Senior Just Say “Cheese”

Why would seniors say this? Easy. Monroe is known as “the Swiss Cheese Capital of the USA.” The population was just over 10,000 a couple of years back. The city, originally settled by Swiss and German immigrants, today continues to prosper and grow.

Folks here will always extend the hand of friendship to senior visitors and give them a warm feeling of “Willkommen.”Monroe is located in Green County just to east of Dubuque on Highways #11 and not far from the Illinois border to the south.

Attn. Senior Hikers and Bikers

The Cheese Country Trail, a 47-mile multi-use rail trail, stretches form Monroe to Mineral Point (where my mother and father in-law once lived). You can walk the trail but use caution to stay out the way of horses, snowmobiles, ATVs and bicycles.

A few years back I visited Monroe, the cheese factory and Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, the #1 tourist attraction in town. The sign above the bar in Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern warns visitors about the perils of sampling the $3.25 house specialty – a slab of Limburger cheese (The World’s Stinkiest) on rye bread slathered with onions and mustard. “Limburger: Don’t eat it with your nose.”  Opened in 1931 Baumgartner’s is Wisconsin’s oldest cheese store.

Seniors Help Make Swiss Cheese

The National Historic Cheesemaking Museum is located at the southern gateway to Wisconsin, just a few miles north of the Illinois/Wisconsin line.  The staff eagerly awaits your visit to tell the story of early cheesemaking earning Monroe the title of the “Cheese Capital.”

 Join Master Cheesemakers in the making of a 90 pound wheel of Swiss cheese, as it was done over a century ago. Seniors are invited to take a turn in stirring the kettle. The milk arrives approximately 9:00 am and the day continues to mid afternoon when a completed wheel of Swiss cheese is on the press table. Cheese Days celebrations started in 1914 and are held during even-numbered years. The weekend festival features music, dance, parades, factory tours and cheesemaking demonstrations.

What goes well with cheese? Beer. Monroe is proud to be the home of the oldest, continually operating brewery in the midwest, the Minhas Brewery, formerly known as the Joseph Huber Brewing Company, built in 1845. The town of New Glaurus is close by and a fine micro-brewery is found there along with Primose Winery.

Now you know that there are several options within the immediate area for cheese, wine or beer gourmets. Yes, Monroe is a cheese lovers paradise.  So bring your appetite, an interest in cheese and senior travelers will have a great time in Monroe.  jeb



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