Post Holiday Trip To Madison

The day after Thanksgiving Larry and I headed up for our annual post-Thanksgiving weekend trip to Madison, WI.

Madison is hands-down one of our favorite cities to visit — it’s only 2 hours away from home, so we like to go often. Although a small city, it has so much to offer: state capitol, home to the University of Wisconsin, 2 lakes (with an isthmus!), fabulous restaurants, museums, stores etc; I believe it consistently ranks high among the “best places to raise kids” list. It’s also a pretty funky city – very liberal and holds onto its hippie roots from the 60s. If I could gush about a city, Madison would be it.

Whenever we head to Madison we pretty much do the same thing every time: vedge. So this past weekend wasn’t any different. We started out early and took the back roads up — we hit a couple of our favorite “teeny haunts.” First, Rockton, IL – which has quite a few antique shops. OK, Rockton is actually my request with Larry usually waiting in the car. My favorite Rockton stop is the Country Cottage ( - great little shop. In the summer, Rockton also has this great little ice cream shop right in the main drag – it’s worth a stop.

Continuing on up North we stopped in New Glarus, WI, which is a quaint Swiss-inspired town. This was Larry’s stop for Springerle cookies – German Christmas cookies with Anise – hard as a rock (try dipping in coffee) to Larry’s delight – I don’t quite see the draw, but I’m not a big fan of licorice.

Just before I reached my car sickness limit we arrived in Middleton, WI – where we stay at the Marriott Courtyard. Middleton is another cute little town – about 5 minutes away from Madison on the highway.

The rest of the weekend included our usual stops:

A stop at The Company Store Outlet. We picked up a queen down comforter for $30 – can’t beat that!

Window shopping on State Street. This has got to be one of the best places to shop if you were in college – VERY hippie and “collegy.” State Street runs into the UW campus and is always filled with college kids – it’s a great people watching area.

We usually go to Genna’s Bar off of the Capital – I think this may be Larry’s all-time favorite bar. It’s so cozy and reminds me of a library. Unfortunately, it was not open until later so we headed to an Irish bar.

For our dinners we went to 2 of our favorite places: The El Dorado Grill and Villa Doce.

If you like Tex-Mex-style food, you’d love the El Dorado. The owner/chef is from Austin, Texas and has a knack for opening great restaurants in Madison – there are at least 6 throughout Madison

Villa Doce is actually in Middleton in their downtown area. They have great pizza – we’ve only had the Margarita pizza and salads, but I bet everything else is fabulous. Their pizza has phenomenal crust and we like how they use the fresh mozzarella in chunks, with fresh basil and homemade sauce. I’ve been searching high and low for great pizza since I moved from Connecticut and this is one of the best.

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