From the Marriott to the Mustard Museum, enjoy the Madison suburb in..."style" seems like the wrong word here.
It’s been just over a decade since Madison-based comedian Alan Talaga produced a sketch about a sad-sack travel agent trying to sell people on craptastic vacations in southern Wisconsin. Here was one pitch: "Book your next trip to exciting Middleton, Wisconsin, where all the world's cultures come together in a variety of chain restaurants!" The big hook for the sketch's Middleton getaway package was the Madison suburb's Cheeseburger In Paradise franchise (RIP).
It's easy to punch down (culturally, if not socioeconomically) on Madison’s ‘burbs, but Middleton undeniably has its moments. The pies from Hubbard Avenue Diner are fine. The Village Green has a solid menu, and spots like The Freehouse Pub and Craftsman Table & Tap are making a respectable effort to spruce up the bar scene out there. The Club Tavern has that weird moose-leprechaun mascot that haunts our dreams, and Capital Brewery does the thing where drunk people are willingly (and inexplicably) pelted with fish every winter. The Greater Madison Jazz Consortium's Strollin' series has had a couple of installments in Middleton's downtown-ish area. Middleton: We're a bit dull, but we're not Sun Prairie.
Middleton also has a trolley, which is cute in that suburbanites-trying-to-do-public-transit kind of way—it takes you around to some shopping destinations and otherwise doesn't seem too terribly helpful, unlike the Madison Metro’s routes out in that neck of the woods, which are flatly unhelpful. But next spring a few lucky burb-spelunkers will get to enjoy a very special trolley ride, thanks to a giveaway the City of Middleton is currently running: The Good Morning Middleton Trolley Tour sweepstakes, taking place in April, entices entrants with this:
"The trolley, reserved exclusively for your crew, will pick you up following a relaxing night’s stay at the Hilton Garden Inn or the Courtyard by Marriott and head to the Club Tavern for a round of Bloody Marys to start the day. Hop back on for a brunch stop at Craftsman Table & Tap, then on to the National Mustard Museum for a private tour with the museum curator to complete the morning."
Translation: You are hungover in Middleton, and some guy won't stop talking to you about mustard.
That's the same Mustard Museum that Dane County loaned a bunch of money to move to Middleton from Mount Horeb, but that it might not be able to pay back because it is a mustard store that thinks it is a museum. (Side note: Mount Horeb is still a good hang, no worse off for the loss of the Mustard Museum. Go have some beers and nachos at the Grumpy Troll and pour one out for the Prairie Bookshop. You have now at least equaled the best possible Middleton experience.) Additionally, leisure activities that require getting up in the morning on a weekend are inherently suspicious.
The private trolley tours will take place on Sunday, April 29, but they're apparently getting this set up in advance, like it's a Mediterranean cruise or something. Plan ahead, for god's sake—you'll want to look your best promenading out of the business-traveler hotel next to the big-box stores and low-slung office parks. Hey, does anybody remember Scatz? Wild times, man.
Yes, Middleton, you are a good neighbor. But also, pipe down a bit.