Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Stroll Through Troll Town

We headed west out of Madison, Wisconsin to an area of the midwest that was left untouched by the glaciers that flattened much of the land that became prairies and farms. Here the earth is still characterized by rolling hills and streams and small rivers. Some of the water ways have rock bluffs along their banks. It is a lovely area.

We went to Mount Horeb to see the trolls that have been used to mark the place on the map. The large, whimsical, wooden sculptures can be found throughout the village. Note: four fingers, four toes. The four fingers must complicate accordion playing.

While this sculpture is not a troll, B was particularly taken with it and noted that it apparently eats cars.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Some Surprises in Madison

I loved the colors on this bike.

We had cotton wagons, but they had covered wagons.

This part of a clock tower was in a parking lot across from a gas station we stopped in. I had thoughts of the movie Back to the Future.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Arboretum Turkeys

After the main public garden in Madison, we visited the University of Wisconsin's arboretum. It is an expansive 1200 acres of managed lands, that includes 20 miles of trails through woodlands, marshes and prairies.  Many of the trees where we were have labels, and we found this helpful, as most of what we saw was unfamiliar. We always find that disorienting as most of what we see here in Florida  is identifiable to us. 

Near the visitor's center, we came upon these turkeys that have become rather accustomed to humans, if not tame. We saw five together. According to Joe Hutto, a local Florida guy who studied wild turkeys so thoroughly, they are 20 million-year-old birds. Doesn't that gobble your mind? (or is it "boggle"?) Whatever.

These three played "ring-around-the rosy" around this tree for a few seconds. It was pretty funny.

Then we watched as this big guy took care of a little preening. 

"Where is my wallet? I was sure I put it in my back pocket."

"What are YOU looking at?"

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the gardens. And you can't beat the price: free!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Thai Pavilion

The University of Wisconsin was presented with a lovely royal pavilion from Thailand and we saw it at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

The craftsmanship was truly amazing. In addition to the carved and painted wood, there were bits of mirror that added to the shimmer of the building.

This close-up shows the detailed designs on the columns.

This sign explained some of the symbols used.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mailbox Monday: The Dairy State Box

Here is a better look at the cottage in back. It had been remodeled a few times from its original 1800s beginning.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Madison's Gardens

We set out to enjoy Madison's free gardens. The first one we visited was the Olbrich Botanical Gardens which is spread out over sixteen acres. There was just one themed garden after another: herb garden, rose garden, perennial garden, woodland garden, etc.

I loved these pyramid-shaped pots. There was a series of them hanging off of a rail.

We noticed more than one volunteer per acre: actually, they were all over the place, planting, watering and even scrubbing the sculptures. It was encouraging to see so many working to maintain this beautiful place, all for the love of a garden.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wisconsin's Capital City

We stayed our third night on the road in Madison, Wisconsin. We stayed at the Hotel Ruby Marie, a reworked Victorian hotel downtown, with a view of one of the two big lakes that the city lies between.

It was a fun stay that included beverage tickets and a fresh pastry breakfast made in the bakery downstairs. They were amazing! We had supper in the little German pub beside the hotel. We ate outside and enjoyed the cool evening and the local, live music. I had the bratwurst on a bun they made themselves. It was to die for. And that spicy, little ketchup-looking stuff that was kin to a cocktail sauce was really yummy.

After dinner, we took a walk for a couple of miles around downtown, circling the capitol building.

The exterior is constructed of white granite.

The statue on top is gilded bronze. Her name is Wisconsin and she represents their motto: Forward! She is just over 15 feet tall and one heavy gal at over three tons. And lest you find her too serious, she has a badger on her head to go with the eagle on the globe in her hand. Wisconsin is, afterall, the Badger State.

 There are four building wings coming out from the rotunda.

The dome is the largest in the United States (by volume) and one of the largest domes in the world.

I liked the sunflower atop the columns.

We continued to walk to the convention center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, that is lakeside. We walked by the shore as the sun set. Many people were out walking, jogging and biking in the pleasant evening breeze. 

When we awoke in the morning, it was a crisp, dry, breezy 52 degrees. Ahhhhhh!! We weren't in Florida anymore!