As many of you know, I am a history nerd and more specifically an American history nerd. For quite some time I had an unofficial goal of visiting all 50 states. Then in 2009, shortly after visiting state number 38, I got hung up on the fact that I hadn’t done a consistent thing in each state (like buying a spoon, haha!). This “concern” led me to restart with a more specific goal in mind – visiting all 50 state capitol buildings!
In November, I met the lovely Sarah Shotts from the Love Letter to Adventure blog. Sarah challenges her readers to share their adventures on her blog and through a Facebook page. The more I have thought about “adventure,” the more I realized that I wanted to document our state capital travels (thanks for the prompt, Sarah!).
I have decided to start with the most recent capitol we visited and work my way back. My boyfriend (and household trip planner) has the goal of hiking in all 50 states, so I will post a bit about those adventures as well!
We visited Madison, Wisconsin this past November (2014) and not only did I love the town, but the capitol building was beautiful! A common question I get when I share my goal with others is if I mean visiting the capital (town) or capitol (building). My very specific goal is touring each capitol building.
The capitol in Madison has guide-led tours during weekdays, so we tagged along on one of those. The tour was approximately an hour and covered a lot of the artwork that is in the building. While it is home to the house, senate and supreme court for the state, none of the branches of government were in session during our visit.
Some Wisconsin facts… Wisconsin joined the Union in 1848 as the 30th state. There were several capitol buildings prior to the current capitol structure which was built between 1906 and 1917. The artwork in the capitol is a nice mix of murals depicting the Native American and immigrant history of the state, along with Greek inspired renderings of the history of democracy and politics.
Wisconsin is known as the “badger state” because coal miners would “badger into tunnels” during the brutally cold winters to survive! There were several badgers throughout the capitol, but this one above the door was my favorite!
Pictures definitely don’t do the Madison, WI capitol justice! It is a beautiful building, with amazing artwork and history. If you are ever there, I would highly recommend the guided tour! You can learn more about the building and its history here.
While in Wisconsin we also hiked at Devils Lake State Park. We hiked the Bluffs trail which went all the way around Devils Lake. After a pretty steep incline at the beginning of the hike, the trail leveled off and we were able to enjoy the scenery. About halfway around the lake we descended to a beach area with picnic accommodations and bathrooms. We then climbed a very steep trail to gain access to the bluff on the other side of the lake and looped back around to finish our hike.
The weather in November was perfect for hiking – cool, but not so cold that we needed coats and with the sun out, it was perfect! The first half of the hike was not very trafficked although we saw more people on the last half (after the very steep climb).
The next state capitol and hiking adventure I will share is Helena, Montana, so stay tuned!