|Sun setting in Madison|
The National Trust for Historic Preservation just released their list of most romantic main streets and Madison made the cut. Of course, I’ve always felt Madison is quite a romantic little spot, but here’s what the folks at the National Trust had to say:
Madison, Indiana. You’ll fall in love with Madison’s natural and historic treasures, including lush vineyards, one of the state’s prettiest parks, and a picture-perfect downtown rich in vintage quilts and antiques, gourmet foods, clothing, and arts and crafts.
Dream Date: Start the day off with a tour of Lanier Mansion and its amazing gardens, followed by lunch at The Attic and Coffee Mill Café — don’t miss the caramel apple pie for dessert! Work it off by visiting downtown’s shopping district for its many specialty shops, galleries, and cafes, including All Good Things, which has lovely handmade soaps and lotions for your sweetie. Then visit the Thomas Family Winery for a sip inside their cozy historic carriage house. Stroll (or sway) along the river to the Key West Shrimp House, for riverfront dining in a 19th-century button factory. Follow that with a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride and a stop at Cocoa Safari Chocolates to indulge in its beautifully made and tasty chocolates. Collapse into bed at the Iron Gate Inn, or one of the other lovely B&B’s in Madison’s historic district.
My honey and I did not go for a carriage ride this weekend, though they were out in full force with the little warm-up we’ve been experiencing. We did hit All Good Things for some essential oils, though the purpose was less than romantic–to make home-made flea spray for the cats. There were at least two Valentine’s Day dinner offers in town Saturday night, at Franco’s and the 605. We hit the 605 for a prix fixe Valentine’s dinner with wine pairings. Highlights of this dinner included the cream of brie soup, the champagne truffles and almond macaroon galette with strawberries. My husband would also add the pistachio stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, which he eagerly anticipated for at least two weeks leading up to the dinner.
|Ice melting in Clifty|
“One of the state’s prettiest parks” is Clifty State Park, which is free this time of year, even when the weather turns warm. We went for a walk there on Sunday, which was also quite romantic, if a little muddy.
Most exciting of all this Valentine’s Day weekend for me was the sighting of several green things working their way out of the earth. I could not resist buying some seeds on Saturday, parsnips and swiss chard, though it’s still too early to get them in the ground. Last fall I spent a whole afternoon burying more daffodils, crocuses, and grape hyacinth than I could count…I bought so many bulbs that at last I gave up and gave the rest to the neighbors. But ever since the winter solstice, I’ve been thinking about those bulbs down in the ground, looking at the spots where I stuck them, wondering what they’re up to. As I was trying to fish the cats out of from under the porch on Saturday, I noticed this rather large green protrusion. Further investigation turned up a few more in the backyard as well.
|Green things emerging|
Amongst downtown Madison’s many advantages (which I guess is what the National Trust folks mean by our “historic district”) is that we’re in a micro-climate. I have a friend who doesn’t believe this, but my grandparents farmed in the Ohio River valley just up river for years, and my mother will verify that crops in the river valley are ready earlier than those just miles away on the hilltop. I don’t know the science of it all, but somehow it stays just a little bit warmer down here next to the river, and that’s fine with me. It’s February, so of course, winter can’t really be over, but at least we’re on the downward slope to spring.