Badgers are described as â€œferocious fighters with an attitude that should not be bothered.â€ I mention this because Vanessa and I recently spent a few days in Wisconsinâ€”the badger state. Coincidence? I think not. Although we are generally harmlessâ€”when left aloneâ€”there are times when our tendency to be ferocious fighters comes in handy. One such time was during our visit to Beloit.
It All Began with Cocktails, of course!
The trip started off in excellent fashion with cocktails at trukâ€™tâ€”one of Beloitâ€™s newest trendy and delicious hot spots. Our host and friend, Stacey, was eager to introduce us to trukâ€™tâ€™s margaritas, and who are we to argue when cocktails are involved?Â
As we sat chatting about our planned itinerary for the next few days, Stacey mentioned a couple of changes.
Stacey: Â Ladies, it looks like the weather isnâ€™t going to be very cooperative this weekend so I thought I would suggest we replace one of the outdoor activities with a visit to our state-of-the-art indoor golf lab.
Vanessa: Â Thatâ€™s probably not the best idea. Terri and I are terrible at golf. Â Like really, really terrible. Catastrophically, in fact.
Terri: Â Sheâ€™s right. We suck. We tried to play at Old Kinderhook in Missouri, and no one has seen or heard from the golf pro since.
Vanessa:Â We broke him.
With a slightly concerned look, Stacey explained that although the Ironworks Golf Lab has an HD simulator that lets you choose from more than 80 golf courses from around the world, itâ€™s also an entertainment center offering several other types of games.
When you think about it,Â watching Vanessa and I attempt to play golf on any of the 80 plus coursesÂ would make the Ironworks Golf Lab an entertainment center even without other attractions. But it would likely involve a considerable amount of cursing. Which, of course, would be totally inappropriate for this family-friendly venue.
Stacey: You can use the Visual Sports Simulators and choose between other games, including baseball, football, basketball, zombie dodgeball and many others.
Vanessa: Â Wait. Stop. Right. There. Did you say ZOMBIE dodgeball?
Vanessaâ€™s hands began to twitch. Hoping Stacey wouldnâ€™t notice, I jumped in.
Terri: Â Stacey, I think youâ€™ve found our entertainment. Vanessaâ€™s years of preparation in anticipation of the Zombie Apocalypse have brought her to this point. She may stink at golf, but sheâ€™s an Olympian hopeful at zombie dodgeball.
Vanessa (salivating): Â Iâ€™ve actually never played, but Iâ€™m ready. Yes, Iâ€™m definitely ready.
Her hands were still twitching, and I could have sworn her fingernails were turning into clawsâ€¦maybe badger claws?
Prepping for Battle
After a good nightâ€™s sleep in the oh-so-chic Hotel Goodwin, we woke to a rainy day as expected. No worries though, because our first order of business was to get a massage at the WM Day Spa. Everyone needs a little deep tissue work before terrorizing zombies, right?
To fortify ourselves, we stopped into Lucyâ€™s #7 Burger Bar for lunch. This delicious little spot has burgers stuffed with all kinds of cheese. I chose the Wisconsinite; a decadent burger stuffed with cheddar cheese and topped with beer cheese and brats. Vanessa chose the Mac & Cheese, which is exactly what it sounds likeâ€”a burger stuffed with mac & cheese. If that doesnâ€™t get you badger-ready for battle, I donâ€™t know what would.
Oblivious to the upcoming bloodshed, our server was adorable. Besides being friendly and attentive, she and the other servers wore outfits inspired by one of the most popular pin-up girls of WWII. Lucy Winslow was nicknamed #7 by her dad when she arrived in the family after her six older brothers. The Wisconsin farm-girl served in the USO as a nurse during the war and later became a starlet. Fun tributes to her, including a life-size mural, abound throughout the eatery.
Time to Annihilate the Undead
With relaxed muscles and full tummies, we headed off to the Ironworks Golf Lab. This 8,000 sq. ft. entertainment center is housed in the renovated industrial site of the former Beloit Iron Works foundry. Murals within the Ironworks complex pay tribute to the workers who kept the business alive for more than 100 years.
We arrived at the golf lab and stopped to give our names at the desk, where the manager asked what games we wanted to play.
Terri: Iâ€™d love to try football, and maybe baseball.
Vanessa: Â Zombies. We. Want. Zombies.
Obviously unnerved by her intensity, the manager led us straight back to the room and showed us how to activate the zombie dodgeball game. We never saw him again.
At that moment, the room-sized screen came to life, and the ever-so-creepy zombies determinedly marched their way toward us; slowly at first, and then faster. Grabbing the dodgeballs, we began throwing them at the screen. And I began screaming.
Terri: Â Why donâ€™t these suckers fall down when I hit them? They just keep coming and coming.
Vanessa (throwing balls madly): You have to hit them in the head! Have you never seen ANY zombie movies?
I kept screaming as the zombies crept toward me, faster and faster. Until I started knocking off one, then anotherâ€¦then another.
Terri (screaming): Â DIE, ZOMBIES DIE!
Vanessa: Â Jeez, Terri, are you ok? You seem a littleâ€¦wound up. You know itâ€™s just a game, right?
Terri (yelling):Â I AM THE QUEEN OF THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!
And thatâ€™s why weâ€™ll probably never be invited back to Beloit.
If you goâ€¦
First, you have no choice but to go to the Ironworks Golf Lab to either work on your golf game or annihilate zombies like we did. (You know which one to choose, just do it.) www.ironworksgolflab.com
While youâ€™re in Beloit, donâ€™t skip a visit to Beloit Collegeâ€™s Logan Museum of Anthropology. Inside, more than 350,000 objects from more than 125 countries and 600 cultural groups are housed in a glass cube. On campus, youâ€™ll also find Native American burial moundsâ€”seriously, who knew? www.beloit.edu/logan
Also on campus, the Wright Museum of Art is home to more than 6,000 pieces of work from a range of cultures and art movements, including American Impressionism, German Expressionism and Japanese modern prints. www.beloit.edu/wright
You have to eatâ€¦
No matter where we go in this world, eating and drinking are part of the experience. We donâ€™t care if itâ€™s a lopsided part of the experienceâ€¦weâ€™re just doing what we need to do. (Thatâ€™s our story and weâ€™re sticking to it.)
trukâ€™t â€“ For tacos, whiskey, margaritas and much more, check out trukâ€™t. Tell them we sent you but if they suddenly seem reluctant to serve you let them know youâ€™ve only heard about us but never met us. Works every time. Â www.trukttacos.com
Lucyâ€™s #7 Burger Bar â€“ Iâ€™ve already told you why you need to go here. Just do it! www.l7burgerbar.com
Clara Bo & Gatsby Wine Bar â€“ OK, the food is delicious. But thatâ€™s not all. As soon as we walked into the door, we felt as if weâ€™d wandered into the 1920â€™s. Weâ€™re old, but not that old. Nevertheless, we totally enjoyed the food, the opulent dÃ©cor, the musicâ€¦well, actually, everything. Do not miss this experience! www.clarabo.com
You have to sleepâ€¦
There was a theme throughout our time in Beloit: unexpected. It began (obviously) with the chance to throw dodgeballs at zombies, but it was a defining thread during our visit. Beloit offers an ingenious blend between the cityâ€™s tried and true traditions and modern luxury. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Hotel Goodwin. This impossibly chic boutique hotel is inspired by the 19th century Goodwin House. Each room is distinctive with eye-catching art, turntables and unique record collections. (Sadly, weâ€™re old enough to know about turntables. If youâ€™re not, ask your grandparents.)
Donâ€™t miss dinner at the hotelâ€™s Velvet Buffalo CafÃ© where there are 120 bottles of wine to choose from. Seriously, they actually booked us in a hotel that offers 120 bottles of wine. What were they thinking?www.hotelgoodwin.com
Â For more information visit www.visitbeloit.com.