Thursday, May 31, 2012


Road Trip!  That's what my college friends and I would yell as we planned and departed on a trip, long or short, outside of Madison. Today, the more savvy term is "Staycation".  Regardless of what you call it, the meaning is the same; "stay" at home and explore the not-so-far areas around where you live. 

Living in Madison, we have the unique and good fortune to be outside the city limits in 20 minutes or less.  Sure, there are incredible opportunities within the city limits (more on that in a later post), but there are also fabulous places to explore a short distance from the city limits.  So, if you are looking for a staycation for a week, a weekend or even just a day trip, here are some of my top picks.

Indian Lake County Park: When my children were small, my dear friend would take her kids and mine to Indian Lake.  What a respite for me, and the kids had a blast!  And the dog was welcome too, score! 

Devils Lake Sate Park: One of my favorite places in the state.  This was a road trip favorite in college and continues to be a favorite for our family.  Founded in 1911, Devil's Lake is the third oldest state park in Wisconsin, the largest, and the most visited.

Parfrey's Glen: My parents took my kids to Parfrey's Glen when they were small.  I'm not sure who had more fun, my parents or the kids!  It's one of Wisconsin's first State Natural Areas.

Cave of the Mounds: It's the same temperature year-round...incredible!  Still privately owned, visitors have flocked here for more than 70 years.  This is one of the best one day trips in the Midwest! 

Mineral Point, WI: Looking for some history, unique art and architecture, then check our Mineral Point, WI.  WisconsinTrails magazine just named Mineral Point the best historic town in the state.

Of course, there are lots of places to choose from, these are just a few.  Wherever your "Staycation" takes you, I hope you enjoy the trip!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

HPAJP Public Meeting

The Hoyt Park Area Joint Planning Committee has been hard at work developing a neighborhood plan to make the Hoyt Park Area an even better place to live.  The planning committee has studied a wide variety of topics including pedestrian and bike traffic, auto traffic flow, residential design characteristics and park and open space improvements, as well as several other neighborhood issues.

A draft plan of the Hoyt Park Area Joint Plan is now ready for public review.  A public hearing on the draft plan is scheduled for Wednesday May 30 at the First Baptist Church 518 N. Franklin St. at 6:30 p.m.  

The public meeting will include an overview, plan presentation, community input and next steps.  A draft copy of the neighborhood plan is now available for review on the project website at or a review copy is available at the Sequoya Branch Library, 4340 Tokay Blvd, reference desk. All comments on the draft plan are public record.

Plan to attend the meeting to see what the planning committee has been up to.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fun on the Water

The temperature is creeping up which means it's time to head to the water!  Madison's west side is blessed with Lake Wingra, a small, no-wake lake tucked along the edge of the UW Arboretum.   One of the best places to enjoy Lake Wingra is at Wingra Park just off of Monroe Street.

Perched at the end of the park on the shores of the lake is Wingra Boats, a small boat marina that rents kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, pontoon boats and more.  In addition, there are lots of educational activities planned for the summer months such as yoga on stand up paddle boards, birding excursions and Full Moon Paddle trips.

Looking for some fun water activities?  Wingra Boats is the place to be!  And it's open for the season!  The Wingra location is now open weekends from 9 a.m.-8 p.m.  After Memorial Day, they will be open 7 days a week.  Check it out, you'll be glad you did!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spring Spruce Up

I have some friends who are selling their house…YEAH!  It’s a great house (check it out here).  As all home sellers do, they have been sprucing up their house, inside and out, to put their best foot forward.  With that sprucing, comes yard work and cutting back the bramble of overgrown winter vegetation.  As luck would have it, the City of Madison will begin brush collection this month.  Score!  Is your yard and garden waiting for that spring haircut and restyle?  Now is the time to get that overgrowth to the curb!  The Streets Division will be collecting brush to coincide with refuse collection days.

Not willing to wait for curb side service?  You can always drop yard waste at one of the City of Madison drop off sites.  Those locations are:

East: 4602 Sycamore
South: 1501 W. Badger Rd.
West: 402 South Point Rd.

One reminder: garlic mustard, an invasive weed, should be placed in the trash.  No need to spread this nasty weed!

Good luck!