Monona-City of Pride, and it Shows


Monona sign

Monona is a city nestled within the city of Madison, this is a map of the borders.


Strange as it may seem, Monona often flies under the radar as a separate entity because it is embedded in Madison.  It was time though to separate it from Madison and treat it like the city it is. They put out a publication each year, you can read it online here.

To the surprise of many, Monona was founded by disgruntled residents of Blooming Grove.  The site where the residents had their meetings to form Monona still exists, now the business called Monona Motors.

Monona Motors

In the yard is a commemorative plaque on a rock and a two-sided marker. The building used to be called Ernie’s Trading Post.

Ernie's Trading Post plaque




The “main street” of Monona is Monona Drive, starting at the exit off of the West Beltline.  You are greeted by three sails, representing the community on the shores of Lake Monona. Also two monuments of both sides of the road.



If you take a left at the light on Broadway and keep going, you will reach South Towne Mall. In the 1920’s, this was the site of Royal Airport,  the Madison area’s first airport before Truax was built. Charles Lindberg landed here twice in 1927 and 1928 in his plane, “Spirit of St. Louis”. There is a historical marker at the edge of the Kohl’s parking lot.





A great many Monona businesses are located along this corridor and nearby, let take a look at some of them!  On the Monona East Side Business Alliance website, you can search for businesses here.

One of my favorite businesses in Monona is Any and All Media, a production company that can turn VCR tapes into DVD’s and much more!  It is located on 6420 Bridge Road.  I had a reel-to-reel tape from 1978 they made into an MP3 for me, thanks! We highly recommend them for all your transfer needs.  They also can shoot video of YOUR event for you. Prices are competitive.


Next door is the Bridge Lounge.


Continuing up Monona Drive..

Tully’s II Food and Spirits is on our left, just past the stoplights.  It’s a popular restaurant with an attractive stone exterior. Al and I had eaten there to celebrate our engagement in 1998 when it was a different restaurant called Leske’s Supper Club. We should go back!


Also paid a visit to Roselawn Memorial Park on Femrite Drive to see the beautiful Tower of Memories.



Also on Femrite Drive is the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.  Located behind the big hill and can’t be seen from Monona Drive, it is a hidden treasure in the city.



 Further down Femrite is Treasure Mart.


 On Monona is another place for antiques and collectibles, Monona Antique and Mini Mall.

Monona Antique Mini Mall

We have also enjoyed bowling at Village Lanes too.


Village Lanes inside


In the past we have enjoyed getting a haircut at The Ultimate Veritas Spa and Salon.  They did my makeup for our wedding since I am unskilled in this area.


On this site was once a homestead before it was developed.  Behind the Ultimate is a little stone/brick house. It no longer has an outlet to the street.  It may be part of the business’s property parcel now.


Fraboni’s is a big draw for Italian food.


A short distance from here on Monona Drive and Owen is Angelos.


On our left is Ken’s Meats and Deli.


Next is Schwenn’s Service gas station (ethanol free).  They pump your gas, no extra charge. They also can service your vehicle and their goal is to make you a loyal customer.



Another favorite gas and service station of ours on Cottage Grove Road is Wayne’s Automotive, no ethanol there either! Family owned since 1980, they offer both self-service and full service at one pump.

Wayne's Automotive

Across the street from here is Chief’s Tavern and VFW Post 7591. Great Fish Fry here on Friday nights!




The Silver Eagle Bar and Grill is also a great place to eat in Monona. You get a free birthday mug too. Great food and fun atmosphere, especially during Packer games!

Silver Eagle Bar and Grill in Monona


Are you tired of throwing away broken appliances? Kiefer’s Shaver and Appliance may be able to fix it for you, keeping it out of the landfill.

Kiefer's Shaver and Appliance in Monona

We soon see the Monona Golf Course.


Monona Golf Course pond

Also the Nathaniel Dean House. We enjoyed a tour here in 2014 and 2015. This is a new photo of the building, it now has this great sign in front of it, dedicated on October 9, 2016. Great things at happening at the Dean House! Learn more at the Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society website.  They welcome new members too!



It has a two-sided marker sign too, seen edge-on in the photo above.

Dean House sign


Monona is serious about preserving it’s history. The Monona Landmarks Commission has compiled a list of Monona historic sites and we still have many left to see.


Monona has many beautiful parks, quite a few of them are lakeside.

One of them is Stonebridge Park to see the historic Springhaven Pagoda.  It is over a century old and may be undergoing restoration soon.

Stonebridge park

The plaque.


And the pagoda. Let’s hope this park becomes a major gathering place again, especially for making lemonade on a hot summer day.

Springhaven Pagoda in Park

We have also been to  Schluter Park, also lakeside. It has a beach and gazebo too.

Schluter park in Monona

Schluter Park in Monona

Frost Woods Beach is beautiful too.

Frost Woods Beach sign

Frost Woods Beach in Monona

Next we turn right off of Monona Drive onto Nichols Drive. We first see the Monona City Hall.


It is also home to  WVMO, the Voice of Monona on 98.7 FM.  It is a LP (low power) radio station that went on the air in August 2015 that also streams. Give them a listen!

On the left is the Monona Public Library, showing off a futuristic look befitting the 21st century.

Monona Public Library

Monona Public Library close up

At the end of Nichols is Winnequah Park, peaceful in the winter.


On the right is the Monona Community Center with plenty of activities and events. The Senior Center is also here.

Monona Community Center

Monona Transit can take you to many points in Monona and Madison.

As you can tell, there is plenty going on in Monona. We hope to explore this beautiful community more this year. Glad we are so close by!

Monona Water Tower

Oconomowoc-Life Comes Naturally Here


Oconomowoc water tower

Oconomowoc is in Waukesha County,a city of 15,712. The program “Around the Corner With John McGivern” paid them a visit in 2014 too.

The name is from the Potawatomi Indian language, original spelling is “Coo-no-mo-wauk” meaning “waterfall”.  The city is located on Lac la Belle. We were here to celebrate Christmas and were at a house on the shore of this lake on the other side.  The view from there, you could see an island in the lake with a house on it!


At the edge of town is The Inn at Pine Terrace. More on it from the Oconomowoc Area Historical Society in this video produced in 2013.

The Inn at Pine Terrace in Oconomowoc

The Inn at Pine Terrace in Oconomowoc

Inn at Pine Terrace history marker

Back downtown to see what we could in a couple of hours or so.  The view of downtown across from Lac la Belle. I can imagine it in summer filled with boats and people fishing. Oconomowoc view from Lac la Belle.

From the other side.  The clock tower is part of the historic City Hall building, built in 1886. The clock is accurate too!

Downtown Oconomowoc

A closer view.


 Veterans Memorial Park is quite a tribute to local men and women who have served in our military.


We especially enjoyed seeing the train depot, now a restaurant called Maxim’s Family Restaurant and Bakery.  The track is still active and we saw a train go through earlier in the day, it doesn’t stop.

Oconowoc former train depot Maxim's Family Restaurant and Bakery

Maxim’s Family Restaurant & Bakery in Oconomowoc

There is also a restored rail car, open in the summer and outdoor patio space.

Train Car at Maxim's

Our last stop was at the City Beach, lots of festivals take place here, as well as performances in the bandshell.

City Beach bandshell in Oconomowoc


Concession stand.

Concessions at City Beach

Next time we hope to see more in nicer weather.  Make tracks to Oconomowoc!

Bird tracks in Oconomowoc

Village of Sturtevant-On the Move


sturtevant logo



Sturtevant is a village of 6,970 and is a suburb of Racine, which we visited in 2015.  This community is right on the Amtrak train route which makes it easy to get to if traveling here that way.  The traffic is frequent as well, this video shows two trains within 5 minutes of each other.

Before we arrived in Sturtevant, we went to the community of Caledonia first. The reason for that was the original depot was moved there to Linwood Park, a historical building complex. Find it at 7430 5 Mile Road, Franksville, WI 53126. They are maintained by the Caledonia Historical Society.  Hopefully we can visit sometime when they are open.

Old Sturtevant Depot in Caledonia

The new Sturtevant Station is beautiful and incorporates some elements of this design, just larger. It was dedicated on August 1, 2006.

Sturtevant Depot img_2643

Sturtevant Station img_2637

The pedestrian overpass makes it easy to cross to the other side of the track to catch a train on the opposite side.  We were in town to see the Canada Pacific Holiday Train which was a lot of fun!


Other points of interest in Sturtevant, the historic Klinkert Hotel building, now privately owned.  A video about it was produced by Thom Peterson.


Across the street from the Klinkert is the Caboose Railroad Museum. On the site is a sign explaining the railroad’s role in more detail.


Caboose at museum in Sturtevant

Rail cars at Sturtevant

We enjoyed dinner at the Castlewood Restaurant next to this display, great food there! Open since July 2o, 1989, it is a mainstay here for a satisfying meal.


Even though our visit here was short, it was quite enjoyable with the holiday train’s visit as the centerpiece.