madison wisconsin

Last weekend, Eric and I decided to take advantage of the long holiday weekend by planning a road trip to Madison, Wisconsin to do what we do best – adventure, travel, and be ridiculous together.

All week we asked friends and co-workers who went to the University of Wisconsin for their must-dos and favorite spots. I always check out other blogs and Trip Advisor for recommendations too.

We had such a fun time and felt like we covered an awesome spread of stuff, so I wanted to put together a quick travel guide of spots I recommend if you ever find yourself in Madison or are nearby in need of a mini-vacay!

What To Eat

Dane County Farmers’ Market // This huge market is amazing! Tables are set up all along the perimeter of Wisconsin’s capital square, with foot traffic heading all in one direction. Eric and I stuffed our faces with more cheese samples than I thought possible.

Everyone said this was a must-do, and I 100% see why. Fun Fact: This is the largest producers-only farmer’s market in the country – meaning those who made created the product are standing behind the table.

madison wisconsin

madison wisconsin

madison wisconsin

Stella’s Hot & Spicy Cheesy Bread // OMG. This stuff is outta this world. A huge loaf of the softest, most flavorful and delicious smelling cheese bread…that Eric and I may or may not have eaten as our meal for the entire day just between us too. You cannot go to Madison and not try this treat.

madison wisconsin

madison wisconsin

Old Fashioned’s Cheese Curds // Like I said, we ate a lot of bread and cheese – but don’t worry, we semi-redeem ourselves with a hike (more below). This restaurant was listed as a top place to grab some of these famous bites. The other food was probably just okay, but totally worth the visit for the curds.

Marigold Kitchen // Such a killer brunch spot, friends.  Loved the order at the counter, then pick your spot, oh-so-relaxed vibes. You could most definitely taste fresh ingredients and there were wild flowers on every table. The limitless coffee from Colectivo was sooooo good!

madison wisconsin

Colectivo // Same coffee mentioned above, we went to their two beautiful locations around town over the course of our stay! Great teas, coffee, bakery, and café type foods. We picked up breakfast here on our way out.

The Daily Scoop // Another must – directly linked to The Terrace below! The University of Wisconsin agriculture students actually make this ice cream and it is SO YUM. Like some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had without a doubt. I got strawberry and mint chocolate chip, even the scoops looked beautiful.

madison wisconsin

What To Do

Tour the Capital // Easy to do right after the  market! Anyone can walk in and look around. You can even go to the very top observation deck. The state mammal and university mascot, the badger, is sculpted above the Supreme Court door, and that made me really happy. Then, you can stroll down State Street and hop shops all the way to the University at the other end of downtown.

madison wisconsin

madison wisconsin

University of Wisconsin // We didn’t do much on campus, but we did walk around and snap a few photos! It seemed to have so much history and there were some beautiful buildings. I stomped around pretending to be alumni J.J. Watt, my NFL crush/our favorite Houston Texan’s player.

madison wisconsin

THE TERRACE // This was our favorite spot in town. A big terrace filled with friends and families enjoying beers, brats, and scoops in the sun. There’s the prettiest view of the lake! Saturday afternoon there was a DJ, and Sunday when State Street seemed like a ghost town, the Terrace was poppin’. Make sure to try the famous brew only sold in Wisconsin – Spotted Cow. Bonus: you can rent boardgames to play!

madison wisconsin

madison wisconsin

Where to Venture Outside of Town

Wollersheim Winery & Distillery // I was really hoping to tour a winery over the holiday since there are so many throughout the Midwest! Wollersheim is family-owned and has received several awards. The winery tour, including a tasting, is just $5! Additional tastings also just $5. Can’t beat that. (3o min. away)

madison wisconsin

madison wisconsin

madison wisconsin

Devil’s Lake & State Park // Eric really wanted to get in some nature time, so this was perfect and just a half hour from the winery. There were lots of people out on the huge web of trails, grilling along the water, and playing in the lake. We hiked about 2.5 miles – burning some cheese calories I hope! (1 hour away)

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Whew, that was a pretty packed list, folks! Hope this inspires you to visit to this sweet little college town, and eat your weight in all their delicious treats.

Did I miss something? Fill me in with a comment!

Days By Day

Saturday Mornings

Chicago farmer’s market Saturday mornings are what summer dreams are made of, y’all.

A few weekends ago, Eric and I set off to check out two farmer’s markets we missed from the end of last summer – the Green City Market in Lincoln Park and the Division Street Farmer’s Market. These markets run from May through the end of October, but prime time are these summer months when the sun is shining and everyone is out for some fresh goods.

We don’t go prepared to do all our grocery shopping (although we have aspirations to be that adult one day), but we love to chat with vendors, consume as many samples as possible, and get some fresh baked croissants or grilled cheeses we can munch on while walking around.

That time we picked up a chocolate croissant and coffee. There was also a crepe stand set up that I’ll be making a beeline to next time. I was pretending we were in Paris again, since pain au chocolat and banana-nutella crepes were basically our diet for the whole week we were there.

Saturday Mornings

Saturday Mornings

Saturday Mornings

We realized that come 12:00 pm, a lot of the vendors were definitely low on their stuff. If you’re set on having your range of choices, or getting some of those drool worthy mozzarella sticks that have people lining up in Lincoln Park, I’d aim to get there at least closer to 10:00 am!

Um, also, if you’re a dog lover like me – huge perk to attending a market is that there are literally so many dogs of all breeds and ages. It kills me. All the owners Eric and I went up to were so nice, we had to get our petting quota in.

We’re long overdue for our next farmer’s market trip – hopefully this weekend!

Days By Day

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Eric and I flew in and out of Dublin, so we definitely had our best food in Ireland when we came back at the end for a couple days. For now though, I’m happy to share a couple places we ate at during this first weekend that we thought were quite delicious!

Our favorite meal of the weekend was at an adorable place in the Temple Bar area that had a great dinner deal called Brick Alley Cafe. We walked in on a whim after realizing how hungry we were, and not necessarily wanting a full on pub vibe. Eric ordered the Beef Lasagna, while I decided on the Shepard’s Pie. Both came with soup, ice cream for dessert, and were super yummy!

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Another gem we stumbled upon – a farmer’s market in central Dublin that looked like a feast for the tummy and was definitely feast a for the eyes. I’m sad we had just eaten before we stumbled upon it since we were too stuffed try anything, but I can only imagine how delicious it all was! I loved chatting with the vendors and snapping away some photos.

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The last place we stopped at in Dublin was this cute little cafe and pastry shop called Queen of Tarts. Eric ordered an English Tea, I got a cup of coffee, and we shared a tasty slice of Bailey’s Cheesecake. It was the perfect treat before we started our journey off to London that evening – which by the way included a beautiful ferry ride across the Irish sea since we were traveling by Megabus. Although busses are never the most comfortable option, the overnight choice didn’t eat into any of our daytime and saved us lots of money, so we weren’t complaining!

A little tradition we established early on was to take a photo on our way out of where had been staying, or at the metro stop near by we had been using, as we headed out towards our next destination. I’m excited to look at them progress as I blog.

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Ireland was such a cool country. The people were so friendly and I’m glad we took everyone’s advice to take a day trip out of Dublin to see the best part of it all – the Irish countryside. More on those last couple days we spent back in Ireland – including the Cliffs of Moher, a few small villages, and the BEST Italian food I’ve ever had – to come later on!

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What is this?? A blog post? Well it’s about dang time! That’s what I’m telling myself. I’ve realized how much more chaotic life is when you’re juggling school, organizations, an internship, and real life decisions all at the same time. Can’t my two responsibilities just consist of keeping up with my fall TV dramas and try to keep up with fitness fanatic Sean T as I do Insanity?

Despite all of the busyness, there is so much to be thankful for! Having opportunities, sweet friends who never allow a dull moment, and a city full of delicious food is always a good thing. Speaking of sweet friends and delicious food, Saturday morning called for waking at a decent time to check out the Sustainable Food Center Farmer’s Market in downtown ATX with my roommate Somer and her momma!

In case ya didn’t know already, I do love a good farmer’s market. Free samples, cute doggies walking around, local food, and beautiful colors – what’s not to love? This Austin set up has been on my list of to-dos for awhile, so it was so nice to wake up on a Saturday and have a productive morning of exploring. We sampled some delicious salsa, feta cheese, honey, juices, and left with fresh veggies and then some.

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After picking up some Austin market goodies, we made our way to a restaurant I have been wanting to try out forever – Walton’s Fancy and Staple! Somer and her mom, Mrs. Jeannie, gushed over the Challah French Toast, so I knew I couldn’t pass it up as a first timer. The dish was made with a creme brulee batter, and topped with Vermont maple syrup and mixed berries. Yummm, am I right??

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Somer tried out the featured Apple Cider Waffles and Mrs. Jeannie decided on the Turkey Sweet sandwich. Since we all taste tested each dish, I can truly say we made good choices all around.

If you’ve stopped by this little ol’ blog before, thanks for being patient with my very irregular posting after a summer of consistency (that I really miss)! Writing and snapping photos makes me happy. And now that I have several shots from events this semester, I need to get them on here. Hope its a wonderful week, folks!

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We are a family that loves being in the kitchen – my parents and Annika mostly for whipping up phenomenal dishes, me mostly for taste testing or assisting with basic recipe tasks. So one thing I knew my family would really enjoy doing during their visit, especially my sweet momma, was checking out a Chi-Town Farmer’s Market.

Eric and I actually passed through this same Farmer’s Market on Division Street during his trip, but I was excited to go back to take some more time to check out the different vendors and snap some photos. Be warned, there are quite a few on here today, but I just couldn’t help myself. It was all so beautiful!

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The vendors were so charming and friendly. Some even had samples for the market attendees. Lots of families, couples, and dogs made their way through the tent filled street. What a wonderful sense of community that was there existing on a perfect summer day.

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I’ve learned that there are tons of farmer’s markets that go on throughout Chicago, you can basically find one every day of the week somewhere. I wish I had endless time to go check them all out. Or even to pick out lots of fresh ingredients for a delicious meal. As you’ll probably see from the pictures, everything looked amazing. One of my favorite things in the world is a good bowl of fruit, so everywhere I turned I was tempted to grab a handful and indulge.

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The Farmer’s Market was the perfect start to our Saturday and I’m so glad I could share it with the fam. We ended up picking up that Zucchini bread and some cherries to munch on as we walked to the beach. I’d love to check out a couple more markets before my summer in The Windy City is over. If you’ve got any to recommend, I want to hear!

Hoping for another week of sunny and breezy days. August is just around the corner people (*crying internally*) –  we gotta soak up this summertime while we can!

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