For our social media scavenger hunt, there was one main guideline. Get off campus.

I decided to take a solo adventure down towards Monroe Street, the border street between suburban Madison and the UW campus, and explore the local shops, restaurants and neighborhoods that contribute its own unique voice to Madison.

IMG_3160 I first started with a quick breakfast at a Madison favorite, Mickie’s Dairy Bar. This family-style diner invokes a 1950s style that could any resident could enjoy. I particularly enjoy the food and the friendly service. People are always with families, friends or they just enjoying chatting with strangers by themselves. I met a gentleman named Frankie who seat at the counter next to me. He chatted with me and my boyfriend about his days at Madison and also how he only likes black coffee (I differed as I shoved more sugar into mine).

After breakfast, I toured through various shops further down the street. I started inIMG_3173 Orange Tree Imports that sold various gifts, knick-knacks, and other pieces. I really appreciated how unique the pieces were. The women at the front counter told me many of the products are actually exclusive to this same shop in Madison. I wasn’t happy that I decided to leave my wallet at home and avoided buying all the cute plushes that I found inside.

IMG_3183I also ventured into Art Gecko, an art store specializing in arts and crafts from other countries. I experimented more with the photography styles and the different ways Instagram lets you organize and edits your photos. Luckily I had an assistant (aka my boyfriend) for modeling. I also was able to speak with an employee about her appreciate for the art and culture represented in the store, and her love for the Madison community. Out of all the shops, this was my favorite place to explore.

My final stop on Monroe was the Mystery  to Me book shop. Despite the name, the independent bookstore sold many genres of books and the employees showed great pride in the books they sold. One of the women at the desk told me that the post it notes are personal favorites and recommendations from the employees. She said “I think it adds a personal touch to the shopping experience.” As a book lover, I loved reading the suggestions on each book and just taking in the atmosphere the store offered.  IMG_3195

It was funny that when I saw what people were posting about on, the most popular postings were about Mickie’s Dairy Bar and Bloom’s Bakery. I walked by the bakery, but suppressed the urge to go in and eat one of everything. I really felt that seeing and experiencing Monroe for myself, I have a better understanding of a community that I have lived near for two years, but haven’t deeply explored until now.

I ‘m looking forward to my next adventure! But until then, check out all the scavenger hunt posts I did on Twitter and Instagram via storify.

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