Happy Monday, my friends! I hope that everyone fared well in my absence. I know that it was really, really, very truly difficult. Humor me and your heads, please and thank you. Well, this weekend involved more than I think I can appropriately address in one post, so we are going to split things up into an overview, a review of the absolutely incredible place that we stayed, and then, of course, the food.
I know that I was a little bit vague about our trip, but part of that was for safety and also to protect our hosts in case we had a less than stellar experience. Well, it is safe to say that I will be recommending the Token Creek Eco-Inn to anyone and everyone within ear shot. This place was simply magnificent, homey, and just everything we could want. But, again, more on that tomorrow!
I would like to thank you all for the good juju Friday morning because this was one of my best runs to date, minus 2 stupid factors—my stomach deciding to finally, um, do things 10 miles in, and a bad side stitch that I got about 1.5 miles from the end, thanks to my own stupidity of not hydrating enough throughout. But my legs felt fan-freaking-tastic for all 18 miles. Yup. I did it. 18 miles, at marathon pace (or maybe—I think my Garmin might have been a little bit drunk, or something. And then I forgot to turn it back on after my bathroom break, so after I had to stop for the side stitch (after already missing 1 miles on the watch due to forgetting), I just gave up on it for good. But the last 6 miles I was flying, so I don’t know WHERE that came from!
Afterwards, I took a shower, refueled with a HEAPING helping of Earth Balance and my Cherry Apple Pie Oats + a Gatorade, packed, and then Alex and I went to get Tally (my car) and head off for our adventure!
Also, why do people draw genitalia on the hoods of dusty cars? My poor baby was defiled. It is not her fault that the garage is dusty! YOU LEAVE HER ALONE!
The drive was uneventful, and we had original designs of going to Milwaukee for lunch, but the big reason for heading up that way was to stop at the outlets and (hopefully) revamp some of Alex’s wardrobe, which he complains about every time that he is in his closet. Every. Time. Before the outlets, we were ravenous (um, I ran 18 miles, duh), and I can’t wait to tell you about where we went, haha. TEASER. At the stores themselves, we had some success for both of us, but the hunt for a new pair of white shorts continues!
We finished up the drive (here is difference between Alex and I: we played 20 questions, I chose a bike, he chose a black hole. There’s your sign) and decided to head straight to dinner at a place called The Old Fashioned, that everyone had talked about.
Ice Cream at the Chocolate Shoppe followed, and we (me drunk on ice cream—Alex was a pansy and didn’t finish his (so I did), and I got a scoop 2x the size I thought it would be, and none of that amazingness was going to waste) and Alex, well, slightly drunk, we went back to the car and headed to the B& B for the night, slept for 10 hours, waking up to BIRDS CHIRPING omg, had an amazing breakfast, and then set off for downtown Madison.
Downtown Madison (ie, Capitol Square) has one of the most amazing farmer’s markets I have yet seen. Just incredible, and a mix of everything. Legitimately, the largest zucchini of all time (still kicking myself I didn’t get a picture), kettle corn of every type, Indonesian, Turks and Tobago-cuisine, gourmet grilled cheese, of course fried cheese curds, venison and emu jerky, the “gourd man,” amazing scones, sourdough, cheesecake, cherries and field strawberries, this place that had chili and pepper everything (we got Alex some chili jam), jewelry, clothes, just everything. The capitol square of Madison is huge and literally a square, and it was covered every inch with stands and people. Even Lululemon was there for yoga.
I wanted to show Alex the UW campus, which I had seen when I was hear presenting at a conference 2 years ago, so we went to that area (South Campus) via State street, with all of its eclectic shops and cafes, and then toured frat row before making another pass through the other half of the market and then heading off in search of lunch via “Willy Street.”
After that walk, the walk back through the neighborhoods, and then along the lake to Monona Terrace, I think we were at 7.1 miles? I wear my FitBit when I travel to see how much I torture him! And it wasn’t even 3:00 yet… A Frappuccino and popcorn later (I needed some carbs and cals), we decided to head back to the b&b (and got Tally a proper wash on the way). I made some tea (Green Pomegranate + Raspberry Orange), wrote the first half of this post, and then we made off for dinner!
Dinner was so, so good—our best meal out, for certain. Alex may or may not have gotten a drink called the “Sharknado,” which may or may not be limit 2 per person, and I may or may not have insisted that we buy the glass
(his name is Madison. Or Madi for short).
I told Alex at dinner that I needed him to be stern with me in the morning—that I was likely going to bee a little biatch about my run—especially because I knew that it would be before breakfast. And good man that he was, he reminded me a little before my alarm was going to go off anyway. Good, gravy, my legs were tired and stiff. But I put on some country and ran in America’s heartland, with just a few clouds in the sky, people going to church, tractors, and corn to keep me company. I was pretty impressed with myself—I gathered that I had run about 7 miles total, because I ran a little under an hour and was taking it pretty easy, and guess what? We clocked it in my car and I was BANG ON. BOOM suckers.
I was honestly a little sad about leaving the area—it is so pure, so beautiful, and the air smells like I remember summer in country to smell like. That damp smell of hay around barns that I so associate with straw bedding (rather than sawdust/shaving bedding that we always used), and that unadulterated lushness–though I am well away that fertilizer etc are used–you just want to run your fingers over the tops of everything, stick your fingers out of the wind as you drive and feel the softness of the air. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to wake up with the sound of bird chirping both mornings, even though I ran with my headphones in (that was because I likely would have just given up on the run otherwise!). And gentle, rolling hills, which are so different from my running paths in Atlanta and Charlottesville, but so reminiscent of the places that we have kept our horses.
We drove by way of Milwaukee to come back so that we could make one stop in particular—Jelly Belly Factory. We passed on the tour—I’m all business when it comes to my Jelly Belly’s and plus we knew that lunch was coming—and I got straight to the business of trying flavors at the sample bar (I have had the draft beer flavor before, but not the Tabasco—was actually pretty darn good!). I passed as well on trying the Bean Boozled flavors.
I THINK NOT. And then we started filling up a few little parcels to take with us. I actually didn’t go nearly as bananas as I used to, but that might be because I already have some waiting for me at home 😀 And you better believe I took advantage of the “irregular” sports beans, which were 3 for a dollar. HECK YEAH.
We ate fresh at Subway (where I put them out of business as usual with ALLTHEVEGGIES), and I dozed a bit the rest of the way home. To round out the day, we unpacked, cuddled the cat, grocery shopped, and grilled out. And just continued to keep the focus on us.
I didn’t read any blogs from the moment that we left. I think I did a few tweets—you know, a few random things—and I put a few pics up on IG. But other than that? The phone was used to Yelp things, navigate, and to erase junk emails. I sent a few texts, but other than that—nope. Nothing. It was like we disappeared. And it was perfect.
Madison was great. I highly recommend it for anyone needing a little respite from the everyday if you are into local food, local brews, craft cocktails, and SERIOUS people watching. The architecture is fun, the nature around you is gorgeous, and the people were great. I definitely don’t see myself living there, but I hope that we will go back. Also—it is lovely to see things that you can afford! BEER FOR $4??? WHAT?
Tune back in tomorrow for the goods on where we stayed—a place that I would recommend immediately and without hesitation to all that ask!
Have you ever been to Madison, or spent time unplugged in the heartland of America?
Where do you go to unplug?
Do you like b&b’s?
Tell me something exciting about your weekend! I know that I missed a ton!