Kathy DePrey

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Area Information | 15 Posts
June
20

Summer Festivals Throughout Dane County

Summer Festivals Dane County

Get ready to live life to the fullest in the Dane County area this summer! Local annual summer festivals bring music, food, and fun to many Southern Wisconsin communities throughout the summer, and our real estate agents are excited to share the upcoming festivities. 

Mark your calendars for these great summer festivals in Dane County.

  • Oregon Summer Fest - 245 Brook St, Oregon, WI 53575
    The Oregon Summer Fest is a beloved annual tradition in the community of Oregon, Wisconsin. This year's festival spans four days from July 23 to 26 and will offer enough fun, food, and festivities to keep you going all summer long! It starts with a fireworks display on Thursday evening and ends with Sunday's BBQ 'Thrilla on the Grilla'. In between, there will be a car show, craft fair, carnival games, cornhole tournaments, and much more. The festival takes place in Kiser Park, just minutes from these Oregon homes for sale.

  • Concerts in the Park - 100 E Main St, Cambridge, WI 53523
    The Summer Concert Series in Cambridge, WI, will be returning this year, with live music on select Fridays throughout the summer at Veterans Park. Upcoming shows include Mad City Jug Band on 6/17, Small Blind Johnny on 7/8, and The Tooles on 7/29. All concerts are free to the public and convenient to many Cambridge homes for sale. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs, and there will be food available onsite (usually in the form of a taco truck or the Cambridge Lions Club pizza/beer tent).

  • Coffee Break Festival - 400 Mandt Pkwy, Stoughton, WI 53589
    Sure, Wisconsin might be known for our cheese curds and local craft beer. But did you know the vital role coffee has played in our communities? In fact, the area around Stoughton homes for sale is known as "Home of America's Coffee Break." Celebrate your favorite caffeinated beverage at the Coffee Break Festival on the third Saturday in August. Coffee tastings are available for $6 at the festival. 

  • La Fête De Marquette - 202 S Ingersoll St, Madison, WI 53703
    Live music is also the central focus of La Fête De Marquette, which will be returning to Madison's Eastside neighborhood this summer. In addition, to live bands on three stages, the festival will feature food, beer, and wine tents, as well as family games and activities, and a three-story Ferris wheel. The festival takes place July 14-17 at McPike Park, which also happens to be the setting of Madison's beloved Eastside Farmers Market every Tuesday from April through October. All proceeds from La Fête De Marquette benefit the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center.

  • Concerts at McKee - 2930 Chapel Valley Rd, Fitchburg, WI 53711
    By now, you've probably noticed that Dane County has plenty of summer festivals that involve talented local musicians. And the area near Fitchburg homes for sale is no exception, thanks to the Concerts at McKee series! On the third Monday of June, July, and August, you can enjoy a free concert at beautiful McKee Farms Park. Be sure to check out their website for the latest band announcements for their concert series.

Contact us today to learn more about life in Southern Wisconsin and the surrounding areas! When you're ready to find your dream home in Dane County, our real estate agents are here to help every step of the way. 

June
7

Where to Order Ice Cream Near Dane County

Dane County Ice Cream

What better way to cool off on a sunny day than with a heaping bowl or a towering cone of your favorite flavor of ice cream? 

If you're looking for a place to cool down and satisfy your sweet tooth, then our real estate agents have you covered. These are our favorite Dane County ice cream shops.

  • Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co. - 2685 Research Park Dr, Fitchburg, WI 53711
    A Madison-area staple that has multiple locations, Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co. feels a bit like a classic, old-fashioned ice cream parlor with a modern twist. They've been family-owned since 1962, and the Fitchburg location serves more than 100 flavors. Can't decide what you want? Try an ice cream flight with four unique flavors. Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co. is within walking distance of many Fitchburg homes for sale, so a tasty treat is never far away.

  • Ice Cream Social - 2421 University Ave, Madison, WI 53726
    Serving hand-made small-batch ice cream, Madison's Ice Cream Social started out as a homemade ice cream delivery service during spring 2020. Now in their own brick-and-mortar shop, Ice Cream Social still serves amazing ice cream with creative flavors like Orange Pistachio Chip and Lavender Honeycomb. Find them on University Avenue, just minutes from these Madison homes for sale.

  • Hubbard Avenue Diner - 7445 Hubbard Ave, Middleton, WI 53562
    A homey American eatery that serves all the classic diner fare you'd expect, Hubbard Avenue Diner is one of the best lunch spots in Middleton. But we're here to talk about ice cream, so let's skip right to dessert. This place serves up some truly next-level giant sundaes, not to mention shakes, malts, and floats. Hubbard Avenue Diner is also famous for their pies—you'll see them in the old-fashioned display counter as soon as you walk in the door—and we highly recommend ordering a slice à la mode.

  • Villa Dolce - 1828 Parmenter St, Middleton, WI 53562
    Pizza is the first thing many locals think of when they think about Villa Dolce, a relaxed Italian eatery in Middleton. And while this place certainly offers up some of the best pizza in the area, it also has an amazing gelato selection, so you'll definitely want to save room for dessert. The restaurant is located a stone's throw from many Middleton homes for sale and also serves up some tasty gelato cocktails ("Gelatinis," if you will) for the grown-up members of your party. Try the Strawberry Sensations, made with Malibu coconut and pineapple rum, Cointreau, and strawberry gelato.

  • Calliope Ice Cream - 3241 Garver Green, Madison, WI 53704
    Madison's own Calliope Ice Cream was founded in 2011 and has become a beloved local staple, serving some of the best (and most creative) homemade ice cream flavors in town. Their selection of hand-crafted, small-batch ice cream flavors is always changing, but you can count on finding something unexpected, like Brandy Old Fashioned or Mexican Hot Chocolate flavored ice cream. Hot Peanut Butter is a particular favorite; it's like Thai peanut sauce in ice cream form!

Contact us today to learn more about life in Dane County. The Madison, WI area really comes alive during the summer months, and our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you live life to the fullest in Dane County!

May
18

5 Ways to Get Out on the Water in Dane County

Kayak in Dane County

Wisconsin's May temperatures have made it feel like summer already. That means now is the perfect time to get out and enjoy all the outdoor adventures Dane County has to offer.

The Madison area is home to several beautiful lakes and rivers, making it an idyllic place to enjoy fishing, sailing, kayaking, swimming, and water sports. Our real estate agents have some tips on places to get out on the water in Dane County!

  • Wingra Park - 824 Knickerbocker St, Madison, WI 53711
    Overlooking Lake Wingra, Wingra Park is the perfect jumping-off point for your next adventure in Madison. Wingra Boats offers canoe, kayak, and paddleboat rentals. Lake Wingra spans 336 acres, making it the smallest of the Madison area lakes and one of the best for small boats. Enjoy all of this within 10 minutes of Downtown Madison and with convenient proximity to many Madison homes for sale.

  • Schluter Beach - 4511 Winnequah Rd, Monona, WI 53716
    Schluter Beach is an off-the-beaten-path spot to enjoy the waters of Lake Monona. Within walking distance to several Monona homes for sale, the beach is nestled in a small lakeside park in a quiet, residential area. It's a popular place for families to take kids to cool off on warm summer days. Public restrooms are available, and the park also has a small fishing pier. You can grab an ice cream cone at Monona Bait & Ice Cream right across the street.

  • Fish Camp County Park - 3359 County Rd, McFarland, WI 53558
    Overlooking Lake Kegonsa, 99-acre Fish Camp County Park offers one of the best boat launch facilities in Dane County. The 3,200-acre lake is open to boats with unlimited horsepower. Fish Camp County Park is also a productive fishing spot, offering a fishing pier, fish cleaning station, and shoreline picnic area. Lake Kegonsa is minutes from many McFarland homes for sale and offers anglers ample populations of bass, pike, walleye, and panfish.

  • Sugar River Outfitters - 6890 Paoli Rd, Belleville, WI 53508
    The Sugar River meanders through several communities south of Madison, and its mostly tranquil, easily navigable waters offer some of the best paddling in Dane County. For those unfamiliar with the river, Belleville's Sugar River Outfitters offers gear rentals, instruction, and guided river trips. A short distance from these Belleville homes for sale, the river's gentle flow passes woods, farmlands, and several small towns. Sugar River Outfitters is right next door to Hop Garden Brewery, a perfect spot for a post-paddle pint.

  • Governor Nelson State Park - 5140 Co Hwy M, Waunakee, WI 53597
    The largest of Madison's four lakes, Lake Mendota encompasses over 9,700 acres and offers some of the best fishing and boating opportunities near Waunakee homes for sale. You can access this beautiful lake at several points, but Governor Nelson State Park is a long-standing favorite. With boat ramps, fish cleaning stations, a sandy swimming beach, lakeside picnic areas, and 8 miles of hiking trails, it's the ideal setting for a family lake trip. 

Contact us today to learn more about the adventures that await in the Southern Wisconsin area! Our real estate agents are here to help you move to the life you want.

May
9

Dog Parks in Dane County to Visit This Spring

Dane County Dog Parks

Spring has finally arrived. Our real estate agents know your four-legged friends are waiting for outdoor adventures. Luckily, there are plenty of places you can go with Fido throughout the Dane County area.

Canine friends are welcome in many municipal parks, but the crown jewels for pet owners are the area's dedicated dog parks. You'll find them in many of Dane County's most desirable communities, full of fun amenities for both you and your pooch. Just remember, you will need a dog license and a park permit before you use the local dog parks.

Let's take a look at some of Dane County's top dog parks:

  • Sun Prairie Dog Park – 1025 South Bird Street, Sun Prairie, WI 53590
    Not far from several Sun Prairie homes for sale, you'll find the Sun Prairie Dog Park. Also known as the Sun Prairie Pet Exercise Area, it is located on an inviting eleven acres of beautifully tended land. Equipped with parking for 32 vehicles, picnic areas including tables and benches, shelters, water, and portable restrooms, it has everything you could need for a day out with your four-legged companion.

  • MRD Dog Exercise Area – 5209 County Highway Q, Waunakee, WI 53597
    MRD Dog Exercise Area showcases several enjoyable walking trails, shade shelters, a fenced-in agility course, and portable restrooms. Trails are mowed regularly. The park is open all year round, and you can pick up a permit for just $5 at a self-service station upon entry. It offers loads of fun near Waunakee homes for sale.

  • Penni Klein Park – 8780 Airport Road, Middleton, WI 53562
    Several Middleton homes for sale are conveniently located near the Penni Klein Park, an expansive community park of 34 pristine acres. Home to eight soccer fields, the Steve Adler Baseball Diamond, and an ample trail system, you can explore Downtown Middleton from here. Visitors benefit from a parking area for 250 vehicles. Within the park, you'll find six acres of fenced land dedicated to off-leash exercise.

  • Brittingham Park – 326 South Broom Street, Madison, WI 53703
    Madison homes for sale often have backyards for Rover to enjoy, but you can take things to the next level with a visit to the city's many off-leash dog parks. Brittingham Park may just be the most popular of these, sprawling across more than 25 acres in total. Substantial renovations were finished in 2019, including the addition of paw-friendly synthetic turf and an ADA-compliant doggy drinking fountain.

  • Quann Park – 1802 Quann-Olin Parkway, Madison, WI 53713
    At a full 55 acres, Quann Park stands out as a haven for dogs and their owners. Sitting along the shore of beautiful Wingra Creek, the park is open every day from 4 a.m. to 10 o'clock in the evening. Most of the visitors come for the off-leash dog park, but there is also a 12-court tennis complex you can reserve in advance, as well as the Wingra Creek Bike Path. Drinking water and restroom facilities are available.

  • Warner Park – 2930 North Sherman Avenue, Madison, WI 53704
    Last but not least, Warner Park's 200+ acres sit on the shores of Lake Mendota. In addition to its dog park and runs, it hosts a variety of outdoor community events. Concerts, dramatic performances, charity foot races, and family reunions all take place on a regular basis.

Contact us to learn more about what Dane County has to offer your family, pets included.

April
21

Biking Trails Around Dane County

Dane County Biking

After a long wait, spring weather is here – and that means it's time for spring biking.

No matter where you are around Dane County or what kind of biking you prefer, there are options to enjoy. Our real estate agents know many people pick Madison homes for sale because of the outdoor adventures waiting nearby! Dane County has over 100 miles of trails made for bicycling. Read on for our recommendations on where to bike in Dane County. Each website provides location details:

  • Capital City State Trail
    Capital City State Trail connects two other major trail systems in the state, but requires a permit. It has been recognized since 1998 and passes through a variety of biomes including wetland, lake, creek, prairie, uplands, and heavily wooded areas. It's more than 20 miles long and provides access to several points of interest and branching trails. Don't forget your state trail pass before you start!

  • Lower Yahara River Trail
    Lower Yahara River Trail is one of the newest trails in Dane County. Its "Phase 1" opened to the public in August 2017. With 2.5 miles of off-road trail, it provides a brand new connection between Madison and the village of McFarland. It features North America's longest inland boardwalk bridge, intended solely for bicyclists and others using non-motorized transportation.

  • Cannonball Path
    Cannonpath Path is a trail of just under four miles following the path of a historic railway from the bicycle roundabout at Military Ridge State Trail. In 2015, it was extended with a bridge across the Beltline. Plans are underway to further extend the trail all the way to Bowman Park, linking it with the Wingra Creek path.

  • Military Ridge State Trail
    The 40-mile Military Ridge State Trail extends through the paths of Iowa and Dane Counties. Acting as a hub for local bicycle journeys, it connects Dodgeville and Fitchburg as well as many communities along the way. Defined by a military trail dating back to 1885, it provides bicycle access to the Capital City Trail or Badger State Trail. It passes through rolling hills, idyllic farmland, and historic mine country.

  • Ice Age Junction Trail
    Ice Age Junction Trail is located east of Verona and is Dane County's answer to the 1,000 miles of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. This local spot highlights geological formations where Ice Age influence can be seen even today. The paved path is suitable for bicyclists and pedestrians. It's also popular with hikers and links up with a variety of state and county public lands associated with the National Scenic Trail.

  • Monona Lake Bike Loop
    Monona Lake Bike Loop is the best way for cyclists to appreciate the wonderful views of Lake Monona, the second largest in the local chain of lakes. The loop itself rings twelve miles around the lakeshore and is among the most picturesque cycling trails in the region. On it, you'll visit the heart of bustling Madison and see quiet lakeside communities as you complete the journey.

Spring is a great time for outdoor adventures, and it's also a good time to accomplish your real estate goals in Dane County. Contact us to find out more about Dane County real estate opportunities.

April
5

National Wildlife Week: Madison Nature Preserves

Wildlife Preserves in Madison

Spring is in the air in the Madison area, and with National Wildlife Week here, it's a great time of year to get outside and explore the natural wonders of Wisconsin.

In honor of National Wildlife Week, our real estate agents are excited to highlight some of their favorite nature preserves and wildlife sanctuaries in and around Madison.

  • Lakeshore Nature Preserve - 2000 University Bay Dr, Madison, WI 53705
    Owned by the University of Wisconsin–Madison and located on its campus, the 300-acre Lakeshore Nature Preserve is an outdoor teaching and research facility. It's open to the public and stretches along a 4-mile stretch of Lake Mendota's shoreline. Within walking distance of many Madison homes for sale, Lakeshore Nature Preserve includes several nature trails, as well as fishing and kayak launch sites on the lake. Keep an eye out for various species of waterfowl along the shoreline.

  • Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park - 6098 N Sherman Ave, Madison, WI 53704
    Spanning around 2,000 acres, Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park consists primarily of woods, wetlands, and prairies along the Yahara River. The landscape is crisscrossed by a network of trails and boardwalks and is one of the best bird-watching spots in the Madison area. Bald eagles and osprey are commonly observed above the river, and sandhill cranes nest in the wetland areas every year, typically in April and May.

  • Owen Conservation Park - 6021 Old Sauk Rd, Madison, WI 53705
    The rich prairies of Owen Conservation Park offer some of the best opportunities to see spring wildflowers in Madison. Coneflowers, goldenrod, and bluestem are among the many species that bring a splash of color to this 96-acre park throughout the year. Owen Conservation Park overlooks the West Side of Madison and also features several ponds populated by wood ducks, herons, and various shorebirds.

  • Heritage Sanctuary - 625 Meadowlark Dr, Madison, WI 53714
    Spring is a great time to hike the nature trail in Heritage Sanctuary. From late April through about the middle of May, the forest floor beneath the budding oak canopy will be sprinkled with trillium flowers in full bloom. The timing is a little different every year, but it's a remarkable display to welcome the warmer weather. Heritage Sanctuary encompasses just nine acres and features a half-mile trail, making it the perfect place for a short, easy nature walk.

  • Stricker's Pond - 7214 Longmeadow Rd, Madison, WI 53717
    Stricker's Pond is a small conservation area on Madison's West Side. It spans 13.5 acres, including the 9-acre glacial pond that gives it its name. The pond was formed when a chunk of ice broke away and was left buried in the earth as the glaciers receded about 10,000 years ago. Today, it's a lovely spot for a hike or bike ride, and you may spot a wide range of wildlife in the diverse habitat around the pond. It's a frequent stopover for migratory birds. 

Madison is a fantastic place to live for anyone who enjoys spending time in the great outdoors. Contact us today to learn more about life in Madison, Wisconsin.

March
15

St. Patrick's Day in Madison

St Patricks Day

Home to a variety of local brew houses and Irish pubs, it's no surprise that the Madison area is a great place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Join our real estate agents by partaking in the luck of the Irish at these lively pubs, saloons, and restaurants around Madison

  • Lucky's St. Patrick's Day Bar Crawl - Red Rock Saloon, 222 W. Gorham S., Madison, WI 53703
    What's St. Patrick's Day without a traditional pub crawl? Meet your friends at Red Rock Saloon to start out on Lucky's St. Patrick's Day Bar Crawl. Enjoy food and drink specials at five great bars, followed by a lively after-party. A $1,000 prize will be awarded for the best costume of the evening. Tickets are $15, with a $5 discount per person for groups of four or more. The crawl takes place on Saturday, March 19, from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m., with the after-party scheduled for 10 p.m. - midnight.

  • Essen Haus - 514 E. Wilson St., Madison, WI 53703
    Is St. Patrick's Day a springtime version of Oktoberfest? They'll be wearing green on March 17 at Essen Haus, a popular German restaurant that goes Irish for the day. Essen Haus will serve steins of green beer to go with a food menu of corned beef & cabbage, shepherd's pie, and other classic dishes. Irish pub band O'Darby will provide live entertainment. Festivities run from 3 p.m. - 10 p.m.

  • Mackesey's Irish Pub - 317 State St., Madison, WI 53703
    When you visit Mackesey's Irish Pub, don't be surprised if you find yourself forgetting that you're in Madison. This family-run bar, located in a vintage building, has the authentic feel of an old-school Irish pub. Order a pint of Guinness, Smithwick's, or Harp to go with your burger or "toastie" sandwich. Be sure to bring plenty of coins to feed the jukebox. Mackesey's opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon on Sunday.

  • Erin's Snug Irish Pub - 4601 American Pkwy., Madison, WI 53718
    Historically, a "snug" was a private room for people who didn't want to be seen in a bar. But that's not the case at Erin's Snug Irish Pub, which promotes an atmosphere of fun and fellowship. Each room has a Gaelic name along with its own decor to provide a variety of experiences. In addition to traditional favorites such as bangers & mash and cottage pie, the menu adds Irish flair to some unexpected dishes. Be sure to try the shepherd's pie mac & cheese or the shalaylee, an egg roll stuffed with corned beef, cabbage, and Swiss cheese. Erin's is open daily from 11 a.m. until closing.

According to an old Irish blessing, "May the roof above you never fall in and those gathered beneath it never fall out." We can help you with the roof portion of that when you contact us at Stark to help you make a plan to find a new home in the Dane County area

March
9

Staycations for Spring Break

Staycations

If hearing about friends' Spring Break plans has you feeling a bit stir crazy, it's not too late to book a spring staycation! Southern WI has beautiful options for a stay full of outdoor adventure or soothing relaxation. Read on to learn about a few of our local vacation destinations.

Our real estate agents know our state is dotted with inns, bed and breakfasts, and hotels that allow you to make the most of life in Wisconsin. The peaceful and serene surroundings will refresh you – and you might only have to travel a few minutes to reach your favorite new getaway. No matter what you have in mind, there's a nearby "staycation" that can help you reset this spring.

Let's take a closer look at some top staycation options throughout the local area:

  • Cameo Rose Victorian Country Inn – 1090 Severson Road, Belleville, WI 53508-9728
    It's been said that "the nicest people in the world stay at" Cameo Rose Victorian Country Inn. This award-winning bed and breakfast is situated on 120 acres featuring forests, gardens, and meandering trails. It's delightful in all seasons with spring flower beds, summer rose gardens and fall foliage. And it is convenient to some of Belleville's quaint neighborhoods.

  • Pinehaven – E13083 State Highway 33, Baraboo, WI 53913
    Not far from Baraboo, you can enter another world in the rural setting of Pinehaven. Seated in a pine grove that truly redefines "fresh air," it provides you with a wonderful pond and gardens to explore. Catch and release fishing is allowed in the pond with no license required, and birdwatchers love seeing what feathered friends they can spot on the grounds during the spring. It's also convenient to a wide range of trails perfect for a relaxing walk.

  • Inn at Wawanisee Point – E13609 Tower Road, Baraboo, WI 53913
    Inn at Wawanisee Point is a secluded spot seated on 42 acres of wooded land and positioned atop the Baraboo Bluffs. Hailed as a romantic getaway you will never forget, it caters to adults only. It's also a short drive to Devil's Lake State Park, with abundant opportunities for hiking, paddling, and more. The accommodations are steeped in luxury, and the view is unbeatable.

  • Mendota Lake House Inn – 704 East Gorham, Madison, WI 53703
    Mendota Lake House Inn is an arts and crafts inn that has been around since 1911. It sits right on the famous lakeshore near some of Madison's most unique homes for sale. It is known for its convenience to the State Capitol and University of Wisconsin campus. All visitors will have a brilliant view of the lake and enjoy a full continental breakfast each morning.

  • Naeset-Roe Inn – 126 East Washington Street, Stoughton, WI 53589
    Naeset-Roe Inn continues a tradition that dates all the way back to 1878 builder Jens Naeset. This charming inn, noted on the National Register of Historic Places, is a prime example of Victorian architectural flair. Themed guest rooms, each with a private bath, are all located on the second floor. It will whisk you away to an experience of elegance near Stoughton homes for sale.

Contact us to discover more of what Wisconsin has to offer.

March
3

5 Recently Opened Restaurants in Madison

Madison Restaurants

Madison foodies rejoice! Some truly amazing restaurants are joining Madison's vibrant culinary scene. Looking to try something new next time you dine out or order takeout? Read on for suggestions on new restaurants and cafes to try.

  • Stadium Takeout - 1517 Monroe St, Madison, WI 53711
    Opened in October 2021, Stadium Takeout is already gaining traction thanks to its unpretentious atmosphere and menu packed with tasty Midwestern staples. The restaurant is the brainchild of Don Woods, known around town as Don the Barber—he also owns the barbershop right next door—who has built the menu around Windy City favorites like Italian beef and Chicago hot dogs. Stadium Takeout also makes tasty wings, burgers, and shrimp po'boys. It's a great place to get a hearty meal to go, with a convenient location on Monroe Street, near some of Madison's most charming homes for sale.

  • The Harvey House - 644 W Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53703
    A new restaurant with an old-school ambiance, The Harvey House is a classic supper club with a unique Midwestern twist. A creation of owner Shaina Robbins Papach and co-owner/chef Joe Papach, this eatery made waves well beyond the local restaurant scene when it opened last year and was ranked number eight on Esquire's Best New Restaurants in America 2021 list. Their martinis are served ice-cold, and the pumpernickel-crusted Lake Superior walleye, served with spaetzle, savoy cabbage and horseradish sabayon, is a real highlight of the menu.

  • Taco Local - 811 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703
    Taco Local opened in April 2021 in the Williamson Street location that was once home to Underground Butcher. Their menu of Latin American street food includes just a handful of items, but each one is dialed into perfection. Tacos, of course, are the stars of the show. The mango braised pork tacos and tequila lime chicken tacos are outstanding. Each taco comes topped with homemade pico de gallo, crema, and cilantro and is served with a side of esquites, a Mexican street corn salad, and red pickled onion.

  • Kettle Black Kitchen - 1835 Monroe St, Madison, WI 53711
    Serving French-inspired American fare in an intimate setting, Kettle Black Kitchen is a cozy new dinner spot on Monroe Street. Owners Brian and Alicia Hamilton started Kettle Black Kitchen as a meal pick-up service before expanding into their new brick-and-mortar location in 2021. With entrees ranging from pan-seared cod to maple braised bone-in pork shank, Kettle Black Kitchen offers reservations up to 30 days in advance but always holds a few tables for walk-ins.

  • Good News Ice Cream - 117 King St, Madison, WI 53703
    A new ice cream shop is always good news, but the opening of Good News Ice Cream was a particularly welcome announcement this past summer. Serving coffee and grab-and-go sandwiches in addition to artisanal, homemade ice cream, the shop is owned and operated by Andy Haker, who also owns Madison's, a beloved craft cocktail bar and brunch hangout right next door. The nine rotating ice cream flavors at Good News range from the classic (vanilla bean, pistachio) to the adventurous (strawberry balsamic, Mexican hot chocolate) but are always satisfying.

Contact us today to learn more about life in Madison and talk to our real estate agents about finding your dream home in Wisconsin.

February
3

5 Places Worth Exploring in Dane County This Year

Dane County

  • Olbrich Botanical Gardens - 3330 Atwood Ave., Madison, WI 53704
    With 16 acres containing an incredible assortment of plants and flowers, Olbrich Botanical Gardens is the equivalent of a visual amusement park. Global delights such as the Thai Pavilion, the only one in the continental United States, and the Bolz Conservatory, a 50-foot glass pyramid replicating the vegetation of the tropics, can instantly transport your mindset. Other specialty gardens include the Rose Garden, Sunken Garden, and Herb Garden. Grow your green thumb with classes, workshops, and lectures. Admission to the Conservatory is $6, but the outdoor gardens are free, though donations are gratefully accepted. Hours are 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily.

  • Chazen Museum of Art - University of Wisconsin, 750 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706
    Located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, just blocks away from Lake Mendota, the Chazen Museum of Art is stunning. Its two buildings hold approximately 23,000 pieces, making it the second-largest collection in the state and the largest collecting museum in the Big Ten. Cultures and periods represented include ancient Greece, 18th-century Japan, and modern Africa. The visiting exhibition, Seeing Audubon: Robert Havell, Jr., and the Birds of America, will be on display through the first quarter of 2022. Admission is free to the public. Hours are 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on weekends.

  • Henry Vilas Zoo - 702 S. Randall Ave., Madison, WI 54715
    A trip to the Henry Vilas Zoo is a treat for "kids" of all ages. The park sits on land donated by Col. William and Anna Vilas in honor of their young son, the zoo's namesake, who died due to complications from diabetes. In an act of further generosity, they stipulated that the land be used for a park that would remain free to the public. Henry Vilas is one of only ten zoos in North America where visitors can see more than 650 animals from around the world for no admission fee. The zoo is open seven days a week from 9:30 - 5 p.m and is a delightful stop in Downtown Madison.

  • Madison Eats Food Tours - Madison, WI
    Our local culinary game is strong. Surprise your senses with Madison Eats Food Tours, which highlight Madison's longtime favorites and trendy new spots. Each tour theme focuses on a specific cuisine or neighborhood, creating an immersive experience. Current tours include Capitol Square Downtown, Atwood Brew & Chew, and Bike n' Bites. For the adventurous diner, Madison Eats also offers international culinary tours to places like Mexico and Belize. Local tours run for approximately three hours. Visit the website for schedule and prices.

  • University of Wisconsin Geology Museum - Weeks Hall, 1215 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706
    Dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes delight visitors of all ages. Spend an educational day disguised as fun with your family at the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum. Exhibits featuring more than 120,000 specimens will take you back to the times when the state was variously covered with ice, water, and volcanoes. Admission is free to the public. Museum hours are 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday.

Making the most of life in Dane County is what Stark agents love to do and what we love to share with our community. For dedicated and knowledgeable help buying or selling a home, contact us at Stark Company Realtors.

January
5

First Fridays on Monroe Street

First Friday Monroe Street

Monroe Street is one of Madison's most charming destinations. Nestled in the shadow of legendary venues like Camp Randall Stadium and the UW Field House, Monroe Street has established its own identity through the unique shopping and dining experiences it offers. Nearby residents walk from shop to shop, stop for a warm beverage at a cafe or grab a bite at a one-of-a-kind restaurant. 

If you haven't attended one of the First Fridays on Monroe Street events, now is the time.

We want to help you plan ahead with these First Fridays on Monroe details.

First Fridays on Monroe Street

Location: 1400 – 3600 Monroe St., Madison, WI 53711

Time: First Friday of Every Month*, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
(*Starting again in February 2022)

Admission: Free

  • Extended Shopping Hours at Your Favorite Boutique Shops
    During First Fridays, many Monroe Street shops will have extended hours that make it easy to explore these wonderful small businesses. If you've been wanting to check out some of these spots but can't make it during the usual business hours, First Fridays are the perfect time to visit Monroe Street.

  • Delicious Dining at Monroe Street Destinations
    Monroe Street is also home to some of the best restaurants near Madison homes for sale, so it's easy to refuel with some fantastic food in between stops. Whether you're grabbing a sweet treat at Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, enjoying a great cup of coffee at Crescendo Espresso Bar, settling in for a delicious meal at Marie's Soul Food, or grabbing a drink at the Laurel Tavern, you'll love the variety and charm of the dining destinations on Monroe Street. Be sure to check the menus for specials!

  • Live Music and Pop-Up Shops
    Live outdoor performances are also part of some First Fridays, along with unique pop-up shops that aren't available at any other time. You never know what you might find on First Fridays, which is part of the fun.

  • Something New Every First Friday
    No two First Fridays celebrations are the same. Different shops and restaurants participate every month, so there's always something new to see. Mix in the live performances, pop-up shops, and other fun surprises and it's easy to see why so many people return for every First Friday on Monroe Street.

  • More Events to Enjoy on Monroe Street All Year Long
    Along with First Fridays, Monroe Street offers a variety of other festive events throughout the year. Holiday Glow on Monroe is a must-see during the holiday season, with carolers, great shopping, and live holiday music. The Monroe Street Festival happens every summer, with live music, fun, educational classes, fabulous food, and plenty of kid-friendly attractions. No matter the season, there's always something to see on Monroe Street.

Searching for a home that makes it easy to visit and enjoy Monroe Street? Let our local real estate team help. Contact us to buy and sell homes in the Madison, WI area.

December
29

Stops to Make in Downtown Madison

Downtown Madison

Madison, WI is one of the top 30 happiest cities in America, according to a poll conducted by USA Today. Madison's residents know that Dane County is a happy, welcoming place to call home and we consider Madison's vibrant downtown one of the biggest attractions. Wondering why Downtown Madison is so highly rated? We have some fun facts about Downtown Madison to help you live the life you want in our charming small big city.

  • Downtown Madison Knows Lake Vibes & Waterfront Views
    Who says you need to live on the coast to enjoy a waterfront lifestyle? Downtown Madison is framed by two large lakes, which provide scenic views and endless opportunities for outdoor fun. Lake Mendota and Lake Monona sit on both sides of Downtown Madison, forming what we call our Isthmus. There are a total of five lakes located near Madison area homes for sale, along with multiple nature preserves, so you'll always have somewhere new to explore.

  • Hundreds of Miles of Trails Connect the Community
    Known as the bike capital of the Midwest, Madison is connected by over 200 miles of trails perfect for biking, hiking, and navigating the city without having to drive. Use your own bike, or grab one anytime from one of the many bike-sharing stations located around the city. Since many of Downtown Madison's attractions are located within a radius of a couple of miles, walking is also a great way to see the city.

  • Living Local is Easy on State Street
    Speaking of walking and biking, Downtown Madison's State Street is a great place to get those steps in and explore small businesses. The stretch of State Street that runs from the UW campus to the Wisconsin State Capitol is a pedestrian-friendly haven, home to some of Madison's favorite local shops and restaurants. Grab a meal, see a show or score a one-of-a-kind find all within a few blocks.

  • Everyone is an Honorary Badger at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
    The University of Wisconsin-Madison campus has been a local institution for more than 150 years, featuring a variety of attractions that both residents and visitors love. A concept called the Wisconsin Idea ensures that the university is meant to benefit the entire state. The University of Wisconsin Arboretum and the Allen Centennial Gardens are showstoppers for nature lovers and moving here will quickly turn you into a UW Badgers fan, with fantastic football games at Camp Randall Stadium.

  • Family Fun in Downtown Madison
    Downtown adventures aren't just for adults. The Madison Children's Museum is filled with interactive exhibits that kids love, along with a busy schedule of special events. People of all ages will love visiting the Henry Vilas Zoo, which offers free admission and many indoor and outdoor attractions, located on the shores of Lake Wingra.

Are you considering relocating to one of America's happiest cities? Our local real estate team can help. Contact Stark to learn more about how we can help you move to the life you want in the Madison, WI area.

January
19

Wisconsin Favorite Foods: Try Cheese Curds at These Dane County Spots

Cheese Curds Dane County

We can all agree that Wisconsin knows how to do cheese. So, are you looking for that signature squeak? Or recommendations on the best dipping sauces? Read below to add some flavor and fun to your day with cheese curds from these must-try Dane County hotspots.

  • Great Dane Pub & Brewing - 123 E. Doty St., Madison, WI 53703
    College buddies Eliot Butler and Rob LoBreglio were ahead of the craft beer curve when they opened Great Dane Pub & Brewing in the mid-90s. More than a quarter-century later, people around Madison are still enjoying the casual atmosphere and quality brews. Great Dane's Old Glory cheese curds are coated in batter, infused with their American Pale Ale and served with a side of roasted Hatch chili ranch for dipping. Hours are 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily except Friday and Saturday when doors are open until 1 a.m.

  • Babcock Dairy Store - 1605 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706
    Cheese and ice cream from Babcock Dairy Store are a staple of life at UW-Madison. Fortunately, the shop's delicious products are available to everyone. In addition to 23 flavors of cheese, the store offers freshly-made breakfast and lunch sandwiches for curbside pickup. All proceeds go toward the UW's Food Science Department. Babcock Dairy Store is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

  • The Old Fashioned - 27 North Pinckney St., Madison, WI 53703
    This might go without saying, but you haven't lived your best Wisconsin life if you haven't had cheese curds at the Old Fashioned. Want to enjoy your cheese curds with a side of stunning views of the Madison area? This is your place! Plus, there are plenty of dipping sauces for you to pair with their delicious beer-battered cheese curds. Stop by between  4 - 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Or visit on the weekend when their hours are 11 a.m. - 9 p.m on Friday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

  • Wisconsin Cheese Mart - 119 State St., Madison, WI 53703
    In 1938, Wisconsin Cheese Mart was a quaint little shop on Old World Third Street, in Milwaukee. What's not to love about their mission: "To celebrate the cheesemakers' craft, showcase their hard work and innovation, and serve cheese fanatics everywhere the best of what Wisconsin has to offer." Cheese curds are available in yellow Cheddar, white Cheddar, and combo packs and shipping is an option. Hours are 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

  • Fromagination - 14 W. Mifflin St., Suite 212, Madison, WI 53703
    Fromagination's name is a play on "Fromage," which is the French word for cheese. This serves as a nod to the artisan nature of cheese-making in Wisconsin and an appreciation of all the people involved. Their Cedar Grove cheese curds come in original Cheddar flavor or spiced up with garlic and dill. You can also purchase a bag of cheese curd batter mix or receive one free with four bags of cheese curds. Hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Want to learn more about the benefits of living in Dane County or Madison area homes for sale? Contact us and talk to an expert on both the local real estate market and how to make the most of life in Wisconsin.

November
30

Get in the Holiday Spirit With These Madison Area Events

Madison Holiday Events

Madison is a wonderful place to enjoy the holidays. You can make a night of enjoying performances and cocktails downtown or try spending a day exploring a nearby community with fun family festivals. 

Our real estate agents share their recommendations below on some of the best ways to embrace the season. Check out these fun Madison-area events. 

  • 25th Annual Fair Trade Holiday Festival: Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center - 1 John Nolen Dr., Madison, WI 53703
    On December 4th, head over to the Fair Trade Holiday Festival where you'll find over 40 vendors selling all kinds of ethically sourced international products. Explore everything from holiday decor, clothing, jewelry, and accessories to chocolates, coffees, children's items, and more. This is one of the best places for you to find unique holiday gifts that you can't get at the mall or from big box stores. Even better, you'll be sure you're giving gifts you can feel good about! 
  • A Christmas Carol: Overture Center Capitol Theater - 201 State St., Madison, WI 53703
    Celebrate the holidays with the Children's Theater of Madison's presentation of Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol. This is an annual holiday tradition you won't want to miss! Shows are scheduled for December 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th, 22nd, and 23rd. 
  • A Madison Symphony Christmas: Overture Center for the Arts - 201 State St., Madison, WI 53703
    On December 3rd through the 5th, you'll have the chance to take in the beautiful sounds of the Madison Symphony. The show will feature the orchestra, three choruses, and some amazing opera stars. Be sure to arrive early because 50 minutes before each concert you'll also be able to participate in a Christmas carol sing-a-long with the Madison Symphony Chorus. This is a holiday experience unique to Madison. 
  • Run Santa Run 5k: 20 W. Mifflin St., Madison, WI 53703
    Want to enjoy a healthy holiday activity? Sign up for the Run Santa Run 5k on December 5th. You'll get to decide whether you want to run or walk as an elf, polar bear, or Santa, dress up, and have some fun soaking in all the holiday fun! After you finish your run or walk, you can also stick around for a fun post-race party. 
  • Eastside Winter Market: Garver Feed Mill - 3241 Garver Green, Madison, WI 53704
    The Eastside Winter Market is a must-do holiday event. This community-focused event will feature tons of vendors selling vintage items, art, home goods, clothing, food, and more! You can spend the day shopping for all of your holiday gifts, then stay late for live music by Solid Freex, L.E.X., and DJ Hanna and DJ Tara. There will also be a pop-up print shop where you can have your photo taken and have your holiday cards printed up for you while you shop. It doesn't get easier (or more fun) than that! Stop in on December 11th to join in on the fun. 

Is a beautiful new home on your holiday wish list? The holidays might be the perfect time of year to picture yourself moving from the life you have to the life you want. If exploring Madison homes for sale is on your winter wish list contact us today so we can chat about how we can help. Happy holidays!

December
9

Local Holiday Shopping Near Dane County

Local Holiday Shopping

Whether you're browsing Madison homes for sale, or looking to score some unique finds for VIPs on your holiday shopping list, our real estate agents have a helpful suggestion or two.

Visit home-grown brands around Dane County, and you'll get to support small businesses while snagging gifts you can't find anywhere else. It's worth the adventure, you may find a new favorite place and you'll knock those hard-to-shop-for relatives off your list.

Stop by these local businesses to discover gifts that will delight your friends & families and give them a piece of our beloved Dane County community:

  • Madison Chocolate Co. – 729 Glenway St., Madison, WI 53711
    Madison Chocolate Co. has an array of delectable delicacies. You can even order with local delivery. Most visitors start with the dedicated gluten-free cafe, featuring scones, apple cider donuts, and pain au chocolat. Gift boxes at the in-house chocolatier include the mixed truffle and caramel box. Make time to savor the Weekend Waffles brunch offerings, too!

  • Tradition Market – 1821 Parmenter St., Middleton, WI 53562
    Tradition Market is divided into two showrooms for women's and children's attire, connected by an inside walkway. Gift cards are available for all your last-minute shopping needs but don't pass up the chance to explore the selection in person. Private appointments are available, and if you don't have time to make the trip, you can even set up a virtual viewing time using Zoom or FaceTime.

  • National Mustard Museum – 7477 Hubbard Ave., Middleton, WI 53562
    Established in 1986 near Middleton homes for sale, National Mustard Museum will delight you with the untold story of one of America's favorite condiments. And, of course, you can also purchase a gift box of gourmet mustards with hand-picked treats from all over the United States.

  • Wisconsin Candle Company – 119 W. Main St., Waunakee, WI 53597
    Wisconsin Candle Company showcases handcrafted candles especially suited to the needs of people with asthma and scent sensitivities. All products are made from 100% soy wax with no additives, and the fragrance oils are 100% free of parabens and phthalates. If you've been browsing Waunakee homes for sale, you might recognize the theme of these inspired assortments, like "Life on the Lakes" or "Hygge Home," then get free shipping on any order over $75!

  • Rust & Lace Collectibles and AntiquesVarious Locations
    Rust & Lace Collectibles and Antiques is the kind of quaint local store you'll want to go back to again and again because there's always something new. A regular attendee of local events like the Vendor Night Market and the Fall Village Market, Rust & Lace offers housewares, antiques, collectibles, clothing, art, and all sorts of fascinating treasures that defy description. 

Contact Stark Company Realtors to find out more about real estate in Dane County.

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