Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Many Moods of Madison, WI

Everyone has a getaway place, where they can go to recharge or relax and feel more at home.  I have three such places: Brady Street and Bay View in Milwaukee, and Madison, WI.  Since I hadn't yet visited Madison this summer, I decided to drive 60 miles west to our state's capitol to visit some old favorites and get to know someplace new. 

If you have never visited Madison, there are many ways to fill your day here, especially on a summer weekend.  I started my day early, leaving home at 7:00 so I could get a good parking space downtown.  On the way on Interstate 94, I had a very interesting experience.  I was driving along and saw a hot air balloon in the sky over Ixonia, about 30 minutes from home.  I thought this would be a great photo opportunity, so I pulled off the highway to a Mobil station I saw from the interstate.  Below, you can see the balloon.  There was still fog in the air so that's why it looks like it could use more contrast.

If the hot air balloon wasn't interesting enough, I went back to my car and saw a peacock just walking around the parking lot like it was the owner's pet (the horse, however, was fake):

It must have escaped from the "zoo", also on the property:

After that strange detour, I was back on the interstate to my destination.  I parked and started my visit at Monona Terrace, a convention center located on Lake Monona and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  I went there specifically to see the rooftop garden:

And to get some shots of the lake itself:

While I was there, I spoke to a nice gentleman who said they were setting up for two weddings that day on the rooftop.  I don't blame any bride and groom for wanting to take advantage of such an amazing view.

From there, I wandered down King Drive to the Farmers Market.  The Madison Farmers Market is, I believe, the largest in the state, and has vendors of all sorts with stands located around the capital building.  A lot of the vendors had a mixture of food and flowers:

While some just had flowers:

and since it's almost fall, there were a lot of gourds and pumpkins to see, both small:

And normal size:

One of the reasons I wanted to get back to Madison was to visit the Veterans Museum.  The last time I visited, the Civil War exhibit was under construction.  Right now, they have a special exhibit showing Wisconsin's involvement, including many dioramas:

And art from that time period:

The museum's main gallery features many fascinating dioramas spanning from the Mexican-American War (notice the messenger is riding a Harley Davidson):

World Wars I & II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.  I thought the Vietnam diorama was the best one:

From there, I crossed the street back to the capitol building, since I hadn't taken any photos in the building for a few years.  The architecture is beautiful, with each branch of state government having it's own wing.  If you look closely at the entry to the Supreme Court, you can see our state mascot, the badger.  A badger sits at the entrance of each wing.

On the 2nd level, they have a replica of the Liberty Bell, made in France:

I also participated in 3 of my Madison traditions.  I did a little people-watching on State Street, visited the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and went over to East Town Mall to shop at Gordmans

There was a specific reason I chose yesterday to visit Madison, and I'll post about that on Thursday for Alphabe-Thursday.  But here is a sneak preview:

For more information on Madison, Wisconsin, click here.

1 comment:

  1. I've never been to Wisconsin at all. Madison looks beautiful!