Archive for the 'Wisconsin love' Category



Hallelujah!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Layers

I don’t want to participate in the Mommy Wars or anything, but this time of year I start to think that it might be easier to be a parent in, say, San Diego. At least there’d be fewer layers involved in the morning and evening routine.

Beautiful days

Last weekend we celebrated Maggie and Bryan and love and family and friendship and loyalty and kindness and growth and all things good and joyful and beautiful. It was truly an outstanding weekend. I feel so blessed to have been a very small part of it.

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Larry slept here!

Awhile back, AO’s mom gave us two estate tour passes to Ten Chimneys. She also gave us a generous gift certificate to The Union House, a nearby watering hole. Well, because the gift certificate to the restaurant expired at the end of August, we decided in mid-August that we better getting going in making our plans to take on Genesee Depot. Due to the restaurant’s generous flexibility, yesterday was our day out. AO’s mom sweetly watched Bear so we could tour-it-up without the little one (kids under 12 aren’t allowed in the place anyway). We had the best day! Sure, the Lunts may not have had the best taste (no pictures are allowed to be taken inside the homes, otherwise I would have loved to show you the pretty cheesy murals all over the place) and Alfred may have been a bit of a miser (the gold leaf Alfred applied to the walls of the honeymoon cottage was actually gold Scotch tape). But holy cow was it fun to see a grand home in small-town Wisconsin that housed the Lunts and their estimable ¬†friends, like Noel Coward, Laurence Olivier (Larry) and Katharine Hepburn.

I'd seen this sign from the freeway for years and been quite curious.

I’d seen this sign from the freeway for years and been quite curious.

Getting excited!

Getting excited!

This outside does not reveal the amazingness of this visitor center.

This outside does not reveal the amazingness of this visitors’ center.

The sitting room before the women's bathroom in the visitors' center.

The sitting room before the women’s bathroom in the visitors’ center.

In case you need a vanity before or after your tour, the Ten Chimney's visitor's center has your back.

In case you need a vanity before or after your tour, the Ten Chimney’s visitors’ center has your back.

Pretty wallpaper.

Pretty wallpaper.

They're such a cute couple!

They’re such a cute couple!

Ok, that’s enough of the visitors’ center. Let’s move on to the big stuff. It’s what you came here for, right?

Aaron on stage.

Aaron on stage.

Ok, I lied. Just a few more inside the visitors’ center. It was just so cool! And, yes, I know: we don’t get out much. But seriously, I love things like this!

Great exhibit of plays.

Great exhibit of plays.

Aaron.

Aaron.

Kate.

Kate.

Aaron wearing a replica of Alfred's rooster hat.

Aaron wearing a replica of Alfred’s rooster hat.

At last, the estate house!

At last, the estate house!

A plaque. I love plaques.

A plaque. I love plaques.

The gate has some sort of traditional Finnish greeting pattern. Or something like that.

The gate has some sort of traditional Finnish greeting pattern. Or something like that.

Two of the 11 (gasp) chimneys.

Two of the 11 (gasp) chimneys.

More chimneys.

More chimneys.

Another view.

Another view.

From the back.

From the back.

I apologize for the poor quality of photos. I just used my phone. The place is truly impressive and I’m sure there are tons of other better pics out there.

The greenhouse.

The greenhouse.

Did I mention the whole place was a working farm?

Did I mention the whole place was a working farm?

Gardens. I believe our guide said they are now tended by master gardeners at the UW-Extension.

Gardens. I believe our guide said they are now tended by master gardeners at the UW-Extension.

Yet another building. A cool space they used to rehearse plays. There is even a balcony for all of those plays that have balcony scenes.

Yet another building. A cool space they used to rehearse plays. There is even a balcony for all of those plays that have balcony scenes.

A pool and poolhouse!

A pool and poolhouse!

For some reason, I didn’t get a pic of the “honeymoon cottage,” which was the spot Alfred and Lynn lived in when they first moved there (Alfred’s mom and half-siblings lived in the bigger building for a time). After our tour (which lasted more than two hours), we headed for an early dinner and some nice refreshments.

A refreshing Sapphire martini.

A refreshing Sapphire martini.

It was such a fun day. Thanks CJ and Bear, for making it possible. And thanks AO for liking to do stuff like this. Or at least convincing me you do.

Orson Welles slept here

On Saturday, we celebrated my mom’s birthday (observed). After a lovely family brunch at the always pleasant and taste-a-saurus Sardine, we migrated to The Baskerville for the so-called Tour of the Century. I was super psyched to see these apartments-turned-condos and the visit was only enhanced by the presence of my family. Sure, it was a pain to hold Bear for the whole tour (and most of that pain fell to AO), but it really was our fault for forgetting the carrier (it’s in the car, why do we always forget it!?). Anyway, the tour was super cool because it included a showing of one unit on all five floors, including the two-story penthouse; the whole place having been described as a community.*

On the first floor, we were shown two units that had been merged into one by breaking through a wall and installing a period-appropriate pocket door. Cle-ver! The real jaw-dropping part of this show, though, came when I heard this phrase, “And this was where Orson Welles slept for about a month.” Insert record needle scratch sound. Whoah, what? Yes, apparently Orson Welles lived in Madison (how did I not know this? Oh, maybe because it’s not necessarily true) for a short time. Hello!

The basement condo was super cool with a odd glass window into the guy’s bedroom as if it were some sort of museum exhibit. Anyway, the second floor condo we got to see was small, but super cute with the most amazing kitchen. The couple had reoutfitted the outlets with vintage-looking push button fixtures. Love those push buttons. The penthouse was pretty amazing. It was over 2000 square feet with a huge wraparound balcony with Lake Monona glistening a couple of blocks away. For all of its ample space, though, the condo featured only one actual bedroom, though the second floor boasted a cool Murphy bed that could be secluded from the living space with a built-in curtain hung from the ceiling. Because it was someone else’s space, not everything was my taste, but the space was remarkable and impressive nonetheless. I was ooh-ing and ah-ing.

I think the condo on the third floor may have left the longest impression on me. Not so much for what it looked like (though it was cute), but for what it held. A family of three – a mom, a dad, and a two-year old – call this 432 square foot one-bedroom condo home. I don’t know how they do it, but they do and they seemed quite happy and hospitable to boot. In fact, they were serving scones! I’ve been thinking a lot about them as I contemplate our space. Although we have just one bedroom, we also have an additional 800 square feet of living space than they, which includes a second full bathroom. In addition, of course, we have a significant basement space, which gives us oodles of storage. I’m so impressed by this family.

Actually, I’m impressed with all of the families who opened their doors to strangers for hours and hours over the course of two days. I can’t imagine they were jumping up and down to show off their most intimate spaces, but I hope they know how grateful we all are that they did so. And I’m so happy to have been able to see the spot where Orson Welles may or may not have slept.

*AO has since described the scene as a good starting point for Wes Anderson’s next movie.


March 2023
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