Tag Archive | Lake Mendota

Governor Nelson State Park


Gov Nelson State Park sign

Governor Nelson State Park is the one closest to our home, but this was our first time here. We wonder now why it took us so long, what a beautiful place! We hope to do some cross-country skiing and snowshoeing this winter there. This visit we looked for fall color and found plenty! Great trails too.

We hiked on the Woodland Trail, they even had a QR code on a sign to help you identify animal tracks you may see on your hike.

Woodland Trail at Gov Nelson State ParkIMG_8318


We didn’t see that but we did see an Ovenbird and Question Mark butterfly on our hike.


Question Mak Butterfly and Ovenbird


Lots of fall color! Here is a beautiful collection of autumn splendor!

Fall Color Collage at Gov Dodge

This park is on the shores of Lake Mendota, the largest in the Madison Chain of Lakes and northernmost. For great fishing information about these lakes, contact my brother Lee Tauchen. He is a Captain and professional fishing guide who will take you out in his boat to the best spots to catch the fish of your choice.

We made our way toward the lake and found a fish cleaning station. An anchor is on display nearby.

Fish Cleaning Station at Gov Nelson

Al and Laurie selfie with anchor

It was beautiful lakeside. we could see the Madison skyline from here. Staff were removing the piers for the winter the day we went. We were across from Governor’s Island from this location.


Madison Skyline from Gov Nelson

Governor's Island at Gov Nelson

This part of the park has a sandy beach and a very large shelter. Also a playground and even a checkers table!

Large Shelter at Gov Dodge

Beach at Gov Dodge

Checkers table at Gov Dodge

If you have a lot of items to bring down to the beach, they have carts you can use to do that.

Gov Nelson carts

We saw more color as we wound our way back to the car. This is a wonderful park and plan on coming back to see all the seasons.

Fall color at Gov. Dodge

Middleton – The Good Neighbor City

Welcome to Middleton! This community of 18,000 is just west of Madison and has a lot to offer.  My husband and I spent several months exploring, it’s that big.  Let’s explore the city’s more humble beginnings.This sign is at Mendota County Park,  on the site was a fur-trading post in 1832. Harry Barnes, the town of Middleton’s first Postmaster, named it after a community in Vermont. The year was 1848 when it separated from the Town of Madison.

Mendota County park Mendota sign

Many historic buildings still stand and are still in use today.   Here you can learn about the many Landmarks in the city. The Stamm House has the proud distinction of being a way station  on the Underground Railroad.

Stamm House in Middleton Wisconsin

The Old Blacksmith Shop on 2645 Branch St.

Old Blacksmith Shop

Also on Branch St. is the Club Tavern or Ye Old Tavern,  a popular place still today.

The Club Tavern in Middleton WI

Downtown has a large number of historic buildings, housing great local businesses.   One of our favorites is The National Mustard Museum,  site of the Mustard Festival every first Saturday in August.

National Mustard Museum

Mustard Tasting

National Mustard Museum display

The former Opera House.

Opera House

Louisianne’s, Etc.  for great New Orleans’ style cuisine and sometimes live music, especially around Mardi Gras.  The Hubbard Ave Diner and Bakery also has great food.

Louisianne's Etc. in Middleton

Hubbard Avenue Diner and Bakery in Middleton

Railroad history remains in the downtown area. Here is the steam train water tower. Also the former Depot, now a visitor center and museum.

Train Water tower  Middleton Depot

The other historic Museum is in the Rowley Residence,  still owned by the family.

Rowley Residence Museum in Middleton WI

For great shopping and more dining, Greenway Station is nearby.

Greenway Station

One of the most interesting spots in Middleton is the historic Boathouse Association. It is a row of pretty little houses on the shore of Lake Mendota.

Middleton Boathouse Company plaque

Middleton Boathouse Company houses

It was impossible to get all of the boathouses in one shot, except in a boat  or on the ice in winter. Here are all the houses, taken in the winter of 2015.

Middleton Boat Houses frame

For a great getaway close to Madison, Middleton cuts the mustard!

Living the High Life at the Edgewater Hotel


Read my post on the New Edgewater after the re-model!

12-3 and 4-2011

We were privileged to spend two nights here in 2011, thanks to my husband winning a prize.  We had a taste of how the upper crust lived for 2 1/2 days and we really enjoyed it!  We didn’t know such a wonderful place to escape from day-to-day life was so close to home.

The Edgewater is more than a beautiful hotel. The history is quite fascinating too.  It opened in 1948, owned by the Quisling family and constructed by Findorff, still constructing buildings in Madison today.  The Quisling family founded the Quisling Clinic in the 1930’s.  They thought Madison needed a luxury hotel to attract celebrities and give well-heeled visitors a great place to stay.  Over time,  the Edgewater became an integral part of experiencing “Madison atmosphere”.

We arrived Friday evening,  the sign on the main building glowed, outlining the letters with a yellow hue.

Edgewater Hotel evening

We actually arrived too late for a meal that night, but enjoyed a great breakfast on Saturday morning in The Admiralty Room.

Edgewater Admiralty Dining Room

We were by the big windows, but the day was misty and foggy.  We enjoyed a delicious breakfast,  I had pancakes and Al had an egg sandwich.  He also had cranberry juice, chilled in its own ice.

Cranberry Juicepancakes

We left after breakfast to enjoy the Tenney Park shelter dedication celebration,  it was just rebuilt and we watched its construction  all year-long.

We returned by 4:30, in time for our dinner reservation at 5:00.   The lights were down low for evening,  candles lit on the tables.  We then enjoyed a delicious 2-hour dinner by Lake Mendota, the Memorial Union lights visible further down the lakeshore as seen here.

Edgewater Dining Room at night

The first course was bread and their famous Bookbinder Red Snapper Soup, served nightly for 40 years at the Edgewater.   Delicious!

bread Bookbinder Red Snapper Soup

The entrée course could not be topped.  Al had Lamb Shank with Crabcakes and Guacamole. I tried a bite, so good!  I had Beef Wellingon with Asparagus and Carrots.  Also very delicious!

Lamb Shank and Crab CakesBeef Wellington

For dessert we had Chocolate Layered Cheesecake made by the pastry chef that very morning. It may look thin but was SO rich with chocolate.

Chocolate cheesecake

After dinner, we adjourned to the Cove Lounge to listen to some great piano music by David Bicknase.  He is a local pianist/composer who has contributed great ambiance on Saturday evenings and holidays  at The Edgewater for 10 years.

David Bicknase frame

We enjoyed another night there and concluded our stay after another breakfast Sunday morning.   The staff made us feel very welcome and contributed to the Edgewater experience.  Here are Ruth and Tyler in The Admiralty.  We eagerly await the grand-reopening in 2014.

Edgewater Staff Ruth and TylerThe Admiralty menu

A Tour of the Wisconsin State Capitol


Capitol 1

By this point I had lived in Madison for 26 years, and I never took the formal tour of our state Capitol.  I finally took it and really had fun!   I arrived at the desk by rotunda and waited for our guide.

Capitol 2

Our guide was Jim Schaff, the most experienced of the 12-member tour guide staff.   He knows everything about the capitol and is very enthusiastic in his delivery.  He pointed out many interesting things.  Embedded in the marble are some fossils.  One step even has a starfish, clearly visible.

Jim SchaffStep starfish

He took us to all the important rooms where all the big decisions are made for our state.  This is the State Assembly room.

Assembly 1

Where the Governor makes addresses to the state, often on TV.

Governor 2

The Senate

Senate 2

Badger-Senate 7

A badger overlooks the doorway to the Senate.

The Supreme Court

Supreme Court 4

My favorite part is the Observation Deck,  going around the  outside of the dome.  The view is incredible from up there!  This is looking towards Lake Mendota.

Observation Deck 10

Observation Deck 4

I hope you enjoyed your tour of my beautiful Capitol.  Hopefully Jim can be your guide too.

Rotunda 1

It was noon, with the tour over I had headed towards the Monona Terrace, where I was going on another tour.