"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 :)
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.
Brady Street is a street with character and spunk. It was settled by mainly Italian immigrants over a century ago and their decendants still own many businesses on this colorful street. The TV show “Around the Corner with John McGivern” inspired us to come here. He was right, what a fun place in the heart of Wisconsin’s largest city. Watch it here too.
We arrived early on this beautiful spring morning with businesses starting to open. Brady St. has parking meters. If you don’t mind walking a couple blocks, we parked on the side of the street by Cass Park to park free. Great park for kids to enjoy. We couldn’t resist posing under the big cat archway.
We continued our walk and saw another little park, redbuds in bloom.
We see a banner on the light pole as we reach Brady Street.
The first business we saw was Glorioso’s Italian Market, a wonderful place with lots of great food, some imported from Italy. We even had lunch there too, yum! Bring a cooler in the summer, you may be bringing home some of their meat and cheeses.
Another great place we stopped at was Dryhootch Coffee House. They have a special mission, they donate part of their proceeds to help vets. Learn more about this specific store here. Our barista made us delicious café au laits and made us welcome! Al fit right in, being a Navy vet himself.
Thumbs up to Dryhootch!
Berry Me Frozen Yogurt is another popular place.
We reach one end of the street, The Dogg Haus is ready to serve up Chicago specialties.
After lunch at Glorioso’s, we went to see the part of Brady St. we missed. The street being 9 blocks long, there was a lot to see. St. Hedwig – Three Holy Women Catholic Church has been a cornerstone of this community since 1886.
The Dragonfly is a unique store inside as well as out, a gargoyle sits atop the roof overlooking Brady Street.
Well, we finally make it to the other end of Brady Street. We come upon a bridge overlooking the Milwaukee River. What a view! This is the right side.
The left side..You can see a couple canoeing down the river. This will take you all the way down to where we were last year, the Milwaukee Ale House.
Near the bridge is McCormack-Mervis Brady Street park, ending our journey today. We hope you enjoyed Brady Street, we plan on returning again. What a fun day!
Watertown is a city of 23,000 with a rich history carefully preserved. It was founded by Timothy Johnson. He arrived at the Watertown site 12-10-1836. He also co-founded nearby Johnson Creek. If you are heading to Watertown from the west, at Rest Area 13, where you can see a historical marker describing hills left by the glaciers called Drumlins.
German immigrants built many of the historic buildings all over town. It’s home to the famous Octagon House (shaped like a stop sign), built prior to the Civil War. The house is now the base of operations for the Watertown Historical Society, and is open for tours April to October, and some special events Nov-March.
The Cole Memorial Bridge is the centerpiece of downtown, the Rock River runs under it.
We also discovered this site was also important during the Black Hawk War of 1832.
Many murals also adorn the sides of many buildings highlighting Watertown’s early history. Here is a pretty circus mural, picture taken in 2010. It is somewhat obscured now by the business occupying the building.
Watertown is known also for many buildings constructed of brick made from a special light color clay found near Milwaukee. Because the clay was so plentiful, Milwaukee was dubbed “Cream City” The Octagon House is built from this brick.
We have also enjoyed patronizing some of the great businesses here. Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters is our favorite place for the best coffee ever! Not just coffee but a cafe serving breakfast and lunch.
Another favorite place is Glenn’s Market and Catering. They make their own meat products and so much more! Even have a selection of gluten-free products. We highly recommend stopping here for your grilling and party needs!
We also enjoy shopping at the Bethesda Thrift Store when we stop in Watertown. We always find great stuff here!
If you look right of the depot, you see an impressive large building up on a hill. It’s Maranatha Baptist University, since 1968. One hundred years earlier in 1872, it was Sacred Heart College, then Sacred Heart Military Academy in 1955. Read about the early history here.
There is much more to learn in Watertown and will be back again soon!
Our last visit to Algoma was almost a year ago, we were back again for a visit before heading to the Green Bay Packers game that evening. We have fallen in love with this Harbor Town and wanted to explore it more. Also, to retake pictures of the lighthouse since they didn’t turn out last year. We also visited several businesses we didn’t see last year.
A couple of the businesses were actually over the border in Door County. Since we love Door County too, it was good to cross over. Our first stop was Renard’s Cheese where Al bought some cheese curds, a popular snack in Wisconsin.
In the adjoining building is where they make the cheese. They were happy to take our picture by a rack filled with cheese wheels.
We then went up the road a little further to Weinke’s Market to look around and get some of their famous cherry pie filling. They are located 6 miles north of downtown Algoma.
They had freshly made Kolaches, a fav from Al’s Czech heritage, yum!
After that we headed back to the south side of Algoma to take a look at The Flying Pig . What a delightful place with art for sale and beautiful gardens outside. Also a cafe. For sale were beautiful souvenir stoneware mugs by Sunset Hill Stoneware for $20. I got one 🙂 See a video here to learn more. The red pig gracing the front of the building is named “Betty”.
Enjoy the garden, a winding path goes around a pond edged by shacks constructed in Door County.
Relaxing by the pond. we had a good time here.
Time for lunch! This time we ate at the Stadium Diner. What delicious food friendly atmosphere here. Owner Terry Hannah personally greeted us and welcomed us to Algoma. Strangers feel like friends here and aren’t strangers for long! Our burgers were delicious and we split Brownie a la mode. Yum! We’ll be back next time we visit.
If you come here, don’t forget to get some wine to enjoy lakeside at Von Stiehl Winery. They also offer tours and tastings.
Finally about 2:00 PM, it was time to take lighthouse pictures. Also got some action in the Marina, it was a beautiful day with few waves. The true color is right.
Algoma has much to offer, we look forward to coming back.
We were on our way back home from Door County and stopped in Carlsville to go to Door County Coffee and Tea. Quite a relaxing place, hard to keep going home after visiting there. There are many gifts and a dining room which was full of hungry people.
There were large windows that allowed you to watch the coffee roasting in action.
It’s well worth the time to stop here if you are in the area, especially for the coffee. You can bring it home too, it can also be purchased in Madison and other area stores.
Cottage Grove is a community of 3,700 sixteen miles from Madison. Not only does my brother and his wife live here, they have many fun events we enjoy going to. It also has an active Historical Society located in Flynn Hall, a historic building adjacent to Fireman’s Park. Its main function was Town Hall, it was built in 1900 and in 2010 celebrated its 110th Anniversary. The building now houses the Cottage Grove Lions Club and the Cottage Grove Historical Society.
For appointments to see the historical society room and its contents, call her at 839-4470.
The Granger Movement also had a foothold here, a political group that formed after the Civil War.
One of Cottage Grove’s big events is the Hog Day Breakfast in Flynn Hall on or close to Groundhog Day. It’s a fundraiser for the Lions Club. A black pig named Sir Arthurpredicts spring’s arrival. A yummy breakfast is also served.
A couple friends of ours in the Lion’s club, Tod and Darlene Bernarde, act as the VIP’s at this event and take Sir Arthur outside to see if he sees his shadow. We posed for a picture together too that showed up in a newspaper article about this fun event.
Photo by Herald-Independent
In the early summer, the Fireman’s Festival is a big draw. It kicks off with the Hot 2 Trot Run/Walk to raise money for the volunteer fire department. We ran in 2012 and Photographer Mindy ? took our picture near the finish line (gave permission to use). Then a big parade was next. Here is the parade from 2013.