Last spring J and I got a “save the date” card in the mail. It was announcing the wedding of one of J’s childhood friends. We later learned the wedding was going to be in Madison, WI over Labor Day weekend.
J and I decided that we wanted to go to the wedding and while we were within three hours of J’s brother we would make a trip of it. Luckily J’s folks were available to hold down the fort so we could leave without worry.
September 2nd we set out for the first leg of our trip. We drove to J’s Aunt and Uncle’s house near Sioux Falls, SD. Saturday morning we continued our travels to Madison.
After checking into the hotel and parking the car we discovered that the Taste of Madison Festival was going on. After 7 hours in the car, we were both ready to stretch our legs out.
Saturday evening we caught up with the Groom, his family and friends at the Memorial Union Terrace.
Sunday morning J and I took a walk around downtown Madison and the University of Wisconsin campus. We found a fun little bistro for brunch and returned to our room to clean up for the wedding.
The groom is a ranch boy, psychology major and self-taught gourmet cook. The bride is a well-educated city gal, who speaks multiple languages, loves the ranch and is a foodie. This couple had been dating for several years, lived in several different countries together, have traveled and worked together in many different capacities. They go where the wind blows them and see life as an adventure.
The exchange of wedding vows was secondary to this couple hosting a grand day of great food, fine beverage and true friends.
Above, I posted a few pictures of their harvest/fall theme. The venue that hosted this wedding was on a farm owned by the father of a Chef friend of the couple. It was an organic farm with a garden and plant nursery. The pumpkins, gourds, apples and pears used for decor were all picked on this farm.
On the left of the picture below is the menu for their day. The happy hour smoked fish was caught off the coast of Florida by the Bride and Groom. They also made the sausage, several of the pickled relishes and hand-picked their favorite wines. The many food courses were amazing.
Labor Day J and got back in the station wagon and headed south to Illinois. We arrived at J’s brother’s house for a late dinner.
This is the first time J and I made the trip to Illinois. The last time J visited his brother, J was in college. It was a much over due trip.
Wednesday morning is was back on the road to Sioux Falls. We spent the evening with Aunt and Uncle and their daughter and grand-daughter. As you can see below Zoe and I play well together. We also stopped in to see another Aunt and Uncle.
Thursday morning we picked a few apples from Uncle’s tree and pointed the station wagon west. Seven days and 2,051 miles later we arrived home safe and tired.
We are thankful for good travels, family, fine friends and good books. (I found two WWII era novels that are excellent!) The weather was beautiful throughout our trip. The only issue we ran into was a bit of heavy rain on the way home. We can’t complain as it reminded us that rain is still real and does fall in some places.
It’s fun to visit family we don’t get to see often enough and have a peek into their life. We are greatful that J’s folks came out to do chores and keep an eye on the ranch. It’s much easier to leave and relax when we know things at home are in great hands.
Celebrating a neat couple, meeting new people and catching up with neighbors was the excuse J and I needed for this adventure.
J and I pecked away at odd jobs over the weekend. This week we are preconditioning calves. Cattle work and cooking, two of my favorite activities. And so, we return to our life on the ranch with little traffic, big skies, few people and a lot of peace.