"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
The latest trend in unique restaurants is ones with cats you can interact with. Madison didn’t waste any time clueing into this new idea and the Cat Café Mad was born!
In April 2016, it just had a small kiosk in the front to get your drink from a single cup brewing machine. They expanded in 2017 to have more room for the cats and provide a larger menu, also to survive. There is now an open kitchen and small dining area to eat your food. Only drinks are allowed into the “Cattery”. These are your drink choices.
Hot tea also.
A view of the open kitchen and dining room.
Today’s special was a Pulled Pork Crepe, crafted by Chef Dunn, Manager and Chef at the café. It was delicious! We had the large crepe, there are choices for every palate.
Just to let you know, the cats are not just sealed into a room with no stimulation. There are lots of toys and windows for them to peer through. In the wall separating the cattery from the restaurant, there are 5 bubble windows so they could see what is going on. As you see, one was doing just that.
Some cats were looking inside and it was so cute! Five cats are permanent residents, the others are up for adoption so the number of cats varies. The current list.
We finished our crepes and were ready to play with the cats. In between the room and dining area is an “airlock” to ensure an extra barrier between the people and cat area. Only children 5 and up are allowed, and a waiver must be signed by all patrons. A $5 cover charge is required to enter the cattery, it help cover the cost of care. Photos are permitted, don’t use flash as it will startle the cats. There are rules all must follow to protect the cats and yourself.
Also tips on how read cat body language. For someone who never has owned a cat (yet!), this was very helpful to me.
The cattery also has webcam you can watch anywhere on your device or computer. Click on this icon from the website. The camera is on the wall in the center of the room in the back.
Enjoy this video of our visit!
Such a wonderful place to de-stress if you love cats but can’t have one at home. The crepes are delicious too! Many fun events happen here on the weekends. High Tea is quite popular. See it here on time lapse.
Wall Drug Store is one place you must see if you visit South Dakota. My dad came here a log time ago and said we needed this unique place on our itinerary. We stopped here on our way to the Badlands to see what the buzz was about.
This place is big so allow yourself plenty of time. We spent about 90 minutes here, a whole day is really needed to see everything. It is not just one store but MANY stores. We explored the main store on the left. That alone was big enough. Another new store was going up.
We entered the main building, it looks like an old west scene, complete with characters to take selfies with.
Even Zoltar the fortune teller.
There is even a chapel inside the store, very beautiful! Quite an interesting story of its history too.
Just before leaving we stopped in the ice cream shop for a treat. As always, ice water is free.
Also the gift shop, what do you choose?
You could easily make a day of this place, we had a hard time leaving but the journey continues. Be sure to bring your camera!
We arrived in Minneapolis in pouring rain around 6 PM after leaving home about 12 hours earlier. On the way we saw Pickwick Mill and Pepin while traveling the Great River Road. Tired and hungry, we stopped for dinner at Saguaro ( Arizona/Mexican cuisine). Turns out it is one of he best Mexican restaurants in Minneapolis. We have to agree! The staff were friendly and we enjoyed our experience there.
Our dinners, we both chose the Taco Platter, but you could do a lot of mixing and matching. A great way to end our day and relax after a long day on the road.
Day 2 – 9/19
The rain was gone and we were ready for adventure! We took care of some family business first. My maternal Grandmother and her sister grew up here and we went to the Lyndale neighborhood where they lived. Saw my former great-grandparent’s house, now rented by two tenants. It was good to see it again after 15 years.
We also went to the other side of their block where my teen grandma picked up some groceries for the family. I don’t know what it was called then but now it’s Kyle’s Market, open 9 to 9 daily.
We also paid respects to my great-grandparents and great-aunt at Lakewood Cemetery along the shores of Lake Calhoun. We also discovered the Pillsbury family is buried here, we could see the tall monument from my family’s grave site. More on Pillsbury later.
On our way to our next place we saw a vintage White Castle Hamburger building, now Xcentric Goods.
We soon arrived Minnehaha Park, a popular park for over a century. It’s also the center point of the founding of Minneapolis. On location is the Princess Depot that used to bring people to the park on a train. Now, it’s a museum open seasonally.
The first settler of Minneapolis, Colonel John H. Stevens is memorialized here with his former home turned into a museum. Also a statue in front of the house.
We happened to be there when the groundskeepers were making their rounds (you can see them behind the statue). Even though the museum was not really open for visitors at 7:45 AM, they did for us since they are just nice people 🙂 Lets go in! There is a plaque just outside of the door.
That was fun, thanks for the great tour! Now we proceeded to the other great attraction of this park, Minnehaha Falls. As we got closer, you could hear the rush of water. The sunrise was illuminating the mist the falls created, beautiful!
An interesting fact, President Johnson visited the falls in 1964, they marked where he stood in concrete and you can stand there too.
There were stairs going down to the bottom of the falls, offering this view.
The park also has a large pavilion for events.
It was now almost 9, time for our next attraction. We were treated to a great skyline view on the way!
The frame around the picture tells you what was coming up next. It was time for lunch and we had it in the historic Band Box Diner. There is only one in the whole city, and world! We are lucky to have been able to eat there at all. In March 2015 the 30-year old grill stopped working and they didn’t have enough money to buy a new one. Not to worry though, the customers banded together and raised the funds to buy a NEW GRILL! We are so happy they did, this landmark restaurant is too good to close!
After lunch, time for our biggest attraction for today, Foshay Tower. The W Minneapolis Hotel is also in this building. It has the only sky deck in the Twin Cities for visitors to enjoy, the view is from 30 stories up. For adults not staying there, it’s $8 to go to the sky deck. What a wonderful view! You could see St. Paul, also the Minnesota Twin’s Target Field inside the stands.
By then it was 3:30 and we had until 5, when we went to have dinner with some relatives. A beautiful afternoon with many people there enjoying the day.
On the other side of the bridge you could see the remnants of the former flour-milling era.
Pillsbury and Gold Medal Flour factories
Along the trail are also free viewing scopes that kids really enjoy looking in.
The trail goes by Mill Ruins Park, which is still undergoing development but the first phase is what you see here.
It is also a popular wedding venue, you could see the wedding party taking photos below.
You could also see Mill City Museum from the trail, not enough time to stop there unfortunately. You could see people up there!
A Segway Tour just went by us, they made a turn and went under our part of the trail on the Stone Arch Bridge.
It was time to be on our way. We hear music from a street musician playing on his guitar as we head back.
One thing we noticed about this friendly city, photo shoots! We saw three today, there may have been more we didn’t know about. We had a great day, on Sunday we were going to see some of St. Paul before going back to Madison.