Illuminate your weekend with a visit to China Lights at the Boerner Botanical Gardens.
Illuminate your weekend with a visit to China Lights at the Boerner Botanical Gardens.

3 tips for visiting China Lights at Boerner Botanical Gardens

Last weekend I, and seemingly half of Milwaukee headed to see the new China Lights exhibit at the Boerner Botanical Gardens. How could you not want to go after the amazing first look our Molly Snyder provided? 

Have you walked through #Chinalights at @friendsofboerner yet? #beautiful #lights #doit #milwaukee #mke

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It was a gorgeous twinkling night of lights – but a very, very crowded one. I wasn't the only who dealt with huge traffic back-ups, long ticket lines and crowded corners at the gardens. Many on social media talked about the hours they waited to get in with some noting that they never even got into the exhibit. 

But don't worry, Milwaukee – Milwaukee County Parks heard you loud and clear. 

I plan to go back this weekend to take my darling niece and nephew so, to properly prepare, I reached out to Ellen Hayward, president and CEO of Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens, in hopes of learning a bit more about the changes being incorporated going forward. 

Here's a summary that should help make your visit that much more pleasurable:

1. Parking

Last weekend patrons were unable to park on the lawns due to heavy rain. This weekend the lawns should be open again. However, 92nd Street (the main entrance road) can be slow going. Enter the park off West Forest Home Avenue at Lilac Lane instead. If you're willing to walk a bit, there's street parking around there, too,

2. Take a shuttle

For this weekend, shuttles are now running every 30 minutes from Whitnall Park golf course and additional shuttles have been added. I would try and get to the parking lots here from south of the park. Take one! 

3. Pre-purchase your tickets

Ticket lines can be extremely long. To expedite the process you can order your tickets online (including from your phone) or at any ticket office for China Lights. See the full list of ticket buying locations here. Bobby Tanzilo did this wh…

Cheers to rad women everywhere.
Cheers to rad women everywhere.

Rad Milwaukee Woman: OnMilwaukee's Molly Snyder

Welcome to a series introducing the women who were nominated by professionals and will be honored at "The Rad Women Celebration: Being Rad for Social Change." The event is hosted by the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee and will take place on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Italian Conference Center. The idea was inspired by the bestselling book "Rad American Women A to Z," by Kate Schatz, who is the keynote speaker at the event.  More information at

Molly Snyder is a senior writer here at OnMilwaukee and has been a leader on the editorial team for the past 15 years.

She regaled you with her stories as The Pfister Narrator from 2013 to 2014 and is a Milwaukee Press Club award winner. You also may have seen her on-stage with Ex-Fabula as a Story Slam winner, on her tandem bicycle around Walker's Point or volunteering as a cat socializer at the Wisconsin Humane Society. 

OnMilwaukee: What is your personal "mission" with your work?

My mission is to write interesting and inspiring stories about Milwaukee and the people who live there. I am a lifelong writer and Milwaukeean who loves people. I particularly enjoy hearing and documenting their stories. On a deeper level, I want to elevate, inspire and connect people by exposing their talents to the masses via online media to strengthen the greatest city in the world.

How do you define success?

Success for me is doing what I love to do, every day, and somehow still paying the bills. Success for me is when someone writes to me or tells me in person that they liked a story I wrote about them or that it somehow impacted their life. Success for me is seeing my sons and other people in my life putting 110 percent into their work, studies and interests.

Who has taught you the most in your life?

Other writers have taught me so much through their words. There are too many to list, but one of my daily mantras, "just take it bird by bird," comes from a book called "Bird By Bird" by Anne Lamott. This phrase …

Plenty of 'Gilmore Girl' fans were in line to try out Luke's Diner.
Plenty of 'Gilmore Girl' fans were in line to try out Luke's Diner.

Fuel Cafe transforms into Luke's Diner from "Gilmore Girls"

For the 10th straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, dining guides, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as voting for your "Best of Dining 2016."

Whether you are team Logan, Jess or Dean, I think we can all agree that Luke was a universally loved character on "Gilmore Girls." Therefore, Netflix bringing pop-up coffee shops, aka "Luke's Diner," for one day is kind of brilliant. 

For today only, two of Milwaukee's beloved coffee shops – Fuel Cafe and Sherman Perk – got the Luke treatment. And apparently I'm not the only one who found them endearing. The line was around the block by the time I arrived at Fuel Cafe at around 9 a.m.

The event coincides with the 16th anniversary of the series’ original pilot airdate, giving fans – myself included – a fresh dose of Stars Hollow feelings ahead of the Nov. 25 release of "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life."

While the pop-ups run from 7 a.m. to noon, those hoping for a free cup and a chance to catch a glimpse of the "fun surprise under their custom Gilmore Girls coffee sleeve" should arrive early as supplies are limited.

There was lots of "walking and talking" being done while in line for the free cups of coffee that are being served up till noon today. Here are some scenes from the somewhat surreal morning at Fuel Cafe. 

1. Everyone wants some Luke's Diner coffee

2. Janelle Simon, newly of Milwaukee, is team Jess

3. We agree, Lorelai. 

4. It doesn't exactly look like Stars Hollow but it felt like it. Kinda. Doesn't the man in black look Jess-esque?

Who's team are you on? #teamrory #gilmoregirls #happybirthdaygilmore #milwaukee #lukesdiner

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By the way, I'm team RORY.