Our day in Madison was the most low key of the trip, which was good since we were all tired and getting homesick. Our first stop was the Capitol building itself and then we were going to head out to Ella’s Deli before hitting the road to home.
Before I continue, let’s settle the heated debate once and for all over the difference between “capitol” and “capital”. I for one don’t know when to use which version! According to this source, “capitol” is a U.S. state legislature building or the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. A “capital” is a city that serves as a seat of government. So….state capitols are located in the capital cities of U.S. states, and the U.S. Capitol is located in the capital city of the U.S. There – clear as mud!
Now back to the show!
We got to the downtown area just fine but trying to find parking was a whole other matter. The capitol is in the center of the “wheel” and the streets come out from it both going around in a circle and as straight lines (like spokes). If you get on the circular streets, you literally just go around in a circle if you’re not careful because only the outside lanes can turn off. Yet, those lanes are reserved for buses. So you can see our predicament. Eventually I said “screw it”, veered over in to the bus lane and was able to turn off the merry go round we were on.
Once we parked, we hoofed it to the capitol. The building itself pretty typical of most capitols that we’ve seen.
As a general rule, capitol buildings tend to mimic the U.S. Capitol in D.C. The few exceptions have been Ohio, Nebraska and Iowa (this one’s my fav so far). But all are unique in the sense that they are designed to reflect their state and all that it represents.
We walked around the outside, seeing all the statues and sculptures, then ventured in.
Normally we try to take a guided tour, but this tour was an hour long and we knew Isabella wouldn’t last. So we walked around on our own.
You can take an elevator up and then climb some stairs out on to the roof, just under the dome, and get a nice view of the city.
As we were leaving, we ran in to a group of protestors in the main lobby area who were singing songs. Not sure what issue/person they were protesting but the song sounded nice.
By this time we were ready for lunch and decided to try an Irish Pub across the street. We sat outside and enjoyed some ale while waiting for our food. Gumby even joined in!
Isabella was in a feisty mood and did NOT want to sit still. After I finished eating, she and I went next door to a fancy chocolate shop called Candinas. When I walked in, I seriously thought it was an art gallery. The whole place was empty and stark except for one glass case that had chocolate boxes in it. The gal helping me offered us a sample and presented it to us on a fancy platter. We bought a box of 2 pieces and paid $5.
From there we walked through the Farmer’s Market to a building we had seen on the drive in. Turns out it was the Monona Terrace done in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright (who we love). It was very pretty and had great views of the Lake.
We didn’t linger long though because we were hot and tired. Once we found the car, we headed to Ella’s Deli for an ice cream sundae!
Ella’s is famous for all their animatronic figures. And they didn’t disappoint! The place was so chalked full of them, Isabella was in awe and couldn’t even take it all in!
They even had a working carousel out front that we rode! Isabella and CJ sat on a bench while I rode on a horse. I almost fell over trying to get off of it. The guy manning the ride got a kick out of that.
(Look! It’s CJ’s hand wave!)
(and mine too!)
Then it was time to head out of town and mosey toward home. The plan was to get as far as Cedar Rapids (so I could see some old peeps!) but we had to stop in Dubuque for gas and decided to just stay there for the night. More on that to come!
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