A few years ago, on our road trip, we discovered the beauty of stopping at hidden beaches, tiny swimming spots known only to locals. We swam in tiny Minnesota lakes, Canadian cave lagoons, and upstate New York waterfalls. We haven’t done much of that kind of thing since Ezra was born, and so we decided to find us some swimming holes during our Wisconsin/Minnesota vacation last week.
On the first day, we stopped at Whitewater Lake in Wisconsin, a postage stamp of a strip of sand. The waiter at the restaurant where we asked for directions wondered what we had against the larger, more developed Lake Geneva, and we couldn’t really answer, just knew we’d prefer to stop somewhere small and hidden away. While Sandy floated away on an innertube, Ezra and I dug holes in the sand, and were entertained by an eight-year-old girl doing magic tricks (“See all this sand in my hand? Now I’ll just put my hand under the water and….it’s gone!”)
On the second day, a motorcyclist sent us to a beach in Alma, a tiny town on the Mississippi. Alma’s beach was as small as Whitewater’s, but featured two lifeguards on summer break from college (“You’re from Chicago? I go to college in Milwaukee, so that’s, like, close!”) and just one other family. It also had a slide that Sandy took Ezra down a few times. Not like a pool water slide. Just a playground slide sitting in a few feet of water.
A few days later, we took a day trip to Minneapolis, where we stopped by the Walker Art Museum for a free concert and met a really nice woman with a Golden Doodle and advice about a great local beach. Cedar Lake Point Beach was almost as tiny as the others, but crowded with people cooling off on a sweltering Saturday. One of them stared with quiet amusement at my faulty parenting strategy of watching Ezra put rock after rock (after rock after rock) in his mouth, each time gently taking it out and saying “not for eating.” Turns out, babies don’t speak English.
Between the swimming holes, a few visits to the Northfield swimming pool, and a stop at the LaCrosse swimming pool on our way home, Ezra is getting more and more at home in the water. He only lost his footing and drifted face-first into several feet of water once. OK, twice. But, like with everything, he managed it with equanimity, blinking placidly as water dripped off his eyelashes, ready to get back to work.