Tag Archive | Christmas

Windsor’s First Annual Holiday Lights


This is the first year Windsor has an official holiday light display. DeForest had their first display in 2015.

They all start out small, then grow over time.  It looked quite beautiful after the 7.9 inch snowfall that occurred the previous day.  The trees lights changed from white to multicolored.

Windsor Holiday Lights

Here is a video of the lights.

Closeup’s of the individual displays between the trees.


Happy Holidays from Windsor!

Happy Holidays Windsor

Be sure to patronize these fine businesses and thank them for being a light sponsor.


Christmas Open House at the Nathaniel Dean House


Dean House

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!

Albany Cutter at Dean House IMG_9564

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!


Harpists IMG_9717

The dollhouse even had a Christmas tree in one of the rooms.

Dollhouse Christmas room IMG_9725

Mini Christmas tree on table IMG_9713

Dean House treat table IMG_9718

Dean House Living Room and Dining Room

Many VIPs from the Blooming Grove Historical Society were there.

Dorothy Haines, a long time member of the Blooming Grove Historic Society and former Board member and acts as a greeter during our open houses.  She is also the author of Monona in the Making: History of the City of Pride, 1938-1975  which was published by HBGHS in 1999.  It costs $20.  She was warmly greeting guests and was a pleasure to chat with.

Also Gary Hess, who had recently finished his book co-written by Curator Ann Waidelich. His family had a cooperage business in Madison at Schenk’s Corners. He made these historical markers a reality.

 Gary Hess and display

Frank J. Hess sign backFrank Hess Cooperage sign

Frank Hess Cooperage photo on marker

Roll Out the Barrels Gary Hess

Gary will be talking about his book at the Monona Public Library on Feb 14, 2016.

Sunday, February 14, 2016
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
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.

A Trip Back in Time book at Dean 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.

Parlor IMG_9742

 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!

Robert Bean at Dean HouseRober Bean Door Sign IMG_9678

Golf Lockers IMG_9704

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!


Dean House Donation box IMG_9614

Father Christmas Dean House IMG_9605

Olbrich Botanical Gardens Holiday Express 2015

 Olbrich Gardens Sign 12-2015

IMG_8535 crop


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’s GLEAM 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.

Poinsettias IMG_8551

Poinsettias at Olbrich IMG_8544

Memberships and concession IMG_8552

We headed down the walkway to the Christmas display, showing our membership card for admittance and hand-stamped.

IMG_8802 crop Holiday Express entry

Greeting us with a train whistle and an “All Aboard!”,  Olbrich volunteer Judy warmly greeted us and had information about upcoming events.

Volunteer IMG_8554

Models trains are by the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society.  The LEGO® displays by the Wisconsin LEGO® Users Group.  The room is beautiful,  this is the right side of the room with one train display, a modern diesel train.

Right side IMG_8641

Diesel Train at Olbrich

A different train is on the left side, and “Iron Horse” steam engine.

Steam Train IMG_8616 Best

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”.

Home One Star Wars Display

Katina Cottage Lego

Winter Street Scene

Winter Street Scene IMG_8613

Winter Street Scene IMG_8614

Winter Castle Display

Miller Park Display

Elvenhorse display

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.

Chocolate Display sign IMG_8797

A small Cacao tree and pod.

Cacao Tree and pod

Purity of chocolate, white “chocolate” is not chocolate at all!

Chocolate types IMG_8743

Some of the displays.

American Chocolate Pots IMG_8706

Cacao used in Food and Health IMG_8701

Cacao and Chocolate display IMG_8677

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.

Olbrich gift shop IMG_8800

The 2nd Annual Tree Lighting at the Edgewater Hotel


The Edgewater 2015

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.

Edgewater Tree Lighting Day 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!

Stairway Choir at Edgewater 7993

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.

Santa Village at Edgewater

Carol of the Bells

Handbell and Choir

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!

Christmas at Edgewater

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.

Crowd waits for Santa at Edgewater

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.

Clauses Arrival at Edgewater

The moment we anticipated all day was here, lets watch!

Edgewater Christmas Trees

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.

Clauses Departure from Edgwwater

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!

The Boathouse sign lit summer

Fish Fry at Boathouse at Edgewater

Ken Wheaton and Mike McCloskey were playing some great music while we ate dinner. We heard Ken before, especially last year at Spring Green’s Beatlefest.

Ken Wheaton and Mike McClosky at Edgewater

It was a wonderful evening here, we hope to come back again for their 3rd tree lighting in 2016!

Edgewater in November