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Mad about Madison

Iím Mad about Madison. What a great place! Where people are friendly, helpful and thoughtful. Curb cut downs are done right and buses are wheelchair accessible. Maybe I should stop there, because Iíve said it all- just go- experience a place were people have time to talk and time to listen- But Iím sure you want you a few more details to here goes... Just 80 miles west of Milwaukee and 142 miles northwest of Chicago, Madison,Wisconsin, is a veritable hotbed for free speech and free thought. Its history of grassroots activism and political progressivism, its citizensí belief in the benefits of hard work, cast a bright focus on this Midwestern mecca.

Itís no wonder with four glorious glacial lakes, flourishing corporate and small-business communities, neat and tidy neighborhoods; brew pubs, wine bars and cigar bars, gardens; museums, and the educational, cultural and social infusion supported by one of the nationís superior state universities, Madison has something for everyone.

Madison clinched first place in Moneyís grading of the 300 largest U.S. metropolitan areas because, according to the magazine, ďsomeone forgot to tell the folks in Madison that life is supposed to be full of tradeoffs.Ē

Madison, population of just more than 200,000, encompasses 78 square miles

Madison is well known for being the home of state government and the UW-Madison, which has a total student body of about 40,000 students.

No other city boasts a landscape quite as unique as Madisonís.The Downtown is built on a half-mile-wide isthmus between two glacial lakes, Monona and Mendota. A walk around the Capitol Square offers glimpses of both lakes.

Lakefront property is prime real estate in Madison but you donít have to live on a lake to feel close to water. Itís all around Madison, wherever you walk, bike or drive.

No yardstick exists that can accurately measure Madisonís most palatable, endearing trait: its ability to harmonize nature with urban sophistication. The city has almost 200 parks, 13 area beaches and four city golf courses. It extends miles of trails, many of which encircle the lakes, for cyclists, in-line skaters, joggers and hikers. Yet, beneath it all, Madison remains a tolerant community, is notorious for making sure their individual voices get heard.

Traveling By Air

On any day, the airport does an acceptable if not busy volume of business.

Rental Cars

Most major rental car agencies are available in Madison and provide services to clients using Dane County. My personal preference is always Hertz.

The Madison Metro Transit System provides bus service throughout much of the city of Madison. Buses are clean, drivers are friendly, and you can feel comfortable choosing this mode of travel. The buses arrive and depart pretty much right on schedule.

Now one of the more unexpected Pleasures of Madison is the the ďFREE FARE ZONEĒ which is in effect 10 AM to 3 PM Monday through Saturday allowing travelers in the campus and State Street areas to hop a bus without charge.

Again, Madison is on the leading edge with The Womenís Transit Authority, Madisonís nighttime rape-prevention ride service for women traveling in the campus area. The WTA operates from 9 PM to 1 AM nightly.If you are a woman just call 256-SAFE to arrange a free ride or for more information.

The city maintains more than 100 miles of bike paths, covering every part of the city. Routes are marked by easy-to-follow green and white ďbike routeĒ signs. Bike trials are great for wheelchairs and electric scooters.

Walking

Last but not least, walking or wheeling is a terrific way to get around the city. Itís also the only way you can really experience the State Street pedestrian mall. Take some time to stroll down State Street, sit by the fountain on Library Mall, then walk over to the Memorial Union Terrace for a cold drink. Not many of the stores along State Street are accessible just one step but lots of accessible Word of caution- from the Sate House down Sate street is a hill so I suggest you wheel down and take the accessible buses back.

Spurred on by the Americans with Disabilities Act, hotels and motels are going further than just making buildings accessible; theyíre consulting people with disabilities to really identify what it is that make accommodations user-friendly.

I recommend The Best Western Inn on the Park for location, accessibility and a warm friendly Atmosphere. Best Western Inn on the Park ē 22 S. Carroll St. ē 257-8811 The Inn on the Park is one of Madisonís top-rated hotels in terms of amenities, service and location. At the Best Western Inn on the Park, across the street from the Wisconsin Capitol, guests can stroll past colorful gardens and beautiful fountains in the summer months and be the first ones to sample goodies at the Saturday morning Farmersí Markets. Year round, this inn provides easy access to State Street. The Top of the Park restaurant is a favorite setting for a multitude of celebrations; itís a place where legislators and lobbyists come to meet and greet.

The Inn on the Park has 213 fully appointed rooms including suites, two lounges and an indoor pool. Valet parking and airport and campus shuttle service help ease the transportation concerns that are sometimes associated with the downtown.

For Further info on Magnificent Madison call: 1.800.373.6376 TDD 608.258.4940

Web Site:www.visitmadison.com

Jane Danielson is a Freelance Writer for the Disabled and Poet and has been published in extensively in Canada and United States. She became mobility disabled 13 years ago and uses a cane, wheelchair and electric scooter. Jane believes that traveling is a prescription for a healthy optimistic outlook, especially for the disabled but really for everyone. Some of Janeís articles include Camping in a National Park, Whale Watching on Brier Island, Fun in Florida and the Healing Powers of Hawaii. Her travel articles always look at the positive experience of traveling, with a realization of the obstacles that must be overcome to achieve this experience. Web Page : www. Disabled-Traveler.com Email: Jane@Disabled-Traveler.com