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!

It’s The Cat’s Meow at Cat Cafe Mad

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.


Related Websites

Madison Cat Lovers

Community Cat,Inc.

Underdog Pet Rescue of Wisconsin

TRUE Coffee Roasters

Sjölinds Chocolate House-Mt. Horeb


Dr. Elsey’s Cat Litter

Stoughton Coffee Break Festival in Stoughton

8-20-16   Third Saturday in August

Stoughton sign

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.

Tractors atStoughton Coffee Break festival

Motorcycles at Stoughton Coffee Break festival

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.


Stoughton Coffee Break Festival mug 2013


We of course have enjoyed Berres Brothers and Door County Coffee and Tea, but have not had the other ones until today.

Berres Brothers

Berres Brother Coffee in Watertown

Door County Coffee and Tea

Door County Coffee and Tea

Links to:

Back to the Bean

Malabar Coast Coffee

Farmer Brothers

True Coffee

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!

Velkommen banner Stoughton

State Street – Madison’s Great Street!

30 Years of Observation and Fun!

In the 30 years I have lived in Madison, I never get tired of State Street and think it is the heart of downtown, especially in the summer. All times of the year are interesting though. The street has undergone many changes over time like anywhere else.  No cars are allowed on this street, only busses and bikes.  I have enjoyed eating and shopping at many of the places on this special street. Let’s start at the top..from the Observation deck of our state Capitol.


100 Block

State Street Observation Deck  Capitol in Madison

State Street 100 Block

Myles Teddywedgers in Madison

Myles Teddywedgers has been a favorite in Madison since it opened in 1976. If you have a hankerin’ for a Cornish Pasty and you can’t get to Mineral Point or Dodgeville, this is the place to get one! They are very good! On the other side is Ian’s Pizza, famous for their Macaroni and Cheese pizza.

Ian's Pizza

A little further down at 115 State Street is Buck and Badger, a Wisconsin-themed Northwoods atmosphere restaurant. A real fun place!

Buck and Badger on State Street


200 Block

 We begin the 200 block with the Overture Center for the Arts, Madison’s premier center for Broadway performances as well as local companies.  It was a gift by Jerry Frautchi and Pleasant Rowland to Madison. Madison does partially subsidize it’s expenses however.  On the site was originally the Civic Center, the space was greatly expanded with the building of the center. It re-opened in 2004. Looks pretty at night.

Overture Center and Associated Bank Madison State Street


Overture Center at night


The kept the front of the old Civic Center intact.

Civic Center front State Street

Paul’s Club across the street on the right has been an institution on State Street since 1962. It has an oak tree inside, an unusual feature.

Paul's Club State Street

Nick’s Restaurant has a long history also, since 1959.

Nick's Restaurant on State

The Orpheum Theater and it’s red sign has been a fixture in Madison since 1926.

OrpheumOrpheum plaque


We arrive at the end of this block, looking back toward the Capitol is a Noodles and Co. and the other end of the Overture Center. This picture was taken during Maxwell Street Days in the summer. This is a classic view of State Street.

200 Block State Street in Madison

300 Block

This block is home of the iconic Triangle Market and Tutto Pasta. This is part of Madison’s special “Six Points” intersection. It’s a convergence of State, Johnson and Henry St. Behind us is the scene above.

300 Block State Street July 2014

A closer look at the Triangle Market. Be sure to get your free tour the first time you stop in 🙂

Triangle Market in Madison on State StreetTriangle market Free Tour


I have enjoyed lunch many times at Pizza Di Roma.  Next door is the  Takura Japanese Restaurant and Mackesey’s Irish Pub.

State Street 300 Pizza Di Roma

On the right is a new place, Crandall’s Peruvian Bistro. The Crandall family has served great food to Madison for 67 years and this is a new venture for them. Good luck! Also an old favorite, Parthenon Gyros. I have enjoyed going there the last 30 years.

Crandall's Peruvian Bistro State St. Madison

Parthenon Gyros State Street Madison


 You can get new clothing at Jazzman,  great used and new clothes at Ragstock across the street.

Jazzman clothes State Street Madison



Ragstock in Madison

 We reach the end of the 300 block.  More great places yet to see!

400 Block

We begin the 400 block with Jamba Juice and Badger Liquor, “The Happiest Corner in Madison” since 1972. Jamba Juice has been on this corner since about 1990.

End of 300 Block of State Street in Madison

Next are Tellus Mater Inc (since 1959), Which Wich? sandwich shop (2003) and The Sacred Feather Hat Store (1975).

Tellus Mater Inc., Which Wich? and Sacred Feather stores State Street


Princess of India Imports is another popular long-time clothing store on this block.

Princess of India Imports


Right next to this store is Elizabeth Link Peace Park, renovated in 2010.

Elizabeth Link Peace Park on State Street


There is a lot in downtown Madison that can be overwhelming to a visitor.  That’s covered too, the downtown visitor information center has many booklets and maps to help you get oriented.

Visitors Center on State Street


Now at the end of this block, there is a Subway (462 & 731 State), Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream or Cold Stone Creamery on the other side. As you can see, there is construction going on up ahead.

500 & 600 Blocks

State Street 500 Block


This building on the right has several businesses in it. American Apparel and Mimosa.


Mimosa Book Store State Street


Stop and Shop Grocery


The other grocery store on State, Stop and Shop. More views of the block, a large building going up right now. After picture next summer.

Businesses on 500 block of State Street Madison


This will be more retail space and also possible living space also.

Future Retail Space on 500 block of State Street Madison

Further down is Steep and Brew Coffee, one of the early coffee shops in Madison.

Steep and Brew on State Street

Roast Public House for food made with local ingredients, plus a bar.

Roast Public House on State


Also Potbelly Sandwich Works for more sandwich choices.

Potbelly Sandwich Works on State Street


Urban Outfitters, another mainstay on this block.

Urban Outfitters on State Street in Madison


State Street Brats, a very popular place to go to watch a Badger football game. We have enjoyed going there.

State Street Brats on State


We near the end of the 600 block of State Street and we see our final businesses before seeing Library Mall and the UW Campus.

Six Hundred Block on State Street Madison

I have enjoyed going to Paul’s Books since I came to Madison in 1984. They have been here since 1954. The same exact window display too. you might find the out-of-print book you have been looking for here!  You can sell books to them too!

Paul's Books on State Street

This story of State Street ends on a sad note. This is the College Barbershop, one of the oldest businesses on State, since the 1920’s.  The landlord of the building ordered it be closed for good by the end of August in 2014. The landlord wants to renovate the building, a sad loss for Madison.

College Barber Shop on State closed Sept 2014

Our journey is done, be sure to take a stroll down State Street next time you visit Madison.



Artist Art Schmaltz Beautifying Madison

One sculpture at a time….

Madison is a hotbed for artists, and one of them is decorating the Wingra Creek area with beautiful metal sculptures.  Art knows how to turn the oddest bits of metal into ornaments people are proud to display in their yards.  Here is some of his work..

Art Schmaltz Collage

He is always looking for more pieces of metal to turn into art. The Macha Tea House on Monroe Street even has a piece of his art work on their lawn.

Art Schmaltz sculpture

This was fun finding the sculptures. You never know where you will find art in Madison.  Even under the Monona Terrace!

Shop Local on Monroe Street in Madison

12-2-13, 4-1-17, 1-23-18 & 2-3-18


Monroe Street is undergoing large-scale road construction from March 12-November. See video for details. Please continue to shop Monroe St.!  🙂 



Monroe Street in Madison is a special place. It is located in the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood. Read about the area history here.

Monroe Street is located near Camp Randall Stadium (Go Badgers!) and is a great walkable street with many great small businesses.  In 2018 the street will be undergoing construction from March to November.  Please keep visiting the businesses as they will still be open and need your continued patronage to survive!  The current view of the top of Monroe Street in January 2018.

 1500 block

Hotel RED

Just ahead on the right across the street are Pizza Extreme , Athen’s Gyros and Gulesserian’s Oriental Rug Sales and Service. They have been open since 1911!

Opposite this side on the 1500 block is the always popular Mickies Dairy Bar and New Orlean’s Takeout.  Also Stadium Barbers. Look at that line at Mickies on a Saturday morning!

In January 2018 we can see a new apartment building going up between New Orleans Takeout and the former Maurie’s Chocolates. This is on the 1600 block.  You can sign up to rent now. It’s called Oakland on Monroe. Open in April!

Next is the Monroe Street Public Library.

Next on this side is The Fit.

Also on this side was Maurie’s Fine Chocolates, open since 1993.  It closed 12-29-17.

Next door was Walter’s Swim N’ Sun. It was on Monroe Street since the 1990’s. It closed the end of September in 2017 in anticipation of the construction taking place in 2018.


A new store moved in November 3 called ReFind Style. Owner Abigail Barth hopes to transform this corner with affordable fashionable clothing and accessories.


1700 Block

On this block is Rupert Cornelius, Eyetopia, Orange Tree Imports, Art Gecko Shop on the corner. They are also on State Street, open since 1997.

A long-established store of over 40 years, Orange Tree Imports specializes in unique kitchen items like cookware and tools, plus many other items for the home. Great gift ideas here.

1800 Block

From left to right. (click to enlarge)

Borokhim’s Oriental Rugs   (1972)

Pizza Brutta 

Wild Child (closing-owners retiring) Since 1981

Katy’s American Indian Arts (1983)

D-Chai Massage, LLC


Canvas Club Boxing 

Double SS BBQ  (closed 10-20-2017)  Operates from food cart now. A new restaurant will be opening in this location called Burgrito’s on March 16, 2018.


Brocach Irish Pub

Bloom Bake Shop 

Crescendo Espresso Bar Music Café

Mystery to Me  bookstore

 Neuhauser Pharmacy

We have enjoyed many visits to Pizza Brutta, delicious!

Mystery to Me Books

Specializing in books for the mystery fan, there is a lot to read here of the genre.

Photo by Joanne Berg

Across the street from the pharmacy is:

Trader Joes

Another mixed-use building with housing.

  1900 block

Across from Trader Joe’s is a building with two businesses.

Strictly Discs

is where you can get used CDs.


 For the latest in stylish clothing for men and women.


On the left corner we begin with:

Monroe Street Framing 

On Monroe St. since 1983, they are ready to frame any picture to look it’s best!

Paragon Video and Stereo

This store is the best one if you are still playing records. They have over 100 needles available, as well as 45 years of expertise to help you have the best entertainment center possible!

The tan and brown Empire Place building on the right at 1917  Monroe St. is a mixed-use condo and retail building. Two businesses are here.

Karner Blue Candles and Supply, LLC

A wonderful candle store with candle-making supplies and finished candles for sale.  They also have soap. Also, classes to learn how to make your own.  Owner Lyschel Bersch will make your candle experience fun and personal. Stop on by, new scents are in development all the time.  Did I hear you say “Chocolate candle?” This is a candle store with a cause, a portion of their proceeds goes towards saving the habitat of the Karner Blue Butterfly.

 Opened March 8, 2014. They moved in Fall 2018 to: 

5728A Monona Dr (6.53 mi)
Monona, Wisconsin 53716

Empire Photography has been here since 1981.


Directly across from the Empire bldg. is Capital City Comics and the Alvarado Group.

1934 Monroe St.

On the right used to be the Macha Tea Lounge in 2013,  it has moved to 823 East Johnson street under the new name Macha Tea Company. After that, it was the Green Life Café in 2016, now also closed. I went back in 2018 and there is a fence around it. Now it’s Creando Preschool.

Macha Tea Lounge

 Next to Creando is the Monroe Building.

Rounding out the rest of the 1900 block

Wine and Hop Shop

Brasserie V


Cat Café Mad-A unique place where you can cuddle with kitties while you sip your beverage. We enjoyed a visit there on Feb 3rd and March 31 and June 10.  They closed on July 15, 2018,  their customers went way down during the construction.

There is a wall dividing the restaurant from the “cattery” in compliance with Health Dept. rules. No matter, the cats can watch US through several bubble windows in the wall. You can bring your beverage inside the room though.

Also in this building is

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co.

A Dead Anchor Tattoo and Piercing

Cricket Design Works 

One last building on this block.

Full Circle Holistic Veterinary Care

Up in Smoke

1000 Block

We now enter the center portion of the street, mainly residential. Nestled within is Edgewood College and High School.

2400 Block

The last third of the street also had many great businesses to patronize. even live theater in a former firehouse from 1939.

Madison Theater Guild– Since 1946. Madison’s oldest community Theater group.

Budd’s  Auto Repair

2500 Block

On the left side is Zander’s Interiors.

At 2502 on the right is Klinke Cleaners.

Across from here is Infusion Chocolates.


Next to Infusion is the Laurel Tavern at 2505.

Next to the tavern is the famous Michael’s Frozen Custard, the original first store is here.

2600 and 2700 Blocks

We now get to a row of brick storefronts the same side as Klinke’s. From left to right.

Monroe Street Fine Arts Center

Colectivo Coffee


Also Knickerbocker Place. Opposite side of these stores.


 We have another row of stores on the right after crossing Spraque Street.   We begin with W.F. Butler Plumbing, Inc. They have been in business for 60 years!

And the remaining businesses left in this row. Freiburg is moving downtown in 2018 to re-photograph.  A new restaurant will be opening there called the Tin Fox.

Freiburg Gastropub and Calabash Gifts

A newer building rounds out the 2600 block on this side.  Monroe Street Shoe Repair and the Knitting Tree. The Knitting Tree is closing in Fall 2018.

2700 Block

We then cross Knickerbocker St. to this long white building, home of Leudtke-Storm-Mackey Chiropractic Clinic.

Across the street is State Farm Insurance (Aaron Perry), J. Michael Real Estate

Also Jac’s Dining and Tap House

We now travel through a last residential area and then explore the remaining businesses at the end of Monroe Street.

Restaino and Associates Realtors

2945 Monroe

Located at 3402 Monroe St. is the Plough Inn. It is the oldest building on the street, built in 1853.  Learn more about it here.  Since 1994, it has been the Arbor House, An Environmental Inn B&B .

As of February 2018, the property is now for sale as the owners wish to retire.


Walkner Condon Financial Advisors and Madison Chocolate Company.

One last “new” building housing Gates and Brovi restaurant, as well as housing above.

Next door is the former Mallatt’s Pharmacy closed on March 3, 2017.

It was THE place to go for costumes, I got a sailor hat here for a costume. This was the building in fall 2010.

Mallatt's Pharmacy on Monroe Street

Good news though, the Lakeview Veterinary Cat Clinic will be moving into the building soon. Next door in the Monroe Place building is the Lakeview Veterinary Clinic for all animals.

We are reaching the end of the street. Fritz and Associates Hair Design.

The last one is Percy’s Service Station.

These are most of the great businesses on Monroe street.  For a more relaxing shopping experience outside of the malls, this is your destination!

Video of the street before construction. Stay tuned for new video after!

Iggy Pup Surgery Fund Art Auction at Macha Tea Lounge and Gallery


Iggy logo

Ma*Cha Tea Lounge signMa*Cha Tea Lounge

Last night one of my best friends Laura Beck Nielsen and her husband, artist David Nielsen had a Silent Auction to raise money to cover the surgery costs for their adopted dog Iggy.  He has since had the surgery and is on the path to recovery.   David’s artwork has been displayed at the Macha Tea Lounge since 2008 and really adds to the warm atmosphere there. They are located at 1934 Monroe Street in Madison.

Photo by Laura Beck Nielsen

Photo by Laura Beck Nielsen

Here are Laura and David,  ready to assist you if you have any questions about the fine art for sale.   Check for availability by contacting Laura and see pieces available on Facebook.  Many artists contributed to this exhibition and auction.  Displays will be up until Nov. 30 or until pieces are sold.  They also have t-shirts, hoodies, bandannas and much more as well. They thank you very much for your patronage!

Laura and Dave NielsenLaura Beck Nielsen 11-15-13


Afgan – Painting by David Nielsen

One of the many dog paintings available, see display at Macha.

Macha Tea Lounge is a great place to visit anytime. They offer  many varieties of loose tea to drink there and bring home.  Also a lunch menu. Brewing accessories are also available, also many cups, some made by local artists.  They also have three tea rooms available upstairs if you wish to relax there awhile with a group of friends. Here are two of them (One was occupied).  Also a view of the sitting area downstairs. Owner Anthony Verbrick will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Macha Teah house downstairs

Tea room 1Tea Room 2

A great gift idea would be a gift card from here as well. We hoped you enjoyed your visit and the Macha Tea Lounge and Gallery, a great place to go and relax with friends.  

Macha cat

Related Sites and Articles

*   Artist David Nielsen

*  David Nielsen Art on Redbubble

* Contribute to fund at Smarty Pig

*   Macha Teahouse and Gallery

*   Trip Advisor reviews

*  Madison Magazine Article – August 2012

*  Windy Ridge Pottery