Reader mail: Megabus, Chicago, Door County, postcards

Readers, it’s time to lighten the mailbag by sharing your travel feedback, ideas, challenges and questions. Keep those email, Facebook and snail-mail notes coming.

“You are a great bus traveler,” writes Jack Handley of Chicago. “I am thinking about taking a bus from Chicago to Indy for a football game this fall. Do you think that would be a good and inexpensive option?”

You bet. Pay no more than $35 for a one-way ticket, and as little as $1. Passenger drop-off is downtown, one walkable mile from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The 3.5-hour ride from Chicago is nonstop, but don’t cut your arrival too close to kickoff time; sometimes those buses run late. That seems to happen more in winter.

Once in a while I feel like the Megabus Queen, but then a little snag comes along to humble me. I am always learning something new.

Example: Frugal friends wanted to visit a Chicago friend, and I was quick to volunteer to watch for cheap – as in $1, one way – bus tickets from Madison. I take the Madison-Chicago ride a few times a year and have learned these deep discounts at show up around six to eight weeks before the desired date of travel. Departure choices include Van Galder bus runs too, if you time it right.

Long story short: I secure $1 Megabus tickets pretty easily because I typically travel to Chicago solo, for work research. Try making a reservation for six people, and you’ll quickly find that $1 fare disappear. So now I’m eating crow, and those gals are wondering why the “cheap ticket” will cost each of them $50, roundtrip.

During summer, friends and I from six cities used a mix of Megabus and Amtrak to avoid Chicago parking fees and unnecessary driving for a two-night getaway. Union Station was the ideal meeting point because it’s both a train and bus stop.

Those who arrive early can relax and nibble at the retro Lou Mitchell’s (around since 1923) or Chicago French Market (30 artisanal vendors under one roof). Both destinations are interesting and only a short walk.

One of our favorite trip moments was lingering over a cocktail in the Signature Room Lounge, one flight above Chicago 360 (formerly the observation deck in the John Hancock Building). We didn’t pay for an observation-deck view of the city but still had access to miles-long cityscapes on a beautifully clear day. Finding the correct building entrance is tricky, but the question must be asked so often that the ground-level Best Buy store posts a door sign with the answer.

“We appreciated your piece about the new Door Artisan Cheese Company in Egg Harbor,” write Fred and Kathy Ricker of Kenosha. “We consider ourselves regulars to DC and are looking forward to visiting this new establishment. Your story gives us a look into what we can expect to find. It sounds wonderful.”

Sandy Malkin of Pleasant Prairie writes to find an article that I wrote about supper clubs. Hard to pin down. Since the late 2015 release of my “Wisconsin Supper Club Cookbook,” I have written and spoken about supper clubs in so many places. Check, the state tourism department’s website, and search “mary bergin” for lots of supper club talk in one place.

Journalist Doug Kaiser of Woodruff writes: “I wanted to tell you how old postcards can help in fleshing out a travel story. Back in the mid 1980s I began collecting postcards from the towns where I had resided: Wauwatosa and Eau Claire. Later, the collection grew to include Madison, Hudson and Racine.

“It was during a visit to one card show that I acquired a very interesting card from The Hobnob, still one of southeast Wisconsin’s premier supper clubs. The reason I bought it was that it was from the 1940s when it was located on Sixth Street. I’m figuring not many today recall that era.”

My spring roundup of newsy food items included an introduction to Loon Juice, made by Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery in Spring Valley, Minn. Kim Beebe of Ellsworth wants us to know about the hard ciders made by Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery, about 30 miles southwest of Spring Valley in Wisconsin. “Their Honeycrisp Hard has won national awards,” she writes. “They offer several other hard cider selections and apple wines, too.”

From Randy Soulier, CEO for the Lac du Flambeau community: “Being a leader in our community’s economic development operations, I and others know we live in a paradise beaming with serenity and tradition. Was truly nice to see someone else capture the moments that many could take for granted.”

The note was with regard to my article about development of the tribal community’s new cultural area and ceremonial grounds.

Wish I would have known about the second annual Lady Laughs Comedy Festival in Madison, before writing a “Take Ten” tribute to comedy in Wisconsin. Headliners among the 90-plus female comedians who will perform, from throughout this country and Canada, include Mary Kennedy from Showtime’s “Shameless.”

The festival is Nov. 2-5 at Plan B, 944 Williamson St.; Brocach, 7 W. Main St.; Art In, 1441 E. Washington Ave.; and Comedy Club on State, 202 State St. Tickets at are $12 per day or $30 for a three-day pass.

Available this month is a new bobblehead of Bucky Badger in a “Jump Around” pose, which is a tribute to the House of Pain song and fan bouncing that happens between the third and fourth quarters of Wisconsin Badger football games.

Other recent, limited-edition bobbleheads from the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum are of Eric Thames, the Milwaukee Brewer who hit 11 home runs in April; and a pairing of Aaron Rodgers with Randall Cobb, part three in a series to commemorate the Packer quarterback’s most outstanding “Hail Mary” passes. Learn more and shop at

Last: Cat Café Mad, a place to relax with one dozen or more cats in Madison, is in the process of adding an actual café, as in casual area to dine. The eating and cat areas in Wisconsin’s first cat café will be kept separate from each other. Expect a small menu with savory and sweet crepes.