Guide to Wisconsin -
Tour of Lake Winnebago
of Wisconsin's most famous colors, and probably green and gold-the
Green Bay Packers and Cheddar cheese-spring to mind. But visitors
from all around the Great Lakes know that Wisconsin is famed for its
fiery fall foliage and rustic roads.
new map, the Tasters Guide to Wisconsin, showcases the best spots
for tours and tastings of craft beers, specialty cheeses, and wineries
throughout the state.
get a free copy, send a self-addressed, stamped #10 size envelope
WMMB-Tasters Guide, PO Box 1012, LaCrosse, Wisconsin 54602.)
Take in the blazing colors of sugar maples, stately oaks, silver birch
and golden tamaracks with a drive around Lake Winnebago, an excellent
weekend jaunt from Madison, Milwaukee or Green Bay.
cities line the shores of this gorgeous fresh-water lake, the largest
in-land body of water in the state: Appleton to the north, Oshkosh
to the west, and Fond du Lac (literally, "far end of the lake") to
from Milwaukee, and wind up I-43 northbound, along the Lake Michigan
Glimpse the deep blue waters of the great lake
to the right as you glide past Port Washington, home of the Harbor
City Brewing Co. and Port Washington Brewery.
Just west of Kohler, pick up highway 23 west and about 10 miles later,
turn right on highway 57 North, passing scenic barns and reflecting
pools such as Mueller's Pond. Past
the Rhine Center, highway 57 changes into 57/32, which heads both
north and west, through the picturesque towns of Kiel and New Holstein.
As expected, dairy barns and silos decked in red and white paint dot
the countryside here.
Continue north on 57/32 through Chilton,
home of the specialty maltings company called Briess. Its fine malt
is used in beer, and as an ingredient to flavor sauces, prepared foods,
and yes, even chocolate malted milk balls. If you're in the mood for
a beer, pull over for a pint at Rowland's Calumet Brewery, 25 North
Madison Street (920) 849-2534...
At Forest Junction, a tiny town with the credible civic slogan, "you
can get there from here," turn left on highway 10 and trek to County
Road 55 north to Kaukana, then west to Appleton on Highway 41.
exit N, you'll find Simon's Specialty Cheese Store, famed for its
aged white cheddar cheese, gift shop and ice cream parlor. If a group
wishes to get a factory tour during weekdays, call ahead for reservations.
Likewise, Mossholder Farm in Appleton, which produces a unique and
delicious brick-style semisoft cow's-milk cheese, offers tastings
and tours during the week (in nice weather, you can see the family's
own herd of cows grazing in the pasture). Try their brick cheese,
available at four levels of aging, at the farm retail store or by
There are wonderful hiking trails along the Highcliff preserve. For
a different kind of hike, stroll through the Fox River Mall, and sample
the ales of the Fox River Brewing Co.
Or stop at the Dos Bandidos, for mexican fare washed down with Adler
Brau beer at the Appleton Brewing Co., 1004 S. Olde Oneida (920) 735-0507..
Oshkosh is best known for the "EAA Air Adventure Fly-in" for enthusiasts
of amateur aviation. But I like the aviation museum, with Wright Brothers
Upon leaving Oshkosh, follow the southwest shore of Lake Winnebago
on Highway 45, staying close to the shore for views of the lake and
wetlands. Located at the base of Lake Winnebago, Fond du Lac (French
for "at the far end of the lake") goes out of its way to introduce
visitors to its many charms.
sure to stop at the Gilles Frozen Custard Stand on Main Street in
"Fondy," as locals call the city. It's a classic drive-in, where attendants
serve those vehicles that leave their lights on.
Another scenic route circles the Horicon Marsh and the northern unit
of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, less than an hour from Fond du
Lac. A remnant of the marsh outlines the outskirts of Theresa, the
next stop for cheese. Stay on WI-175 south from Fond du Lac, to 175/28/67,
through to the village of Theresa, where the Widmer Cheese Cellars
produces some of the finest specialty cheese in Wisconsin.
At Widmer's, learn the history of the real "brick cheese," cheese
that was pressed with a brick to get a firm, aged cheese dotted with
tiny pinholes and veins, resembling the porous texture of a brick.
Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Joe Widmer preserves his grandfather's
Almost a century later, Joe Widmer still uses several hundred bricks
to weigh down the cheese molds, pressing the curds gently and slowly.
A surface-ripened, washed-rind cheese, Widmer's Aged Brick is aromatic,
rich, earthy to the nose, with a creamy, full flavor followed by a
nice note of tanginess.
From Theresa, follow 28/67 to Mayville, just east of the Horicon Marsh.
Mayville's Main Street is full of specialty shops and antique stores.
Its jewel is the Audubon Inn, a lovely spot to dine.
wonderful aerial view of Lake Winnebago, courtesy of NASA, with the
circle tour superimposed upon it. Thanks!