Best of Madison 2012: Shops & Services

Inner Fire studio closes after seven years.
Silver for Best Yoga/Pilates/Wellness: Inner Fire Yoga

GOLD: Dragonfly Hot Yoga

SILVER: Inner Fire Yoga | As the students for a lunchtime “Core Fire” class trickle through the lobby, Karen Erstad, program manager and instructor at Inner Fire Yoga, sits behind a desk and greeted each by name. It’s a warm space—and not just because the rooms crank up to 105 degrees for some hot classes. Pumpkin orange and sunflower walls, painted with words like joy and awaken, create a mood of rejuvenation and peace. “Our MO is if you’re going to come here, you’re going to have a workout,” says owner Marit Sathrum. “But it’s also more because the students learn the surrender part of it—the stillness.”  

BRONZE: Kneaded Relief Day Spa

GOLD: Villari’s Martial Arts Center | It’s Saturday morning and Villari’s Martial Arts Center on State Street is full of four- to nine-year-olds held at attention—giggling intermittently. The instructors file in for their class and the mood is friendly, educational and most of all respectful. Material distractions are not welcome in the studio—the color of the belt is the only distinguishing factor between students here.

SILVER: Badgerland Jiu-jitsu

BRONZE: Infinity Martial Arts

GOLD: Mansion Hill Inn | Summer is prime-time at the Mansion Hill Inn. Guest flock from all over the Midwest for a unique getaway in one of ten rooms at this downtown bed and breakfast. By day, guests can traverse the Mansion Hill area on retro Trek bikes. “It’s a really great spot if you’re into cycling,” says general manager Margaux Stutz. By night, the smell of freshly baked cookies permeates the air on the porches while guests sip nightcaps. 

SILVER: Arbor House

BRONZE: Speckled Hen Inn

GOLD: Camp K9

SILVER: Ruffin ‘It Resort

BRONZE: Waggin’ Tails Doggie Dude Ranch and Pet Lodge | They start their dog days early. From 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. the door at Waggin’ Tails constantly opens to canines pulling their owners along, eager to reunite with their daycare friends and frolic in the hose. The mood is rambunctious and very close knit. “This businesses is kind of like being a bartender,” says Julie Bollenbach, the day care manager at Waggin’ Tails. “Over fifty percent of our clients come two to three times a week. We know everybody.”