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29th Annual Holiday Fantasy in Lights – 2017 – Hayride


November 19, 2018

 

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Another great display this year for everyone to enjoy.  This year I took a look at the displays from a new viewpoint, from a hayride! Info here.

Reserve your own haywagon ride (limited availability) for just $100 plus tax, more information: http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/reserve/hayrides.cfm

The line was long, but it was a warm night and there was a fire to keep us warm while waiting.

Each year, there is a soundtrack you can listen to as you drive through the park transmitted by a LP (low power) radio station. There are actually two stations now. Tune in to 95.3 FM for the main audio, 95.1 for the Dancing Trees.

There were two wagons continuously going around after getting loaded.  The atmosphere was filled with excitement for the upcoming holidays and the kids in the group were so excited!

 It’s our turn!  Soon, we were on our way, watch the video of the hayride.

I returned on the 25th and drove through on my own. If you want to see the displays without other people around, come early in the morning before dawn.  Enjoy the Dancing trees, synchronized to Nutcracker music.

2018 will be the 30th Anniversary of Holiday Fantasy in Lights, I look forward to that!  I will do the hayride again, it was so much fun!

 

Mousehouse Cheesehaus in Windsor


7-3-18  Celebrating 30 Years!

You can’t miss it as you leave Madison, heading north on I-90.  Take exit 131 and you are soon there.  This prime location has given them so many customers, they had to expand over the last year to keep up.

In the 70’s, the store was mostly a liquor store with some cheese. Tony’s parents owned it from 1988-1998, increasing the amount of cheese over liquor. Tony took over ownership of the Mousehouse Cheesehaus in 1998 from his parents and added homemade fudge in 2009.  I took this photo in 2010.  The mouse on top of the roof is named Igor. Hours are 8 AM-7 PM daily so plenty of time to stop in.

In 2016, before the expansion, CEO Tony Sobczak and Vice President Heather Smythe explained all that they do on a local Wisconsin program called, “Talk of the Town”. She has been there for 20 years!

July 2018

The expansion was completed in 2017 and there is room now for much more cheese and fudge! Read more about the expansion here.

The inside is just as amazing, bring a cooler because you are going to need it.  This is your one-stop shop for all things Wisconsin.

You can now watch Fudge and Cheese Curds being prepared through the new viewing windows. On the left is the fudge window, the right is the cheese room.  Stop in around noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays to see these confections being made! Separate prep rooms for the cheese and fudge ensures the highest quality for you, the customer!

Inside the Fudge room. Inside are 2 steam-jacketed kettles with stirrers to make the fudge creamy and smooth while cooking. It takes about 40 minutes for the fudge to be ready to pour and flavor. Read more on the fudge here.

In the Cheese room, you can watch cheese curds mixed with herbs and spices to give you many flavor choices.

 You can watch both cheese and fudge being prepared on Tuesdays and Thursdays at around 12:00 PM. The new viewing windows to the cheese and fudge kitchen are a hit with the kids too! These new kitchens ensure that your cheese and fudge are prepared with the utmost care and in a very clean environment. You can see how clean everything is!

Enjoy a tour of the store with me in the video below. You can taste all the cheese before you buy too. You can get pre-assembled gift boxes or choose your own selections for a custom box. Watch Megan make many varieties of delicious fudge right from the viewing window!           Also, see April mix many flavors of delicious cheese curds made that very morning! I’m getting hungry just watching.

You can also get sandwiches here, no need to go somewhere else for lunch or supper.  Igor’s Big Belly Deli can make prepare sandwiches to order to go or eat there in their dining room. Get 8-inch subs too, pre-made and ready to eat.  Menu here.

We hope you enjoyed touring the Mousehouse Cheesehaus.  Tony, Heather, and crew are happy to serve you and bring you the best cheese and fudge in Wisconsin!  Contact them here or come for a visit!

  • CONTACT INFORMATION
  • 4494 Lake Circle Windsor, WI 53598
  • Toll-Free: 800-526-6873
  • Local: 608-846-4455
  • Email at: customerservice@mousehousecheese.com

Photo by Mousehouse Cheesehaus

 

Making a Big Stink About the Corpse Flower


6-14-18

 

It happened! Olbrich Botanical Garden’s Corpse Flower has finally bloomed today.  The last time this plant bloomed was in 2009, I didn’t see it then.  They have 4 plants altogether. The University of Wisconsin has its own Corpse Flower, affectionately named “Big Bucky”. That one last bloomed in 2012. It was named “Mori” by fans of Olbrich.

It’s housed inside of the Bolz Conservatory. At 4:15 PM it wasn’t too crowded so I picked a good time. Here are some facts about the flower.

The flower is located near the Conservatory entrance, there is a sign showing its life cycle. Picture courtesy of the University of Wisconsin.

I may have missed the peak smelliest time of the flower, I could only smell it up close. Inside the spathe the color is a deep red, setting off the green.

Now the whole plant.

It was fun meeting Mori, the world’s largest flower in person.

 

It’s The Cat’s Meow at Cat Cafe Mad


Cat Cafe Mad closed in mid-July 2018.

2-3-18

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.

 

Related Websites

Madison Cat Lovers

Community Cat,Inc.

Underdog Pet Rescue of Wisconsin

TRUE Coffee Roasters

Sjölinds Chocolate House-Mt. Horeb

Petcube

Dr. Elsey’s Cat Litter

2017 Adventures – Happy New Year 2018!


Happy New Year to all of our friends and family who enjoy reading about our adventures. It was a great year and plans are already in the works for the new year.  We will celebrate our 5th year of Adventures in Travel in February, yaay!

We apologize for not publishing much over the last couple of months, life has kept us quite busy over the fall months and Christmas season.  A highlight of the Christmas season was the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train coming through Columbus. Al got a great video over 1000 people have already viewed. See it here!

Another highlight of the season was a house with a 40 minute synchronized music and light show. See it here!

We will be spending the winter catching up on trips that took place after Labor Day.  Also updating older posts that need it. Our “Westward Ho! South Dakota and Wyoming” trip was amazing!  Go back to begin reading about our trip here.  Made some new friends along the way, as well as with enjoying time with long-time friends.

We hope you had a great year too,  see you on the road! Happy New Year from Al and Laurie!

 

 

 

Supper Clubs – Smoky’s Club


9-30-17

 

 

I have lived in Madison for 33 years, Al about 23, and we had never been to Smoky’s Club before.  We figured it was about time!  For those who don’t know, this is a supper club, only open for dinner.  Wisconsin is famous for them all over the state, and we hope to spend more time exploring them. Find a supper club in your area here.

Smoky’s opened back in 1953 before there were many businesses on University Avenue. I hope they are there for their 100th anniversary in 2053. My Grandparents Norman and Barb Braton brought many people here during the 60’s-80’s. Leonard and Janet Schmock are the current owners and are grooming the next generation to continue the great service here.

When you enter, you forget it is 2017. It is the 60’s again and big band music plays softly in the background. No bright lights here, subdued lighting and a tension-free background leads to a relaxing dinner here.

Yes, that lamp above is a puffer fish.

We ate in the back dining room, inside was a picture of John F. Kennedy and candlelit tables with cloth napkins. The long table was soon filled with Badger football fans enjoying dinner after the game.

Our meal began with relishes, veggie while we wait for the meal.

And dinner itself! We ordered the sirloin steak with hash browns, another item Smoky’s is famous for. The steaks come a 500°F heated metal platter, you are warned not to touch it by your server. You also get a bread basket with your meal.

Dinner was delicious and we had no leftovers. Enjoy some pictures of the bar area, many twinkly lights and neat decor.

Get out of the water, SHARK!

We really enjoyed our dinner here and the relaxing ambiance. We recommend coming here for a great dinner, especially steak, as they are famous for them. Don’t pass up the hash browns either, Smoky’s is also famous for them as well.

 

Olblich Garden’s 3rd Annual GLEAM


9-15-17

Photo by Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Each year I eagerly look forward to Olbrich Botanical Garden‘s hottest new art display taking place at night. They really outdid themselves this time. Here is a map of all the art installations, more than ever this year!

For the first time, there are displays inside of the Boltz Conservatory. This display cycles through all the colors, just like the lights lining the inside of the conservatory.

Next I went outside to see those displays, the tree outside was raining light!

There is now a bar outside so you can enjoy an adult beverage while enjoying GLEAM.

 There was a surprise around every corner, I especially liked the columns on either side of the entrance to the Rose Garden, there were roses rotating around inside.

Loved the rainbow brick path.

Projected onto the path in the grand circle were messages, and butterflies flew through them.

New this year were lighted panels with a description of the displays. This one was really neat.

The star shower light made for a ghostly appearance of anyone standing under it.

This one was a little hard to take a picture, video is better.

This one was pretty too.

I am finishing my journey through the gardens, looking completely different from in the day.  As a member, it is $11 to come to GLEAM, 14 if you are not.  You can become a member at Olbrich at this time for a discount and save on future events, coupon is on GLEAM guide. I look forward to next year!