Get ready for Part V of our cross country road trip recap: Wisconsin!
In May 2012, we drove 3,815 miles through 12 states, coast to coast. Our route took us through New York, Ontario in Canada, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, to Portland, Oregon. Check out the route:
After a wonderful day in Chicago, we drove 2 hours north towards Wisconsin.
Our first stop in Wisconsin was an unexpected one. Before we left on our trip I had printed out The Traveler’s Guide To America’s Dairyland which shows every single cheese factory, cheese shop, and cheese related must-see in the entire state of Wisconsin. I wasn’t sure how many stops we’d be able to make, if any, because of our schedule. Well, we were able to see a few and this first one was a very special one: Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We had many samples of cheese and I bought an awesome hoodie you’ll see me in soon because I’ve been practically living in it ever since.
From Kenosha we drove an hour due north to Milwaukee for dinner. We stopped at this fabulous restaurant called Roots Restaurant & Cellar.
Roots is a local farm-to-table place with a lovely outdoor patio and one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had.
After dinner we headed to Leon’s Frozen Custard for dessert.
You really can’t go wrong with expertly made vanilla custard covered in pecans, hot fudge, and cherries. Sidenote: I want to move to Milwaukee.
Our final destination that day was Wisconsin Dells, another 2 hour drive northwest. We didn’t mind, Wisconsin has some pretty beautiful sunsets.
The next morning we were up bright and early, and off to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
We made one quick stop at another cheese shop on the way at Humbird Cheese. Yup, that’s a marbled pepperoni cheese we bought and inhaled in the car. What?
Did I mention that Humbird Cheese is located in Tomah, Wisconsin? Many “it’s not a tomah” jokes ensued.
An hour and 45 minutes later we arrived at the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin for a brewery tour.
In 1845 Jacob Leinenkugel immigrated from Meckenheim, Germany to Wisconsin. They found that the rich Wisconsin soil was perfect for growing hops and grains and thus, began to brew beer. In 1867 Jacob opened his own brewery in the logging town of Chippewa Falls. Ownership of the brewery is now in the 5th generation of the Leinenkugel family.
The (free) brewery tour was led by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable staffer, going through the brew house and bottling area. We could only take pictures outside so there aren’t many to share.
After the brewery tour we headed into the Leine Lodge (built for guests in 1979) for samples and souvenirs.
The bartender was funny and really nice. He served us generous samples too! The beers are all fantastic and perfect for summer. My favorites were the Summer Shandy, Honey Weiss, Red Lager, and Creamy Dark. I can’t wait to pick some up locally!
After our fill of delicious Leinenkugel beer, we drove through Eau Claire, Wisconsin for a quick lunch.
As we prepared to head off to Minnesota (another 4 hours away), we stopped at one last cheese factory and shop, Cady Cheese.
Stay tuned for Part VI – Minnesota!