"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 :)
For many years we have been wanting to see the Janesville Rotary Botanical Gardens for their BIG Holiday Light Show. We arrived by 3:18 to get a parking spot, we know the lot would fill up fast. Thankfully, the weather was warm. The price for adults is $5, children age 3 and up.
The gardens have a sculpture dedicated to World Peace near the entry.
It was now 4:00, time to go in. The crowd was quite thick by this point and we were near the front of the line. Beautiful tree inside, one of their “selfie stops”. There were many scattered throughout the walk, in the video is a picture frame stop.
The first attraction was inside the building, a model train display.
Also music by local musicians. We listened for a bit before dark before going out to see the lights.
It’s time! This is the biggest light show that I know of in Wisconsin with 370,000 lights. Our jaws dropped. We began the walk at 4:26 PM and didn’t get back to the beginning until 6:07 PM. The luminaries lighting the edge of the path are 1/2 gallon milk jugs, very creative! It’s a 20-acre garden, and lights of all colors were everywhere! We got back to our starting point just 15 minutes before the rain began!
The beginning of our walk with the last remaining light fading from the sky.
Some photo highlights of the garden.
Look back towards bridge.
The photo does not do this justice, this view was especially breathtaking.
Also a Santa House, Santa was an animated figure (see video).
For your viewing pleasure, join us on our walk through this amazing garden of light.
Be sure to check out the gift shop to get the perfect gift.
We had an amazing evening here and hope you get the chance to see this great event for yourself.
The University of Wisconsin (UW) traces it’s beginning back to when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848. Today the UW serves all of Wisconsin and even the world with its many outreaches. Today we are exploring the Madison Campus. I didn’t have the opportunity to attend here (I went to Madison College). My grandfather Norman R. Braton was a Mechanical Engineer and Professor here at the Engineering Building for 29 years (1955-1984). Here he is in the 1960’s. He was also one of the co-inventor of the Shripper, it shreds rubber tires to prepare for recycling. Photo from the UW archives, 1977. Read more of his accomplishments here and here.
The campus unofficially begins at Library Mall. Here you will find the Memorial Library and the University Bookstore. It has spent recent years full of construction equipment, so here it is long before that, in 2012. It is lined with food carts three seasons of the year, not winter. Also the clock streight ahead past the carts in 2013. It was a gift from the class of 1923.
The Memorial Union is a favorite hangout in Madison. Let’s go behind the building to the Union Terrace. It was remodeled last year, here is how it looks in summer 2014. The colorful terrace chairs and the Lake Mendota views have delighted residents and visitors for generations. The Brat Stand is also open in the summer to enjoy a meal by the water. There is also a stage for outdoor concerts.
The UW Hoofers base of operations for the sailing club is also here. This is an organization anyone can join for a variety of sports and hobbies.
As we leave here, the majestic Science Hall in red brick towers over the union.
Now we make a right then another left onto Observatory Drive, another place for great views. The hill is VERY steep, I had to walk my bike. We soon come upon Muir Knoll in the Bascom Hill Historic District. John Muir was a student of UW, the Class of 1863. He became a naturalist known world-wide. There is also a Storytellers Circle made of stone to sit and converse. Long before this in 1919, it had a ski-jump!
We now are way above Lake Mendota, we now reach the famous Carillon Tower. It is now striking 11:00. It is not mechanically chimed, a man named Lyle Anderson has played it for 31 years. He retired in August 2016 and it has stood silent since then.
We continue down Observatory Drive, now we are way above Lake Mendota. From here we can see Picnic Point, a long tongue of forest reaching out into the lake.
On our left is Washburn Observatory, Madison’s own portal to the stars. It’s open to the public during events like eclipses, planet viewing, meteor showers and such all year around.On the grounds to the right is a very large boulder, determined to have been left by the glacier that was once here.
Next we are stopping to smell the daisies and more at Allen Centennial Gardens, another part of the UW Campus not far from Washburn Observatory. On February 19, 2015 they hosted their first Luminous light show in the garden. What a great winter evening with a beautifully lighted path and warming fires surrounded by people roasting marshmallows! They will have it again in 2016.
Head down to Lake Mendota just down the way, you will find the Lakeshore Path beckoning you to take a walk or bike ride. Also the Porter Boathouse looms in the distance.
During the football season, Camp Randall is the place to go for a Badger game. Here is the inside of the stadium after the Crazylegs Classic run/walk, last Saturday in April every year. It was remodeled about 10 years ago. We have done this event several times, a lot of fun!
And the Camp Randall Arch. Camp Randall used to be a Civil War base long before it was a football stadium. Go Badgers!
You can’t have a Badger game without “Jump Around”. This began in 1998. We have even enjoyed doing this at the Madison Mallard games 🙂
For those people interested in rocks and minerals, the Madison Geology Museum is for you! Also free admission. The kids will love the pre-historic skeletons on display too!
After a great day of exploring, a stop at Babcock Hall Dairy Store for some of their famous ice cream is a must! I have coming here for a ice cream treat since childhood. You can even go to the 2nd floor and watch them make cheese and the ice cream through the large windows.
This is only the tip of the iceberg at UW Madison. The UW welcomes everyone to come visit their campus, you don’t have to be a student to have fun here!
Monticello is a friendly community of 1,217 in the heart of Green county and has plenty to offer in the way of activities or just plain relaxing. A great place to relax here is by Montesian Lake and park. It has a covered bridge, large gazebo and a LONG grill for community cook-outs.
Pay a visit to Millie the Whale in the lake too in season, as the lake freezes over in winter.
Another great place to relax is nearby Montesian Gardens, a beautiful flower garden tended by green-thumbed volunteers. It was quite beautiful in mid-summer. Much to our surprise, there were pieces of Sid Boyum art here in the gardens.
Let’s take in the sights downtown, they have preserved their historic buildings quite well. We began our walk from the north end of town. Just before going down Main St, we went left to Coates St. to visit the Swiss Heritage Cheese Co. We got some delicious Brick Cheese.
Cheesemaking has been an important part of many towns in Green County, and Monticello has a marker in Montesian Park marking the production of Limburger cheese.
The first business we see on N. Main is Voegli Chevrolet Buick, co-owner Jack Stenbroten Jr. will be happy to help you! With an A+ rating with the BBB, you know they have your best interests at heart!
Across the street is the Eagle Pass Saloon and in the Woelffer Drugstore is now Monticello’s Historical Society Museum, which is open on Saturdays during the summer. Let’s go in! We are so glad the museum was open today. It’s here because of the efforts of the Historical Society and benefactor Mrs. Ruth Knight Sybers. She bought the building in 2001 and donated it to the Historical Society. Reach them here.
P.O. Box 463 204 N. Main St. Monticello, WI 53570 Phone: (608)938-4216 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A special postmark was created when the building was opened for viewing on May 12, 2007.
One of the contributors to this photo display of farm life, Linda Schiesser, told us of the business she and her mother Elda own, Scherenschnitte (Swiss Folk Art) in nearby New Glarus. She happened to be in the museum today. They have sold their work at Green County Cheese Days in September selling their art. Reach them here.
Scherenschnitte – The Schiessers
P.O. Box 232, New Glarus, WI 53574-0232
Time for lunch at the popular M & M Cafè at the end of the street, across from Montesian Park. We got there just before a huge crowd of bicyclists arrived, filling the restaurant to capacity! The reason so much bike traffic, Monticello is at the juncture of TWO bike trails. The Badger State Trail and the Sugar River Trail, which we biked on before from New Glarus.
We really enjoyed our visit to Monticello and plan on returning.
This has been a December tradition at Olbrich Botanical Gardens for years. Their Holiday Express event is a fundraiser that is fun for the whole family! When you walk in the door, you see a Christmas wonderland!
Turn right to find the Atrium, where all the fun is!
This year the displays resembles the game “Candy Land” . Amidst the displays are model trains contributed and set up by the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society. There are two trains on separate tracks. Great job everyone!
Lets see the train in action!
Some of the other scenery..
Here is the other train!
After enjoying trains, your adult admission of $3.00 includes a visit to the Boltz Conservatory as well.
It’s not just plants in here, birds live here also. There are Canaries, Finches, doves and Quail.
I had a very enjoyable visit on a cold winter day. You will too.