Harvest Evasion 2016 in Madison WI, Day One: Ha Long Bay or funnel cakes? Hmm, let me see.


Like the wise guy said: No gin — no Tonica.

The route to Madison, Wisconsin does not lead through Chicago, because who wants to drive through Chicago without stopping for a while?

It’s better to head north to Indy, west via Champaign to Bloomington, then north again, cutting like a dagger through the farmland of central Illinois, past Rockford (hometown of Cheap Trick), to the Wisconsin border. We learned this way during those many years transiting to the Great Taste of the Midwest, America’s second oldest and best beer festival.

The world keeps changing, and so does Madison, but Wisconsin’s state capital remains a somewhat blue city. The University of Wisconsin keeps things youthful and smart; the food and drink scene rocks, and the outdoorsy vibe impresses, especially when the weather is gorgeous and autumnal.

We found a basement apartment through Airbnb, conveniently located just off South Park Street, steps away from Monona Bay. Before check-in, there was dinner at our favorite Asian restaurant on Williamson (Willy) Street: Ha Long Bay, featuring Vietnamese, Thai and Laotian cuisine, and of course, local Wisconsin beer.

Nearer our room, post-meal beers were taken at Rockhound Brewing Company, a recent addition to the Madison beer scene.

Has evading Harvest Homecoming ever been this fine?