Cat Cafe Mad closed in mid-July 2018.
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.
We plan on making as many visits as we can!
Donations are welcome and appreciated!
You can join a Meetup group and make friends with other cat lovers in the community. You will be kept up to date on events at the café.
Sjölinds Chocolate House-Mt. Horeb
9-20-17 – 3-30-19
The journey to escape stress and tension begins in the friendly community of Green Lake, home of the Heidel House Resort and Spa. This place has a long and rich history, first known as the Kelly Estate in 1890. I took the picture above at Horners Landing in Ripon. This is the deepest natural lake in Wisconsin, measured at 237 feet deep, 2 miles across and 7 miles long. We did one scuba dive from this site on 7-22-98, almost 20 years ago. It was time to go back and see more of Green Lake than the bottom.
The reputation of this resort as THE PLACE to be in Wisconsin for a great get-away has spread far and wide and we wanted to see it for ourselves. The beauty of the resort in early fall with the leaves beginning to change color made us feel welcome immediately.
After a busy morning exploring the Green Lake area, we were hungry for lunch! We went into the Main Lodge building and enjoyed a great view of the lake in their Sunroom restaurant. See the menus here, this restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, you can get breakfast for lunch if you want!
There is a self-service cart outside of the restaurant for coffee on-the-go.
The sunny dining room with a view of the beach and dock. It was a good day to be out on a boat, though a little bit windy.
Lunch is served! Our wait staff lady Amber was great answering our questions about the resort and was very attentive, as were all the staff there. I ordered the Heidel Burger and Al the Fire and Ice Salad. Delicious!
The resort has three other restaurants, the Boathouse Pub located below the Sunroom. It is open at 2 PM M-F, 11 AM on the weekend. There is plenty of seating to enjoy the fresh air off the lake on their large patio.
Lastly, the Pump House Parlor, open limited hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday, cash only.
Also the Grey Rock for fine dining and live music Wednesday through Saturday.
The lodge has many comfortable seating areas.
Get a souvenir of your visit at the gift shop.
Did you know you can also have timeshare ownership also? This is the Hilltop building where you can own a piece of the Heidel House resort for an extended stay. Check for availability.
There are many options for accommodations for your stay of any length. Enjoy the Lac Verde Lodge with both and indoor and outdoor pool.
You can also stay in the main lodge. Also the Stable House near the lodge.
The Heidel House is also a great place for weddings, from rehearsal dinner to reception. The Carriage Tent to protect your party from the elements is available from May-October.
See map of the grounds to see all accommodations available. We didn’t have a chance to see all of them but we plan on returning next year.
A closer look down by the lakefront. This is the walking path outside.
There are a great many mature trees here, providing shade on a hot summer day. This Indian Bean Tree has a large canopy and looks to be at least 100 years old.
Relax on the private beach outside of the main lodge. You can also take a cruise on the yacht Escapade during the summer and fall.
Lakeside view from the dock.
Get away from it all at the Heidel House Resort and Spa!
Willy Street as it is known by the locals, is one of Madison’s most unique and fun neighborhoods.
This street has special meaning to me, since it is where my husband Al was living when we met in 1997. He lived here with his older brother, who is no longer with us, he passed in Sept. 2005. We sure miss him and he embodied the spirit of Willy St.
Joe and Al in May 2005, photo taken here.
They host a variety of festivals throughout the summer that we have enjoyed many times.
La Fete de Marquette – July
Orton Park Festival – August
Willy Street Fair – September
Central Park Sessions – August and September. Check for dates. It benefits 7 non-profits doing great work throughout the city of Madison.
Our favorite way to end the summer! Here is their parade from 2016.
We will start our tour at the top of the street, art is also a major fixture of this street and close by. The large metal tree in the median across from this sign called the Communitree. Created by metal artist Erica Koivunen and her husband, Blacksmith Aaron Howard, this tree fits right in this unique neighborhood.
A new smaller tree is now in the Willy Street Park, installed in 2016 called “Enlightened Self-Interest.
In this building is Machinery Row Bicycles, a great store to service or buy a new bike. Also Sardine fine dining.
A little further and across the street is “Alexa”, another sculpture.
At the former Madison Candy building is Ground Zero Coffee and the Eldorado Grill.
Join us on a visual tour of Willy Street as Al rode his bike down the street, describing the many businesses there. Also see the street at night, quite colorful!
To learn more about what Willy Street has to offer, visit these websites:
There is is a lot to cover about this fascinating street, the culture here is quite diverse and people welcoming and friendly. In many yards and windows I saw this sign, proving this. Also this sign on a fence.
They also care for our four-footed friends.
Willy Street supports a large array of small business and strongly objects to major chains there. The ironic thing, many of these businesses I profiled here now have multiple locations because they have been highly successful!
An example is the story of the Willy Street Park is legendary. A fast food chain wanted to put a restaurant there, but the residents of Willy St. protested this and as a result, the Willy Street Park was born. It is maintained by a group of volunteers, it is a beautiful place to rest and reflect year-round.
Artwork adorns the street on the sides of many buildings, neatly encapsulating the character of this neighborhood.
A corny mural.
Mother Fools Coffeehouse has a designated wall for permitted graffiti that changes at least monthly.
This isn’t on Willy but nearby on Paterson, still considered part of the street culture. Also imagined by metal artist Erica Koivunen and her husband, Blacksmith Aaron Howard. They are called, “Dream Keepers”.
Found on a sidewalk.
Also visit the Williamson Street Art Center. They offer art classes to the public. They have done murals all over southern Wisconsin for over 20 years.
One mural they have done in 2009 is “The History of Willy Street in the 70’s”.
The many small businesses on this street are part of the charm, also pleasing to the eye. Here are few of them.
A favorite place during the Willy Street Fair, they make glass objects to a rapt audience while you watch.
A favorite place for cat toys as well as other other pets, they are a favorite in Madison. Also on Monroe Street at Knickerbocker Place and Mineral Point Rd. This is the original.
At night, enjoy their custom neon in the window.
Great bread and granola made here. It is employee-owned and supply many local grocery stores including the Willy Street Co-Op further down the street.
Another place making great bread as well as full meals is
We enjoyed lunch there in 2016.
Enjoy upscale dining at:
Now open in three locations, this is the original, they first opened in 1974 and we ourselves are members. Get food free of GMO’s, gluten or other additives. We are members!
In the back is a straw-bale wall, built by the community. See it getting built below. And the finished wall, it has held up quite well in our harsh weather!
They sometimes have a cookout outside on a nice day, tied into supporting a local cause.
The performing arts are also represented on Willy Street by the
It is hard to see since it is recessed behind the trees. I have seen a show there before, time for another one!
This establishment was a favorite place for Al’s brother Joe to visit. Not just a bar, they also have great music groups come in to play as well. At night, the neon comes on in the glass-block windows is a beacon on the street.
The view is just as pretty inside.
We were there on Feb. 16 to play Jeopardy! with the crowd and this nice man told us about the first owner and it was his idea for all the neon lights. His name was Richard “Dick” Storey and he was a big UW supporter. He passed away 12-29-12.
An always busy place, we need to stop here at some point.
This is the original, opened in 2007, now in 6 locations total!
Have a broken clock or a watch needing a new battery? Visit Brumley’s Old Clock Shop. Be there on the hour to hear all the clocks chime!
On the subject of fixing things, you can get your clothes fixed/altered at:
A very popular place, we had breakfast here once.
A relaxing, friendly place. We have eaten here a few times.
Next door is Ha Long Bay, serving up Thai and Vietnamese food.
A large bakery where you can get a wide array of items. I love the mixer outside with the bowl filled with flowers in the summer, adding some beauty to the storefront.
Serving Willy St. since 1999, stop in for a wide selections of fabrics for your sewing needs. Located at 1521 Williamson.
Willy St. ends with another castle-like building, complete with turret and flag on top.
We went there to enjoy Friday Night Fish fry on 2-16-18. Cool lighting inside.
The dog neon is quite unique!
Across the street from Mickey’s. Get hydroponic growing supplies here and home brewing equipment here. They closed in Madison in February of 2018. There are still four locations in Chicago, Bolingbrook, and Roselle, IL. Also Waukesha, WI.
If you would rather buy your alcohol, Star Liquor has a great selection. It closed 4-4-18.
This concludes our visit to this charming and friendly street in Madison. We hope you had as much fun as we have!
8-20-16 Third Saturday in August
This was our first Coffee Break Festival in Stoughton in Mandt Park. This community believes themselves to be the originator of the coffee break, and they celebrate that every year in August.
The show also has a car and motorcycle show, also some tractors. Despite to cool, rainy weather, 80 cars were still entered.
Enjoy some highlights of the festival!
This year coffee from 6 roasters were available for tasting. Purchase a mug to sample your coffee, $6 for this blue mug sponsored by Conant Automotive. Or $15 for a fancy hand-painted mug with a rosemaling design.
We of course have enjoyed Berres Brothers and Door County Coffee and Tea, but have not had the other ones until today.
It was difficult to choose, but we did! Malabar was the big winner! See all the winners below.
Learn more about this festival and many more at the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce. We have fun every time we visit this Norwegian community. Uff da!
4-29-16 / 8-8-15 and other visits
Lodi is a friendly city of 3,000 nestled in a valley about 1/2 hour north of Madison. The name Lodi itself means “Peaceful Valley” so the name is apt. Lodi is also a Tree City as of 2013. What an honor! The Lodi Valley began to be settled as early as 1844, almost 100 years later incorporated as a city. It was named after Lodi, Italy. Susie the Duck is what really put Lodi on the map. Read the history of Susie here on this sign that used to be posted downtown by Spring Creek in 2006, for some reason it’s no longer there.
This is the famous masonry basket. On an October 2010 visit saw a couple of Susie’s kin in the basket.
The rubber ducks you see floating down Spring Creek only happen on Susie the Duck Day, every 3rd Saturday in August. I have been to several of these festivals and had a really great time. Spring Creek flows through the center of downtown, emptying out into the Wisconsin River. Back in the early days of Lodi, Spring Creek once powered a flour mill, now beautiful Veterans Memorial Park. The scene near the bridge has changed a little, this tree on the right is no longer there.
The duck drop is done from this bridge. This is Emmy Fink, host of the program Discover Wisconsin. They came to Lodi to cover Susie the Duck Day in 2013 and other fun attractions in the Lodi area. See the episode here.
Lodi has many historic homes going back to the city’s early history. This is the Daniel and Nellie Burns home on Mill Street.
This MAY be the former home of Dr. Chval, but still need to confirm.
There is a stone fountain dedicated to him in Goeres Park.
Overlooking the park is the beautiful Blessed Trinity Catholic Parish. I was near the church when the chimes sounded at noon. I managed to record the music.
A little further down the street is the Lodi Curling Club. Read about the club’s history here. Also the Fairgrounds, complete with a historic one-room school house..
On Seminary Street is the John A. and Martha Robertson house. The smiley face in the window is cute!
Spend the night at the Victorian Dreams Bed and Breakfast.
This beautiful house stands out, across from the Historic Hotel Lodi building on Main. See more historic Lodi and Columbia county here.
Across the street are a variety of art businesses in a former garage. The one I am familiar with is Gary N-Ski Photography. He was the photographer for my brother’s wedding in 2008, great work. He also has prints for sale of pictures taken in the Lodi area. They participate in the Lodi Art Walk, between May and October.
From here we turn back toward downtown on Main St. to see the many businesses there. If you are here in August, you will find a self-serve Sweet Corn cart in the parking lot of Main Street Liquor, owned by the prominent Ness family. Their largest business is Ness Auto Sales and Service. The sign inside the cart, you can get a large amount of corn too.
On the right is the Kwik Trip and Fire Department. Also a gazebo with Lodi area information.
We now approach the main part of downtown at the intersection of Main and Portage Street (Highway 60).
Lodi Mini Mall at 105 Main on our left. The Lodi Enterprise newspaper is located here.
Directly across from here on the other corner is M of N Vapors, e-cigarette shop.
On this same side is Dulvia Barber Shop.
Just up from the Mini Mall on the left is Downtown Coffee Grounds (closed 12-13-19) and Dale’s Place, open in 2014.
Next to Dale’s Place is the Spring Creek Business Center.
Next door is the La Grotta Sull’acqua Wine and Spirits Lounge.
Now we arrive at Spring Creek Park, relax by the water after a busy morning shopping 🙂 This is an archived photo from 2011, the corn dispensers are no longer there except for one, and it was empty. I brought my own dried corn to feed the ducks.
Next is the Spring Creek Restaurant and Bar and Cottage House Primitives, a great shop for Colonial-style home decor. The City Hall is right next to it. On 4-29-16 we had dinner at the Spring Creek restaurant, great food and friendly staff! They also have a “duck cam” mounted to wall outside overlooking Spring Creek to watch for Susie on a big screen in the dining room. Great fun!
Across from the Spring Creek Restaurant is Village Creek Quilting Fabrics & Home Decor, LLC.
We come to these buildings as we stay right, Sunfall on Main, an antique store.
We now come near the end of South Main. The former Bushnell’s Jewelery, closed November 2013, three months after my 2013 visit. Next is Hamre Gunderson Funeral Home. Also the former Weber Bakery, both closings due to the owners passing away. very sad about both.
Across from the funeral home is Nancy’s Floral and Gifts. The Lodi Enterprise Newspaper used to be here. They kept the beautiful stained glass window.
We then come to Lloyds Lower Level bar and the Lodi American Legion-Post 216.
It looks like they have a brat fry going on across the street, let’s get some lunch! They also served hot dogs, chips, a soda too. $5 for a meal, the chips and soda included. They don’t do this every Saturday, I got lucky!
The brats are made at Lodi Sausage Company and Meat Market, and it was delicious!
After lunch, I was given a tour of the American Legion building which was recently renovated. Beautiful work both inside out. The front hall is large and can be rented out to host YOUR event, including the use of the kitchen. They are also now participating in the Lodi Art Walk event as well. Find them on Facebook too to see their latest events. Thanks very much for the great tour, it was fun!
Be sure to see the Veterans Memorial at Veterans Memorial Park.
Near the end of South Main, next to the American Legion is the Jolivette Memorial Home, owned by the Lodi Valley Historical Society. They are open 10-1 on Saturdays May to November. I finally was able to be here for a tour when the museum was open!
On the grounds is the historic Palmer Tree, been here since around the time Lodi was settled. It’s a Bur Oak. It was officially dedicated on Arbor Day in 1997.
On the grounds is also a school bell inside the little shelter above.
We are now approaching the end of South Main, this is the view looking north. The remaining businesses at the top of the street…
Bushnell Ford – Vern’s Appliances – Prairie Valley Resale Store, a non-profit helping those in need. We have been there and had a fun treasure hunt!
Schultz Insurance Services, the “house” at the top of the street.
Other businesses just outside of downtown.
Three Bats in the Belfry, a great antique and gift shop.
A major business is Lodi Canning.
Lodi also offers camping at Smokey Hollow Campground. They take a big part in the Susie the Duck Day parade and festivities. Especially the parade! Here is their HUGE driving shopping cart, quite unique!
Koltes Do-It Center hardware store and lumber
Lodi is a great place to visit. Great shopping and beauty all year around and most of all, friendly people who say “Hi” back when you do. Nearby is the Merrimac Ferry or Gibraltar Rock to add more fun to your day trip.
Cross Plains is a community of 3500 in Dane County, incorporated in 1920. It is also known as the “Gateway to the Driftless Area” of Wisconsin. It was named by one of the early settlers named Berry Haney. He was from Cross Plains, Tennessee and named the community after his hometown. On the east edge of town is a marker honoring Haney and his business, Haney Tavern.
We began our tour with breakfast at the Cross Plains Family Restaurant. Friendliness and good food is the cornerstone of this great restaurant, open in June 2014. Stop by for a great meal if you are visiting the area! The restaurant is in Glacier’s Edge Square Shopping Center on the eastern edge of town. Piggly Wiggly is the anchor business here.
After breakfast we took a look at the Cross Plains Historical Society Museum building, the former St. Martin church. We will have to come back when it is open. It is just behind the shopping center.
We continue down Main St. and see many thriving businesses and historic buildings. On our left is the Crossroads Coffee House, waking up Cross Plains since 2007.
Kurt’s on Main bar and volleyball in the summer. Also True Value.
Just off of Main is the American Legion -Post 245 and a Veteran’s Memorial. I went to a wedding reception there in 1998.
Back on Main is one of the oldest buildings in the town, a former general store called the Plain Good building.
Another historic building across from the Plain Good building. We do not yet know of its history.
Further down the street is Jodie’s Bar and Grill.
Get your dog groomed at Salon Fido.
Enjoy some bowling at Main Street Lanes.
Behind Main St. flows the Black Earth Creek with a bridge going across and a recreational path.
And here is one of the town’s favorite places to eat, Coach’s Club. We will eat there the next time we visit.
Now we reach the end of Main St. before leaving town. Before we do, there are some other places to see first.
We saw a couple other historic buildings. We don’t know the history of this one yet.
The Old Stone Dental Building is quite beautiful. It was constructed in 1849 by Peter Hill. It has been many things over time, but became a dental office by 2002.
Visit the Cross Plains Brewery also. A proud history going back to 1852. Read this recent article about the brewer. Get Esser’s Best beer here.
When the Historical Society Museum isn’t open, you can learn more about Cross Plains at the Rosemary Garfoot Public Library. It also holds the distinction of being the first “green” library in Wisconsin. They always have something going on there, check their website for the latest events!
Cross Plains also has a supper club called The Hilltop at 4173 County Rd. P. They have been there over 40 years! A great place to celebrate a special event or Wednesday AND Friday Fish Fry! They came under new ownership in January of 2016, Steve and Vanessa took over from Jerry and Mary Thompson to keep this Cross Plains institution open. They opened and owned the restaurant in 1976, 40 years. The new owners changed the name from The Hilltop Inn to just The Hilltop because the original name made people think they also offered lodging which they do not. They look forward to serving you beginning March 16, 2016. They are a supper club, open 4-9 PM.
We had a great visit to Cross Plains and hope to make it to one of their many festivals this year.