The Love Affair Continues…

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here, but fall is a busy, busy time around Apartment Farm with the cooking, crafting, working, etc. But last weekend we took a three-day respite in Dane County, WI and had a fantastic time. Instead of staying in Madison proper this time, we stayed at the Village Inn in Mt. Horeb, which is quaint, cosy, and comfortable. And quite affordable!

During our stay, we did a lot of scenic driving through the countryside- lovely rolling hills, rock outcroppings and working farms tucked into the valleys… absolutely gorgeous country. We also shopped at the local stores in both Mt. Horeb and New Glarus.

Mt. Horeb has the Prairie Bookshop, which has fantastic variety and is independently owned, as well as some great little antique shops, my favorite being First Street Antiques. We also checked out the Mustard Museum, which was kitschy and fun. And we had some great meals- breakfasts at Schubert’s Bakery Cafe was ample, tasty, and affordable. And the wood booths, painted tin ceiling, and Mt. Horeb photographs on the walls provide a lovely atmosphere. Not to mention the fact that they bake the best Swedish Rye I’ve ever tasted! We also had two dinners at the Grumpy Troll Brew Pub. The food is great, the service was friendly and they brew their very own fantastic beer! They have roomy wood booths, tables (near a viewing window of the brewing tanks) and a very nice bar. The Erik the Red Ale and Captain Fred Lager are both excellent craft brews, and the Baltic Porter is to die for. You have to taste it to believe it, but be forewarned- it’s hearty stuff! We also picked up some snacks at Trillium Natural Foods, which is a small but VERY well-stocked natural food co-op. They have everything the natural/organic consumer could want. And one of the best things about Mt. Horeb is the look of the “downtown” area- most buildings are original, and have been very well kept-up and restored. It’s a gorgeous town.

New Glarus also had some nice antique and speciality shops. The Bramble Patch/Edelweiss Bath & Body has fantastic handmade soy candles and Wisconsin-produced, family-farmed maple syrup. We also had lunch at the New Glarus Hotel which was great. It’s beautiful inside with wooden booths and an authentic Swiss decorating touch. I had a perfect broiled haddock with dill that I can’t wait to have again. And they also serve beer from the local craft brewery, New Glarus Brewing Company, where we took a tour after lunch and stocked up on Spotted Cow and Fat Squirrel, two of our favorite brews. It was a bit of a treat to stock up because in the spirit of locality, their beer is only available in Wisconsin. And they make excellent smelling beer soap, which I’ve only ever seen sold at the brewery itself. At $5 a bar, that’s a bargain if you ask me!

We did venture into Madison a bit to visit a few shops we like, such as Community Pharmacy, Pop Deluxe, and A Room of One’s Own bookstore. But we mostly spent time enjoying the quiet and slower pace of the countryside. I admit, we did a little scouting, as we’re looking to move to western Dane County in the next year or two- and we really love what we saw and experienced. My favorite part was when driving through the countryside to go home, we came over a hill and a farmer was at his mailbox getting the mail. He lifted his hand in that ages-old neighborly wave, and I felt quite nice inside. Of  course, we waved back. We’re definitely interested in more of what rural Dane County has to offer… 😉