"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 :)
It may be winter outside but inside it’s spring at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The turnout was high at this popular event. There even was musical accompaniment by the Collage saxophone Quartet. You can hire them to play at your venue!
The Conservatory was inviting with 80ºF temps inside.
Let’s go into the exhibition room, so beautiful!
Large display, so many varieties!
After enjoying these orchids, there was another room with vendors selling them too.
Not only orchids were for sale, also orchid themed mementos. Pictures by Charlotte Fung Miller, Chinese Brush Art.
It has been 5 years since our last visit to Lake Geneva, and Winterfest looked like a lot of fun! Events centered around The Rivera and the road going by the lakefront building. It was a cold, windy and sunny day and there was a large crowd.
View from the balcony.
Adding to the festive mood was music by Lake 96.1, a local radio station. We could hear it throughout the festival because of the speakers placed throughout the snow carving display area.
The snow sculptors were not just locals, they came from all points around the country and even other countries. Lake Geneva is home to the U.S. NATIONAL SNOW SCULPTING COMPETITION. Read more about this event in the official Guide. We were quite impressed with the quality of work.
Enjoy a slide show of the many sculptures that we saw, as well as the other activities.
They were all wonderful, but these were the winners.
Team Wisconsin 2
2nd Place – Team Wisconsin 1
3rd Place – Team Maine
Two activities were enjoyed by people on the lake as well. Snowmobile rides were given.
Monona is a city nestled within the city of Madison, this is a map of the borders.
Strange as it may seem, Monona often flies under the radar as a separate entity because it is embedded in Madison. It was time though to separate it from Madison and treat it like the city it is. They put out a publication each year, you can read it online here.
To the surprise of many, Monona was founded by disgruntled residents of Blooming Grove. The site where the residents had their meetings to form Monona still exists, now the business called Monona Motors.
In the yard is a commemorative plaque on a rock and a two-sided marker. The building used to be called Ernie’s Trading Post.
The “main street” of Monona is Monona Drive, starting at the exit off of the West Beltline. You are greeted by three sails, representing the community on the shores of Lake Monona. Also two monuments of both sides of the road.
If you take a left at the light on Broadway and keep going, you will reach South Towne Mall. In the 1920’s, this was the site of Royal Airport, the Madison area’s first airport before Truax was built. Charles Lindberg landed here twice in 1927 and 1928 in his plane, “Spirit of St. Louis”. There is a historical marker at the edge of the Kohl’s parking lot.
A great many Monona businesses are located along this corridor and nearby, let take a look at some of them! On the Monona East Side Business Alliance website, you can search for businesses here.
One of my favorite businesses in Monona is Any and All Media, a production company that can turn VCR tapes into DVD’s and much more! It is located on 6420 Bridge Road. I had a reel-to-reel tape from 1978 they made into an MP3 for me, thanks! We highly recommend them for all your transfer needs. They also can shoot video of YOUR event for you. Prices are competitive.
Tully’s II Food and Spirits is on our left, just past the stoplights. It’s a popular restaurant with an attractive stone exterior. Al and I had eaten there to celebrate our engagement in 1998 when it was a different restaurant called Leske’s Supper Club. We should go back!
On this site was once a homestead before it was developed. Behind the Ultimate is a little stone/brick house. It no longer has an outlet to the street. It may be part of the business’s property parcel now.
Next is Schwenn’s Service gas station (ethanol free). They pump your gas, no extra charge. They also can service your vehicle and their goal is to make you a loyal customer.
Another favorite gas and service station of ours on Cottage Grove Road is Wayne’s Automotive, no ethanol there either! Family owned since 1980, they offer both self-service and full service at one pump.