Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Generally my vacation of choice involve a road trip to somewhere scenic with some hiking, camping or outdoor activity involved. When my wife and I first got married, we did a lot of just that. However with two young kids, the youngest still in diapers, it really isn't a very attractive option until they get bigger. Instead we have found that going to urban centers is an attractive option. I have spent most of my life avoiding them so they are still new and interesting to me. They have lots of things kids find interesting and yet convenience is always near if necessary. They also are full of cultural things that attract me like museums, art galleries, botanical centers, historical places, etc. Finally, we love to try new foods that just aren't found in rural southeast Iowa but can be found elsewhere.

So with that said, I have been reading the blog of someone on here who lives in Chicago but has spent lots of time in Madison, Wisconsin over the years. We've done Chicago numerous times along St. Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Omaha and of course our capital city of Des Moines but in all that time, we've never been to Madison. So we decided to recitify that glaring absence in our travels and head there. So I contacted the blogger, asked for recommendations on where to eat since that is often hard to discern good from bad via the internet and we took off. Our itinerary was to visit their Children's Museum, botanical garden, zoo, farmer's market, capital building, art gallery and to eat at some of the recommended food places. Pretty easy as far as planning goes and it was a pretty relaxing trip.

It turned out to be fairly cold during the trip but nothing we couldn't easily dress for. Due to having young kids and our desire to eat at some restaurants that might not be all that kid friendly, we minimize risk by generally pumping them full of snacks and eating at odd hours to avoid having a kidtastrophe in a crowded restaurant. This generally meant eating lunch or supper, earlier than normal or later than normal to avoid the crowds. When it was earlier, we had to time our visits since we were getting there soon after they opened for the meal. That is why on a cold and overcast last afternoon, we found ourselves in this park overlooking the isthmus where downtown Madison is located between two large lakes waiting for a nearby restaurant to open up for an early supper. I snapped a few pictures to stay warm while the kids played on the playground and then we went in for an early supper that was kidtastrophe free.

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