you some place new and fun to explore. Just make sure you take a friend along!
Wednesday! What a day. I woke up with ample time to get ready before I met my friend Brittany for lunch in Lake Hallie (near Eau Claire) before my Eau Claire adventure. We went to Culver’s for lunch, then I drove over to Hope Gospel Mission, a gargantuan thrift store. It’s worth the 30 minute drive from Menomonie. I promise. Next I stopped at Cafe Tempo on Madison St. in EC. I did some homework for my Feature Writing Class and had another Iced Americano (might be addicted). After about an hour there, I took a walk along Barstow St., home to some pretty cool and trendy shops and eateries. I stopped in Revival Records, and bought a record for my dad’s birthday and some clearance records for myself!
After that I went over to the THREE-STORY antique store, Antique Emporium. I got there 20 minutes before closing (at 5pm) so I didn’t have time to look at everything. But, I did find the books. (;
After that, I went into some local shops and walked back to my car and headed back home. Eau Claire is a really cool city, that I think it’s growing a lot right now. Don’t take the 30-minute drive for granted! It can give you a city-feel without driving over an hour to Minnesota.
Thursday gladly invited me and my friend Barb to the Devil’s Punchbowl. Before our journey, we ate lunch at Burrito California on Main St. in town. If you’re going south on Broadway, turn right at the Cenex gas station, then take the first left after you drive past the parking lot for the Red Cedar Trail. It will take you down a winding road for a little bit. Eventually, on your left, you’ll see a small parking lot, and from there you’ll find the trail to the Punchbowl coming out of the lot.
Here’s the thing about the Devil’s Punchbowl. Spring isn’t its best season. I like to call spring the “soggy” season. And that’s what this place is right now. Summer, fall, or full-bloom winter is when you want to go. It was still awesome, but I’m warning you now: wear boots you don’t mind getting muddy if you insist on going in the spring.
Honestly, I got up early and cleaned. Like, hardcore cleaned every room. I also made a tutorial on how to make cold brew coffee in your dorm room, so you’ll be seeing that soon! It wasn’t necessarily “spring cleaning,” but it was close. I do have a really messy closet. Maybe I should… Either way, I felt really good to clean my room, and I even rearranged! I usually am way too lazy, but I’m trying this new attitude called “productive,” and it seems to get a lot more done than I thought. Let me know if you guys would like some tips on how to be more productive!
I hope you all are inspired to go out on your own adventures near/in Menomonie! You can find adventure if you look for it. I promise. If you want any more posts like these, let me know of any specific types of places you’re interested in and I’ll see what I can do!