Posted April 22, 2009 by Kate Hamman
Madison holds its place as one of the greener cities in the U.S. by preserving more than 6,000 acres of parkland and offering more than 150 miles of bike trails. Best of all, you don't have to touch your life savings to experience the "eco" side of the city. You can take a class on sustainable home gardening, dine at a restaurant serving home-grown organic comfort foods, and rest easy in an eco-minded hotel that caters to outdoor lovers.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens: As part of Travel Green Wisconsin and with several educational eco workshops, Olbrich is more than just a pretty flower garden. Its events lineup features a lecture series on sustainability topics such as growing organic vegetables, home composting, and proper water use for your lawn. The gardens are free to explore, and most classes cost between $9 and $13.
Harvest Restaurant: Designated as one of Gourmet Magazine's top farm-to-table restaurants, Harvest serves fresh food for every season. Tami Lax is not only the owner, but also the founder of the Madison Slow Food chapter. Using organic and local ingredients, the restaurant features a range of simple yet inventive dishes such as porcini-salt-rubbed Angus tenderloin or pumpkin ravioli with sage butter. Menus change with the seasons, and entrees cost between $16 and $42.
Arbor House: A former tavern and stagecoach stop dating back to 1853, the Arbor House has come a long way, winning several awards for its eco-friendly practices. Each of the eight rooms comes equipped with organic mattresses, energy-efficient lights, and water-saving appliances. The hotel also provides complimentary bird-watching binoculars and mountain bikes for daily activities. Rates start at $110 per night.
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(Photo: iStockPhoto/ Borislav Yankov)
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