Saturday, August 22, 2009

Governor Dodge State Park, August 10-14, 2009

Today I feel "under the weather."

I don't often give in to feeling funky. Today is different.

Seems like a good time to catch up on organizing our latest trip.

Our first destination of this camping trip was Governor Dodge State Park, in southwestern Wisconsin. This is a large, 5270 acre park
with deep valleys and high bluffs. The park is a popular destination.We were surprised to see so many people in the campground during the middle of the week.

We had a big, open sunny campsite, so we were glad to have a spot to set up the rain fly to lend some shade to the picnic table.

Queen Anne's Lace, also known as Wild Carrot, blossomed around the edges of our site.

We toured the New Glarus Brewing Company on Tuesday morning.

This brewery has been in existence since 1993 and just recently moved into a new facility built to resemble a Bavarian village on a hill overlooking the town. The new brewery is built to accommodate touring patrons and is a very impressive operation.

Their beers are sold only in the state of Wisconsin.

By far their most popular selling label is an ale called "Spotted Cow."

Their "Wisconsin Belgian Red" is also a very popular ale that has won awards world-wide. It is brewed using cherries from Door County, Wisconsin.

I believe a few examples from this brewery have made it home to Inver Grove Heights. I can't be certain of their storage location in our house, however (in case Nick and his friends ever read this post).

We came back to the campground after doing some local food shopping and fired up the Weber "Q" and enjoyed a nice alfresco dinner.

On Wednesday we met Jayne and Tom at the International Crane Foundation near Baraboo, Wisconsin. This organization was formed in 1973 on the site of a horse farm and is the only place in the world where one can see all fifteen species of the world's cranes.

The Gray Crowned Crane from Africa was very beautiful and one of our favorites of the day.

However, watching the Whooping cranes was impossible to top.

I am so thankful Jayne and Tom recommended we meet there. Awesome.

Our primary reason for visiting this area with Jayne and Tom was to tour Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's Wisconsin 600 acre estate near Spring Green, which includes his home and School of Architecture.

The tour began at the Visitor Center, located across the highway from the acreage.

Our first stop was at Unity Chapel, which was one of Wright's earlier designs. The grounds around the Unitarian Chapel include the family cemetery, including Frank's grave. Oddly, his remains were moved from this site by his third wife.

The estate includes the School of Architecture. A rather odd combination of public and private use exists at Taliesin, as there are architecture students and faculty living on the estate during the summer months while tours are led through the preserved national historic site.

We actually stood and watched architecture students at work in this facility.

Much of the estate is in extremely poor repair and the preservation process is slowed by a serious lack of funds.

We walked by the famous Romeo and Juliet Windmill, designed by Wright when he was a teenager. It helped to provide electricity for the school his aunt's ran on the acreage.

Next stop was the barn which now houses people instead of animals. Someone even sleeps in the tower.

But the true gem of the tour is the house.

We were able to walk through the interior but were not permitted to take pictures.

Despite the poor condition of the building, it is still incredible.

Taliesin translates as "shining brow" which refers to the hillside into which the house was designed.

The house has a tragic history, being the site of multiple murders committed by a deranged servant in August, 1914. Included in the seven who died that day were Wright's mistress and her two children. The murderer set the house on fire.

I read several book before the tour about Wright's life leading up to this tragedy. "Loving Frank" was my favorite book on the subject. I appreciated the tour much more with the background the readings provided.

Wright rebuilt the home immediately after the fire. It burned a second time in later years and he again rebuilt. The entire structure now is in danger of collapse unless major repairs are completed within the next decade. Millions of dollars are necessary to preserve the estate. We all had the impression there is much more work than is possible to keep this historic site open and available to the public. I am glad we were able to see it before it is gone forever.

Jayne and Tom joined us after the tour for dinner at the campground. The next day they headed back home and we broke camp and moved to our second destination.

Look for another posting soon!

1 comment:

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Hope you feel better soon! Most of our family got a cold the week after the wedding. Mine was delayed & has been coming on for the last couple of days!

Taliesin looks awesome! I hope to visit it, but it sounds like I better go soon!