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No Drama at the Lingonberry Llama in Belleville


We finally made it to the famous Lingonberry Llama! For a long time, this building in Belleville was vacant, waiting for the right business to make it a favorite gathering place in Belleville.

Here it is now, very inviting even from the outside! Some comments from Jon Cleveland, the owner.

The LL opened in November of 2018. It is now in contention for being the “Nicest Place in America” in a Reader’s Digest poll.  See more about it in a July 29 story on Channel 3000/News 3 Now.

The story is HERE if you want to make a comment of your own.

10-12-19 Update-They won, read the story here!

Upon entering the building, the smell of coffee and fresh-baked pastries on an early fall morning sets your stomach growling even if you had breakfast already 🙂

Barista Heidi was taking a batch of Cinnamon Rolls out of the oven at the time, yum! She gave us one with a thick layer of frosting, it was as good as it looked!

We also enjoyed cheesecake for our 2nd breakfast.

After we ate we looked around, the llama decor is EVERYWHERE, so cute! On the walls is llama art by local artists as well.  This beautiful painting is by Landis Heitz.

In the back by the Children’s playroom is this piece by Marion Rose.

Let’s take a look at the playroom, looks like fun!

This is especially cute! The play table on the right, the llama appears to be sitting there with the kids. You see a stack of construction paper and crayons at the table too!

I thought they had the coolest light fixtures there in the main dining area. An industrial/steampunk design. They also made use of the popular Edison Style bulbs.

They even have knit Llama hats for sale for $25. So adorable!

If you notice on the right wall of the dining room, there is a guitar hanging up, generously on loan from Rick Francois. It’s there for patrons to use. You play a tune and receive $1 off of your order! I wish I knew how to play one!

Well, we had a great first visit here and plan on coming back soon for Open Mike or Pizza night. Be sure to pick up one or several gift cards. We did!

Come to the nicest and friendliest coffee shop in America!

 

 

New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm in Baraboo


6-8 and 7-3-2019

Open June 8-September 28

Tues-Sat. 10 am- 6 pm.
Farm tours are available Tues-Fridays, 11 am & 3 pm, Saturdays, 11 am  1 pm, & 3 pm.   You can book your venue here as well. Call 608-477-4023.

Summer is here and so is the lavender!  It wasn’t blooming yet on June 8, so we came back July 3rd when it was! The New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm in Baraboo is a peaceful refuge from the Wisconsin Dells and a chance to enjoy creating memories with your family.  When the plants mature, you are invited to buy one to bring home.

Inside the store, you can buy many products made with the lavender, including bakery items and ice cream. See offerings here.  You can also buy essential oils, soap, lotion, and many other items, even fudge!

Next to the farm store is an outbuilding with a beautiful lavender barn quilt on the side.  It was painted by artist Vicki Baumgarten. She also manages Narrows Creek Winery as well.

You can also take a tour behind a tractor to see all of the fields and get a running commentary as well.  It lasts for one hour.

There are many great opportunities to take a portrait of you and your family here. There is a selfie station to put your phone on under the canopy.

This is an example of what this photo would look like.

You can also bring a tripod to take one in other spots. We also at among the lavender and got this great shot. This one is our favorite.

Plan your visit now to the New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm in Baraboo before summer is over!

St. Patrick’s Day in Madison


After a long hard winter, the first thing Madisonians want is a parade, and they get the first one of the year on St. Patrick’s Day.  The parade promenades around the Capitol Square and usually lasts about an hour.  Here is the 2019 parade, many entries this year.

Our dear friend Vi was in the parade last year, this year it was too cold. She has the best costumes!

Madison Pipes and Drums are always a favorite!

Saw this both this and last year, a leprechaun puppet! Seated next to it is Madison Police Chief Mike Koval.

The Irish Trinity Dancers, ever popular!

Madison parades have plenty of stilt walkers too.

After the parade, the fun continued on State Street. At the top of the street is Teddywedgers, where you can pick up a delicious pasty.  There is an apartment above where a couple was watching from above. They hammed it up for my camera 🙂

A couple even got married that day, they were getting photos taken.

The fun continues as we head down the street, happy people are enjoying the warm weather (in 2018) and it’s even bringing out the street musicians.

We were hungry for corned beef and cabbage so we looked for a place to get some for lunch. We chose Nick’s on State. They have been there since 1959.

A delicious meal on one of Madison’s favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day!

The Matts House in Verona-Now The Purple Goose!


10-9-14

Al and I were in Verona, gathering photos for a blog post. We took a look at the businesses and buildings in town and discovered this. The Matts House in Verona, Wisconsin was vacant at that time and deemed an eyesore. It was one of the last historic buildings in town, built in the 1840’s. The only other building that is historic that is left is the Cahoots Bar, a former Stagecoach stop.

In my photo, you could see a sign that the house was for free to anyone who could get rid of it.  Thank goodness, nobody took up the offer.

We were shocked to see this and hoped somebody would save the house before possible demolition.


October 2016

Two years pass.  Building Rehabilitation Specialist Troy Rost persuaded the city alders to sell him the house for $1. Troy also restored the Stamm House in Middleton as well. He promised to have the house ready for occupation within two years. Read the article about this development here.  Also here.


October 19, 2017

The renovation was well underway at this point, we stopped by to take an interim picture of the house.

We attended a meeting in Verona that day called “What’s Up at the Matts House?”  Here is a video of the meeting you can also watch. It outlines the history of the house and showed some renovation photos. Troy Rost himself was the presenter.


2018

The building renovation is finished on schedule. Now, the next task is to find a tenant. The Purple Goose women’s boutique store jumped at the chance to move to this beautiful historical building. This was their building in 2017.

On October 13 of 2018, they reopened in their new building to an enthusiastic crowd. I was able to see it for myself on October 22nd. Very impressive!

This beautiful door is possibly from one of the previous businesses here, they kept it and it looks beautiful!

To the right of the register, step through the doorway for some beauty time at Makeup by Francesca. I am not skilled at all with makeup application. I will come here if I need her help!  Francesca Clemente will bring out your best features to look your best, whatever the occasion!

That’s not all, there is open space upstairs called the Brick House StudioTheresa Ann Stuesser holds many classes here.

Everyone interested in seeing the Matts House is welcome during business hours at The Purple Goose.  The citizens of Verona are grateful this beautiful building was saved for all to enjoy.  Thank you, Troy Rost, for taking charge and turning this dream into reality!

 

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

 

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

35th Annual Cesky Den in Hillsboro


6-10-17 / 2nd Saturday in June

This is our 4th Cesky Den and we were happy we could come back again.  Here is the full schedule of events. Admission is $10 and includes a souvenir button and you get entered into a raffle too!

They have made some changes since our first time in 2013. The festival seemed mostly adult oriented our first time, now they have added more modern attractions the kids are enjoying these days.  The morning began with a Color Run, first implemented last year.

Also a bounce house for the kids.

I still miss the Yuba Hillsboro Czech Singers, they have not been there for a few years. At least I have the CD they produced a few years back. It has traditional Czech songs sung in Czech. Here are the liner notes. This picture is from our first time in 2013.

Notice the cool backdrop? It shows businesses in Hillsboro.

Enjoy the Color Run and the Opening Ceremony below.

The Cesky Den Royalty

Inside the Fireman’s Community Center is where most of the fun takes place. The polka bands provide plenty of music for dancing, and people love to dance here.

This year we had music by the Musical Brass. They are from Green Bay. Also Barefoot Becky & the Ivanhoe Dutchmen. They are from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Enjoy!

Speaking of dancing, Cesky Den isn’t complete without a performance by the Domaci Dancers, talented children in the community keeping Czech dances in the forefront. I’ve watched the older children grow up over the last 4 years. Now they are helping teach the younger ones. Denise Huntley heads the Domaci Dancers and has done a wonderful job! See this year’s performance below.

You can get your traditional Czech pork dinner here too, it was delicious! Here is the menu.

I got the cookbook they had for sale, recipes for the same food so you can make it at home too! It was only $5.

Photo by Al Kutil

Czech bakery items are also for sale, Kolachy, Rolicky (poppyseed rolls),  and more!

After lunch, we headed over to the craft show. There was also a vest-making free workshop for the kids. We plan on having vests to wear next year!

You can even get a picture behind a cutout, kids too!

The Hillsboro Women’s Civic Club  had a Bake Sale, the pie was yummy!

Everyone is Czech at Cesky Den, Vitamé Vas!