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Adventures Across the River

So, living in Milton just over the bridge from Madison, Ind., my Dear Husband and I generally head north when we need groceries or a night out.

Patter is originally from Madison, so he knows nearly everyone. At one point when we were still dating, I counted the number of people who said hello to him while we were out and reached 13. Amazing to me, as I wouldn't recognize most of the people in the town I grew up in and I don't think they'd recognize me.

But, I have moved around a lot, and that's one downside.

I digress.

If you live in Trimble County, I'm sure you have ventured to our sister city on the other side of the Milton-Madison Bridge. I know some of you won't take the bridge, though, because it's old and narrow. If that's the case, you truly are missing out.

In the nearly nine years I've lived in the area, I've noticed that Madison just keeps on improving. In fact, I'd say it really is going through a Renaissance period. There are more new shops each year in that well-preserved downtown, and it's developing quite a reputation through the region.

Most recently, Patter and I attended a wonderful production called, "Pure Prine," based on the music of American songwriting legend John Prine. The cast was excellent and the show was really well done, belying the fact the theater was remodeled from a former store front and the stage built in just two weeks leading up to the performances Nov. 19 and 20.

There are several wonderful wineries: Thomas Family, Lanthier and Madison Vineyards, and now The Dock (Next to The River House II) on Jefferson Street is a wine-tasting room offering vintages from other wineries on the Indiana Wine Trail.

Recently, several new restaurants have opened, as well, offering all kinds of fare. Many of them boast fresh-grown foods and ingredients, and much of it is bought from Trimble County and other area growers, including meat.

Sadly, Rogers Corner is no longer an old-fashioned malt shop, but it is now a really cool sports bar. Yes. Sports bar. In Madison. I believe I counted 15 flat-panel TVs on the exposed brick walls there, and every time we go or drive past, the place is hopping. That's because the food really is very good. It is owned by the same gentleman who owns The Downtowner, which has some of the best sandwiches around. He also bought the former Maverick's (previously Cabana Joe's) on the hilltop and has renamed it Harry's Stone Grill.

There is also ChickiePoo's, which is only open on certain days of the week for lunch and dinner. The menu is different every day, because the chef there buys his food fresh. We've only been there once, but it was very good. In fact, the chef told us while we were eating a scrumptious peach shortcake dessert, that he bought the peaches in Trimble County. He said they were the best peaches he's ever bought.

Chez Danielle is a French-themed bistro selling really wonderful sandwiches. They have some really nice wines and serve beer, too.

Franco's ... well, is bellisimo! Excellent authentic Italian lunch and dinner fare that also offers the best breakfast menu around.

Once known as McQuiston's, "605" at 605 W. Main St., also has wonderful gourmet foods, also made from scratch and fresh daily. It and Bistro One, a wonderful combination of Mediterranean-style dishes, are probably the priciest places to eat, along with the famous Key West Shrimp House. But, you can't go wrong at either place.

There are many more restaurants I haven't mentioned, but I'll stop here. (And no, I'm not on anyone's bankroll there.) I just think that if, for whatever reason, you haven't been to Madison for awhile, you are in for a lot of treats.

Phyllis McLaughlin is editor of The Trimble Banner and lives in Milton, Ky. She is a big fan of good food, good wine and fine entertainment, anywhere it is to be found.