Once upon a time I was a college student in what I consider to be one of the best college towns in the country, Madison, WI (I’ve lived in a few other of these as well…Ann Arbor and Charlottesville). Madison is magical. It’s the capitol of the state and has a gorgeous downtown area and capitol building.
It’s also home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You know, Bucky the Badger 🙂
There are only a few cities (like UT-Austin for instance) that are both capitol cities and are home to the state’s flagship university. In fact, the distance between UW-Madison and the Capitol is less than one mile. This was a main reason why Madison spurred the Progressive Movement in the early 20th Century. The close proximity of the University and the legislature gave rise to what is now known as The Wisconsin Idea, or the idea that the University (the faculty and researchers) can serve the state by helping to solve problems and educating citizens through extension education. <— oh you can’t tell that I was a history major in college and focused on early twentieth century American history? I still teach American history at the community college in Charlottesville so I suppose I am still a historian 🙂
Madison is uniquely situated on an isthmus, which is really rare for a city. What is an isthmus you ask? An isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas, usually with water on either side. Madison is surrounded by both Lake Mendota and Lake Monona
The University is literally sandwiched between the bustling city capitol (Madison is much more cosmopolitan than most people think!) and the tranquil lakes. And the student union–which has a full service bar serving pitchers of beer and brats[how Wisco, right?]–has an amazing terrace that students go to hang out, drink, and sunbathe in the spring, summer, and fall. See those “sunburst chairs“? They’re famous 🙂
And I had to throw in this video, which went viral a few years back. “Teach Me How To Bucky?” Sure thing!
Although I graduated from college now 8 years ago it seems like just yesterday I was there studying, partying, protesting (yep, there’s a TON of hippies there 🙂 ), riding my moped (they’re huge there!), eating, and working. I am going back for a visit on Thursday and I couldn’t be more excited. The bf has never been and I’ve told him to be prepared for a lot of walking and drinking. Madison and Charlottesville are both beautiful, but Madison takes the cake in night life. In fact, Madison has one of the highest percentage of bars per block than any other city. Chalk it up to the German beer drinking culture (Wisconsin was the last state in the country to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21 and it still shows there!).
In honor of going back, I thought I’d take a little walk down memory lane. Now, some of these pics are extremely embarassing. I look really young in many of the pictures, but they represent a great time in my life so I’m going to celebrate them 🙂
I’m so so excited to go back to Madtown!
Where did you go to college (undergrad)?
What made/makes your college so special to you?