The Great American Road Adventure: Wisconsin

At around 4 hours, Minneapolis to Madison was one of the shorter drives of the trip. We drove out from Minneapolis around 12pm on a Friday, and arrived in Madison around 5pm.

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Main street of Madison

The Graduate, our hotel for the night, was a quirky college-themed hotel room. After briefly dropping off our things for the night, we set out and walked the streets of Madison, which Michael informed me, is a college town. The main strip of Madison was already busy early in the evening, with an overpowering ratio of college-aged youth to older people making up the bulk of the crowds.

We walked by the state capitol, and admired the architecture, before choosing a restaurant for dinner.

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Wisconsin State Capitol

As one of the northernmost states bordering Canada, with wide expanses suitable for farming, Wisconsin is known as one of the largest national producers of dairy. Due to this, I had been eagerly anticipating our arrival in this state, knowing that I was in for some good cheese, and especially, cheese curds.

Like the majority of meals that we’d eaten so far on the trip, we enjoyed a delicious meal in Madison, the experience amplified by satisfying my craving for cheese curds.

After dinner, we retired early, ready to leave Madison the next day, and venture to the heart of America’s cheese country.

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Lake Mendota

After breakfast the next morning, we packed up and drove from Madison to Green County, Wisconsin. The primary attraction for us in Green County, was a cheese factory. It took from 45 minutes to an hour to get to Green County, and while driving, we passed a town that looked like a historically preserved Swiss outpost, that I made a mental note to come back to after we were done with cheeses.

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Outside of Emmi Roth Kase

We parked near the cheese factory we’d picked, Emmi Roth Kase, and went inside. It was around 12pm on a Saturday when we came in, and there were a bunch of people inside browsing already. Green County is without a doubt haven for cheese lovers. There were kinds of cheeses paired with unimaginable things, such as chocolate, and a myriad of other things that would seemingly not pair well with it. Imported dairy products also featured.

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After settling on a cranberry cheese, we went back to the car, and with reckless abandon and without utensils, I ate the cheese in a manner that you would expect of one who has come to Wisconsin just to eat cheese.

The surrounding areas had little in the way of restaurants, so Michael and I decided we would go back to the town of New Glarus for lunch, and look around while we were there. When we got to the town and found parking, we discovered that the town was celebrating Oktoberfest that weekend, and there was a lively market with German treats and lots of rotund Americans drinking beer in the streets. Unfortunately for those of us in New Glarus that day, it happened to be about 35 degrees, and we had begun to perspire unpleasantly as soon as we stepped out of the car.

Driven inside by the heat, we picked a European restaurant to eat at, and had a long wait. The food at the restaurant was one of our few mediocre meals on our drive across the country.

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After eating, we strolled around the town, and admired the architecture style of the town. The town advertised itself as ‘Little Switzerland’, and we read somewhere that a Swiss colony had established itself here in the 19th century, developing into a village, and then to become the town it was today.

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Swiss style architecture in New Glarus, WI

After our walk, we left the sweltering heat of Wisconsin, and proceeded to drive to Chicago.

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