Tag Archive | Christmas Light Display

29th Annual Holiday Fantasy in Lights – 2017 – Hayride

November 19, 2018


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Another great display this year for everyone to enjoy.  This year I took a look at the displays from a new viewpoint, from a hayride! Info here.

Reserve your own haywagon ride (limited availability) for just $100 plus tax, more information: http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/reserve/hayrides.cfm

The line was long, but it was a warm night and there was a fire to keep us warm while waiting.

Each year, there is a soundtrack you can listen to as you drive through the park transmitted by a LP (low power) radio station. There are actually two stations now. Tune in to 95.3 FM for the main audio, 95.1 for the Dancing Trees.

There were two wagons continuously going around after getting loaded.  The atmosphere was filled with excitement for the upcoming holidays and the kids in the group were so excited!

 It’s our turn!  Soon, we were on our way, watch the video of the hayride.

I returned on the 25th and drove through on my own. If you want to see the displays without other people around, come early in the morning before dawn.  Enjoy the Dancing trees, synchronized to Nutcracker music.

2018 will be the 30th Anniversary of Holiday Fantasy in Lights, I look forward to that!  I will do the hayride again, it was so much fun!


Janesville-Wisconsin’s Park Place

12-12-15 and 5-13-16

Janesville sign

Janesville is a city of 63,575 with a rich history as well as being beautiful with having more than 2,500 acres of parks. Abraham Lincoln had even been here. He stayed at the Lincoln Tallman House on October 3, 1859. It is now a museum along with several other buildings on the campus.

Lincoln Tallman House IMG_8888

Next door is the Helen Jeffris Wood Museum, with its Parker Pen collection.

Helen Jeffris Wood Museum in Janesville

On the Tallman house lawn there was a plaque denoting the “witness trees”, large Burr Oak trees that were present when Lincoln was visiting.

Witness Tree Plaque

Witness tree Burr Oak at Tallman

Across the street is the John Peters House, another historic home built in 1857.

John PetersHouse in Janesville

Janesville is proud of its history and offers several Self-Guided Walking Tours. You can install an app on your phone to guide you on the tour.

We headed downtown to The Armory.  It was built in 1930 and is now an event facility. Contact them here to book your event.

The Janesville Armory

Janesville Tank Company marker

We took a break for lunch and went downtown to O’Reilly and Conway’s, an Irish Pub. Great food here!

O'Riley and Conway's restaurant in Janesville

Another great place to eat is the Milwaukee Grill, we enjoyed Friday Fish Fry there.

Milwaukee Grill in Janesville

 Janesville is in the process of establishing historic districts though building rehabilitation and restoration.  This beautiful building is part of the Kent Block on 52 S. Main,  it now has apartments.  Read more about it here and other buildings.

Kent Block historic building MG_9073

Janesville also has a train depot and four-faced clock nearby. No longer being used for passenger trains, it is now a bus station.

Clock and Depot in Janesville

Janesville Depot IMG_9043

Janesville Depot Plaques

We continued past the depot and found RiversEdge Bowl  with a real cool sign.

RiversEdge Bowl in Janesville IMG_9056

Reversing course, we head to the heart of downtown. This was a Carnegie Library, now a senior center.

Former Carnegie Library in Janesville IMG_9088

Across from here is the Marvin W. Roth Community Pavillion and amphitheater. This is part of their downtown revitalization project.

Pavillion in Janesville IMG_9092

It turned out we were in the Courthouse Hill Historic District and there were many beautiful homes and churches in the block.

Courthouse Hill Historic District IMG_9133

Al pointed out a window style I had not seen before, an Eyebrow Window. It is designed to get natural light into an attic.

Courthouse Historic District house with Eyebrow window

We also found a historic marker that mentioned Janesville as being the site of the first Wisconsin State Fair.

First State Fair in Janesville IMG_9145

Another interesting house, Barnes Double House.

Barnes Double House in Janesville IMG_9175

Barnes Double House Plaque IMG_9171

We head back toward the car, we had a bit more to see outside of downtown.  We saw a photo shoot taking place across the river, they saw us too!Bridge in Janesville IMG_9240

Photoshoot IMG_9231

We went to the “Janesville Oasis” area near the 90/94 exit to see Bessie the Cow.  It is in the area near Arby’s, you can park in the lot nearby. Here is an archive photo from 2005. The oasis sign is no longer there, but the Arby’s is. This area was changed by the new owner Tom Lasse shortly after this picture was taken. You can even pretend to milk Bessie.


Janesville Oasis 2005

Bessie the Cow in Janesville

After paying homage to Bessie, we had another historical marker to see on Janesville’s south side. This marker is dedicated to the Blackhawk War and Black Hawk Grove.  It has two sides.  Blackhawk Credit Union sponsored this important marker.

Blackhawk Grove and War marker

Black Hawk Marker in Janesville

Relax at Palmer Park nearby Rotary Gardens.


It was soon going to be dark, and it was time to go to our final destination, Rotary Botanical Gardens to see their Holiday Light Show. It was fantastic, the largest Christmas Light Show we ever went to.

Rotary Gardens sign IMG_9266

Rotary Pond IMG_9396 brighter

Since there is so much to do in Janesville, staying overnight is a good idea.  One hotel that helped some friends of ours after a fire was the Baymont.  They gave them shelter while they looked for another place to stay.


Janesville was a lot of fun and has many activities for young and old alike. We plan on returning to the garden in May 2016  to see it in bloom.

Waunakee is Where You Wauna Be!

7-18-13 and other visits

Welcome to Waunakee

Welcome to Waunakee!  The village was first known as Leicester , and was incorporated in 1893. Today its a large village of 12,000 that honors its past while building a strong future.  That included the train depot, lovingly restored to its former glory.

Waunakee Depot and Clock

The village had passenger train service until 1963, and was closed for good in 1971.  The village bought the depot from the railroad in 1977, it was restored and is now the Waunakee/Westport Chamber of Commerce.  The Canadian Pacific train still rides by the depot daily, and I was fortunate to be there when it did.

Waunakee Depot and train

Another historic building that is still in use is a former grist mill, now a quilting store called Mill House Quilts.  Six Mile Creek runs through the village.

Mill House Quilts

Walking downtown..


Downtown Waunakee

A great place to get meat is the Village Market.  Their hamburgers are especially good, locally sourced beef. The also make their own bratwurst.

The Village Market

Waunakee also has a big festival held the last weekend in July called Waunafest.  This is their biggest festival of the year and brings the community together as well as attracting many visitors.  They have a fun run, baseball games, a parade and lots more!  It’s held at Centennial Park.  It’s called that because it had a time capsule that was sealed for 100 years.

Centennial Park SignCentennial Park time Capsule

Living Flag

Living Flag

Waunafest Parade Agriculture Float

Waunafest Midway

The Christmas holiday season  is quite a visual treat as well.  The Waunakee Rotary Club decorates Waunakee Village Park on the East side of town with light displays every year.  Very pretty!  Waunakee Rotary in Lights is an annual tradition that is a must-see!

Waunakee Rotary Lights Tree

We hope you enjoyed your visit to Waunakee, the place you wauna be!

Waunakee BannerWaunakee Sign back