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Hometown Visit (Part 2)


Tuesday, 8/13/2013

Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park

Lena, Illinois

Today we decided to take a short drive, about 25-30 minutes, up to Monroe, WI, for lunch.  We’ve been to Monroe many times through the years.  The county seat of Green County is a quaint little town with a population of just under 11,000.  It has a beautiful courthouse on the square downtown.

Our destination for lunch was also downtown on the square.  Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern opened in 1931 and is Wisconsin’s oldest cheese store.

It’s like stepping into the past.  We went here with Terri’s parents many, many years ago and it’s very much like I remembered.  There are funny little signs everywhere. 
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The place is just great… nothin’ fancy and very relaxed.
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They have a great menu, especially if you like cheese sandwiches.

Since the menu states that they have the “2nd Best Chili,” I asked our waitress who makes the best chili, and she replied “MOM.”  Our waitress was great, love the shirt!

We both ordered Swiss cheese sandwiches, Mrs. Mike’s Potato Chips (of course!) made in our hometown of Freeport, and a beer.  My beer was a Huber brewed right in Monroe by the Joseph Huber Brewing Company, the second oldest brewery in the country.  Terri had Spotted Cow, a beer brewed in nearby New Glarus.  Here it is… THE Swiss Cheese Sandwich!

Just look at that delicious Swiss!

If you’re ever in the vicinity of Monroe, WI, I highly recommend a trip to Baumgartner’s!!!

After lunch we walked around the square.

There are several fiberglass animals painted by local artists on display around the square to celebrate local agriculture history called “Farmin’ on the Square.”

A sheep called “Lady BaBa.”
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“Animal 7 (The Colt)”
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“Tree of Life”
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“The Battle of the Spirits Continues”
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“Tiger Lilly”
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“The Cat’s Pajamas”
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“Owl be on the Farm”
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“Piggin’ Out” and “Hank”
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“Billy the Goat, A.K.A. Billy the Kid”
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Last but not least,
“Moo-rilyn Monroe:  Tour Guide”
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She’s covered with many witty “bovine” slogans that are “udderly” hilarious!  Eye rolling smile

She even has hot air balloons down below!

We really enjoyed our time in Monroe.  We hope to get back there someday for “Green County Cheese Days” which occurs the third weekend of September in even numbered years.



  1. Oh what fun!! Love small towns and down home restaurants. Those signs were a hoot;o))

  2. Wish we were going to be closer to Monroe, we'll be in Prairie Du Chien at Waylusing State Park for awhile seeing friends from a long time ago. Loved the farm animals, we've enjoyed lots of different painted fiberglass animals in so many places. A way to get the visitors walking around town.

  3. Your post has everything I and food! Monroe sounds like a great place.

  4. Loved those "cheesy" signs. Somebody has a great sense of humor! Not to mention all those pretty painted animals with their little pictures. "Udderly" fantastic! :c)

    Didn't know Terri has her own brand of potato chips. Did she share them with you, Mike? :cD

  5. Love your header picture! What a great little town. They sure do have a sense of humor. Great street art! Who knew all this was going on in Monroe Wisconsin. Thanks for filling us in.

  6. Wow! I've never been to Monroe, but I sure do want to now :) I'm already checking the map so we can stop next year when we're up there visiting family :) What a cool place!

  7. Great sidewalk decorations! We always enjoy these quaint towns.

  8. Just love small towns. One of the things we like about traveling around!