Speckled Hen Inn


Find what is real and important in life.

Promise of Spring

Every now and then I need to be grounded, to find what is real and important in life. In a time of controversy and divergence, it is easy to view the world as a conflicted web of despair especially if, like me, you view a daily news source. Being inundated with details of humanities worst offenders is taxing on us mentally, physically and emotionally. I want to be a positive influence in the world, but sometimes, it seems impossible. As an individual, I don’t know how to combat the root causes of poverty. I wish I had the answer to drug use and overdose. And I certainly can’t provide enough love for every child or animal in an abusive situation.
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What to do on Sunday Afternoon in Madison WI

Inside the Bolz Conservatory at Olbrich Gardens

If you are wondering what to do on a Sunday afternoon in Madison WI while we wait for the rest of the snow and ice to disappear, Ellyssa, our blogger, suggests that you boogie on over to Olbrich Botanical gardens to enjoy a little Botanical Boogie. I am so excited! Not only is spring around the corner, I feel like my community is waking along with the seasons and weather. A few of my favorite summer activities are enjoying the beauty of Wisconsin’s natural landscape and community social events, especially those that include live music. And that’s what brings me so much excitement! If you have never been, Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a lovely winter destination. I know, it sounds
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Winter is for the Birds

Coopers Hawk watching the Bird Feeders at The Speckled hen Inn

Are you so tired of winter’s snow and cold that you have decided that winter really is for the birds? Watching our feathered friends at the bird feeder is one way to make the short winter days seem even a bit shorter and there are a few ways that you can expand that joy of bird watching in the winter months.  Read on! If cabin fever hasn’t set into your home, there are many Wisconsinites that would like to know your secret. It’s the time of year when many have stopped watching the weather forecast knowing that one thing is certain. It’s going to be cold. The excitement of freshly fallen snow has disappeared. Winter sports have become commonplace. So,
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Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's Day from The Speckled Hen Inn

Are you looking for the best chocolate in Madison, Wisconsin for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? It is the week before Valentines Day…in case you missed the wide array of candy spread near every entrance and cashier of every store and gas station. Sure, initially my mind says, “Oh…Yum, you should buy that” but very quickly my brain translates the message to, “Wait…I don’t think that stuff is even made with chocolate, I’ll pass”.   Similar to the masses upset over Cadbury’s recent decision to change the recipe of their famous crème-filled eggs, I’m a fan of authentic, creamy chocolate. Recently, I made my way into a small café on Atwood called Chocolaterian.  As I walked up, I couldn’t help
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Where to Go Snowshoeing in Madison WI

Snowshoeing at The Speckled Hen Inn

Have you ever wanted to try out the sport of snowshoeing and wondered where to go snowshoeing in Madison WI?  We have some suggestions for you and now that we finally have enough snow to make this possible, give it a try! A few weeks ago I heard someone say, “Spring is here!” What? February is just beginning. Clearly this person was a little delusional, as the rest of us understood that the unusually warm weather we were experiencing was just a lull in the typical winter pattern. Well, surprise! Winter has returned, and doesn’t it look beautiful? There are many that appreciated the warmer temperatures however, I always look forward to being able to enjoy the snow and ice
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What to do for Valentines Day in Madison WI

Grape Sorbet for Desert

It may seem like you have weeks to prepare for it, but I assure you, it will sneak into your calendar view before you know it. What is it? Well, Valentines Day, of course. Many marketing companies have exploited Valentines Day for it’s commercial qualities and yes, we also agree that romance shouldn’t be forced or limited to a single day. There are many others that would argue its value in their relationship, that this is one of the few days they are admired with the passion adrift in daily regiments of daycare and bath time, career and commute, and health regiments and physician visits. Valentines Day, along with other romantic “Hallmark Holidays”, give a needed focus for many.  
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Mexican Hot Chocolate Creme from The Speckled Hen Inn

Mexican Hot Chocolate Creme

Mexican Hot Chocolate Creme recipe from The Speckled Hen Inn Bed and Breakfast in Madison  3 Egg Yolks ½ cup sugar 2 Cakes of Ibarra Mexican Chocolate chopped into pieces. 1 Cup of Whipping Cream 1 Cup of Milk  In a medium saucepan whisk together the yolks and sugar.  Add cream and milk and begin cooking over medium low heat whisking constantly.  As the milk begins to warm add in the chopped chocolate and continue cooking and stirring until chocolate has melted and the mixture thickens to the consistency of thick cream.  Serve warm topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate or cinnamon sugar.  Serves 8 – 10 (demitasse cups). _______________________________________________________________________ The source of warmth in the winter, conversations shared
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Top Madison Coffee Houses


Our guests frequently ask us to recommend a couple of top Madison coffee houses.  There are several in the area that exist in spite of the plethora of national chain coffee vendors.  We hope that our guests will seek a unique local experience.   Sometimes, especially around the holidays, you just need to get away and lose yourself in a relaxing ambiance. The hustle of holiday shopping and the pressure of gift wrapping, preparing the perfect holiday dinner while happily entertaining guests while maintaining the regularly scheduled activities of daily life. All of this might require that, at some point, you find your serenity. Without doubt, finding your way to the Speckled Hen Inn  will provide the necessary peaceful environment. Take
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Favorite Apple Orchards near Madison WI

Apple Orchards near Madison WI

Guests at The Speckled Hen Inn often ask us about our favorite apple orchards near Madison WI and we are delighted to recommend a couple of our favorites.   The air of Wisconsin has grown crisp and soon the leaves with be dancing across the pasture. The cooler temperatures that fall brings open up the possibilities to get out and appreciate the beauty of nature. The Madison area has been truly fortunate to be experiencing some of the most ideal temperatures for outdoor activities. So, if you’re having any thoughts about coming to the area for a short getaway, now is the time. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, that getaway includes going to a local orchard and bringing treasures back to
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Favorite Things To Do on a Rainy Day in Madison WI

It might not be spring showers here in Madison but fall brings with it a whole different type of rainy weather; the kind that can make you want to cozy up on the couch with a book and a mug of hot chocolate. Fortunately, regardless of the weather, this city always seems to have something to do. So here are a couple of our favorite things to do on a rainy fall day in Madison WI. Being the state capital has advantages, like housing some of the most treasured artifacts of Wisconsin and beyond. Because of this, and the fact that many of them are free of charge or donation, if you have never been, the museums of Madison should
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