"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 :)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
A little further down at 115 State Street is Buck and Badger, a Wisconsin-themed Northwoods atmosphere restaurant. A real fun place!
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.
The kept the front of the old Civic Center intact.
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.
The Orpheum Theater and it’s red sign has been a fixture in Madison since 1926.
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.
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.
A closer look at the Triangle Market. Be sure to get your free tour the first time you stop in 🙂
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.
You can get new clothing at Jazzman, great used and new clothes at Ragstock across the street.
We reach the end of the 300 block. More great places yet to see!
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.
State Street Brats, a very popular place to go to watch a Badger football game. We have enjoyed going there.
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.
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!
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.
Our journey is done, be sure to take a stroll down State Street next time you visit Madison.