madison

Boutiques for bowser: Seven pet-friendly hotels

Dog lovers who don’t want to leave their pet at home might think campgrounds and the occasional cabin are their only options for full-family getaways, but a few of Wisconsin’s boutique hotels welcome four-footed travelers too. How pet friendly is Wisconsin? Friendly enough for the state tourism department to emphasize travel with pets as a(…)

Lovely lodging of 2015: from Midwest spa, farm to historic Cusco hotel

Feeling at home while away is a beautiful thing, but definitions of comfort differ. I liked the looks of these places while at work during 2015. Buckingham Inn, 1615 Summit Ave., Madison: Almost in the shadow of Camp Randall football stadium at the University of Wisconsin is bed-and-breakfast lodging in three suites that stay true(…)

UW Terrace closes soon for major makeover

I’m not a University of Wisconsin alum but love to linger at Memorial Union Terrace on a sunny day or evening, facing pretty Lake Mendota. The Terrace is one of the most-loved outdoor destinations in Madison, but on Sept. 1 most of the area closes until next summer. A $52 million renovation aims to enhance(…)

Take Ten: Fun farmers markets in Wisconsin

When trees bud and bulbs blossom, the arrival of fresh asparagus and morels can’t be far behind. Hoop houses and greenhouses hike the likelihood that locally grown spinach, tomatoes and more will ripen all year, but now is the time for farmers markets to move outdoors, rain or shine. Count these among my favorites. Dane(…)

Food truck cuisine: sammies, pizza, ethnic specialties

Maybe we should count the return of food trucks and food carts right up there with robins as sure signs of spring. “Mobile food is not a new concept in the United States,” notes PasteMagazine.com. “From the chuck wagons of the Old West to the hot dog stands of New York City, quick, inexpensive food(…)

Where the locals go in Madison during winter

Dreams of a white Christmas usually come true for us in Wisconsin, but there’s a quick skid of difference between picturesque wintry weather and an avalanche of discontent. A new exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison, gently reminds us that the modern-day pleasures and pitfalls of winter are gentle when compared to what our(…)

Whipping up lots of suds in Madison with craft beer

Nowhere in Wisconsin does the craft of contemporary brewing seem more contagious than Madison and Dane County. The area is filling growlers and opening new breweries at an appreciable rate. It’s not any one place’s level of production that raises eyebrows, but the proliferation of like-minded businesses, neighborhood brewpubs to production plants with ambitious goals.(…)

Hot dog! Food trucks add sizzle to go-local menus

With the sunshine of spring comes a huge craving to fire up the grill and plop on the brats. Such simple, brown-and-sizzle pleasures turn extraordinary about 1,000 miles south. For breakfast: hot skewers of sausage doused with pancake/waffle batter, sprinkled with brown sugar and kissed with a syrup whose artisan flavors change with the season.(…)

Friendship Force boosts goodwill through travel

If tears flow at the end, as they are known to do, you can bet it’s a sign that the trip was successful. That’s because when the Friendship Force travels, the journey extends beyond tourist sites and souvenirs. Participants sometimes make meaningful connections as they are introduced to the lives of average people in other(…)

‘Discover Wisconsin’ longest-running tourism show

Question: What television show (with about twice as many episodes as “Seinfeld”) is the nation’s longest-running for its genre? Answer: “Discover Wisconsin,” which aired its 350th episode this month. No other tourism series has outlasted it. The show began 25 years ago and runs on 18 TV stations in the Midwest. A new coffee-table book,(…)

New Jerry Apps book, events, trips for gardeners

One of my treats on Sundays is reading the latest blog entry by prolific Wisconsin writer Jerry Apps, whose keen observations about life always seem universal. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a farmhouse or high-rise condo. My favorite part is “The Old Timer Says,” a one-liner of homespun wisdom. Examples: “Sometimes I don’t see(…)

Making magic: Houdini, other tricksters

Would you go out of your way to watch a guy escape from a straitjacket? How about if he was hanging upside-down outdoors, several stories higher than your neck could stretch? The peculiar antics of Harry Houdini, 1874-1926, easily drew curious crowds by the hundreds. We have long known of Houdini as an escape artist(…)

Glass as art: Movement began 50 years ago

Before Dale Chihuly – the celebrated architect of big, bulbous, vivid and swirly glass sculptures – there was Harvey Littleton. Before Littleton, glass was for eyeglasses and windshields, goblets and vases – but not heating and blowing into fine art. People worked with glass in industrial settings, not art studios. That changed when Littleton, now(…)

College museums: majors in birds to geology

Freethinkers buck conventional thinking and make their way through the world in unusual ways. This is the way I peg James Newman Clark. The Meridean farmer, southwest of Eau Claire, in the late 1800s successfully grew ginseng and goldenseal, both medicinal plants. Taxidermy of birds began as a hobby, then turned into a second business.(…)