Wisconsin: America’s Dairyland, Troll Capital, And Home Of One Great Big Urinal
One thing is for sure…it’s a long way from Philadelphia to Alaska. All of that driving is giving us the chance to catch up with long lost friends and family, though. And since Chicago is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Wisconsin, we decided to stop by to see Scott’s family in and around Madison and Edie’s friend in Milwaukee.
Friends and Family
The main reason for our visit was to see our friends and family. We stayed with Scott’s cousin John and his wife Kris in Monticello, WI, a small town about 30 minutes southwest of Madison in some beautiful rolling hills and farm country. On Memorial Day, another cousin hosted a cookout, so we got the chance to catch up with Thom and Jean, along with two of their kids, Zach and Hannah (we had dinner with the oldest, Nathan, at Poogan’s Porch in Charleston, SC).
On our last night in Wisconsin, we headed to Cottage Grove for dinner with Edie’s friend Holly, her husband Wade, and their son Alex. Over the three days we were in Wisconsin, we probably had more laughs and good times just visiting friends and family than most people should be allowed. But that didn’t stop us from throwing in a few extra stops.
Jelly Belly Factory
In Pleasant Prairie, WI, there’s a Jelly Belly factory. We stopped to satisfy Edie’s love of jellybeans. Since we were running late on our drive to Monticello, we had to forgo the short tour (which is free, by the way!). But Edie still got to get a grab bag of jellybeans and Scott had a huge dark chocolate and peanut butter cup. The jelly beans lasted far longer than the peanut butter cup, that’s for sure…but perhaps that was because it was a 2 lb bag!
New Glarus & The Largest Urinal In The Midwest
There’s another small town near Monticello called New Glarus. This town holds tightly to its Swiss roots, still looking like a small Swiss village. Being dairy country and all, there are cow statues all over the place in what they call Cows On Parade. And of course, there are shops with delicious cheeses, meats, and chocolates for tasting and buying. The town itself is great for a short walking tour.
One of the hallmarks of The Great American Road Trip is seeing the numerous odd roadside attractions lining the backroads and highways of the US. While this one isn’t technically a “roadside” attraction, since it’s inside of Glarner Stube, a bar in New Glarus, it was certainly worth stopping to see. Glarner Stube is home of The Largest Urinal In The Midwest. We have to admit, it’s a pretty big urinal.
While you’re there, drink a beer or two from “only distributed in Wisconsin” brewery New Glarus Brewing. Then you can put the urinal to use (if you’re male at least).
Chalet Cheese Co-op
In Monroe, WI, you’ll find the Chalet Cheese Cooperative. This is the only place in the US that still makes limburger cheese. For those of you unfamiliar with limburger, it’s known as “stinky cheese” by lots of people. We joked that it smells like 6 day old socks. You know, the kind of socks that can stand up in the corner on their own.
But if you’re a fan of strong, pungent cheese, limburger is excellent. It’s creamy and goes really well on a good rye bread with raw onions and a strong mustard. After trying it, Scott decided he was a fan and picked up a half-pound that he enjoyed over the next week or so. Our cooler has recovered from the smell…FINALLY!
They also carry plenty of other varieties of cheese for those of you that like cheese that doesn’t smell like underarms. We also snagged a smoked baby swiss and some cheese curds, another Wisconsin specialty.
Mount Horeb: The Troll Capital Of The World
Our final stop on our tour of the area was Mount Horeb. You probably know it better as “The Troll Capital Of The World.” No? Well, anyway, moving along. The town itself probably only has a few hundred residents, but there are trolls everywhere. There are troll-themed restaurants and bars, along with trolls along the road in front of businesses.
It’s a cute little town that has truly embraced a quirk that is a great tourist attraction. Mount Horeb used to have the Mustard Museum, but that has since moved to Middleton, WI. So is Mount Horeb worth the stop? If you’re in the area, it’s certainly worth a detour.
And now for the part that you all know and love, the pictures! If you like jellybeans, cows, trolls, or have ever wanted to see a really big urinal, here you go!