Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Peeling the Intriguing Layers of Wisconsin OLA

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peeling the Intriguing Layers of Wisconsin OLA

Colby cheese in the making in Decatur Dairy, Wisconsin 
We were not able to get to the northern part of Minnesota along Lake Superior and the western section where most of the lakes are (the state is known as the Land of 10,000 lakes). But from our campground there and from the one in Illinois, we peeled the fascinating layers of Wisconsin, one layer at a time, without staying in the state even a single night!

world's largest 6-pack in La Crosse
At La Crosse, on the Minnesota border, we were pleasantly shocked at suddenly coming upon the World’s Largest 6-Pack! Bill didn’t even know about La Crosse beer when those huge beer cans showed up, dwarfing the trees and parked cars. And happily raising his beer mug to the passers-by was the King of Beer from the 13th century, Gambrinus.

National Historical Cheesemaking Center
From the Illinois border, we toured Decatur Dairy near Monroe, the Swiss Cheese Capital of the US and home to the National Historical Cheese Making Center.  Decatur’s Master Cheese Maker Steve has won many awards in the state, the US and Europe. Wisconsin supplies 26% of the cheese consumed in the country. Over 2.6 B pounds of 600 varieties of cheese are produced every year from the milk of 1.26 M cows in 13,000 dairy farms in the state.

Gambrinus, King of Beer
In Milwaukee, along the other great lake, Lake Michigan, we had lunch at Mader’s, a German restaurant that has been operating since 1902. We had the best beef goulash, pork schnitzel, veal sauerbreuten we have ever had. It was also my first time to have pretzel rolls…yummy! And for dessert…apple strudel! Gambrinus was again there, staring at me as I sank into their BIG chair. The region is home to a lot of good German cuisine. This is the first layer: outstanding food and beverage.
Milwaukee Art Museum
Wright's Place...Taliesin
Also in Milwaukee we were taken aback as the Milwaukee Art Museum loomed before us. It is prominently featured in Transformers 3. And this leads us to the second layer: art and architecture! A famous Wisconsin son: Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland, Wisconsin but there are 7 possible houses where he was born. Just a few miles south is Taliesin where Wright built his home, tucked away into the hills, as is his style, together with a school of architecture, a restaurant, and a visitor center.  

the Infinity Room of the House on the Rock
A few miles south in Spring Green, Wisconsin, is the House on the Rock, a complex of architecturally designed rooms, streets, gardens and shops by Alex Jordan, Jr.  On a singular standing rock he slowly built his home from left-over materials of his carpenter-father. Trees have now almost covered the spectacular view except for the Infinity Room that soars out 250-feet into the valley 150-ft below.
the Basilica on Holy Hill
A friend of ours (Didi Manarang) told us of her annual pilgrimage to Hubertus, Wisconsin, where the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary sits on top of a Holy Hill. In the Roman Catholic Church, a basilica is the highest Papal designation given to a building that carries special spiritual, historical, and architectural significance. Beside the Meditation Chapel inside the basilica is a receptacle of crutches that have, through miraculous healing, become no longer needed.

the simple tomb of Adele Brise
Further north near Green Bay, Wisconsin is the site of one of only 15 approved sites of a Marian apparition, an event in which the Blessed Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared supernaturally to one or more people. Another friend, Loy Aquino, brought us there. Just a year after Lourdes, Adele Brise, a young Belgian immigrant, saw a beautiful woman standing between a maple and a hemlock tree and was given the mission to teach the children of the area their Catechism. The approval for Our Lady of Good Help just came on Dec. 8 last year. This is the layer that happily surprised us: religion.

Lambeau Field of the Green Bay Packers
But, according to Bill, Green Bay is host to a spot, another miracle, where thousands gather! It is known as Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, SuperBowl legends! I also have to mention that Harley-Davidson’s Head Office is in Milwaukee (although we took the plant tour in Kansas City instead)! Well, that’s Wisconsin for you…made up of solid layers that make the state known and loved in the country…plus all the other bonuses!

6 layers of motorcycles at Harley-Davidson
Next Stop: Meeting in My Kind of Town, Chicago! 


  1. I think the vat of colby cheese looks like a lot of corn on the cob! However, I really liked the big six pack, that was cool. My favorite picture was the Milwaukee art museum. Milwaukee has great German food, glad you could enjoy it at one of the best in town. Had you been in town when the Packers were playing, you would have really had a religious experience! Those fans are truly FANatics.

  2. but actually each is about at least 6 cobs! i forgot to include our short visit to the Wisconsin Dells!

  3. You had a good variety of places you visited. What a lovely time you nust have had.

  4. Hi Emma,
    It's so nice to hear from you again! Yes we did but I forgot to include our little visit to Wisconsin Dells!!!


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