Unusually warm spring weather here in south-central Wisconsin has allowed bicycling enthusiasts to hit the trails early. Our guests this week at the Speckled Hen Inn Bed and Breakfast rented bicycles from Machinery Row Bikes in Madison and had a great time exploring the city by bike. They were fitted with Trek 7200 hybrid bikes. Bike rental is only $20/ day or $60/ week and that includes bike lock and helmet too. Madison has miles of great bike paths and also is close to a couple of the state bike trails. So, bring your own bike or rent one here. Have fun exploring and then return to the Inn to soak those muscles in one of jetted tubs.
April 1st, 2010 by Pat Fischbeck
February 25th, 2010 by Pat Fischbeck
You can if you have attended Capital Brewery’s Bockfest. Guests at our Madison WI Bed and Breakfast will be chatting Sunday morning about the wonderful time they had at this annual event.
First let me explain about the ‘Blonde” and the ‘Chub’. Bockfest celebrates the release of Capital Brewery’s Blonde Dopplebock beer. The ‘chub’ part comes into play mid-afternoon when Kirby gets up on the roof of the brewery and flings smoked chubs into the crowd. Smoked chubs are delicious smoked 6″ or so fish that are dearly loved by all those who have been fortunate enought to taste one. Why does Kirby throw fish from the roof? You will have to go to a Bockfest and ask. I think that he does it because it is just plain outrageous fun and that is what Bockfest is all about.
Other events during the day include the 1K Running of the Blondes, live music, a costume contest, and of course, brewery tours and much drinking of the Dopplebock.
The 13th Annual Bockfest is this Saturday, February 27th from 11AM until 5PM at Capital Brewery in Middleton, Wisconsin. Bockfest is always held the last Saturday in February so if you have to miss it this time, you can mark your calendar for next year.
February 17th, 2010 by Pat Fischbeck
Madison WI will be celebrating winter at Madison Winter Fest this weekend on the capitol square in downtown Madison. Events begin on Friday and continue through Sunday. There are all kinds of things to get involved in as a participant or a spectator. Watch ice carving and snow sculpting. It is not the olympics but there will be running and racing and snowboarding and tubing and shoeing and xc skiing and just a grand winter fun time. If you get chilled you can pop into the Wisconsin State Historical Society Museum on the Capitol Squate for a viewing of their Odd Wisconsin display.
February 3rd, 2010 by Pat Fischbeck
There are many events in Madison Wisconsin this February that you will just not want to miss.
- This coming weekend, February 6, is the big outdoor hockey event at Camp Randall stadium on the University of Wisconsin campus. Will it be the largest crowd ever to watch a college hockey game? The Badger women play at 2:00PM and the Hockey Badger men play at 6:00. You will have to go to see how they created a level ice hockey rink on a very crested football field.
- On February 11 Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love will be speaking at the Overture Center. Her presentation is a part of the Wisconsin Book Festival.
- Get ready for spring at the Midwest Garden Expo at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall. Just catching the aroma of fresh dirt when you enter the building gets me in the mood to start planning and planting. The show is February 12-14. A great thing to add to your Valentine’s weekend celebration.
- On February 19-21 all of Madison will be having a grand old time at Madison Winter Festival. Enjoy all of Madison’s favorite winter activities and see how fast cross country skiers can move. It’s downtown on the beautiful Wisconsin Capitol Square.
- February 27 we will offer guests at The Speckled Hen Inn an extreme contrast in recommended activities. On Saturday afternoon head on over to Middleton to Capital Brewery for the celebration of the release of this year’s Blonde Doppelbock (that’s a beer, folks!). You can even try to catch a smoked chub (that’s a fish, folks) tossed from the roof of the brewery. Have a rowdy good time and then completely switch gears when nighttime comes and head for the UW Arboretum for their nightwalk. Hear the crunch of your boots in the snow and then stand perfectly still and listen for the great horned owls or just stargaze. Ahhh. What a day!
January 5th, 2010 by Pat Fischbeck
Yes, it is cold and there is lots of snow piled around but there is a lot to do this month. Here’s a quick summary of weekend events in the month of January:
January 8-10 is Madison Home Expo 2010 time. Do you need a little inspiration for an upcoming facelift for your home? You will find it here.
January 9 or 16 Michael Feldman is in town for his WPR radio show, Whad’Ya Know. If you have never been part of a live audience for a radio program, you have to go. It’s a hoot!
January 15 and 16, 22 and 23 get out the saddle shoes and head on down to Fort Atkinson to the Fireside Dinner Theatre for Those Fabulous 50′s and 60′s . It is just a pretty drive through the rolling countyside. You will still be smiling and humming the tunes when you return.
January 30 WOW a busy day. You will have to make some choices. The Broadway tour of Rent will be onstage at the Overture Center. Wollersheim Winery will be celebrating the release of their 2008 Port with live jazz, light food, and port and wine tastings. Check out the eagles on the Wisconsin River while you are in the area. If Port is not your thing you might enjoy the Isthmus Beer and Cheese Feast at the Alliant Energy Center. Taste Wisconsin’s finest and choose your favorite pairing. Then get all dressed up and head to the heart of the city for Madison’s Frostiball. Dance the night away in the magnificent capitol rotunda.
See, there is plenty for guests at the Speckled Hen Inn to do in January. Or for those who don’t want to “do”, there is always watching the wild turkeys and the squirrels and birds at the feeders, trying out the snowshoes, watching the fire in the woodburner, or catching a game or a movie on the bigscreen.
December 11th, 2009 by Pat Fischbeck
The new Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Association cookbooks, with The Speckled Hen Inn on the front cover are here and ready to wrap up for Christmas. We have a good supply at the Inn and will hold one for you to pick up at the Inn or we can also ship them to you.
The cookbook is more than just the recipes that have been contributed by over 150 different Wisconsin B&B’s. It could even be used as a travel guide because there is information about each B&B that submitted a recipe and there are lots of fun facts about the food scene in Wisconsin.
The contents are not just focused on Breakfast, although there is a wonderful array of breakfast dishes. There are appetizers, soups, luncheon and dinner entrees and marvelous deserts.
It is a fun read and a great gift for the foodies or cookbook collectors on your Christmas list.
July 2nd, 2009 by Pat Fischbeck
This a is little different than my usual blog posts.
A telemarketer phoned while I was cleaning up after breakfast today. I’m sure that he had, what he thought, was an original line. It went something like this, ” If I could give you information that would allow you earn enough money to stop doing what you are doing now, would you take a minute to write down a web address?” My immediate response, without even thinking about it was, “NO”. He wished me “good luck” and hung up.
I was thinking about his pitch while I was drying the crystal and reflecting on the life of an innkeeper. This really is a great job. We meet the nicest people as our guests, from near and far, far away. We get to do the things we like to do such as cooking and gardening and decorating. We get to show off this great city that we live in. We are constantly learning new things whether it is how to install tile or write a blog. When we need a break we can take one. Guests sometimes ask if we are uncomfortable with having “strangers” in our home. The answer is a very resounding NO. Our guests validate what we do. If we had done all this work and put so much effort into creating The Speckled Hen Inn and did not share it with our guests, we surely wouldn’t enjoy it as much.
So, I wasn’t just giving the brush to the telemarketer this morning. I wouldn’t want to stop doing what I am doing right now. We hope that our passion shows. I’m sure that it does.
June 17th, 2009 by Pat Fischbeck
It is that wonderful time of year in Madison. Summer! Time to celebrate with family and friends in ways that become a tradition. A very special summertime tradition in Madison is the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Concert on the Square series. For 5 Wednesday evenings, starting June 24, the orchestra performs on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol building in front of a huge crowd of fun and music loving fans. Concert goers arrive early, around 5:00PM or a bit later to spread their colorful blankets on the green capitol lawn.
The concert won’t begin until 7:00 so there is time to do a little shopping or just walking around the downtown area. Some bring games or a good book to pass the time until the crowd has gathered, dined on the available box suppers or well packed picnic baskets, chatted with friends they haven’t seen for ages, and just basically soaked up the sights and sounds of a summer evening. Then the concert begins. The music tends toward the light classical. You can hear it even if your blanket space is not right in front of the orchestra. Little boys pretend to be the conductor. Little girls twirl with bubble wands in their tiny hands. Lovers hold hands. Grandmas cuddle their grandbabies. Stressed out workers kick off their high heels and loosen their ties. Those who know the music close their eyes and sway slightly with the melody. Wine glasses are lifted and all is well in Madison.
June 10th, 2009 by Pat Fischbeck
When my guests at The Speckled Hen Inn ask me what there is to do on Saturday morning in Madison, my automatic response is, “Go to the Farmers Market!” The Dane County Farmers’ Market is the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country. All the items are produced locally by the vendor behind the table. The market is back on the Capitol Square for the summer months and thousands of locals as well as and tourists and market lovers from far and near flock to the brightly colored vendor stands to fill their shopping baskets with the freshest fruits and veggies imaginable. You will also find meats, baked goods, specialty food items like honey and pesto, and, of course, lots of Wisconsin cheese.
If you have ever considered eating seasonally or locally, the farmers market is a great resource. Vendors will often let you sample their products and are eager to share preparation instructions and sometimes even recipes with their customers.
One of the favorite breakfasts served at The Speckled Hen Inn is the Farmer’s Market Strata. It contains sourdough bread, cream and mozarella cheeses, fresh eggs, basil pesto, tomatoes, and smoked ham or turkey. All of the ingredients can be found at the farmer’s market. Please help yourself to the recipe and share the bounty of Wisconsin with friends at breakfast or brunch some beautiful summer morning.
May 6th, 2009 by Pat Fischbeck
Located in Madison, Wisconsin, the Speckled Hen is just 7.5 miles from the Capitol Square and the campus of the University of Wisconsin. The B&B is the perfect place for a romantic retreat, reunions, celebrations, business travelers, or family visiting students at the university.
The Inn has four spacious guest rooms, each with a private bath. Guests also enjoy the large gathering room with piano and wood-burning stove, a home theater, library and candle-lit dining room.
The 50–acre property features pastures with sheep and llamas, wetland and grassland areas, streams, pine and spruce plantations, orchards, walking trails and gardens. Breakfast includes local ingredients, many from the Inn’s property.
The Speckled Hen Inn is a proud member of the Travel Green Wisconsin Certification program and is committed to sustaining not only the ecosystem of which it is a part, but also the economy, the culture, and the sense of place that guests enjoy in south-central Wisconsin.