The Livingston Inn | Madison, Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast

Tis the Season (Not the Holiday One)

Don’t worry. With Halloween wrapping up, we’re not immediately turning to thoughts about the holiday season. However, before winter is upon us, we want to write about another season that got underway a couple months ago. Typically beginning in the fall, our many music and theater groups embark on their season of concerts and productions. Groups like Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Opera, Madison Ballet, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Forward Theater Company, University Theatre, and several other groups stay very busy with an ongoing array of excellent music and theater. Similar to our restaurant scene and sporting events, a small city like Madison has so much to choose from when it comes to the performing arts scene. With that in mind, we’d thought we’d give you a few of our recommendations for the upcoming season so you don’t miss out on some excellent shows and concerts.  Continue reading

Summer Time Fun

Last week I really enjoyed a supplement to our weekly newspaper, The Isthmus, called “Summer Times”.  It reminded me of all the wonderful things Madison has to offer this time of year.  Certainly we have our time-honored events like Concerts on the Square, Opera in the Park, Art Fair on the Square, and Paddle and Portage.  But The Isthmus supplement was well done because it also featured things to do and see that are less familiar, either because they typically attract a smaller crowd or perhaps still have not been discovered by most residents and visitors.  Of those, the following are ones I would recommend checking out for summer 2015: Continue reading

Fair Trade Holiday Festival

IMG_5076Tired of all the news about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and everything in between this holiday season?  If so, we highly recommend you re-vitalize your holiday shopping with Madison’s 18th annual Fair Trade Holiday Festival this Saturday, December 6, 2014, from 9-4, at the Monona Terrace Convention Center on Madison’s famous isthmus, located just a few blocks off the Capitol Square. Continue reading

The Light of a Winter Solistice

Candles lit on the Winter Solistice

Candles lit on the Winter Solistice

There are so many things to love about this time of year, whether or not you celebrate any religious holidays.  Today is solstice, the shortest day of the year, and it seems pretty clear to me that no matter what your belief system – and even if you don’t have any at all, really – this time of year is about light.  Candles and Christmas lights offer a pretty sanctuary from what might otherwise be a dark, challenging time.  In Madison, it’s sometimes dark by four o’clock!  Grey, overcast days and short daylight hours can make it hard to face the morning — or the very early night.  Physically and symbolically, light offers hope in the darkness, and represents a reminder that the days get longer again, starting tomorrow. Continue reading

Christmas Traditions

Christmas tree in front parlor

Christmas tree in front parlor

At a recent party I attended, I found myself in a fascinating conversation about Christmas traditions and the emotional impact they have on us. An acquaintance told me how, when her mother recently died, the most important things to her and her sisters were their mother’s Christmas ornaments. Some of the ornaments had been in their family for generations, and many of them had special memories attached to them. The sisters were very careful to distribute them fairly, honoring as much as possible individual preferences, and any distinctive attachments each sister had to specific ornaments.  She told me this story with such reverence and it was clear that the emotional connection to the ornaments and to the experience of having to divide them mindfully, almost sacredly, was powerful. Continue reading

Madison Improv

Scene from CTM's A Christmas Carol

Scene from CTM’s A Christmas Carol

How do I love you, Madison? Let me count the ways…

Okay, sorry for the dramatic introduction to today’s post, but I wanted to share yet another thing we love about Madison – the arts culture you find in this great city.  Since we have three kids, we get to explore what Madison has to offer both as an audience and as behind-the-scenes participants, since our kids have varied interests that we try to support through classes, workshops and other learning opportunities. Continue reading

Fall Forward

Fifteen years ago, Peggy and I moved to Madison.  We came for a variety of reasons that made sense for our family.  We left Breckenridge, Colorado — where we had met when we both worked in the hospitality industry there — the first week of November, right between the summer and winter seasons. Continue reading