Take a Trip to Madison, Wisconsin

Over the summer I’ve been interning at Milwaukee Magazine and have had the opportunity to write for their website. While many of the stories are regular weekly pieces, I have had the opportunity to get creative and write a few stories I’ve pitched myself.

Milwaukee Magazine has a series dedicated to “Weekend Getaways” that are just a few hours drive away from Milwaukee. Upon learning this, I immediately checked to see if an article had been written Madison, Wisconsin, a place I call my home for a majority of the year. Lucky for me, no such article had been written and I immediately pitched the story to my editor.

“Take a Weekend Getaway to Madison, Wisconsin” has been one of my favorite pieces to write so far at Milwaukee Magazine. Writing about a city I call a home away from home was a nice change from my typical assignments and made me evermore excited to head back at the beginning of next month.

If you haven’t seen the piece yet, you can find it here or below. Where would you spend your time if you had a weekend trip planned to Madison? Let me know in the comments!


TAKE A WEEKEND GETAWAY TO MADISON, WISCONSIN

Looking for a short trip away from Milwaukee this weekend? Head to Madison, just over an hour’s drive west of Milwaukee. Here’s a tentative weekend itinerary.

City life meets life at the lake(s) in Madison, Wisconsin.  Located on an isthmus nestled between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, Madison is one of the country’s best known college towns, but also boasts various family friendly activities, quality restaurants and rich state history.


Friday Afternoon

There is no shortage of great hotels to stay at when visiting Madison. The most recent addition is the stylish AC Hotel Madison Downtown by Marriott located just off of Capitol Square. The modern hotel offers fantastic views of Madison from the rooftop restaurant and bar, Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro, so it’s most definitely worth a stop even if you decide to stay the night somewhere else.

After checking in to your hotel, make your way to the Henry Vilas Zoo, located just south of the University of Wisconsin campus. The Henry Vilas Zoo is a 28-acre public zoo that is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The zoo is home to various animals, such as African lions, polar bears and of course three American badgers, fittingly named Bucky, Dekker and Kaminsky. Admission to the zoo is free.

Post zoo trip, make your way by bicycle or car to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, a teaching and research facility that offers more than 20 miles of footpaths, boardwalks and fire lanes to explore. You can stroll through the beautiful forests, prairies and wetlands for hours and snap some picturesque photos. The peaceful and stunning arboretum trails are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A day spent in Madison is not complete without stopping for an after-dinner dessert or late-night snack at Greenbush Bakery, which opened in 1996 and has been serving delicious donuts to the public ever since. Their late-night hours are ideal for a college town — they are open until midnight Monday through Thursday and until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Another perk of Greenbush: their classic donuts are only a dollar a piece. There’s no better way to spend a dollar in Madison.


Saturday Morning

Set your alarms and get up bright and early on Saturday morning. Saturday on the Square, the Dane County Farmers Market, begins at 6:15 a.m. The farmers market surrounds the Wisconsin State Capitol Building and offers many fresh and local vegetables, fruits, baked goods and fresh-cut flowers. Saturday on the Square is the place to be on Saturday mornings, and it fills up quickly, so be sure to go early to get the best selection.

Next, head west down State Street toward the University of Wisconsin campus. While the walk down State Street should normally only take about 20 minutes, there are numerous stores to stop in and explore. Ranging from chain clothing stores like Gap and Urban Outfitters to local bookstores and art galleries, State Street has something for everyone. If you didn’t get your fill at the farmers market, there are plenty of coffee shops, bars and restaurants to choose from along State Street. The street is closed to local traffic apart from buses — yet another reason to make the walk.

Saturday Afternoon

There’s no better place to spend an afternoon (and evening!) in Madison than at the Memorial Union Terrace, situated on the shores of Lake Mendota and recently renovated. After getting your picture taken in one of the large, iconic terrace chairs, head to Outdoor UW to rent a paddle board, canoe or kayak and spend the afternoon out on the water. If water sports aren’t your forte, locate a table on the Terrace and bask in the sun all afternoon while enjoying some delicious Babcock Ice Cream.

Saturday Evening

Not ready to leave the Terrace yet? No worries. There are plenty of dining options inside the Union, including sandwiches and grilled food from Der Rathskeller, Italian dishes from Strada and plenty of healthy options from Carte. Don’t lose your spot on the Terrace, though, as sunset over Lake Mendota is not a sight to be missed. The festivities don’t stop after the sun sets, either: Terrace after Dark, a summer program that includes free concerts and movies, runs from May 12 to September 4.


Sunday Morning

Sunday brunch in Madison is a must. And Madison’s brunch scene is an embarrassment of riches. Some of the most iconic venues include Bassett Street Brunch ClubThe Old Fashioned and of course Mickies Dairy Bar. Located near Camp Randall, Mickies Dairy Bar has been around since the 1950s and hasn’t changed much since then. Be prepared to wait, as there is most always a line to get in the door. Their scrambler is legendary.

Sunday Afternoon

Before leaving the city, visit the State Capitol Building and learn about the building’s and state’s history on a free guided tour. Tours are offered daily and begin at the information desk. If you don’t have the time to spend 45 minutes on the tour, at least wander into the rotunda and take a moment to appreciate the beautiful architecture.

London Calling

Tuesday. Tuesday. Tuesday.

That’s the day I leave for a city I’ve been dreaming about for years: London, England.

For the past week, I have procrastinated packing my allotted two suitcases with everything I will need for the next four months. For an over-packer, this is not the easiest task in the world, but I’m getting there (almost, sorta, kinda, not really…).

People have constantly been asking me how I’m feeling about leaving for London for the past month. Am I excited? Am I nervous? Anxious? Ready? Prepared?

My answer? A mix of all of the above.

I’ve never flown on a plan by myself before.

I’m extremely nervous about losing my luggage.

How does one get from Heathrow to Kensington?

I need to get a new phone service and number.

Classes last three hours-what how will I make it through that?

Rumor is they don’t have peanut butter?

Oh, and they talk funny there.

The list goes on.

For a person who hates change, this is a big step. But I’m ready(ish) for it.

I am taking part in the UW in London Study Abroad program and couldn’t be more excited! Over the past month, and especially this week, I have felt a mix of emotions as I’ve said goodbye to friends and family. I’m extremely excited to make the big trip across the pond, but I’m also incredibly sad to have had to say goodbye to so many friends and family that I won’t see for a while.

So, what will I be doing/how does my program work?

My program is split up into two parts. The first seven weeks consist of four classes each worth three UW-Madison credits. Because my program is through the Foundation for International Education and is affiliated with UW-Madison, I don’t have to worry about all of my credits transferring back like I would if I were studying abroad through a different program.

After these first seven weeks, I have a week-long break (which is basically our spring break but is at the end of February.) I hope to do a lot of traveling during this time and would really like to spend a lot of this week in Spain using my Spanish!

For the next seven weeks after this week-long break, I will be enrolled in three classes and then be placed in an internship which will take up three days each week. The internship aspect of this program is what most excited me about this program and was ultimately a deciding factor in choosing this program over the other London programs offered at UW-Madison.

For the internship, I chose between either a service internship or a regular internship. I went with the regular internship and was able to rank my first three internship choices as Music, Communications and Journalism and Media. Once I arrive in London they will inform me where I have been placed and I will have a short interview with the employer to make sure it is a good fit. I cannot wait to find out where I will be placed!

Also upon arriving in London on Wednesday morning, I will find out who my roommates are! I will have either one, two, or three other roommates. Being that I had a single room this past semester, having three or even one roommate will be a big change. I’ll be living in a flat in the borough of Kensington (the same neighborhood as Prince William and Kate OMG), and hope to bump into David Beckham while grocery shopping (one of our academic advisers has actually done this-AMAZING).

While in London, I not only plan to explore the amazing city, it’s history and culture, but also explore surrounding cities and countries. High up on my list include places like Ireland, Spain, Denmark, France and Germany. I’m sure that list will change and expand but I also want to not only be in London but truly live in London for a majority of my time abroad.

I am going to blog about my time abroad as often as possible, so be sure to keep up with the Study Abroad in London tab on mostlymotto to hear about my classes, internship, travels and everything else I do while studying abroad in one of the greatest cities in the world: London.