Marvelous Madison

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We are now going to jump forward in time a bit to the summer of 2014. Paul was visiting family in Poland so I decided to take a trip back to see my family. I was born and raised in Chippewa Falls WI, so I spent some time with my mom and dad before making the trip to see my sister, who had just moved to Madison WI the year before.

I had never really spent any time in Madison before, so I was very much looking forward to getting to see the town as well as spending some much-needed time with my sister, Jenny. (Now, seeing as I am her little brother, I am allowed to call her this, otherwise you’d better stick with Jenn!)

But before we leave, a little sneek peek of where I grew up… (We will be spending more time here further down the road.)

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I left me parents house early in the morning because I wanted to do a little sight-seeing before Jenny got off from work, so I headed out for an early start!

Madison is about a 3 hour drive away from Chippewa Falls, and is right in the middle of C.F. and Chicago. During the week it’s usually an easy drive, and it was a beautiful day so I was looking forward to every minute.

Once I arrived, there was only one place to start, the State capitol.


Madison is the capitol of Wisconsin, and is the second largest city in Wisconsin after Milwaukee. It’s known for its lakes, restaurants and extensive network of parks and bike trails.

Madison’s origins began in 1829, when former federal judge James Duane Doty purchased over a thousand acres of land with the intention of building a city. The purchase price for 1261 acres of land? $1,500.

Doty named the city Madison, after the president James Madison, who died on June 28th, 1836. The cornerstone for the first capitol was laid in 1837 while the first legislatures met there in 1838.

The current State capitol was completed in 1917 and is the fifth building to serve as the official capitol since 1837. Here’s an interesting fact…

The capitol was constructed of 43 types of stone from six countries and eight states. The exterior stone in Bethel white granite from Vermont, making the exterior dome the largest granite dome in the world.


And what a dome it is… The interior is just stunning, take a look for yourself!


It very much reminded me of St. Stephens Basilica in Budapest! (If you missed that, take a look back and see the resemblance!)

The interior of the Capitol is stunning from any angle you look at it. Here’s a few more to prove my point.


It was a great day to be doing a little self guided tour of this gem because there was hardly anyone inside… I ran into a few security guards as well as a random government worker here and there, but other than that, it was just me and my camera!

Now the state law limits building heights within one mile of the capitol to 1,032.8 feet above sea level to preserve the view of the building in most area’s of the city.

Frank Lloyd Wright spent much of his childhood in Madison and studied briefly at the University. There are a number of buildings in the area designed by the architect, one even serving as the Sigma Phi Fraternity.


Once I got done taking in the sights of this beautiful place, it was time to head down the road again.


I ended up walking right down to State Street. (see how you can see the capitol from everywhere!)

State Street is a pedestrian zone located in downtown Madison which hosts a variety of shops, bars and restaurants and is popular for its small town appeal, street musicians, jugglers and other types of entertainment, making it a common tourist destination.

DSC_0952DSC_0950After spending a little time doing some window shopping, my sister called and said she was done with work! Yeah!

Now my sister, knowing me as well as she does, brought me to a few places that are a photographers dream! The first one was a little park tucked away right in the middle of the city, and it was great! (I did not get a picture of the name of the gardens, but I am trying my best to find out the name… if your ever in the area, it’s a pure treasure that’s not to be missed).

Say hello to my sister!


Here are a few from this lovely garden…




We spent a little time here, just taking it all in, and taking a hundred pictures of course! It was a beautiful day outside and we wanted to enjoy as much of it as we could!


Onward on our walk, we decided to take a turn to the riverside. This leads us right to the University area.

The University is one of America’s Public Ivy universities, which refers to top public universities in the US capable of providing a collegiate experience comparable with the Ivy League.

UW-Madison is organized into 20 schools and colleges, which enrolled almost 30,000 undergraduates and close to 14,000 graduate students for the 2014-15 school year. The university employs over 21,000 staff and faculty. In 2012, it had research expenditures of more than $1.1 billion, making it the third highest in the country.


Interesting facts:

Both vitamin A & B were discovered by a scientist here in the years 1913 & 1916.

It is ranked 28th among world universities.


The lawns and maintenance were impeccable, the views along the river, picture perfect.


And we also made ourselves a new friend!


We made it down the riverside path,


and came across the happening place!


We decided to join in on the fun and got ourselves some ice cream! (I know I have a picture to prove it somewhere, but where it is right now is beyond me!)


So onward we go.

Now this next place really is something spectacular. It’s called Olbrich Botanical Gardens.


The Garden was established in 1952 and is made up of several separate area’s.


The Thai garden contains the sala, (a Thai open pavilion used as a meeting place and to protect people from the sun and rain) which is joined to the gardens by a 155 foot arched footbridge (pictured above) crossing Starkweather Creek.

This is the only Thai pavilion in the contiguous United States.


Now I had always wanted to tour Thailand, and this just made that itching even stronger! (good thing we go a few years down the road!)

The gardens in this place were truly remarkable and I did not want to leave!


And here you can see my sister sitting under the pavilion taking it in!


Another one of my favorite pictures comes from here…


A reflection of the pavilion.

There is also the Bolz conservatory.

It houses over 750 different plants representing over 70 families and over 550 different species and cultivars.


And a few more of some of the wonders inside…


On our way out, I grabbed a few more photos for the road.

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Case in point… If and when you are ever in the area, or even a few hours out, make it a point to come and visit this magnificent garden. You will not be disappointed!


On our drive home, we ran across another gem and just had to go inside for some shots.DSC_0103

Luther Memorial Church, Madison WI.

I didn’t get many photos inside, but again, if you’re in the area, it’s a must see! (make sure to take more picture’s than I did!


So with that comes an end of my day in Madison! After all of our walking we decided it was time to fill our bellies and call it a night!

What a day it had been. We walked miles throughout the city and had a heyday doing it! Madison is surly a gem of the beautiful state of WI, one not to be missed.

More US adventures ahead before heading overseas again!

Stay tuned!!





Categories: History, journey, Madison, photography, State capitols, travel, Uncategorized, United States, Wisconsin

Pack Your Bags Travel Planning

A lover of travel and photos. My partner and I started our travels 8 years ago and along the way I found my love for photography. I hope you enjoy looking back on where we have been, and riding along on the adventures we will embark on! Stay tuned for photos, stories, travel tips and so much more!


  1. dennys67az

    Loved the history and pictures and of course the great descriptions. Of course I love my children toooo. Wisconsin is really a beautiful state.


  2. mom

    Oh WOW AND DOUBLE WOW son! Madison like I never could have imagined! So glad you and Jenny (family privilege like you mentioned!!!) have these great memories. The gardens your dad and I have never been to. I love the flower pictures, you may have to send me the hydrangea with the bee on it and a few of the others- beautiful ! And of course dad and I teared up a bit looking at the three shots of the farm. Thankfully we have two of them on our wall and they remind us of our life their when you and your sister were growing up. Thanks for the memories and sharing with others, our beautiful Wisconsin state capitol grounds. Oh, and never knew Fran Llyod Wright went to UWM.


    • some day when your bank you will have to go to those gardens! They are just awesome! And this was so fun to write! As I write each entry its like walking back in time! Such wonderful memories we made back there! They will always be in my heart! Love to my family!


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