"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 :)
On the 2nd Sunday of the month between May and October and December the Nathaniel Dean House is open to visitors.
During the Fall and Winter (Oct & Nov, Jan – April) they are now are partnering with the Monona Public LIbrary to sponsor a Monona History Club series of programs. see their web site calendar for details.
A beautiful, warm Victorian home, it is the only house museum in Madison. This month the house was decorated for Christmas and turned out to be quite well attended. Inside the back porch was a 1890 Albany Cutter with Santa in it!
Inside was quite festive too. Lots of people were already there visiting. It was my visit since summer 2014 during their Back Porch Concert series. In the living room we were treated to Christmas music performed by two harpists. Very beautiful music ladies!
The dollhouse even had a Christmas tree in one of the rooms.
Many VIPs from the Blooming Grove Historical Society were there.
Roll Out the Barrels: The History of Barrel Making in Madison
Monona History Club
Monona Public Library, 1000 Nichols Road, Monona
Garry Hess will talk about his book that describes how his grandfather Frank J. Hess, father and uncles made wooden beer barrels at Schenk’s Corners for 62 years.
Author William Weidmann was also there with his new book, “A Trip Back in Time”. It was written for 2nd-3rd graders to complement their visit to the Dean House as they learn about local Monona history. It is not for sale at this time, just during the open house.
I just heard Ann announce she was giving a tour at 1:30. I tagged along, it had been awhile since our first tour in January 2014. We began in the parlor.
After Ann showed us the first and 2nd floor rooms, I then met the Dean House Manager, Robert Bean. He gave us a special tour of the basement level. This is not a regular feature of the Dean House yet, only when Bob is there.He showed two ladies and myself farm tool implements and even some lockers left from when the Dean house was used by the Monona Golf Course. Thank you Ann and Bob!
I had a great afternoon visiting this beautiful historic house again and talking to members of the historic society. They kindly request you donate a minimum of $2 when you visit or better yet, join! Happy Holidays from the Dean House!
The last time I attended this event was in 2013, so it was time to see it again. This time Al joined me. Admission is $5 for adults, $3.00 for kids 3-12. Since we joined during Olbrich Botanical Garden’sGLEAM event in the fall, we had free entry! The inside of the building was so festive, with many poinsettia plants, some of which are for sale. Memberships are also 50% off during this special event.
We headed down the walkway to the Christmas display, showing our membership card for admittance and hand-stamped.
Greeting us with a train whistle and an “All Aboard!”, Olbrich volunteer Judy warmly greeted us and had information about upcoming events.
A different train is on the left side, and “Iron Horse” steam engine.
Let’s see them in action!
Two members of the Railway Society were there, Dick Jellings and his wife Elaine. For over 20 years he wore the Colonel Corn costume at the Sun Prairie Corn Fest. Now retired, he enjoys model trains and showing them to the public. They will be part of the upcoming Mad City Model Railroad Show and Sale on Feb 20-21, 2016. We plan on going to this fun event!
The LEGO™ displays were quite impressive. Star Wars fever was rampant even here, with a rebel base display called “Home One”.
Winter Street Scene
In the Bolz Conservatory, the CHOCOLATE: THE BITTER AND THE SWEET exhibit had Cacao trees on display and signs describing the history of chocolate and uses over the millennia.
A small Cacao tree and pod.
Purity of chocolate, white “chocolate” is not chocolate at all!
Some of the displays.
We had a great visit to Olbrich and we look forward to returning to their other events in the next year. We highly recommend becoming a member. They get many special benefits, including a discount in their gift shop.
With the rebuilding of the Edgewater Hotel came new traditions for people to celebrate the seasons here. In 2014 the Edgewater re-opened after an extensive 2-year expansion and remodeling. This year we were able to attend their 2nd Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and festivities beforehand. No ice skating since we had two days of warm rain that week and the ice all melted. Here is that day’s schedule.
Upon our arrival just before 5:00 PM we saw the conclusion of the mini-concert on the winding staircase. Let’s listen in!
Part 2 of the concert took place in the adjoining Ballroom, made to look like Santa’s Village. There were now hand bells joining the chorus. They played a lot of great music for 1/2 hour.
Carol of the Bells
The concert was fantastic! It was now time to head outside to await Santa and Mrs. Claus to arrive and light the trees outside. It was cold and windy that night. The outside of the hotel was festive with lighted garlands and LIGHTED ice sculptures to make it a wonderland!
The crowd has swelled to fill the Plaza, Christmas music fills the air. The three trees sit dark, waiting for Santa and Mrs. Claus to arrive.
We hear jingle bells, they have arrived in a horse and carriage! They were moving fast toward the trees, posing with some of the children along the way.
The moment we anticipated all day was here, lets watch!
NOW we can begin the Christmas Season in earnest. Just as swiftly, the Clauses departed in their carriage and waved goodbye to the crowd. No doubt they were needed to light more trees elsewhere.
At this point bagpipers came in to close out the ceremony. The crowd was dispersing at this point, it was cold! We concluded out visit with dinner at their Boathouse restaurant, fish fry basket was delicious!
This was our first time at this Sauk Prairie event and it was really fun! We arrived early so we could and enjoy the festivities before the parade at 6:00 PM. The town was beautifully decorated for the season. In 2012 the event was at the historic park by the river. There was a craft show and a fire pit to warm up.
After the parade the people congregate in the area near the tree, well-lit by a spotlight.
People warm up and shop in the historic church building while waiting for Santa and Mrs. Claus to light the tree, kicking off the holiday season officially. They have arrived!
It’s time, One, Two and Three!
And now for the fireworks, ringing in the season!
What a wonderful celebration to bring in the holiday season with a bang! Happy Holidays from Adventures in Travel!
We wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks for following us and hoping for even more fellow travelers to join us next year. Enjoy these photos on a brilliant winter sunrise and pine tree laden with snow. Keep warm or cool, depending on your location on our beautiful world.
Wisconsin is big on showing Christmas spirit with lots of holiday light displays. Madison is well-known for their Holiday Fantasy in Lights display, put on by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and The National Electrical Contractors Association in Olin Park. This is their 25th year!
Turn on your radio to 1610 for the soundtrack you can listen to while you are driving through the looking at the displays. Enjoy this slideshow of the displays.
Some of our favorites.
This rocking horse is one of the original displays, now 25 years old.
The Memory Tree
From the top of the hill where the tree is, you have a great view below of the park.
The memory tree looks brighter here because I took this picture in 2003, before LED lights were used.
They even give you a candy cane as you exit, thanking you for coming to see the displays. Donations gratefully accepted!