It’s feeling a lot like Christmas here in Janesville, WI
My morning started off wonderfully with a formal and fantastic breakfast at the Guardian Angel Bed and Breakfast. An egg souffle with sausage, fresh squeezed juice and hash browns along with a beautifully set table got my day started off right.
I drove around Janesville for a bit that morning, then headed out to Milton, a small community on the outskirts of town. I ran across a historic cemetery that caught my attention. I don’t know why, but I’m sort of drawn to cemeteries, perhaps it’s the history they hold, or the ornate and everlasting monuments commemorating ones life.
I then took a tour of the Milton House, which opened in 1844 as a stagecoach inn by the founder of the town, Joseph Goodrich. In 1948 the Milton Historical Society formed to preserve Milton’s history. One of the highlights of the museum for me is the tunnel that was used to help fugitive slaves traveling the Underground Railroad escape to freedom. When you experience sites like this it really puts history into perspective. I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more fascinating history becomes. I think it could have something to do with the fact that when we are young, we have little history to draw from, but as we age, we become a part of history.
Just a block down the street I discovered a really cool little wine bar called Northleaf Winery. It was mid-afternoon and the perfect time to try a wine tasting. What makes Northleaf unique is that in addition to making some delicious wines, they also produce a line of flavor-infused chocolates that they pair with their wine tastings. I absolutely love wine and chocolate together and cannot believe I have not seen more wineries doing this concept.
My next stop was back in Janesville for dinner at My Apartment, a neighborhood joint with a Friday fish fry that really draws in the crowds. “My Apartment” has to be one of the strangest names for a restaurant/pub I’ve ever heard of, and I imagine there is a lot of confusion with the name. One story I heard from someone I ran into said that they were meeting a friend out for dinner, and that the friend called and asked where she was? The other one replied, “I’m at My Apartment.” “No you’re not because I’m knocking at your door,” the other replied. Too funny! My Apartment is certainly a place where the locals go as everyone seemed to know everyone else. I tried a variety of fish & chips, cod, bluegill and one other. The bluegill was without question the best of the three. The coleslaw was also quite yummy. I washed it down with a wonderful local honey ale brewed by Gray Brewing, a company that dates back to the 1800s.
It was now dark out so I made my way to Rotary Botanical Gardens where each year they put on a massive Christmas light display. The instillation of the exhibit starts in August, that’s how long it takes to put it all together. The signature shot is a massive Christmas tree lit up in the middle of a pond. The show has a quarter-million lights, a hundred beautifully decorated trees, luminaries lighting the pathways and hundreds of dangling icicle lights hung from the tallest trees in the Garden. It’s really a wonderful Christmas spectacle, and just one more element here in Janesville that is putting me into the holiday spirit.
My final activity of the evening was just up the street to the Janesville Ice Arena to watch the Janesville Jets play the Minnesota Magicians. I have to admit, I’m not a huge hockey fan, and while I’ve only been to a few professional games, I found this minor league game to be quite exciting. I think the difference is that unless you’re rink side, the action is too far away in those larger arenas. At the Janesville Ice Arena, everyone has a good seat, and if you so choose, you can walk around the rink and stand rink-side next to the glass. It was amazing seeing how fast these guys can skate and how maneuverable they are. After watching this game, I had a whole new appreciation for ice hockey. I found myself glued to the action and nearly missed a unique opportunity. Janesville CVB had arranged for me to ride on the Zamboni during one of the intermissions. What a unique experience! It was so much fun!