When she turned 40, Anna Lardinois made a pact with herself that would change everything: she would do one brave thing every day. One of those adventurous days found her leaving her career as an English teacher. Another felt like the right day to begin leading walking tours throughout Milwaukee, and she found it surprisingly satisfying to help others, even locals, slow down enough to appreciate the fascinating beauty of their hometown. Patrons of her tours followed their feet to a new love for Milwaukee, and Anna followed hers to the next dream, nudging her little hobby into a full blown business.
Anna is vivacious, with self-deprecating humor and admiration for the nuances of Milwaukee’s history. Her tours became a string of well-told stories, and they caught on. Her next brave thing was to create Walking Milwaukee, a charmingly illustrated set of cards made for self-guided tours. Then came the move to sell the cards at over 20 retail locations throughout town, then brand new Christmas tours, then being named “Best Milwaukee Tour of 2017” by Shepherd Express, then writing a book about the quirkier sides of Milwaukee’s history that will be published later this year.
Each of these opportunities brought her another step closer to a role she perhaps wanted most of all: Pfister Narrator.
While leading her walking tours, Anna spent innumerable hours walking inside, outside and all around the Pfister. She saw the hotel as a trove of history and intrigue, and it seemed the ideal place to tell Milwaukee’s stories on a grander scale. It was also a dear place to her personally, since she’d gotten engaged at the Pfister and spent many cheerful hours fireside in the lobby lounge. With the nervous hopefulness she’d carried to each of her brave new things, Anna applied to be the eleventh Pfister Narrator.
And every step propelling her to this place paid off, because next week she’ll add her voice to the storytellers here. She already has plans to delightedly dig through the Pfister archives and unearth stories of how things never stop changing and yet stay utterly the same. She will create and guide a new set of walking tours that will begin and end at the Pfister and change seasonally, promising participants a fresh view of spots steeped in history.
I’ll pass the pen to Anna next week, and can’t wait to read the trail of new stories she’ll lead us along.