We had a beyond dreamy weekend in Madison. The weather could have been *a bit* more fall-like, but otherwise, we have no complaints. Interested in what the perfect 36 hours in Madison looks like to Chris and me? I'm glad you asked...
- Late afternoon arrival. Check into The Graduate. We loved the hotel. A perfect location between Memorial Union and State Street. Fun rooms with all kinds of unique touches. They even had bikes to use for free!
- A leisurely walk down State Street to Graze restaurant with views overlooking the Capitol. Hands down, my meal was one of my top-five favorites of all time. I had the Pan Seared Gnocchi which was served with squash, kale, chèvre, apples, and other yummy stuff. Mmmm...my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
- Meet up with an old college friend to walk to Memorial Union for a beer on the Terrace (probably the #1 thing we wanted to do on this trip) and some live music.
- Round out the night at the cozy rooftop bar at our hotel.
- Super yummy breakfast at the Bassett Street Brunch Club (which just happened to be right next to one of my college houses...it appears to have seen no love over the past 10 years).
- Saturday means Farmers' Market so we headed that way to meet with some friends and snack on some Hot & Spicy Cheese Bread (another item high on our list).
- After parting ways with our friends, Chris and I meandered down State Street stopping at some fun boutique shops (which I can never do!).
- The afternoon wrapped up back at Memorial Union for a alumni tour of the newly renovated facility. I just love this building and all the memories it holds.
- Before we met up with a friend for another drink on the Terrace, we braved the heat + sun to tour some of the upper campus. It was nice to see that at least that part of the University looked familiar.
- Onto dinner at Mirch Masala (right off State Street). Man, this Indian food really hit the spot. Eau Claire is definitely lacking any Indian restaurants so this meal has been a long time coming.
- We took advantage of the hotel's free bicycles for an evening biking tour to wrap up our day. Although the upper campus hadn't changed that much, the southeast part of campus, where we lived in the dorms, is almost unrecognizable. UW-Madison seemed totally acceptable when we went to school there but now it's absolutely gorgeous.
- One more delicious meal in Madison before heading home. Short Stack Eatery is a great addition to State Street. The line out the door can attest to the quality of the food. There's even a "Blind" option on the menu where you don't get to know the details of what their special is. You can ask if it's savory or sweet but that's it. I decided to be brave and risk it (it was savory today!) and it totally paid off. What a fun twist to breakfast!
- Oh, we *might* have made one more stop to round out our culinary tour of State Street: Dough Baby Bakery helped power us through the drive home. The toasted coconut was my favorite.
Whew, we definitely ate our way through that city, as any good tourist should do, I guess. Being back in Madison brought back so many fun memories and surprising flash-backs to a version of myself that is hard to remember these days. Ah, we all need a good break from reality sometimes.
**Special [HUGE] thank you to my mom and dad for taking care of the boys for the weekend. It sounds like they might have had more fun than we did (and after reading this post you should realize that seems impossible), and for that we're grateful.**