Day Four (08.20.10):
Our last day trip was to Taliesin…which we had been wanting to go to for a long time! We had planned to go over spring break, but we found out it wasn’t open then. But coming this time of the year was a lot prettier!…even though we spent half the time in a rain storm!
Taliesin is located in Spring Green, WI which is west of Madison about an hour away. It is where Frank Lloyd Wright built his Taliesin East architecture school and his home. It is located on land his family had owned for a long time. Part of the site is still located on the original home and farm.
Taliesin is comprised of many different sections which surprised me. There is the guest center and restaurant (which was designed by Wright at a later time), the architecture school (which is still exists even today), Wright’s home, the original farm house, a small chapel, the windmills, the barn, the pond, lots of land, and couple of guest homes which is where some Taliesin trust members live. When I heard of Taliesin, I really thought it was just one building!
Day Two Itinerary (08.18.10):
After the trip to the Apostle Islands, the next series of trips were either hanging around Madison or taking day trips near Madison. On the first day back I went to the Olbrich Gardens, which I had been wanting to go to for a long time. The Olbrich Gardens are amazing…they have a conservatory with tropical plants, as well as a really neat maze of botanical gardens outside. It was well designed and filled with a variety of plants. I imagine it’s a neat place to work! There was even a golden temple that was donated to the gardens from India. I was disappointed we couldn’t stay longer, but Boo had to give someone a tour of the WI LA department. Hopefully I’ll get to come back where things are bloom again.
Also, Madison is home to the largest concentration of Jens Jensen designed “Council Ring” landscapes. The last one he designed before he died is in the Glenwood Children’s Park. It really is quite a humbling experience to get to tread in the footsteps of great designers, and I really love coming to this park. It is along the bike trail and is such an interactive retreat from the city… They have equinox festivals there and do yearly restoration work which I participated in last year. I think one of the reasons I enjoy Madison so much is its very diverse range of spaces and experiences. After living here a year, I still find myself exploring much of the city and discovering new things.
A few years ago I read A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. It was first published in 1949, and has been a very influential book for those interested in conservation. It was really one of the only books like this written at the time. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to actually go and see the inspiration for this book- Aldo’s shack and where he lived in Baraboo, Wisconsin!
‘The Shack’ began its life as a chicken coop! When Aldo purchased the farmland, he converted it into a cabin. The shack used to be surround by farmland, but now it was surrounded by woods and prairie and was just a short walk from the Wisconsin River.
The now forest had lots of pine trees, which Aldo writes about in his book. Inside the shack it is still set up like how they lived there. There were also some family photos taken by the Leopolds. The shack hasn’t changed since the foundation acquired it. I couldn’t imagine living here with a large family like they had, especially through long and cold Wisconsin winters.
A short walk away from the shack is the Wisconsin River. There is a sandy area you have to walk through to get to it, now we knew why this area is known as Sand County! The land restoration of Aldo’s property was done by himself and his family. A large amount of the restoration was given to a pine forest, and an open prairie landscape.