Madison Road Trip

Get out of the house!

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Architecture

LeDuc Historic Estate

The LeDuc Estate is a gorgeous gothic revival house in Hastings, MN. Built by William LeDuc in the 1850s, the perpetually broke businessman took years to complete the house. Always one to speculate, and never one to collect, the family… Continue Reading →

Minnesota Museum of American Art

The “Minnesota Museum of American Art” is a most grandiose and inaccurately named location. The small, one-room gallery is dwarfed by the size of the outer ante-chamber and shop. Additionally, the one show on display when we visited was of… Continue Reading →

The History Museum at the Castle

A diverse, if odd, collection of displays worth visiting if you are in downtown Appleton.

Cooksville

Cooksville, a tiny community a few miles south of Stoughton, is the home of the oldest running grocery store in Wisconsin. Open in 1846, it still sells staples such as ice cream, bulk candy and Black Jack gum. Once you… Continue Reading →

Wisconsin Historical Society

The grand Wisconsin Historical Society building sits at the base of Bascom Hill, across from the Union and Red Gym. It’s an imposing building, but like most of the other UW-Madison buildings, open to the public. While most of the… Continue Reading →

Maharishi University/Fairfield, IA

The best term I’ve heard to describe Fairfield and the Maharishi University is “cognitive dissonance.” Drive into the downtown and you’ll find gorgeous Victorian-era homes, a red stone courthouse with clock tower, and a central park with a gazebo out… Continue Reading →

U of Iowa Natural History Museum & Old Capital

The University of Iowa Natural History Museum is of the satisfying old-school variety. It feels like what natural history museum should. Founded in the 1850s, the collection contains many unique and exotic species and are are housed in a graceful… Continue Reading →

Mineral Point

Like Galena IL to the southwest, Mineral Point is a town that time forgot. Then time rediscovered it and opened up a bunch of cute art galleries and shoppies. Originally a mining town settled by Cornish miners. Many of the… Continue Reading →

Galena, IL

Galena, IL is a charming little town on the banks of the Mississippi River, and bears many of the architectural hallmarks you see on towns further south. Red brick with cream trim abounds, there porches galore and even the most… Continue Reading →

Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s new Quadracci Pavilion, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, has won numerous awards for its fantastic design. The white “wings” of the hall open twice a day – 10 am and 5 pm (8 on Fridays)…. Continue Reading →

The Paine Art Center and Gardens

The Paine Art Center is amazing both inside and out. The European-inspired mansion is architecturally awesome on its own. The ever-changing gallery of shows is eclectic and unique – Gee’s Bend Quilts, Craig Blietz’s paintings, Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland photos, Chihuly… Continue Reading →

Lake Geneva Lake Shore Path

The walking path around Lake Geneva extends between 20-26 miles, depending on the source. Regardless, only the most avid of hikers is likely to complete the whole thing in a day. The path meanders through the back yards of some… Continue Reading →

Woodstock, IL

Like Spring Green, Woodstock is a town you don’t go to specifically for one thing, but instead for the ambiance. Made famous(ish) as the filming location for the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, this charming little town is a lovely… Continue Reading →

Al Ringling Mansion

The Baraboo area is rich with the history of the Ringling brothers, made famous from their circus. In addition to Al Ringling’s house, there’s the Al Ringling theatre, the Charles Ringling B&B and Circus World Museum. Until three years ago,… Continue Reading →

Lake Geneva Boat Tours

Lake Geneva is one of those spots that drew the ultra-wealthy of Chicago at the late nineteenth and  turn of the twentieth century. Like Mackinac Island and the western shores of Michigan, wealthy tycoons flocked to build massive vacation homes… Continue Reading →

American Swedish Institute

The American Swedish Institute is likely the most ornate house in the midwest open to the public. The original owners, the Turnblad family, made their fortune with a Swedish language newspaper. The mansion has every feature de rigueur to the… Continue Reading →

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