“You belong somewhere you feel free” – Tom Petty
Miles traveled: 205
On the agenda today in Green Bay, WI was two simple items – Lambeau Field and Cheese Curds. I was not leaving this state until I had some cheese curds. When in Rome. So we headed to breakfast (since cheese curds were going to be ‘lunch’) at the Pancake Palace Diner – where they proudly service the largest serving of whipped butter I have ever seen. After a stomach filling breakfast, we headed to the famous Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers.
Unfortunately there were no stadium tours today because it was Family Night at Lambeau. So our plan was to walk around the stadium, check out the pro shop, and hit the Packers Hall of Fame in order to get our fill of Packers football mania for the day. Pretty much our entire Lambeau plan went to hell in a hand basket real quick! No stadium tours (which we were prepared for), you had to have a ticket to get into the pro shop (which is just asinine), and the Hall of Fame was “re-opening soon.” Ha. So we walked around, got some pictures, and headed to an‘offsite’ Packers store to locate a small souvenir. Although the Family Night was a bit irritating from a planning perspective, Lambeau Field is a pretty incredible place and Packers fans are what the city of Green Bay is all about. There’s a different kind of passion there – these folks live for their team.
After the Lambeau bust, we went to downtown Green Bay to walk around before making our way farther North. We stopped in a cute little candy store called Beernsten’s Candies. I wasn’t really in the market for candy, but stopped in on the off chance I might locate a postcard or two for my trip project. Inside the store we met the super sweet Bernadine. Bernadine might have had the most top-notch sales and marketing skills I have ever witnessed. She offered some samples of the homemade caramels, and I was sold – they were delicious. I said “I will take just 4 of those.” Bernadine gave me a look, and stated, “that simply wont do”, so I said, “how about 6”, and she said “that’s more like it”. Now keep in mind that Bernadine has a beautiful Wisconsin accent during this exchange. I walked out of there with a pound of homemade caramels, including a couple of caramel dipped marshmallows (and I really don’t event like marshmallows)! Props to miss Bernadine!
After walking around downtown Green Bay, we hopped in the Jeep with a destination of a local cheese maker. We drive the short 30 minutes north and make it to Springside Cheese (after swinging by McDonalds to grab a cold drink and the 49 cent vanilla cones – it was so well advertised, we couldn’t resist the frozen treat). Note to self – Wisconsin knows marketing. They weren’t making cheese today (they only do that 2 days a week at this particular location), but we selected a couple of cheeses to try (I conveniently had a small cutting board and a hunting knife in the Jeep) and grabbed a bag of fresh cheese curds for a brief cheese-themed picnic at the Jeep. We selected a Colby Longhorn (which sounds super cool and fancy, but the name of Longhorn just comes from the shape of the cheese block), a Beer Cheddar, and the curds. All were delicious! But let’s chat about cheese curds for a second. Simply put, cheese curds are the fascinating little nugget of a byproduct of the cheese making process. And you know a good quality curd by the squeakiness of the cheese against your teeth while you chew it. It was the most hilarious sound, and they actually weren’t half bad! Fresh cheese curds are best at room temperature, but should be refrigerated if not consumed. Of course when you do that they will lose their squeak. Small price to pay for the little cheesy treat. What does a squeaky cheese curd taste like? Well – the best I can describe it is cheese flavored silly putty. Great cheese discovery in the land of cheese today!
After the cheese picnic, we grabbed some ice for the cooler to keep the cheese fresh, and made the drive along Lake Michigan and Green Bay (the body of water) up to Marquette, MI. Beautiful drive with a new change of scenery. The lake is awesome and huge, and it was nice to travel along a body of water for a change! It was really a nice drive up to Marquette. We checked into the hotel (once we found it – which was tricky given 2 GPS devices were not having any part of guiding the Jeep to the correct location) and then headed to downtown Marquette, a hilly place which sits right on Lake Superior. Marquette reminds me of a mountain town I guess because of the evergreens and the hilly, old main street area. Marquette has several craft brewerys, so we stopped by a couple to do some tastings and grabbed a much needed green dinner at a historic inn, before calling it a night.
We’ll check out Marquette and more of Michigan tomorrow!
Until next time….