What a phenomenal week in Madison, Wisconsin. We were so happy that the weather allowed us to enjoy the outdoors every day! Boat rides, historic buildings, nature walks, parks, gardens, waterside entertainment, plenty of teen time, and a special birthday arcade visit for one of our attendees!
We started our week together with a visit to the Dane County Farmers' Market -- the largest producers-only market in the US. Vegetables, flowers, meats, bakery, honey, sauces, fruits, nuts... you name it! Even though the market is always bustling, we found plenty of open space at capitol square to lounge, chat, climb, and explore.
After a bite to eat, we toured the state capitol building including the incredibly lavish chambers and a walk up to the dome balcony (both indoor and outdoor areas). We learned so many tidbits about the history of state and capitol: past capitol buildings had been destroyed by fire so this one is made mostly of stone; the marble used comes from all over the world including some French marble which is no longer available (AKA priceless); the painting at the top of the dome is roughly the same circumference as the rotunda space directly below, and estimates to build the capitol in today's dollars exceed $2,000,000,000!
Other stops throughout the week included gardens (both botanical and biergartens!), walking the Lakeshore Path from campus out to Picnic Point, playing in fountains, and hanging outdoors for picnics, outdoor concerts, and climbing (there was a lot of climbing of trees, buildings, rocks and walls). So fun for the kids.
The first half of these pictures are from Olbrich Botanical Garden & Olbrich Biergarten. The final two were taken out at Picnic Point, a peninsula which juts into Lake Mendota, the largest of the five local lakes.
Being so close to the University of Wisconsin--Madison campus was fantastic for our crew. Not only did some of the older teens get an official tour of campus, but we all were able to enjoy the UW museums, lake-side terrace, and beautifully-kept campus. Of all things, many of our attendees had a of connection with UW Madison, including two couples who met and got engaged while attending the UW years ago.
The UW houses a few public museums including the Geology Museum and Chazen Art Museum, both of which we visited during our pop-up.
And the list keeps going... we enjoyed outdoor concerts at multiple locations, the Henry Vilas Zoo (gifted to the city with the caveat that entrance remains free to the public), stops at the WI Veterans Museum & Madison Children's Museum, parks & playgrounds, an afternoon at Africa Fest, $5 boat rides, an add-on option of attending the musical, Hamilton, and a spontaneous birthday celebration with a day at the arcade!
We never know exactly what age range a pop-up will attract, but Madison was heavy on the teen attendees! Our older kids were able to stray from the group to go out for coffees, stroll down the iconic State Street which connects campus to the capitol, do a little shopping together, hang at the park with friends... all things we take for granted if we live in a stable community, but such a treat for our traveling teens who don't always have access to a local peer group.
What a full week... and as always, everyone is chatting about where we will see each other next! That's what we really love about this community. Even though we part ways, we leave with the promise of finding each other at another destination sometime soon. Happy travels!
Thanks Madison crew, we had a wonderful time exploring the city with you. Wishing you all well in your onward journeys!