7.25.2017

Babcock Hall Dairy Plant & Store, #1 - Getting There, Madison, WI

Some time a few months back, I noticed an ice cream brand in the freezer at a local grocer that I hadn't heard of previously. It's called Babcock Ice Cream. I read the label on the package in the freezer and discovered it's a local brand started by the University of Wisconsin.


Now, a dairy operation, even an ice cream operation, is pretty common at universities (at least Big 10 ones). I think it has something to do with the availability of milk and the fact that ice cream is awesome... plus, this is the state of Wisconsin after all, dairy is kinda big. I didn't buy the ice cream that day, but put a mental note in my brain to visit the hall that houses this dairy production on the campus itself. The hall is called Babcock Hall (and Babcock Ice Cream, get it?) and is pretty easy to locate on the campus map. They also have their own store website and you can even check out the ice cream flavors and get your mouth watering and heart a fluttering.

I was able to make this "pilgrimage" in mid-July and, in this first post, I'll show you how it went just getting into the dairy store. I wasn't expecting it to be something to post, but that's how it turns out sometimes.

I found the hall just fine... and then it started to get interesting...


This was the sign on the front door of the main entrance to the hall:

So, I went to the next set of doors (for those that don't know, I'm pretty literal at times, especially with directions). The door looked like this:


Now, knowing this was the next set of doors, being a bit famished, and having a sister who is handicapped... I didn't think much of the handicapped symbol above. I mostly just read "To Babcock Dairy Store", just as the previous sign had told me, and proceeded inside.

That's when the maze began... Which hallway do I go through, which door, which elevator?...




Look, up there on that huge freezer door wall... a new clue... ok, this is kinda fun, but I really just want ice cream now...

It says, "To Babcock Dairy Store - Take elevator to 2nd Floor". Ok, this really is a maze to get some ice cream, but alright... I do as I'm told...

Emergency eye-wash station in case you need it... (where am I?)

Elevator?

Elevator?!?!

Ok, I found a huge freight elevator... but it said take it to the 2nd floor... so I did...


It led straight out into someone's office/dairy plant... which felt really odd, but I kept going as ice cream was near and I wanted it...


And I presume since it was the summer, there weren't many people milling about in any hallway or office that I came upon. There was one guy getting into the elevator after me that pointed me in the right direction, phew.

(I didn't know if that was milk or soap suds on the floor... no time to check now)

Finally... a few more turns and hallways, and then a real clue...



Yes! A store with people and ice cream!!!

I made it...


I realized later, as I exited the store through their main doors, that the entrance I had found was the entrance for someone who was in a wheelchair and couldn't use stairs. Even still, this seemed like an incredible maze of directions, hallways, elevators and turns to take in a wheelchair. I could only imagine my sister and a family member trying to navigate that maze as the rest of the family waited in the store for them to appear (or if we'd all just gone down the rabbit hole as a family, which does happen). And then I thought of handicapped people that aren't in my family. Do they actually figure all this out? Take a freight elevator? make the right turns and see all the signs? Maybe it's easy if it's for ice cream?

In any case, I've now made it to the store! The second post will be all about the food I sampled there, so don't forget to check back in a few days...



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