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Old 08-22-2011, 10:05 AM
111 posts, read 155,198 times
Reputation: 82


Hello, Madison forum readers .

To celebrate my mom's birthday, our immediate family (parents, adult children + two significant others) is going to Madison on October 1st. The reason we're leaving the NW suburbs of Chicago, where we are from, to go there is that one of my siblings is beginning a program at the university.

My mom had the idea of spending the night by getting two hotel rooms (perhaps a suite), but everything seems to be booked. If anyone has suggestions for a place outside the city that is recommended/located in or near a cool town/etc., please list them.

Which activities do you recommend for the 1st and, potentially, the 2nd? Especially taking into account the offerings we have available in and near Chicago, where do you recommend eating out? My mom would probably go for any cuisine that's not spicy. My preference would be to try a place that is special for its high quality food, its interior, and/or its atmosphere (though I don't want a Big Ten drunk atmosphere!!).

Just in case we are going to spend Sunday there, I would appreciate suggestions for a Catholic church that you like for its music, interior, and/or community feeling.

Many, many thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:19 AM
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Reputation: 137
You picked a bad time to come into town and hope to avoid a "Big Ten drunk atmosphere". Oct 1st is when the Badger football team hosts Nebraska. At night (7 PM). In Nebraska's first ever Big Ten conference game. A game that will likely be the national TV game-of-the-week between two top 10 teams. People are going to be drinking for two days straight leading up to this game.

I'd go to the Dells and one of the many indoor waterparks. Seriously, for hotels, it is going to be crowded anywhere in or near Madison. Since it is a night game with heavy media coverage, and since Nebraska fans travel well, I suspect the number of people wanting rooms for Saturday night is going to be higher than just about any other football Saturday we've ever had.

Can't help you with the cuisine. I tend to eat at places that are kid-friendly and/or have TVs with sports on them. Madison is going to be nuts that night.
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:45 PM
5,683 posts, read 8,647,771 times
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I'm glad you chimed in, Craptacular, with an explanation of what's going on that weekend - I'm no sports fan, and I'd never have known what was causing the sudden run on hotel rooms.

Creo, how far afield would you consider going that weekend? And what type of activities would interest your family? Craptacular's suggestion of the Dells is a perfectly reasonable one for a family with youngsters and/or teens, though it wouldn't be my first choice, at least partially because my kids are adults and not quite so interested in the activities on offer in the Dells.

If you think you might want something a bit different, you could possibly consider Spring Green, about 40 miles west of Madison: Spring Green Chamber of Commerce. Spring Green is a small, pretty, sort of artsy community, with lots of studios and galleries, many with impressive things on offer. There are a couple of reasonably decent hotels there, nothing fancy but clean, friendly and nice. My spouse and I have stayed at the Round Barn Lodge several times and liked it.

Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's home, is just a few miles from Spring Green, and the tours there are very impressive (if a bit pricey): Frank Lloyd Wright | Taliesin. If you and your family enjoy excellent live theatre, one of the finest repertory companies in the state (possibly in the country) is right there as well, and that weekend is the final weekend they'll be doing both indoor and outdoor performances: Home | American Players Theatre.

For dining out, if you decide on Spring Green, I'd suggest the Old Feed Mill in Mazomanie, which is between Madison and Spring Green: Visit Historic Mazomanie Mills Home of the Old Feed Mill Restaurant, Whistlestop Cafe, Halles Vintage, The Millstone Mercantile, and Amazing Grains (http://www.oldfeedmill.com/feedmill/index.htm - broken link). Very good food, lots of it local or at least regional, very comfortable and quite a unique interior. If you wind up finding a place to stay in Madison, consider dining at Quivey's Grove: Quivey's Grove, Madison Wisconsin Restaurant. For a nice dinner, I'd definitely suggest the Stone House as opposed to the Stable Grill. The menu changes with the seasons, and always includes a lot of local favorites with a twist. The menu is also a bit of a history lesson, as they generally name the dishes for famous characters in Madison's history.

I'm really sorry that the weekend you planned to head up here happens to be one when it sounds like half the Midwest will be here as well, but I hope you can figure out a fun itinerary to celebrate Mom's birthday. Mazel tov to her, and may she have many more to come!
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:59 PM
Location: Madison, WI
1,734 posts, read 4,519,576 times
Reputation: 802
If you want Chicago quality restaurants I would recommend any of the below.

Blue Marlin is famous for its seafood flown in fresh daily.

Harvest local, organic ingredients are used whenever possible.

L'Etoile this is my absolute favorite restaurant in Madison.

The service and presentation are top notch and the food is out of this world.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:02 AM
111 posts, read 155,198 times
Reputation: 82
Many thanks for your responses and suggestions. I will immediately share them with those involved!
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:02 PM
Location: Verona, WI
1,171 posts, read 1,824,974 times
Reputation: 758
Saint Maria Goretti has a relatively new Catholic church building on Madison's SW side, and serves as a place of worship for a good-sized Catholic community. Holy Redeemer is an older congregation in downtown Madison and they have a Latin mass at 7 AM. You also have St. Paul's on State Street near campus and the Saint Bernard on Atwood Ave. In Addition, St. Thomas Aquinas is located on Old Sauk Road in West Madison, and Our Lady Queen of Peace, also in West Madison, is closer to the Hilldale area. Also, I've heard nothing but good things about the Saint Bernard Parish in Middleton, just West of Madison but still on University Ave. I'm not as familiar with what is on the East side of Madison as far as Catholic churches go. Regardless of the hotel situation, you will have plenty of options for Catholic mass in the Madison area.
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Old 08-24-2011, 02:57 PM
3,216 posts, read 3,371,295 times
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Hate to break it to you, Creo, but that weekend you're not going to get anywhere NEAR Madison, no hotel rooms, no restaurants available, nuttin'. Forget about it. Seriously. This game is HUGE, and the partying will take over the city.
Your sibling at the University should have known about this.
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