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When in Wisconsin

Go to House on the Rock

overcast 83 °F

We're on the road again after a short stay by Shari's family, who very graciously opened up their home in Postville, Ia, to us this past shabbat. Many meals were eaten, in the proper order, according to tradition. In an interesting twist, Postville has a sizable Jewish community thanks to the kosher slaughter house there. So most conversations were in Hebrew or Yiddish. Everyone, whether Jewish or not, was very nice. People waved and called out greetings as we walked down the street Saturday afternoon. We also walked through the town cemetery, where there are graves dating back to the 1850's, and memorials for men who died in the civil war.

On our way to Postville, we took a scenic Amish detour. The road we drove down was meant for horse drawn buggies, not compact cars, and seemed to lead into greenness until we reached a twist that revealed a farm house, barn, and small shop. Chickens fed in the yard, and a dog bounded from the house to shop. The shop was full of hand made baskets and oven mits and aprons. We bought a few baskets and hit the road.

Heading out of Postville was similar to heading into Postville: Lots of corn and soy fields covering rolling green hills, fading to blue with distance. Our destination for the day is House on the Rock, a crazy feat of architecture and the human tendency to build collections of random things. Thanks to Neil Gaiman and American Gods for the introduction. First off, there are two tour options: the 2 plus hour tour, or the 3 plus hour tour. We opt for the 2 hour tour, because we have friend to see in Madison, and 2 hours is still a hell of a ton of time to see literal tons of stuff. The actual house is built on top of a rock spire, 75 feet above the ground. The house is full of narrow stairs, books, Tiffany style glass lamps, fire places, stained glass, and Asian sculptures. It is cozy and bizarre and the view from the roof is amazing.

The second building of the House on the Rock in and old mill near the bottom of the bluff. The mill is filled with collections of music boxes and automatons the play songs and enact scenes at the drop of a token. There are firearms and dolls and blown glass. I feel overwhelmed from the myriad of sights and sounds flashing and chiming and whistling. And there is so much more. There's the Street of Yesterday and the Origins of the Sea. The whole place is a bizarre amalgam of museum/ meticulously kept hoard.

The final part of our tour is the Carousel. One the largest in the world it host 269 creatures, but not a single horse. it is beautiful and gaudy and breathtaking. The accompanying music plays from a giant mechanized orchestra as the Carousel goes 'round and 'round.

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After the House on the Rock we head to Madison and meet up with our friend, Sander, who recently moved to Madison. We reminisce and wander around the quite downtown,, trying to get a good view of the lake

Tomorrow, we hope to check out Epic, where Sander Works.

Posted by MiriG 21:55 Tagged lakes road_trip driving friends family iowa madison wisconsin wi lower_48 mirig 48 post_college_stress_disorder neil_gaiman house_on_the_rock

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