A Day in Green Bay, Wisconsin

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Jake here, and this is the first time I have written anything for the blog. I normally step back and let Valerie do it because it’s her thing, and I just go along for the ride. But this is not just any blog post. You see, I am the biggest Green Bay Packer fan that you could ever meet, and I am completely serious. The problem was, after 20 years of being a Packers fan I had never made the pilgrimage to the great town of Green Bay. Until last year.

Lambeau Field!!

Lambeau Field!!

Valerie normally comes up with our trips after finding killer deals on tickets. We scored roundtrip tickets from Portland to Chicago for less than $200 total. I said I didn’t want to go to Chicago unless we could make a drive up to Titletown, USA. Green Bay, Wisconsin is nicknamed Titletown, USA because that’s just what the Green Bay Packers do; win titles, WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS. 13 world championships (soon to be 14) to be exact, which is 4 more than the next team (The Packers biggest rivals, the Chicago Bears).
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I grew up in Boise, Idaho; home of the Boise State Broncos, a great college football program. Not only is there no NFL team in Idaho, but there is not any professional teams at all. I didn’t have the constraints of picking a local team. When I was 6 years old and started watching football I saw the Green Bay Packers on television. My favorite color was green, so it just made sense to 6 year old me.

That year the Packers had just traded for a young, unproven quarterback named Brett Favre. Favre joined Reggie White (the greatest defensive player of all time) who had just signed with Green Bay in free agency. A few years later, in 1996, the young gun-slinger Brett Favre, with the help of a stout defense lead by Reggie White, won the Packers first championship since 1967.

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I didn’t know the significance of my choice at the time, but I chose the greatest franchise in all of sports. Through the years I learned the history of my beloved Green Bay Packers, and I always wanted to visit! So when my wife asked me if I wanted to go to the Midwest I jumped on it.

I dealt with the couple days in the Packers biggest rival city Chicago, home to the Bears. I did have my picture taken in front of Soldier Field, where the Packers victory over the Bears the year before put them into the playoffs. I packed about 4 jerseys so I could represent the Packers in Chicago and it was awesome. It is always fun to talk trash with Bears fans, who are always up for some playful banter. The history of the two teams is unlike any other rivalry.

The Chicago Bears Soldier Field

The Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field

We rented a car in Chicago and made the 3 and a half hr drive to Green Bay, with a quick stop for our first try of local Culver’s (delicious!).  Upon arriving to Green Bay you can see Lambeau Field immediately. Aside from seeing my wife for the first time in 9 months when I came home for leave from Iraq, this was one of the best moments of my life.

Construction couldn't damped my excitment!

Construction couldn’t even dampened my excitement!

We only spent one night in Green Bay but it was pretty apparent to me that Green Bay is a Football town with a drinking problem, everything revolves around the Packers. I WAS PERFECTLY OK WITH THAT!!!! Unless you are a Football fan, Green Bay isn’t really a vacation destination. It’s a Football destination. I would call it the single most important city for football history outside of Canton Ohio, where football was created and is the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (The Packers have 22 Hall of Famers).
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The first thing we did was drive to Lambeau field and take some pictures of its greatness, even though it was under construction during a remodel. Valerie kept trying to reign me in, but the history and the pictures of all of my heroes were calling me. We came back to the stadium later that evening to visit the Packers Pro Shop, and to eat dinner at Curly’s Pub. We had our first taste of poutine, and I had the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had in a restaurant.
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Poutine

Poutine

We stayed the night in Downtown Green Bay, about a block away from the church that Vince Lombardi went to church while he coached the Packers in the 1960’s.

St Willebrord Catholic Church

St. Willebrord Catholic Church

Lombardi may sound familiar, and that’s because the Super Bowl trophy was named after him. Lombardi lead the Packers to 5 National Championship victories during his 7 years in Green Bay.

Wall of Wins

World Championship and Super Bowl Wins

We were able to schedule a tour of Lambeau Field the morning before we left. After navigation Green Bay without any issues for 24 hours, we somehow got terribly lost on our way to the stadium. We missed the start of our tour, and it was nonrefundable. We were devastated. However, just as we were about to lose hope, our tour group walked by us and let us tag along! Lambeau field is named after the founder, player, and first coach of the Packers, Curly Lambeau. The Packers have a history that is too rich for me to describe in this blog post, but the tour was amazing.

Curly and Vince

Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi

My favorite parts were seeing the super bowl trophy from the 2010-11 season. Also, when the tour guide had us sit in the upper bleachers and chant “GO PACK GO” it created the most amazing echo. We also got to walk in the tunnel that the players do to get to the field and I got to walk on the field that my heroes played on! It was amazing!

February 6, 2011 Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers

February 6, 2011 Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers

Ted Thompson, GM of the Packers

Ted Thompson, GM of the Packers

Green Bay may not be a vacation destination, but it is full of great people and it is a must to visit for any sports fan. The General Manager Ted Thompson was even kind enough to pose for a picture after leaving the stadium one day! The people in Green Bay, and honestly Wisconsin in general were some of the most friendly, helpful people we have met. We were always treated with kidness and felt a kinship right away. Being a Packers fan and visiting Green Bay is like visiting a family you’ve never met!

IF YOU GO: 

Classic Stadium Tour Tickets are $11 per adult. Veterans get $1 off. More info: here

Vince Lombardi quote

Quote from NFL.com

 

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