Arriving in Madison, Wisconsin

It’s not often I get to combine both tennis and travel into one trip. I was happy when the opportunity came to do just that in Madison, Wisconsin.

I had been to Madison only once before, and that was quite a long time ago for the Celebration of American Distilling.

I only stayed for one night and didn’t get to see much of the city.

This trip was scheduled for three nights: two at the Graduate Madison and one at The Edgewater.

They are totally different accommodations and I was looking forward to seeing Madison from these completely different angles.

My friend Roberta came along with me.

Our first stop in the city was to check in at the Graduate Madison .

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t what we got.

The Graduate brand has truly unique hotels. They are very welcoming with large open lobbies.

They are also each uniquely remodeled to the (college) town they are located in.

Although my first instinct was modern, retro is probably a better explanation.

Everything was colorful and bright, but contemporary in the sense of convenience in connecting devices and getting work done.

I loved their open table set-up for Portage Pie, the coffee shop-like restaurant in the lobby.

Even the front desk was not like any other I had seen.

I also liked the furniture and artwork that had been chosen specifically for this hotel.

The rooms at The Graduate Hotel are also themed on the local college, the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

They are set up a bit like dorms, but certainly more spacious and convenient

Madison is a big college town. Having lived in Champaign, home of the University of Illinois, for eight years, I am not only used to the concept, I love it.

I went down to the university for a while to check out the tournament before Roberta picked me up and we headed downtown for dinner with Curt from the Visit Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Dinner was at a highly popular restaurant in Madison, Cento. It was warm and comforting, with a thoughtful cocktail list.

I began to wind down from the day of travel with a Mule Romano, made with Tito’s Vodka, Ramozzatii Romero, ginger beer, and mint. It was served in the traditional copper cup made for mules and stayed nice and cold.

We began with salads made with fresh, local ingredients. The main courses were equally well-prepared. The short rib was tender and delicious, and the gnocchi with butternut squash was amazing.

We managed to also save room for some sweet concoctions from their pastry chef.

After dinner, we walked around the beautiful downtown.  The capitol building in in the center and it is architecturally beautiful.

We went past the Elephant Chocolate Café and I made a note that I needed to stop by there before I left town, but we were ready to head back to

The Graduate Madison and rest up for another day in Madison.


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