When a friend asked me on Friday whether I had any weekend plans, I replied, Going to a Viking-themed bar and the National Mustard Museum tomorrow. You know, the usual.
I wasn’t kidding.
I forgot to mention the trip to Atomic Antiques, a cavernous vintage store dedicated to all things Mid-Century Modern, which happens to be Tara’s favorite design style. It’s really grown on me too, though I also like Atomic Age and kitschy ’70s decor. No surprise given all those lava lamps.
If you’ve ever seen The Brady Bunch, you have a pretty good idea of what MCM looks like.
In other words: groovy, baby!
We’re lucky, because Frank Lloyd Wright – famed architect whose homes perfectly reflect MCM styling – is a Wisconsin native who attended UW-Madison and designed many of the city’s buildings. His estate, Taliesin, is located in nearby Spring Green and open to the public for tours. There are quite a few MCM homes in the area, even here in Fort Atkinson. It would be our dream to end up with a property like that. Oh, and if it came with an Alice? Sweeter still!
This is why we spent 90 minutes wandering around Atomic Antiques yesterday.
We ended up buying that print in the bottom right corner, as well as an orange fondue pot. Honestly, we could have emptied our bank account in that place, but figured we should probably own a house before actually decorating it.
Our next stop was the National Mustard Museum in Middleton. My friend Ashley seemed perplexed that there’s an entire museum dedicated to mustard and said, I didn’t know mustard was something people felt strongly about.
Clearly, she doesn’t know me. I’ve always been a huge mustard fan. So much so that I once penned a Valentine’s Day ode to mustard right here on ye olde blog. At any given time, there are four or five bottles in the fridge. I’m also a fan of kitschy museums, so clearly, this was a match made in heaven.
The museum did not disappoint. 10/10, would totally recommend. The gift shop featured hundreds of different mustards. After trying a few samples, I bought a blue cheese herb mustard and a bourbon mustard. Easily could have picked out another half dozen, but our kitchen space is sadly limited at the moment.
Just you wait ’til we have our Brady Bunch house, though.
As if all that culture hadn’t already made for a pretty fantastic day, we weren’t done yet. Our next stop was Stoughton, where I’d seen an Instagram post for the Viking Brew Pub the day before and knew we had to check it out. In addition to the bar shaped like a Viking ship – smoke even issues from its nostrils periodically! – they’ve got pretty good grub. I ordered the Saturday special Norwegian meatballs and Tara got a burger, then we wandered around downtown for a few minutes. Stoughton has a strong Norwegian heritage, hence the brewpub and Scandinavian architecture, and has two unique claims to fame: it’s the birthplace of both the coffee break (there’s a festival to honor this every year) and community television, with the oldest operating community cable channel in the country, WSTO TV.
Fun fact: while we’re primarily focused on finding a house here in Fort Atkinson, Stoughton is one of a small handful of towns on our list. It would be closer to Madison without actually being in Madison. We would have spent more time exploring, but it was really cold out, and the sun was close to setting.
Then, on the drive home, it did.
All in all, a pretty great day. It was nice to get out and do something again; it had been a few weeks since we went adventuring!
Do you have a favorite design style? Do you marvel over mustard like Mark, or are you more of a ketchup condiment connoisseur?