Tag Archive | Madison

29th Annual Holiday Fantasy in Lights – 2017 – Hayride


November 19, 2018

 

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Another great display this year for everyone to enjoy.  This year I took a look at the displays from a new viewpoint, from a hayride! Info here.

Reserve your own haywagon ride (limited availability) for just $100 plus tax, more information: http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/reserve/hayrides.cfm

The line was long, but it was a warm night and there was a fire to keep us warm while waiting.

Each year, there is a soundtrack you can listen to as you drive through the park transmitted by a LP (low power) radio station. There are actually two stations now. Tune in to 95.3 FM for the main audio, 95.1 for the Dancing Trees.

There were two wagons continuously going around after getting loaded.  The atmosphere was filled with excitement for the upcoming holidays and the kids in the group were so excited!

 It’s our turn!  Soon, we were on our way, watch the video of the hayride.

I returned on the 25th and drove through on my own. If you want to see the displays without other people around, come early in the morning before dawn.  Enjoy the Dancing trees, synchronized to Nutcracker music.

2018 will be the 30th Anniversary of Holiday Fantasy in Lights, I look forward to that!  I will do the hayride again, it was so much fun!

 

Making a Big Stink About the Corpse Flower


6-14-18

 

It happened! Olbrich Botanical Garden’s Corpse Flower has finally bloomed today.  The last time this plant bloomed was in 2009, I didn’t see it then.  They have 4 plants altogether. The University of Wisconsin has its own Corpse Flower, affectionately named “Big Bucky”. That one last bloomed in 2012. It was named “Mori” by fans of Olbrich.

It’s housed inside of the Bolz Conservatory. At 4:15 PM it wasn’t too crowded so I picked a good time. Here are some facts about the flower.

The flower is located near the Conservatory entrance, there is a sign showing its life cycle. Picture courtesy of the University of Wisconsin.

I may have missed the peak smelliest time of the flower, I could only smell it up close. Inside the spathe the color is a deep red, setting off the green.

Now the whole plant.

It was fun meeting Mori, the world’s largest flower in person.

 

It’s The Cat’s Meow at Cat Cafe Mad


Cat Cafe Mad closed in mid-July 2018.

2-3-18

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.

We plan on making as many visits as we can!

 Donations are welcome and appreciated!

You can  join a Meetup group and make friends with other cat lovers in the community. You will be kept up to date on events at the café.

 

Related Websites

Madison Cat Lovers

Community Cat,Inc.

Underdog Pet Rescue of Wisconsin

TRUE Coffee Roasters

Sjölinds Chocolate House-Mt. Horeb

Petcube

Dr. Elsey’s Cat Litter

Supper Clubs – Smoky’s Club


9-30-17

 

 

I have lived in Madison for 33 years, Al about 23, and we had never been to Smoky’s Club before.  We figured it was about time!  For those who don’t know, this is a supper club, only open for dinner.  Wisconsin is famous for them all over the state, and we hope to spend more time exploring them. Find a supper club in your area here.

Smoky’s opened back in 1953 before there were many businesses on University Avenue. I hope they are there for their 100th anniversary in 2053. My Grandparents Norman and Barb Braton brought many people here during the 60’s-80’s. Leonard and Janet Schmock are the current owners and are grooming the next generation to continue the great service here.

When you enter, you forget it is 2017. It is the 60’s again and big band music plays softly in the background. No bright lights here, subdued lighting and a tension-free background leads to a relaxing dinner here.

Yes, that lamp above is a puffer fish.

We ate in the back dining room, inside was a picture of John F. Kennedy and candlelit tables with cloth napkins. The long table was soon filled with Badger football fans enjoying dinner after the game.

Our meal began with relishes, veggie while we wait for the meal.

And dinner itself! We ordered the sirloin steak with hash browns, another item Smoky’s is famous for. The steaks come a 500°F heated metal platter, you are warned not to touch it by your server. You also get a bread basket with your meal.

Dinner was delicious and we had no leftovers. Enjoy some pictures of the bar area, many twinkly lights and neat decor.

Get out of the water, SHARK!

We really enjoyed our dinner here and the relaxing ambiance. We recommend coming here for a great dinner, especially steak, as they are famous for them. Don’t pass up the hash browns either, Smoky’s is also famous for them as well.

 

Olblich Garden’s 3rd Annual GLEAM


9-15-17

Photo by Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Each year I eagerly look forward to Olbrich Botanical Garden‘s hottest new art display taking place at night. They really outdid themselves this time. Here is a map of all the art installations, more than ever this year!

For the first time, there are displays inside of the Boltz Conservatory. This display cycles through all the colors, just like the lights lining the inside of the conservatory.

Next I went outside to see those displays, the tree outside was raining light!

There is now a bar outside so you can enjoy an adult beverage while enjoying GLEAM.

 There was a surprise around every corner, I especially liked the columns on either side of the entrance to the Rose Garden, there were roses rotating around inside.

Loved the rainbow brick path.

Projected onto the path in the grand circle were messages, and butterflies flew through them.

New this year were lighted panels with a description of the displays. This one was really neat.

The star shower light made for a ghostly appearance of anyone standing under it.

This one was a little hard to take a picture, video is better.

This one was pretty too.

I am finishing my journey through the gardens, looking completely different from in the day.  As a member, it is $11 to come to GLEAM, 14 if you are not.  You can become a member at Olbrich at this time for a discount and save on future events, coupon is on GLEAM guide. I look forward to next year!

 

Iconic Madison Restaurants – Ella’s Deli


Closed January 2018

3-31-17, 5-17-17

 

I admit it, it had been years since we have been here.  You get into habits of going to the same places and sometimes forget to go to the truly unique destinations.

We heard that Ella’s Deli is for sale.  It started a ripple of panic through the city in May.  Since the early 1960’s the restaurant has only had one owner, Ella Hirschfeld. She wants to retire and looking for someone to continue the legacy, not close the restaurant. Ella’s was originally on 425 State Street, I remember it in 1984 when I was attending college downtown. This location opened in 1976 and has provided generations of fun for thousands of children, now their grandchildren.

A family-friendly restaurant, there is a carousel ride that opens as soon as the snow stops flying. In 2017 it was March 31. I stopped by there to see it, it’s spring when the carousel is open for rides!

The carousel is made by C.W. Parker, made in Leavensworth, Kansas in 1927. A real beauty! The control booth is pretty too.  Ella’s was awarded by the National Carousel Association  in 2001 for their work in restoring this beautiful piece of history.

 

Get a token inside to take a ride at the cashier station. The carousel is $1.50 per rider. If an adult is standing next to a child for safety, the adult rides for free.

The inside has so many things to look at, it’s easy to spend hours there.  Learn more about the attractions here. A panorama of the dining room from the entrance.

We took a thorough tour after having lunch and this is the result, see video. A real visual treat!

The food was delicious too, we sat by the window with a carousel view.

Some of the displays, so unique! The rest of them can be seen in the video.

There is a refrigerated case of meats and cheese that you can take home too.

Ella’s is a friendly place we are glad we were here. Even if you are just visiting here for a day, Stopping here should be on your list. You don’t have to be a kid to have fun here!

Summer 2017


 

We had a wonderful summer this year. We were having so much fun going to so many great events around Wisconsin we didn’t have time to write about it yet, let alone spring!  Our South Dakota and Wyoming trip took us 4 months to write about we saw so much!

Meanwhile, enjoy our video of Summer 2017. More details coming later about what we did. We never run out of things to do in this great state!