Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Ferry to Madison

We left Baraboo behind yesterday morning, driving south on Route 113 passed acres and acres of corn not quite knee high. In the small Village of Merrimac, Wisconsin (population 420), Route 113 crosses a wide section of the Wisconsin River to the Town of Okee.

Since 1848, a ferry has shuttled Rte 113 traffic across the river. In the early days, passengers were charged five cents, horses cost 25 cents each, and a team of oxen was 75 cents. The State of Wisconsin took over the ferry in 1933 and the ferry has been free to people and cars every since, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week from April 15 to November 30.

The Merrimac to Okee ferry crossing

I am always reminded of and impressed by how much more recycling occurs in the Midwest than back home in New England. At the ferry landing, this small village has a row of recycling bins for aluminum, brown glass, green glass, clear glass, plastic, and tin, along with two trash bins and free public rest rooms.
After the fun ferry crossing we pushed on south to Madison, to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately it was closed for a fundraiser, so I Googled our next destination -- the Wisconsin State Capitol. We had only planned a drive by, but now had time for a full visit. The Capitol square was bustling with visitors and shoppers to the weekly Saturday Farmer's Market that lined the sidewalks surrounding the building.

The Capitol building is ornately decorated with murals, 43 types of stone from around the world, hand-carved furniture, paintings, and with the only granite dome in the country.

The ceiling of the rotunda
Interior Scenes

The Supreme Court
And my favorite sculpture -- the Wisconsin badger!

By now it was lunchtime and after a bit of driving to and fro we found Olin Park on the shores of Lake  Monona in Madison. We enjoyed a picnic lunch under a huge burr oak tree.

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