Valders – We Like it Here, Enjoy it With Us!

9-8-11 & 8-8-14

Valders Sign 2


Valders is a village in Manitowoc county of about 1000, settled by immigrants from the Valdres Valley of Norway as far back as 1850. It is about 10 miles from Manitowoc. Valders was incorporated as a village in 1919. Descendants of the original settlers still give a village a Norwegian flavor, much like Stoughton. That is seen in the design of Faith Lutheran Church.

Valders Lutheran Chuch

On our 2011 visit on the way to Washington Island, we stopped at this  Cenex for gas and learned about Valders from the friendly staff there. They showed us an aerial photo of the village. They had a pumpkin cart outside too.

Cenex in Valders


Pumpkin Cart

Valders aerial photo


Behind the Cenex was the Willam F. Christel Memorial Woods and Wetland Preserve.

William F. Cristal Memorial Woods and Wetland Preserve


Cristel’s Piggly Wiggly takes care of the grocery needs of the Valders area.

Cristel's Piggly Wiggly Valders

As you can see, the Christel  name is very prominent in this village.  That is because William Franz Christel was one of the early settlers of Valders who moved there in 1916. He founded several businesses, including the grocery store. Downtown there is a historical marker and a restaurant/bar at the former Christel home, called The Shuh Factory Food and Spirits.

William Christel plaque in Valders

Schuh Factory Food and Spirits in Valders

The tallest structure is this lone smokestack.

Valders smokestack


 We also stopped at Valders Memorial Park, there is a historic marker there too. Very interesting!

Valders Memorial park sign

 Valders Historic MarkerWe enjoyed our visits to Valders, they are proud of their community and welcome all visitors!

Downtown ValdersValders Sign


Back to School at the University of Wisconsin

Bascom Hall

Bascom Hall


The University of Wisconsin (UW) traces it’s beginning back to when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848. Today the UW serves all of Wisconsin and even the world with its many outreaches. Today we are exploring the Madison Campus. I didn’t have the opportunity to attend here (I went to Madison College). My grandfather Norman R. Braton was a Mechanical Engineer and Professor here at the Engineering Building for 29 years (1955-1984).  Here he is in the 1960’s.   He was also one of the co-inventor of the Shripper, it shreds rubber tires to prepare for recycling. Photo from the UW archives, 1977.    Read more of his accomplishments here and here.


Norman R. Braton 1960'sShripper 1977

Mechanicl Engineering Building


The 1986 movie “Back to School” was also filmed here at the UW.

The campus unofficially begins at Library Mall. Here you will find the Memorial Library and the University Bookstore.  It has spent recent years full of construction equipment, so here it is long before that, in 2012. It is lined with food carts three seasons of the year, not winter. Also the clock streight ahead past the carts in 2013. It was a gift from the class of 1923.

Library Mall Madison 5-24 -12 Madison


Clock Tower 5-8-13 Madison


With the clock facing your back, you see the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Memorial Union and the  Red Gym/Armory (1893).

Wisconsin Historical SocietyIMG_8231

Memorial Union

Big Red Gym 5-8-13 Madison


The Union is a favorite hangout in Madison. Let’s go behind the building to the Union Terrace. It was remodeled last year, here is how it looks in summer 2014.  The colorful terrace chairs and the Lake Mendota views have delighted residents and visitors for generations.  The Brat Stand is also open in the summer to enjoy a meal by the water.  There is also a stage for outdoor concerts.

Union Terrace 2014 Madison

Brat Stand Memorial Union Madison

Memorial Union Stage Madison

The UW Hoofers base of operations for the sailing club is also here. This is an organization anyone can join for a variety of sports and hobbies.

Hoofers Sailing Club Madison

As we leave here, the majestic Science Hall in red brick towers over the union.

Science Hall Madison

Now we make a right then another left onto Observatory Drive, another place for great views.  The hill is VERY steep, I had to walk my bike. We soon come upon Muir Knoll in the Bascom Hill Historic District. John Muir was a student of UW, the Class of 1863. He became a naturalist known world-wide.  There is also a Storytellers Circle made of stone to sit and converse. Long before this in 1919, it had a ski-jump!

Muir Knoll Rock MadisonJohn Muir marker bascom Hill Historic District

Muir Knoll circle MadisonStoryteller's Circle Muir Knoll Madison

 We now are way above Lake Mendota, we now reach the famous Carillon Tower. It is now striking 11:00. It is not mechanically chimed, a man named Lyle Anderson  has played it for 28 years.

Carillon Tower - Lyle Anderson plays 11:00Carillon Tower Class Presents Madison


We continue down Observatory Drive, now we are way above Lake Mendota.  From here we can see Picnic Point, a long tongue of forest reaching out into the lake.

Picnic Point From Observatory Drive

On our left is Washburn Observatory, Madison’s own portal to the stars. It’s open to the public during events like eclipses, planet viewing, meteor showers and such. At the moment, the dome is closed for repairs. On the grounds to the right is a very large boulder, determined to have been left by the glacier that was once here.

Washburn Observatory in Madison

Glacier Boulder MadisonChamberlin Rock plaque Madison

 Next we are stopping to smell the daisies and more at Allen Centennial Gardens, another part of the UW Campus.


 Allen Centennial Gardens MadisonNear here on University Ave. is the UW Botanical Garden. Both are so beautiful!

UW Botanical Garden Madison

During the football season, Camp Randall is the place to go for a Badger game. Here is the inside of the stadium after the Crazylegs run/walk, last Saturday in April every year. It was remodeled about 10 years ago.

Camp Randall Stadium outside

Camp Randall Stadium 2005

And the Camp Randall Arch. Camp Randall used to be a Civil War base long before it was a football stadium. Go Badgers!

Camp Randall Arch Madison


You can’t have a Badger game without “Jump Around”. This began in 1998. We have even enjoyed doing this at the Madison Mallard games :)

For those people interested in rocks and minerals, the Madison Geology Museum is for you! Also free admission.  The kids will love the pre-historic skeletons on display too!

Madison Geology Museum


Boaz Mastadon

After a great day of exploring, a stop at Babcock Hall Dairy Store for some of their famous ice cream is a must!.  I have enjoyed since visiting Madison in childhood.  You can even go to the 2nd floor and watch them make cheese and the ice cream through the large windows.

Babcock Hall dairy Store

Babcock Dairy Store insideBabcock Ice Cream

Babcock Hall Processing plant


This is only the tip of the iceberg at UW Madison. The UW welcomes everyone to come visit their campus, you don’t have to be a student to have fun here!

Monticello – The Heart of Green County

10-14-13 and 7-26-14

Monticello MonumentMonticello sign

Monticello is a friendly community of 1,217 in the heart of Green county and has plenty to offer in the way of activities or just plain relaxing. A great place to relax here is by Montesian Lake and park.  It has a covered bridge, large gazebo and a LONG grill for community cook-outs.

Monticello Covered Bridge   Large Monticello GrillMonticello Gazebo

Pay a visit to Millie the Whale in the lake too in season, as the lake freezes over in winter.

Millie the Whale in Monticello Lake Montesian

Another great place to relax is nearby Montesian Gardens, a beautiful flower garden tended by green-thumbed volunteers. It was quite beautiful in mid-summer. Much to our surprise, there were pieces of Sid Boyum art here in the gardens.

Montesian Gardens Sign Monticello Sid Boyum Art MonticelloSid Boyum Art 2 in Monticello

 Let’s take in the sights downtown, they have preserved their historic buildings quite well.  We began our walk from the north end of town. Just before going down Main St, we went left to Coates St. to visit the Swiss Heritage Cheese Co. We got some delicious Brick Cheese.

Downtown Monticello Swiss Heritage Cheese Company

Cheesemaking has been an important part of many towns in Green County, and Monticello has a marker in Montesian Park marking the production of Limburger cheese.

Nickolaus Gerber Marker in Monticello

 The first business we see on N. Main is Voegli Chevrolet Buick, co-owner Jack Stenbroten Jr. will be happy to help you! With an A+ rating with the BBB, you know they have your best interests at heart!

Voegli Chevrolet in Monticello

 The Kooler was originally The Chateau Tavern, built in 1933.

The Kooler in Monticello

The Boar’s Nest is a popular place to relax, especially for the farmers in the area. They are only open Friday and Saturday.

Boar's Nest in Monticello

 Gempeler’s Supermarket is full-service, serving the Monticello area since 1972. They even make their own bratwurst and sausage. Stop in! They even have some tables if you want to have lunch there.

Gempeler's Supermarket in Monticello Gempeler's Supermarket inside

The former Bank of Monticello building.   Next to the former bank is The Dining Room restaurant, a dinner-only place open Wed-Sat evenings.


The Dining Room in MonticelloBank of Monticello building


We come upon the historic Barnaby’s Monticello House, the prettiest building on Main St.

Monticello House


Across the street is the Eagle Pass Saloon and in the Woelffer Drugstore is now Monticello’s Historical Society Museum, which is open on Saturdays during the summer. Let’s go in! We are so glad the museum was open today. It’s here because of the efforts of the Historical Society and benefactor Mrs. Ruth Knight Sybers. She bought the building in 2001 and donated it to the Historical Society.  Reach them here.

P.O. Box 463 204 N. Main St. Monticello, WI 53570 Phone: (608)938-4216 Email:

Eagle Pass Saloon and Woeffler Historical Museum

Woefller Monticello Museum Monticello Museum

A special  postmark was created when the building was opened for viewing on May 12, 2007.

Monticello Museum postmark

One of the contributors to this photo display of farm life, Linda Schiesser, told us of the business she and her mother Elda own, Scherenschnitte (Swiss Folk Art) in nearby New Glarus.  She happened to be in the museum today. They have sold their work at Green County Cheese Days in September selling their art. Reach them here.

Scherenschnitte  – The Schiessers

P.O. Box 232, New Glarus, WI 53574-0232


Linda Schiesser photos on farm

Time for lunch at the popular M & M Cafè at the end of the street, across from Montesian Park. We got there just before a huge crowd of bicyclists arrived, filling the restaurant to capacity!  The reason so much bike traffic, Monticello is at the juncture of TWO bike trails. The Badger State Trail and the Sugar River Trail, which we biked on before from New Glarus.

M & M Cafe in Monticello Monticello M & M Cafe inside

We really enjoyed our visit to Monticello and plan on returning.