The Second "B" in Baraboo

I was up before breakfast was ready, so I went outside and wandered around Sharon’s garden. So many beautiful flowers, including a purple columbine that I’ve never seen before.

Then we were introduced to the “breakfast” in bed & breakfast. Oh. My. Gosh. We sat down to a big plate of fresh fruit and warm, home baked rhubarb muffins. How lovely! Then John came in with a plate of cheese omelets and maple sausage. Wow, that’s a lot of food. Next, John came back with a bowl of strawberry compote and homemade whipped cream. “For the pecan pancakes,” he said. Are you serious? Everything was made from scratch. I can’t remember the last time I felt so utterly spoiled. But breakfast was not the second “B” in Baraboo.

Stuffed and happy, we had a bit of time before we needed to be at the hospital — which is where the second “B” comes into play: Big Top. We went to the World Circus Museum. What a blast! You could not have told me how amazing this visit was going to be. The museum is enormous, with buildings, tents and exhibits on both sides of a lovely river, connected by a footbridge. The first building had galleries of original art, posters, costumes and other wonderful displays. It was visual overload — vivid colors, ornate shapes, spectrum of textures, flashing lights and endless whimsy. I filled an entire memory card in my camera. The costumes were over the top and gorgeous.

Some of the exhibits are held in the circus’s original barns, including the elephant house. These buildings housed everything from wagons to musical instruments to cannons to an entire room with a miniature circus. They had it all.

We crossed the footbridge and saw the Hippodrome where they hold performances, tents, train cars and two other exhibit buildings.

The two buildings seemed fairly new. One housed the largest collection of circus wagons in the world, while the other is where the restoration takes place (last photo below). Can you imagine the excitement that a parade brought to a community when the circus came to town? The spectacle seems almost unfathomable. I was trying to picture these gorgeous, ornate wagons carrying men in women draped in sparkling costumes, goofy (and altogether creepy) clowns, hippos, elephants, tigers…. oh, to be a kid and witness that.

After the museum, we went to the hospital and finished our work. Back at the bed & breakfast, we listened to Sharon and John tell stories (my favorite was about aliens) late into the night. This morning brought stuffed french toast with strawberry compote, hugs good-bye and promises to return. I’ve got to bring the kids back there. And I’ve also determined that I want to retire in Wisconsin – maybe even Baraboo. It was love. But I’m glad to be home.

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