Mary Bergin

I am a hard-working freelancer whose writing and photography have appeared in many regional and national publications. Lots of websites too.

For starters, that means the Chicago Tribune and, and TravelAge West, Group Tour Media and Global Traveler, DK EyeWitness and Rand McNally guides, the Kenosha News, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Experience Wisconsin and The Restaurateur.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bergin_02-1-1024x744.jpg
in New Glarus, Wis., Tuesday, May 16, 2023. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL

I’m proud of all of it and glad to bore you with additional details – just give me a nudge.

Midwest travel, especially lesser-known and rural destinations, is my specialty. So is a curiosity about food, especially quirks in regional cuisines. Add sustainability in travel, as in taking it easy on the Earth.

My newest book is Small-Town Wisconsin: Fun, Surprising and Exceptional Road Trips. Each of the 50 featured communities has a population of less than 5,000.

Wisconsin Supper Club Cookbook is my fifth book and pairs nicely with the Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club DVD by filmmaker Holly De Ruyter. We team up for presentations that are fundraisers for nonprofits, special supper club meals, culinary history discussions – you name it.

My Eat Smart in Germany book is the 12th in a series of culinary travel guides published by Ginkgo Press. It topped the travel guide category in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and earned an honorable mention in Foreword Reviews’ IndieFab Awards.

Earlier books were Itchy Cat Press titles (I wish Caroline and Frank a happy retirement!):

* Sidetracked in the Midwest: a Green Guide for Travelers

* Hungry for Wisconsin: a Tasty Guide for Travelers

* Sidetracked in Wisconsin: a Guide for Thoughtful Travelers

Much of what I write begins with my native state of Wisconsin. I am proud to call Madison my home. Please contact me if you have questions about my part of the world or ideas about what to highlight in it.

I excel nationally among peers, having earned four Lowell Thomas awards, the highest honors bestowed in travel writing. They were for this article about Johnsonville, Wis. (2022), this Chicago Tribune feature about an Arkansas barbecue joint (2020), this St. Louis Post-Dispatch feature about a remote Missouri eco-retreat (2018) and this Chicago Tribune feature about a museum devoted to bratwurst in Nuremberg, Germany (2015).

My Bill Muster photography awards include a  2017 silver, 2016 silver and 2015 gold. Haven’t entered the contest since I began relying on my iPhone for more photos and less back strain!

Although food, trends, travel, sustainability and rural gems are my forte in writing and photography, much more is well represented in my decades of professional experience for small to cosmopolitan newspapers and magazines.

I take great pride in getting it right and getting it first. Before switching to freelance writing in 2002, I was a longtime editor and writer at the feisty Capital Times in Madison.

In my work history: smart and creative journalism project leadership, web site consulting and development, sharp and fast copy editing, concise and accurate news writing, intriguing and offbeat people profiles, commentary, analysis and advice.

USA Today and Media Bistro are among the media outlets that have sought my opinions about regional travel and freelance journalism. My freelance work is one of five case studies in the textbook Introduction to Travel Journalism: On the Road with Serious Intent by professor John Greenman.

This profile by Madison newspaper columnist Doug Moe explains more about me and my work. So does this 2023 feature by Barry Adams of the Wisconsin State Journal.

I pay most of my bills by writing about people and places close to home, but travel also takes me to faraway destinations … an eco camp in Patagonia … Korea’s DMZ … camel riding in Sharm el-Sheikh … home stays in Japan … the Canadian Rockies in winter … Doubtful and Milford Sound as New Zealand’s summer arrives … Kruger National Park in South Africa, as the rainy season ends … Machu Picchu as the rainy season begins.

My syndicated “Roads Traveled” columns began in 2002. The content – like much of my other work – is the result of anonymous travel, independent travel, conferences of travel writers and press trips.

I seek work projects instead of employment in a traditional work setting. I welcome your assignments and story ideas.

Contact me at:
Midwest Features Syndicate
PO Box 259623
Madison, WI 53725

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