Wandering Madison

When I left Cambridge in the fall I wanted to be able to spend time with close friends scattered around the world. After a hectic two months of work trips, I was finally able to do that starting with a visit to my best friend Kathy.

Kathy and I have been friends since 3rd grade. We went to the same elementary school, middle school, summer camps, high school, and (by some lucky coincidence / convincing) even the same college.

Since graduation we haven’t been able to spend much time together other than occasional trips here or there. It was so awesome to be able to spend two weeks with Kathy as she settled into a new city (she moved to Madison from Ann Arbor in the fall). We cooked, drank, explored new places, and talked and talked and talked. It was surprising how easily we fell into a rhythm – working in the daytime, hanging out at night, wandering on the weekends.

Here were some Madison hits:

A Pig in a Fur Coat – or what we referred to as Fig in a Purr Coat :) Awesomely kind bartenders, and the most luxurious poutine I’ve ever had, featuring foie gras and fried cheese curds.


Cargo Coffee – this coffeeshop has two things I’ve never seen before. A catwalk overlooking the coffeeshop where you can sit and work. And a drive-thru window. It made me laugh. (Or maybe the coffee made me jittery).

Madison Sourdough – killer fig jam. Crusty, flavorful bread. Solid wifi with a quiet spot to work in the back. Opens early. I would be in here weekly if I lived in Madison.


Colectivo on State Street – my colleague Josh recommended this place and we co-worked out of here for two days. I loved this little spot because of their delicious drinks (killer London Fog), quirky design, and the buzzing atmosphere.

Merchant – Their cocktail menu is 60 pages long. They have a carefully curated liquor shelf. This place would rival any fancy cocktail bar in Boston, and then some. Kathy and I had a blast gabbing away while sipping cocktails on a rainy evening.

Old Sugar Distillery – I loved the vibe of this place, it reminded me a lot of Portland, Oregon. Just big long picnic tables in a distillery warehouse. Kathy loves their honey liquer. I love their whiskey.

One rum horchata in at Old Sugar Distillery

Gib’s Bar – this felt a bit like a speakeasy, with a bar in the back and 20’s style decor.

Paul’s Pel’meni – Kathy and I were walking around State Street and found ourselves hungry for a snack. Her boyfriend Jack recommended Paul’s for Russian dumplings, which I’d never tried before. They’re tiny dumplings stuffed with meat or potatoes, topped with a curried sauce. Deeeee-lish.


Vom Fass – a bit touristy, but fun nonetheless. It’s a shop that lets you sample olive oil, balsamic vinegar, liqueurs and whiskey before they bottle it up into pretty glass containers for you. It was fun to spend some time sampling.

Hopcat – my last night in Madison I got to hang out with some WordPress friends who were in town, so fun! I know HopCat is not a local spot (I believe it began in Michigan?), but the beer list was incredible.

Walking, walking, walking – I logged about 160,000 steps the two weeks I was in Madison, almost 70 miles. I walked everywhere, including a round-trip walk into downtown every day, which took about 45 minutes. It’s a beautiful city to explore and reminded me a lot of Cambridge, MA.


Wisconsin State Capitol – A gorgeous building with gorgeous views, we really enjoyed the architecture and the views from the dome.

I’m so grateful I got to spend so much time with my oldest friend. I can’t wait to visit again!