Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wisconsin, Day 2

Today was our Taliesin tour, the comprehensive tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's estate in Spring Green, Wisconsin. There is his school, the windmill he built for his sisters, his house, and his family church. Pretty cool stuff.

We got up early for the tour and headed over to the visitor's center. Dad was giggling with excitement even over the metal sculptures leading into the visitor's center!

The school was the tour we did last fall, so I will spare the details here - here's what I said last year. You can't take pictures inside, either, but it was a neat school and I always enjoy seeing the north light "forest" drafting studio.

On our way over to Taliesin, we saw the Romeo & Juliet wind mill that Wright built for his sisters, who ran the school before he turned it into an architecture school. It's a very cool structure that stayed up for about 100 years before they had to take it down and re-build it according to his original plans. The shorter part is Juliet, an octagonal shape that holds up Romeo. Romeo is a diamond-shaped prow that diverts the wind around Juliet. Kind of yin and yang, except each half supports the other.

Next up was the barn structure, where Wright and his students would milk cows and store produce. It is kind of falling apart and I didn't take many photos. But the real gem of the tour was after that: Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's personal home.

As you can predict, this place was pretty cool. Of course, no indoor pictures, but the walk up to the estate (house and landscape) was awesome.

I can definitely see why he chose to build his house here, in the Uplands of Wisconsin.

We got some refreshment and got to visit some of the guest rooms and lounges of the main floor. The main floor also had car ports and an amazing courtyard.

We learned that the structure burned twice, so this is actually the third structure (although it was basically the same as the other). What's funny is that the school also burned at least once. Were there a lot of oil fires before electricity, or what?

It was really cool to see the home, even though it does seem to be having trouble staying up these days (although not as much trouble as Fallingwater, which my dad calls "Falling Down."

We left after four hours of the walking tour. I was proud of all of our stamina on this hot day!

But it was time for some nice rewards: a wedge of Pleasant Ridge Reserve, which is located only a few miles south of Taliesin, and beers at Capital Brewing.

We had a tour there last year, which was so awesome we signed up for another one. The same tour guide was there again, actually: Marshall. We got to taste a few beers in the garden beforehand. I had the Kloster Weisen, Fest (a Helles beer) and the Door County Lager. The Fest and Weisen were awesome, but I don't think they were selling them in the gift shop.

Dave tried the Dark Lager, Unpredictable Pale Ale, and the Door County Lager. My dad really enjoyed the Supper Club, and he tried the Helles but it might have been a bit much for him. But we got an extra taste on the tour, when he poured a bit of the mostly fermented Fest beer straight from the fermenter.

My mom and I got to pick up some wonderful mustards at the National Mustard Museum while Dad and Dave finished up Mom's beer tokens. I got a Habanero pepper mustard, a beer mustard, and some spicy cashews.

And that was about it for the day - we did stop in Madison on the way home for dinner, ordering some delicious fare from The Old Fashioned again. This time I got a grilled cheese, but I think maybe I should have taken my law friend Mr. Glaser's advice and gotten the mac & cheese. Oh well, next time, I guess. And one of these years we'll get to the Dane County Farmers' Market, too.

Tomorrow's day is a lot less structured, because we don't have any advance tickets for anything, but New Glarus is on the agenda for sure. Better make room in the van...

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