Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Staycation

Many of you attended graduation parties, gorged yourself on brats at BratFest, took in the polar bears at the new exhibit at the Henry Vilas Zoo and spent timing honoring the military over the past weekend.  Those events signify the beginning of summer…hurrah!

A few years ago, when gas prices were very high, I did a post on a Staycation; “stay” close to home and explore all southern Wisconsin has to offer.  Well, gas prices have come down, but a Staycation is still a great opportunity to grab a mini-vacation for a day or two here and there throughout the summer.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

This unusual attraction began in 1945 as the brain-child of Alex Jordan who envisioned a retreat built on top of Deer Shelter Rock.  The attraction is open year round and includes the house, the Inn and the Resort.

Get lost in the life of a rural Wisconsin resident of the late 19th century at Old World Wisconsin.   The living museum is a re-creation of working farmsteads and settlements established by European immigrants looking for a better life. 

At the confluence on the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers in the town of Wyalusing, the park offers spectacular views, hiking and camping. It’s the perfect destination for a day trip or an overnight camping experience.

Not much time?  Take a scenic drive north on Hwy. 113 and take the Merrimac Ferry across the Wisconsin River from Merrimac to Okee.  It’s the only free ferry in the state and runs 24 hours a day seven days a week from April-November.  Grab an ice cream cone at the Ferry stop while you wait!


Whatever you summer plans, be sure to take advantage of all Madison and the state have to offer.  The opportunities are endless.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Construction Season

Ahh, spring in Wisconsin.  The flowers are in bloom, the grass is getting green and construction season has arrived.  Drat!  I know it's a necessary evil, and with Wisconsin winters, road construction is condensed into a few short months but it's still an obstacle course trying to navigate the road signs and closed streets.

There are some major projects happening in the Westmorland and Sunset Village neighborhoods.  Sunset Village residents were informed last winter that the sewer laterals that were installed in the 1940's were outdated.  I know, hard to believe, but it's true.

Over the course of the next few years several streets will be under construction to replace those aging laterals.  In some areas, curb and gutter will be added to the street.  The process has already begun on South Owen Drive between Mineral Point Rd. and Hillcrest Dr.  The city is set to begin the same process on Larkin Street between Mineral Point Rd. and Hillcrest Dr. in the coming days.

Construction of left turn lanes at Mineral Point Rd. and Midvale Blvd. will begin in mid-June.  That project will include long-overdue turn signals in all directions.  That project is scheduled for completion by Labor Day.

Of course, road construction continues at the Verona Rd. interchange, which is already proving to be a huge improvement to traffic flow in that area.  You can find out more about area construction projects here.

As you navigate Madison streets this summer, try to stop and smell the flowers and remind yourself that the necessary evil that is construction season will make life easier when the snow flies!

Monday, May 11, 2015

March-April 2015 Home Sales

It's a crazy spring Real Estate market!  Similar to 2014, the selling season began earlier than in previous years.  Below is a sampling of homes on the near west side of Madison that have sold in late March and early April.

If you are considering buying or selling a property, now is the time to act while the market is HOT!  Let me know if I can help!

Happy spring!



Monday, May 4, 2015

Spring in Madison

There is nothing quite like Madison in the spring!  People are out in droves!  The strollers are dusted off, the bikes come out and people are walking, running, and just plain enjoying the great outdoors.

As spring rolls in, some of the tried and true mainstays that make Madison great have started up.  The Farmer's Market is in full swing, Henry Vilas Zoo is busy and the Madison Parks Department has delivered the picnic tables and trash cans to area parks.

Here are a couple of other Madison traditions that are coming up or opening for the season:

Olbrich Botanical Plant Sale with the Pros:
A wonderful place to find beautiful plants to display in your garden.  The sale runs May 8 & 9th and offers unique plants carefully chosen to thrive in our Wisconsin climate along with advice from area professionals.

Wingra and Brittingham Boats:
Both locations open Sunday May 9th and will be open weekends through the month of May.  A beautiful place to rent a boat and paddle Lake Wingra or Monona Bay.  Grab a snack when you finish!

Whatever you decide to do, get out and enjoy!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Party!

Looking to have a unique party?  I have the place!

I attended a birthday party a few weeks ago at Flambe Gourmet on Sherman Terrace near Tenney Park on the near east side.  What a treat!  If you are not familiar, I'll explain.

Flambe Gourmet is a "public" kitchen.  They offer group cooking classes, cooking parties, or corporate events.  The party I attended was Mexican themed, starting with wonderful Margarita's and ending with fried ice cream.  The main course was fish or steak tacos with all the fixin's.

The distinctive part of the experience is that it's hands-on.  We breaded the ice cream, chopped the cilantro and grilled the steak.  Don't feel like cooking?  Fine. You can sip your drink and watch.  And you still get to eat!  You might even learn something fun.

Owner Angelo Cattanco is a full-time chef at Epic Systems  and has held positions at Sardine and The Blue Marlin, winning several culinary awards.  He works Flambe Gourmet on nights and weekends.  The company also has a full-service catering business for weddings and other events.  

Plans are underway to open a second location on the west side near The Marriott.  I can hardly wait!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Creativity in Real Estate

Sometimes you have to get creative!  If you saw the April 12 Wisconsin State Journal article on Real Estate agents getting creative, you know what I'm talking about.  That's the norm in this crazy spring market we are in!

In recent weeks, I have sold a young family a house that was an expired listing, it was on the market last year and didn't sell.  It has now!

I have also found two houses for another buyer that she was able to see before they hit the market. Neither one of them worked for her, but she had the chance to see them before the flurry of activity that has become common when a new listing hits the Multiple Listing Service.

I also found another "unlisted" house for a third buyer.

My point is, in a crazy, unpredictable market, many buyers and sellers don't see the value in using a Real Estate agent.  Heck, we can do it ourselves and save tons on money, they think.  In some cases that's true.  But the reality is that this is our profession.  This is what we do every day.  And with 88% of buyers using a Real Estate professional when they purchase a home, we must be doing something right.  Especially since that figure has increased 20% in the last 10 years!

So, put me to work.  If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, let me get creative for you!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Purple Day

The world, and Madison in particular, is a much better place because of grassroots organizations that promote worthwhile causes.  

This is especially true of my friends, Anne and Dave and Colleen and Dave, who tirelessly work, talk about and live and breathe Lily's Fund.  It has become a formidable organization to raise awareness and support for epilepsy research in our own backyard, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

One in 26 live with epilepsy, an astonishing figure!  On Thursday March 26 you can easily and painless show your support by wearing purple.   As the website says, "By doing this one simple act, you raise awareness and show support for those living with epilepsy. Awareness brings funding. Funding brings more research, better treatments and hopefully a cure."

Show your support for this local organization.  Wear purple.  That's it!  What could be easier! Purple tie, purple t-shirt, purple shoes...just wear purple!   I'll have my purple on...will you?