So what do you do when you are in Wisconsin? You go to cheese factories. We went to Carr Valley, Emi-Roth, and Cedar Grove. All of them have world champion cheeses which is pretty good to have beaten the French, Swiss and Italian cheeses. We now have a refrigerator full of award winning cheese, cheese fondue and cheese spread.
Of course, we did not forget the breweries. Stevens Point Brewery (first 2 pictures) is a regional brewery and the fifth-oldest privately owned brewery in the nation. As part of the tour we took, we each got tickets for 3 10-oz. samples. Since it was Father’s Day, we each got an extra sample. During the tour, Leslie (the non-beer drinker) answered the two trivia questions and we got 2 more free samples. So Don had cards for 10, 10 oz. samples. Luckily they also sell soft drinks, so that helped some. They had a beer we have never seen – a blond stout made with white chocolate (which Don really liked and Leslie could almost drink).
We went to New Glarus Brewery and Merlin got to go to his first biergarten (last picture). It is the 21st largest craft brewer and 32nd largest overall brewing company in the country. They only distribute in Wisconsin (guess people in Wisconsin drink a lot of beer). We found a beer that Leslie will drink. It is called Raspberry Tart and it taste nothing like beer, it is sort of like a liquid sweet tart. Unfortunately they only had it on tap, so we could not bring any home.
The Wisconsin State Capitol (pictures 3 – 6) was completed in 1917 and is the fifth building to serve as the Wisconsin capitol since the first territorial legislature convened in 1836. It is the tallest building in Madison, a distinction that has been preserved by legislation that prohibits buildings taller than the columns surrounding the dome. When we walked into the building, we heard some men singing in perfect harmony. We figured they were some sort of special entertainment. When we got to the rotunda, we saw they had signs and we realized that they were protestors – a very peaceful, entertaining protest.
The next 6 pictures are from Olbrich Botanical Gardens which are owned and operated jointly by the City of Madison Parks and the non-profit Olbrich Botanical Society. The gardens were established in 1952. The Thai pavilion or sala (9th picture), is a gift from the Thai Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association and the government of Thailand through its king, Bhumibol Adulyadej. Opened in 2002, it is one of only four salas outside of Thailand and one of two in the United States (the other is located in Hawaii).