Ehlenbach's Cheese Chalet
A trip to Wisconsin is never complete without a visit to a cheese shop! We stopped at Ehlenbach's Cheese Chalet on our way out of Madison, WI (it's about a half hour out, right along the interstate), and loved it. Lots of cheese in interesting shapes, a large mouse on top of the Chalet near the sign, a giant cow statue... and all of the cheese was delicious of course! They also feature meats, candies, and other native Wisconsin goodies.
4879 County Road V
Junction V & I-90-94 (Exit 126)
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
Le Fete de Marquette
It's another East Side festival, this time celebrating French culture and anything that is associated with it like Africa, Haiti and Louisiana. Music from around the world. Food influenced from France, and beer, and booths selling or informing you of something are plentiful.
Takes place the 2nd saturday in July usually, to coincide with Bastille Day in France.
This year they had Ivan Neville, some a blues band from Mali, CJ Chenier from Lousiana, and music from Quebec, France, and who knows what else.
Cost? Free. 3 days worth. Runs from friday thru Sunday.
201 S Ingersol, about 8 blocks east of the Capitol between Willy St and E Wash.
See Frank Lloyd Wrights home/Office
Taliesen - Frank Lloyd Wrights home & office
Not in Madison, in Spring Green, about 35 miles west of here.
Famous architect. The house he lived in for 50 years or so, constantly changing it. Also, you can go to the Unitarian church on the west side of Madison right off University Avenue that he designed and attended I think. There is also a house in Middleton, just next to Middleton designed by him, it's the first Unison house ever built. There are a couple other ones he designed around town too.
Many different types of tours available...ranging from about $25-$60.
Biggest collection of stuff you'll find here
House on the Rock.
Amazing place, you'll either love it or think it's real tacky. Hard to explain....it's got everything and a lot of it.
Alex Jordan, a collector, owned and started it. Not in Madison, but in Spring Green about 30 miles west of here. I was last here 15 years ago and it took 4 or 5 hours to walk thru it all. Thankfully there was a cafeteria like place about 2/3 of the way through.
High point is the 'infinity room' a small narow room that comes to a point about 218 feet off the building. All glass, you can look down and you're about 154 feet above the ground and nothing but trees below you.
Has a huge carousel in the middle of it.
- Family Travel
Go back to the '60's
Willy (Williamson) St Fair
3rd weekend in September. location: 800 - 1100 blocks of Williamson St.
Madisons best street fair. If you want to know how Madison was during the 60's, just show up at this and you'll find out. Like going thru a time-warp. Peace, love, organic veggie-burgers, music, kids stage, food, and believe it or not--beer. At noon is a parade and anyone can be in it, just walk in and march along with everyone one--just follow the bubble-car.
Elvehjem Museum of Art
Call me ignorant but I don't really understand nor care for arts and I never really went to an Art Museum except this one, the Elvehjem Museum of Art, which I just happened to go in while waiting for my music class next door, but it quickly became one of my favorite spots on campus.
Located on University Avenue, on the Eastern part of UW Campus not far from the Memorial Union, the Elvehjem Museum of Art (LVM for short) has been a fixture at the UW campus for years. The host a large collection of work of arts, be it modern, contemporary, or classical. Not just paintings but also statues, woodworks, furnitures, etc. Admission to the museum is free, but a small donation is appreciated. There are also free guided tours that leave from the center of the museum at fixed days and hours. The museum is generally cool, quiet, and peaceful and it became one of my favorite places to run to when I feel stressed out from all the college work.
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Arboretum-for skiing, hiking, trees, shrubs, ....
The U-Wisc has an arboretum on the south side of the city. It's 1300 acres, or 2 square miles big. There are 20 miles of trails.
There are prairies, forests, wetlands, a large collection of trees and shrubs. In the center is the McKay Visitor Center. part of it overlooks a big prairie9see photo) so you can just sit here and watch things if you wish.
You can cross-country ski, hike, bike thru it on the bike path. There is much wildlife here-most notably wild turkeys and deer.
It's a great place to go in the summer when things are blooming, or in the dead of winter after a snowstorm for a hike all alone--like I did when these photos were taken.
Sun Prairie Corn Fest
2nd or 3rd weekend in August. Free to get in. Located in Sun Prairie, which is about 10 miles east of Madison. Just take E Washington east and you'll find it. They sell corn that Saturday and Sunday.
You buy a cardboard tub for $4, and ask for as much corn as you want. You can easily get 20 ears in the cardboard tub. Carnival/fair goes on from thursday until sunday night. You might want to go here for a meal, attend the carnival. You can also pick up a dozen or two of the corn before it's cooked. I know corn isn't hard to find, but this is a nice thing to do with kids, and you can feed the whole family for $4.
Dental Floss is available free too.
Cheap Urban Canoeing
At James Madison Park (East Gorham St at Blair St) on Lake Mendota you can rent canoes or kayaks in the summer for a small fee ($20-30/day). This is a wonderful way to see the town. Paddle west and you can visit Memorial Union at the University. Paddle east and check out the Yahara locks, where an interesting cast of characters sit and fish. If you are very adventerous, you could even carry your canoe a short distance and cross the Isthmus by using the Yahara, and then explore Lake Monona (I'm not sure this is encouraged, but if you have all day, why not?).
Albino Squirrels Driving Barbi Cars
Ok, so this is the most rediculous thing I have ever seen. I just can't explain how hilarious this is. It takes about a half an hour to go through and you just laugh harder and harder with each new exhibit. Well, if you aren't really against trapping and stuff.
A funeral home in Middleton has a large collection of mounted animals, mostly squirrels and chipmunks, in rediculous human poses, dancing, drinking, gambling, etc...
I don't remember the exact place, but when I went I called the wrong place and they knew exactly what I was talking about and directed me to the right place. Just ask for the basement taxidermy exhibit.
The place will let you roam around as long as you want provided there is no funeral service that day. It's also free.
If you want to get away and connect with nature, visit Cherokee Marsh conservation park. It's only about 15-20 minutes out of downtown, but far enough from everything that all you'll hear are birds, frogs, and rustling leaves. (And an occasional airplane overhead.) Take a walk on the trails or the boardwalk, climb the observation tower, and snap some pictures. Best of all, all Madison parks are absolutely free. Take Sherman Avenue as far north as it goes to get here.
- Hiking and Walking
Located on the near west side of Madison, just southwest of UW's Engineering campus, Monroe Street was one of my most favorite streets to drive through or stoll in. Monroe Street is dotted with upscale gift shops, art galleries, antique shops, interior design studios, women's boutiques, and other specialty shops. Most of these are locally-owned businesses. Monroe Street also offers a tremendous variety of restaurants including Mediterranean, Southwestern, Cajun, nouveau, deli, pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches and custard. There are also numerous coffee houses, a wine cafe, and a local tavern.
- Family Travel
- Wine Tasting
- Arts and Culture
Wisconsin Governor's Mansion
For all the talk of the Wisonsin State Capitol, surely the Wisconsin Governor's Mansion deserves some honorable mentions as well. The mansion is really grand, beautiful and set on a acres of well-kept garden and located alongside the shore of Lake Mendota with unparalled views of downtown Madison. The Governor's Mansion is located in Maple Grove, an upper crust residential area on the shore of Lake Mendota. The area is a pleasant place to visit with its public park and a marina, with excellent views of downtown Madison. Maple Grove is brightly lit by Christmas lights during holiday seasons and is one of the best places to watch Rhythm and Booms, the Midwest's largest 4th of July fireworks show.
Check out the Candle Cocoon, llc for the most beautiful candles. They are handmade in the WI by the owner/operator Lyschel. She used pure ingredients...no carcinogens in HER wax or wicks. She develops her own fragrances to be special and exquisite.
The store has poor signage but shares a building with the easy-to-see Sushi Box.
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
The House On The Rock; Spring...
The House On The Rock; Spring Green. A unique house built high on and around a rock, over looking a georgeous valley below. Other buildings onsite with unusual collections of 'stuff', including huge calliopes, merry-go-rounds, streets of yesteryear, etc. etc. Hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Plan on spending most of the day. Well worth the visit.
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