Plant Yourself in Madison Without Pruning your Savings

Posted September 10, 2010 by Kate Hamman

Madison Madison holds its place as one of the greener cities in the U.S. by preserving 6,000 acres of parkland and offering nearly 100 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: Olbrich is more than just a pretty flower garden. Its events lineup features a lecture series on sustainability topics such as eco-friendly garden design, perennial grasses, and using rain water to efficiently water your garden. The gardens are free to explore, and most classes cost between $12 and $15.

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 local grass-fed beef steak. Menus change with the seasons, and entrees cost between $18 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 mountain bikes for daily activities. Rates start at $110 per night.

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(Photo: iStockPhoto/ Borislav Yankov)

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