Audi Q5 at Spring Green
Wonders and Inspiration at Every Turn
Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably Spring Green’s most famous resident, was reported to have said “Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.” Too bad he never had the opportunity to experience the 2013 Audi Q5. With this smart, sophisticated SUV there is no need to choose. Audi seamlessly unites “wants” with “needs” in a work of automotive architecture that approaches high art.
Hundreds of small towns in this country would gladly raise taxes, install digital parking meters, and forgo indoor plumbing to steal even one of Spring Green’s “Big Three” assets. Indeed, House on the Rock Properties, the Frank Lloyd Wright estate and American Players Theatre represent the most successful of tourist attractions, the most significant buildings in America and one of the nation’s finest professional theatre companies. Any one of those gems would put a community on the map, and they’re all clustered here in Spring Green, Wisconsin, population 1,637, an hour west of Madison.
A totally enjoyable excursion in an Audi Q5.
There could not have been a more appropriate vehicle for our weekend getaway to Spring Green and the House on the Rock Resort. Both are stunning examples of exquisite design. The Audi team paid careful attention to the appearance of this vehicle, blending graceful lines and elegant styling with functional cutting-edge technology. Touch the key fob and the tailgate lifts, revealing plenty of space for luggage, shopping bags and golf clubs.
Likewise, the extraordinary property that is the House on the Rock Resort was designed in classic Wright Prairie Style by Charles Montooth, a senior Taliesin Fellowship member. Each of the eighty comfortable, two-room suites offers calendar-quality views of the golf course and rolling hills. Each has a kitchenette, private balcony, refrigerator, microwave, wet-bar and spa-style bath amenities.
Opened in 1993, the resort features the elegant Grandview Dining Room. Additional offerings include a full-service spa and the top-rated, twenty-seven hole Robert Trent Jones Sr./Andy North golf courses, along with tennis courts, swimming pools, whirlpools and a fitness center. It is a favorite home base for Wrightophiles visiting Taliesin, as well as for golfers, art lovers and patrons of American Players Theatre, located adjacent to the resort. Special packages can be tailored to match those interests with visits to the House on the Rock attraction, just minutes south on Highway 23. Families with children often prefer the House on the Rock Inn, located a few minutes south of the House on the Rock attraction.
Enter the drive to The House on the Rock off Highway 23. Watch for leering six-foot lizards and glaring dragon gargoyles perched atop massive clay urns. Now in its fifty-third year, this tourism landmark brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area annually–and sends them home searching for words to describe the extravagant display of architecture, antiquities, imagination and illusion. The three-mile-long self-guided tour is divided into three segments with over more than thirty rooms; the tour can easily consume a full day.
Plan a two-day visit to the area.
Start at the new (2010) Alex Jordan Center for a fascinating, personal introduction to the reclusive architect-showman whose vision and determination turned a campsite on a rock into Wisconsin’s premier tourist attraction. Portraits of Jordan and lifelong friend, Jennie Olson, gaze over an early scale model of the House. His desk holds scattered notes, sketches and correspondence. His vast library telegraphs the wonders that lie ahead.
“The House” includes cobblestone streets, rooms that play music, the cantilevered “Infinity Room” hanging over the valley, an “organ room,” dolls, airplanes and the world’s largest Carousel–featuring two hundred sixty-nine creatures and not one horse. For fun, buy a few tokens to feed to the music machines. Wait for a group of visitors to enter, then drop in the token and listen: Exclamations range from “Scary!” to “This is what I want my living room to look like!”
After a session in “The House,” an Audi Q5 dash over the tree-lined, twisty back roads is a perfect head-clearing remedy. Open the windows, roll back the sun roof, crank up the tunes, and drive yourself happy. The Audi Q5 comes eager to please with an electronic keyless ignition, spirited 211-horsepower, two-liter, four-cylinder power plant, road gripping all-wheel-drive technology, plenty of torque, an eight-speed shiftable Tiptronic transmission and loads of preferred luxuries.
Spring Green is home to fascinating shops, art galleries and neat places to eat. Stop at Nina’s, a marvelous, modern, fourth-generation mash-up of a department store, five-and-dime, art supply shop, knitting emporium and a hardware store. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here or you really don’t need it.
Grab a great cup of coffee and a melt-in-your-mouth scone at the Driftless Depot. Debora Morton is passionate in her search for “what’s in season.” Her combination organic market/deli and café brims with exquisite local and regional products. She serves memorable gourmet lunches and dinners that delight foodies and those who seek organic and gluten-free options. If you have Friday night APT tickets, call by Thursday noon to guarantee the freshest trout dinner in Wisconsin. Debora consistently earns standing ovations from theatre goers for her custom-prepared “off to the theatre” picnic baskets.
American Players Theatre has brought more to Spring Green than Tony Award nominations and extraordinary entertainment. Long-time director James Bohnen loves books and in 2011 he restored the 1870s post office to become Arcadia Books, and he cast stage manager Jacki Singleton as commander of the kitchen. Whether you devour books, food or both, you’ll be glad they stay open until eight o’clock all evenings except Sunday. Check their calendar for “meet the author” nights, readings or cooking lessons. Arcadia also offers excellent options for pre-APT dining, in-store or carry-out.
Illinois electronics executive Dave Owen came to town and gladly traded life on the road for his own family restaurant. His son spotted the Spring Green State Bank building, which had been an upscale restaurant. Today Dave, his wife Jeaneane and two sons work there side by side at the totally redone Freddy Valentine’s Public House, named after Dave’s father. Executive Chef Brad Neuendorf came from Madison’s Eldorado Grill. Their goal is to serve delicious but unpretentious meals made from scratch, “with just a bit of a twist.” Dave knows he’s on the right track as local residents fill the tables “working their way through the menu.”
We enjoyed an enormous portion of mussels and the favorite entrée, deconstructed Salmon Pot Pie. Seared salmon filet is served “to order” over a velvety cream sauce accompanied by a seasonal vegetable, potatoes and a delicate wedge of puff pastry. Freddy’s fall-off-the-bone BBQ Baby Back Ribs showcase Chef Neuendorf’s perfectly blended, sweet/hot sauce. Beer lovers choose from eight taps, dozens of imports and limited-edition regional brews. The wine list delights oenophiles with seventeen wines by the glass. Java drinkers are thrilled with press pot coffee. Pre-APT diners can be eaten outside in summer. Special wine/beer and food pairing dinners are planned.
Don’t miss the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center and Taliesin Tours. This is a luxury in which every Spring Green visitor should indulge.
Later, return to your Audi for more. The Q5 offers authentic wood inlaid accents, concert-quality sound, and heated multi-position leather seats. Precise Google Earth navigation guides the way. Xenon headlights illuminate the curves ahead, and side-assist radar sensors track vehicles moving beside you. All of this technology, design and engineering are brought together in unison, a seamless whole. Luxuries? Necessities? There is no need to choose. Audi Q5 with its Quattro all-wheel-drive system has everything in one complete package. We bet Frank would have loved it.
Gary and MaePatrice Knowles live in Madison where he is a freelance writer and marketing consultant to clients in travel, food, hospitality and entertainment and she is a Communications Manager for the State of Wisconsin.
WHEN YOU GO:
Arcadia Books and The Kitchen at Arcadia Books
102 E. Jefferson Street
140 S. Winsted Street
Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center
5607 County Hwy. C
Spring Green, WI 53588
Freddie Valentine’s Public House
134 W. Jefferson Street
Nina’s Department & Variety Store
143 E. Jefferson Street
Spring Green Chamber of Commerce
259 E. Jefferson Street
The House on the Rock
5754 Wisconsin Highway 23
The House on the Rock Inn
3591 Wisconsin Highway 23
Dodgeville, WI 53533
The House on the Rock Resort
400 Springs Drive