A Madison wedding

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It’s hard to articulate how overwhelmed with love I felt on this day.  For the happy couple, for the city of Madison, and most of all for the wonderful friends gathered there.  Ending every night dancing and singing in a big circle of hugs with these people would be my idea of bliss.

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Dinner at the Tornado Room

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A few shots from an amazing dinner at the Tornado Room Steakhouse. Fantastic food and an oh-so-cool setting to celebrate the love of two dear friends.  We felt so lucky to be included.

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It’s Friday, I’m in love

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A long weekend is upon us and we have big plans to do… not much.  We’re staying in town and planning to spend three days taking naps, working through our Netflix queue, and having a few romantic picnics on the roof-deck.  It sounds pretty dreamy to me.

Have a great weekend!

Photo from Madison, WI.  July 2014.

Eating well in Madison

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To be honest, most of the hype we’d heard about Madison over the years was about food.  The amazing restaurants, the sprawling farmer’s market, and, most exciting of all, the cheese curds.  We got off our plane with big ideas about the food scene, and Madison did not disappoint.  Here’s a short list of some of the fantastic places we managed to experience.

  • Forequarter – New American.  Great cocktails and incredible charcuterie board.  Bonus – they catered the wedding we attended, so we got to enjoy them twice.
  • Graze – New American.  If you want the BiBimBop just get the BiBimBop.  You’ll regret if you don’t.
  • The Tipsy Cow – Very good bar food.  Fried avocado tacos and cheese curds made my day.
  • The Old Fashioned – American/bar food.  I went here twice late at night.  The cheese curds were great both times.
  • Francisco’s Cantina – Mexican.  Chorizo tacos and cold horchata hit the spot late in the evening.
  • Tornado Steakhouse – Steakhouse (obvs.)  We got to try this one as invitees to the rehearsal dinner.  Great steaks, great cocktails. AMAZING ambiance.  This place was so so cool.
  • Fromagination – Artisinal cheese shop.  We stopped here to put together a picnic before the symphony on the public square.  We tried a nice variety of ripe french cheeses and sharp Wisconsin cheese, plus grapes and flaky baguettes.
  • Madison Farmers Market – Saturdays.  One of the biggest farmers markets I’ve ever been to, it spreads around the entire capital square with food cars overflowing onto nearby streets.  Walk around until you find the spicy cheesy, pull-apart bread.  Buy it hot, eat it right away.

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B-cycling Madison

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Summer in the Midwest is gorgeous, so on our visit to Madison, we decided to skip the car rentals and get around town using B-Cycle, Madison’s bikesharing program.  I regularly use Capital Bikeshare in DC as part of my daily commute, so I was pretty excited to try a similar program while exploring another city, especially since most of the wedding events and restaurants we wanted to try were within a few miles of our downtown hotel.

Madison was sunny and breezy during our stay, perfect weather to ride down the bike and bus only State Street and explore the University of Wisconsin campus.   We made our way out to the Arboretum to admire the lily-pads and tall grasses waving alongside Lake Wingra.  Later we rode the bike trails along Lake Monona back into downtown and all the other bicycle commuters made us feel like locals.  After a quick freshening up, we hopped on bikes again to ride out to a restaurant on the other side of the isthmus for dinner, stopping to drop off our bikes and watch the sunset on Lake Mendota.

Though Madison doesn’t have quite as many bike stations as DC, but we never found it much of a problem to make it between stations within the 30 minute check-out period.  The B-Cycle bikes are a little sturdier and less rickety than the ones I ride in DC, which is great, but the best part of the experience was the amazing bike culture in Madison.  Most of the city had amazing bike lanes, and when we did have to share the road, drivers were so attentive, patient, and considerate.  The whole city was a cyclist’s dream and I only hope that someday DC will be as safe and stress-free place to bike.

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Wanderings: Madison

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Is there anything dreamier than the midwest in the summertime?  As a native-Texas, I grew up associating summer with broiling heat and dead dry grass, until I moved to Michigan in my mid-twenties, and realized how magical summer truely was in other parts of the world.

This year we had a couple of chances to visit the midwest, starting with a lovely trip to Madison, Wisconsin for the wedding of a very dear friend.  I’d been hearing amazing things about Madison for years and that lovely city lived up to every expectation.  I’ll be sharing more about our adventures there over the coming days.

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