Beer & mustard…Wisconsin 11.2007

Madison Wisconsin, Cherry Beer and Mustard Road Trip

Friday, November 30th


Mona and I have decided to hit the road again...this time, we're headed north.

our trip was supposed to begin on Saturday the 1st, but we decided to leave early to beat the "predicted" ice storm.

we left kc around 4pm and made great time and had perfect driving weather.

we laughed-out-loud at the audio book "a redbird christmas" by fannie flagg all the way to madison.

 we arrived at our beautiful hotel around midnight; no ice, no snow, but it's like 16 degrees outside!


not ready to call it a night yet (or morning actually), we went to the bar, listened to some soothing blues music and had a drink .

 i had a nice hot calypso (coffee, kahlua and cream)

and mona enjoyed a glass of merlot


 the musicians came over to our table and visited with  us after they were done for the night.  they gave us suggestions on what's great to see, eat and do in madison....the list just keeps growing!

we closed up the bar around 1:30 and headed back to our room.

mona's now asleep, but i'm still wired!

check back tomorrow to see what adventures we discover in madison!


saturday, december 1st

we got up about 8:30am and opened the drapes to a beautiful view of the lake.  the skies were a little overcast, but it looked like it was going to be a nice day.  we checked the weather forecast and it was predicted to snow around 2pm, so we started getting ready to leave for new glarus.

and then we lost the lake...suddenly you couldn't see the lake...the skies were gray and it began to snow.

as we headed down the highway, the snow was piling up, as were a couple of cars into fences and posts along the highway.....we turned around, deciding to spend the day in madison.


The capitol building on the left; scraping snow and ice off the car window

we drove through the campus of the university of wisconsin 

then we went to eat late breakfast/early lunch at a local cafe we'd heard and read about:

lazy janes


i had the veggie frittata (on the left), we shared a cherry pancake, and mona had an artichoke and garlic scramble (on the right).  it was a fabulous meal!


it was in this old two-story house, with funky furniture, big overstuffed chairs and sofas, and cool artwork lined the halls and walls.  The girl at the counter (on the right) was so nice, visiting with us and telling us all about the great places to visit in madison.


our next stop was "state street"  this is the main shopping district downtown.

it was pretty cold out, slick, and ice-pelted our faces and heads...not optimal conditions for outdoor shopping...but hey, we're on vacation, not even that will stop us from exploring and having a good time.



mona's hair kept freezing!  this was not a good thing.  I had a hat on, but mona only had ear muffs.  as we shopped, we passed a hat store, stopped in and tried on a few...this one we decided, was not the one mona (even though the clerk told us they sell tons of them!  they have the flaps that fold down over your ears!)

yeah!  we found the perfect hat (it even matches her really cool scarf). 

so we then felt all warm and happy and decided to keep shopping.


at the end of our artic-shopping trip, we enjoyed gelato with hot chocolate...ummm...good!

the story of gypsy

i'm holding "gypsy" in my hand, very carefully and lovingly. 

mona borrowed this gps from some dear friends of hers to bring on this trip.  gypsy and i have a "torrid" relationship.  she can make me feel sooo stupid and i'm sure she just sends us around in circles to annoy me....but in spite of that, i hold her delicately and treat her with utmost respect...i'm even beginning to sound like her soothing, yet cheerful voice when mona asks me directions....gypsy has become a "third entity" on this trip!


all of us girls have heard mona talk about "trader joe's" grocery store for a long time now.  every time we travel together, we always look for a trader joe's....and this time we found one!!!

we stopped in here and mona stocked up on her ginger cookies and other goodies.  we decided to buy some hummus, a baguette, and a bottle of wine for dinner and just eat at the hotel.  it really is a cool store!

we miss all the "traveling" girls that are usually with us on our trips.

but even though it's just me & mona, i still made the ever-popular customized trip bookmark.

it depicts the state of wisconsin, the cherry beer and the mustard museum!

we were cold, damp and ready to go back to the hotel for a little down time.

however, we didn't last too long there.....


we didn't feel like driving anywhere, but as luck would have it, our hotel was only two blocks from one of madison's original brewerys:  the great dane.  so we bundled up like two nanooks-from-the-north, and took off walking.  it wasn't a bad walk at all, and we were rewarded with a really nice server and samples of beer to taste.   mona tried four, and i tried four different was all good!


on our way back to the hotel, we helped push a car out of the snow that was stuck.

i love this photo of the bike in the snow...bad weather doesn't stop madison-ites from riding their bikes...all day today we saw lots of people riding bikes through the deep snow and rough ice.  when we got back to the hotel (again), i got out of my cold stuff and into warm wasn't long before i fell asleep.


sunday, december 2nd

we woke up to gray skies, but nothing wet was falling from the sky...we decided to try for the

new glarus brewery, again.

the highway was clear and okay to drive...but then we made the turn off the highway on the road to

new wasn't pretty.


 it was slow going and we never saw any of the countryside... then we saw the detour sign that eventually put us a worse road...but mona did a great job of driving and we finally arrived in the little town of new glarus.


our first stop was the "new glarus" bakery.  a true old-fashioned swedish bakery and the staff was super nice and talkative.  we bought something for breakfast and hot coffee.


 next door was "the bramble patch".  a place we'd read that had "award-winning" maple syrup.  it was all decorated for the holidays, and again the owner was very nice and chatty.


some views of the town and little church.


this was the "Maple leaf cheese haus"...and boy, did we get an education on cheese!

we bought the most special cheese on the was time to find the brewery.


 here is the new glarus brewery...home of the cherry beer. 

would you drive 500+ miles for this? 

(it's okay if you think we're crazy...we know we are...but we're having a good time)


inside the brewery we followed an audio tour, which i really liked. 

(photo on the left) the hallway that is lined with photos, news clippings, etc. that tell about the brewery beginnings; (photo on the right) mona learning all about barley and hops.


barley and hops (on left); the brewing equipment (on right)


this copper equipment was bought from a brewery in germany and it was really beautiful;

the center photo is of the oak barrels used to make the fruit beer; and the photo on the right

has nothing to do with beer; it was just an odd light fixture i thought was interesting.


i thought this was fascinating...the hops.  the close up view on the left shows that the hops look like little soft green pinecones; the center photo is a hop-wreath; and the photo on the right shows the way in which the hops are grown....vines over wires


one of the cool design features of the brewery, was this iron work.  it was made especially for this brewery and shows the  hops vinning along the stairway.


we tasted some beer, bought a glass and left.  (why do you ask, did we drive 500 miles and only buy a glass?)

because we'd found out you can buy the beer, including the cherry beer at the local grocery store much cheaper than at the brewery...see?  we're not stupid after all!

so we left the brewery...drove to the grocery store...and bought almost all the cherry beer that they had on the shelves, plus some raspberry beer and six packs of misc. new glarus beer.


several people in town kept telling us about the "swiss vegetable soup" at "glarner stube", the local restaurant.  so that was our next stop for the day.  we ordered a bowl, but when it arrived, it looked just like regular vegetable soup...we both looked at each other and commented that we thought it would be a "cheese" soup (since everything in this restaurant had cheese on it).

but there was a surprise in the bowl...underneath all those veggies and hot broth, was lots of melting swiss cheese. was sooo goood.!!!

the rain had stopped, the skies began to clear, we hit a dry highway, and drove to our next "destination" (as gyspy would say):  mt. horeb...home of the mustard museum.


you have to have a sense of humor to visit this's quirky, interesting and will make you laugh.   

 they have so many kinds of mustard!  mustard with fruit, mustard made with spirits, mustard made with honey, mustards made with herbs, mustards made with vegetables, exotic mustards, mustards by country....mustard everywhere.  plus you could buy mustard cookbooks, mustard t-shirts, mustard posters, and on and on.


this was the "museum" had mustard from every state, and most countries.   it had mustard tins.  mustard jars.  more and more mustard stuff.

there was even this little "theatre" where you could watch mustard movies....mona and I didn't know what those were, but decided to pass anyway.

feeling like we've eaten our way across wisconsin, we drove back to madison. 

after arriving back in madison, i bought a new corkscrew...long story, but it involves a bottle of wine, a bad cork, a broken corkscrew, two women (shall remain anonymous) in the bathroom with towels wrapped around a bottle of wine, laughing sooo hard they couldn't breathe....

we had one more stop to make.  i needed to download something for my computer, so we stopped at ....guess where....what night is it?


(hey girls, we miss you all so much, this makes us think of you even more!)

now we're headed back to the hotel for the night, have a little down time and

decide where to "adventure" to tomorrow.

check back later.


monday, december 3rd

there was an unfamiliar orange glow in our room this morning, and as we woke up, we recognized "the sun!!!"


even though it was in the teens, with a wind chill of 0, the view from the room and over the lake was really nice.

we discovered that it had snowed 6.5" on saturday, with more than 300 cars in ditches...i'm sure we made the right decision to stay in madison on saturday.

today was "check-out" day and time to leave madison.

we had one more stop to make at trader joes and to do a little shopping in the cute stores across from the market.


mona bought a funky angel to add to her collection.  see the guy on the bike?  there's tons of bike riders here in matter what the weather is or street conditions.



as we headed west out of madison, we stopped at the "midwest largest shoe store" named "the shoe box" in the little town of black earth.  the stickers on the front door are of all the name brands they sell.  we had a good time inside; and as tradition would have it, mona bought a pair of keens!  (i was good and saved my "splurge" for later.)

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