We drove through several additional Wisconsin towns, and of course, stopped to taste Wisconsin cheese
Port Washington Wisconsin
A pretty city with a number of 19th-century buildings, with its main street overseen by St. Mary’s church, sitting on a hill at the head of the street. It also has a pretty Lake Michigan shoreline park and a pleasure boat marina protected by an austere-looking Art Deco Lighthouse.
A pretty, well maintained, planned model city built around the Kohler plant. The Kohler Design Center makes for an interesting stop even if you aren’t in the market for a new bathroom or kitchen. In addition to a display of its current line of sinks, tubs, toilets and fixtures, its display includes a fun, quirky wall of sinks, toilets and bathtubs stacked up to ten high, interspersed with human figures that appear to be bracing the towers and in one case, standing atop one tub and holding up another. The second floor is lined by dozens of model bathrooms and kitchens designed by leading designers, including an all-white bathroom by Jonathan Adler. The basement is devoted to the company’s design residency and partnership programs where it works with noted design leaders in their fields to create Kohler products.
This lakefront town, discovered in 1634 by French explorer, was settled in 1846. it quickly became a prosperous enclave with dozens of grand, late 19th century homes (the oldest dating back to 1876). Many of these were on the hilltop neighborhood that has been designated as the Marquette Historic District. Its marina and sandy beaches make it a fishing and watersport center. We also enjoyed a couple of its artisan food purveyors, including Wakker Cheese’s extra aged gouda and LaFond Fish Market’s brown sugar bourbon smoked salmon—both of which, with some crackers, made for a very tasty on-the-go lunch.
Green Bay Wisconsin
The first settlement in the state, Green Bay, was first settled in 1669 as a trading (especially for beaver pelts) and military post. It has since evolved into a paper, cheese and shipping center and of course, the home of the beloved Green Bay Packers. It has a Packer Heritage Trail, a Packer Hall of fame, stores filled with Packer memorabilia and of course, Lambeau Field, a virtual shrine that is claimed to have long-since sold out season tickets, with a waiting list that could fill another stadium. Since we are not big Packer fans, we made a quick tour of the downtown area, including the Cannery Public Market (farm-to-table restaurant, bar, craft food market), Olde Main Street Arts District (a few public art pieces and galleries but little we found of interest) and the head of the Packer Heritage Trail (statures of Bart Starr, Paul Horning and the band leader, with commemorations to Vince Lombardi and many others. We finished our “tour” with a token stop at Lambeau Stadium.
Baraboo Wisconsin? Well, why not. We were driving around Wisconsin and decided to make a stop at Devil’s Lake State Park. This was created around a glacial lake surrounded on three sides by quartzite clefs. The cliff faces were covered with boulders that fell victim to water that seeped into small cracks that expanded when the water froze. Although the quartzite is supposed to be pink, red and purple, these colors were only visible on freshly cleaved, pre-weathered rocks. Those exposed to the environment turned greyish-brown and many of these were encrusted in greenish algae.
We took a four mile round-trip. We began on the aptly named lake-level Tumbled Rocks trail. Our return was on the steep (perhaps 500 foot elevation gain) West Bluff Trail which provided stunning, albeit generally filtered, views across the lake and over the surrounding hills. One end of the lake is dedicated to a popular beach while the other is popular with fisherman. The lake itself is dotted with canoes. A very pretty, very worthwhile stop.
Throughout our drive through Wisconsin, we stopped in a number of cheese factory tasting rooms throughout the state. Among our favorites of the dozens of types and brands of cheese we tasted were:
- Maple Leaf Cheese (New Glarus) for its Colby Swiss Lace, Morel & Leek Monterey Jack and Shake & Shum beer and bacon soft cheddar;
- Edelweiss Cheese’s (New Glarus) Kindred Monterey jack;
- Wisconsin Cheese Mart (Milwaukee) where we tasted several cheeses, especially enjoying Springside Morel and Leek Monterey Jack and especially the Roelli Bed Rock Cellar Aged Cheddar;
- Door County Creamery has a nice, albeit pricy, selection of soft chevres, including wild ramp, whitefish, truffle and cherry.