Travelers go Swiss

Published 5:51 pm Saturday, September 15, 2012

A visit to the Olbrick Botanical Gardens in Madison gave us our first hint of the beauty during our recent two-day trip to southeastern Wisconsin that included visits to Fort Atkinson and New Glarus.

The Fireside Dinner theater at Fort Atkinson has been a favorite place to visit for many years. This family-owned establishment is celebrating its 35th season of Broadway productions in this small town of 2,500 people. Our visit included a showing of “Hello Dolly.”

The professional actors from all parts of the country, wore gorgeous period costumes. There were high stepping dances on the small stage, which would raise and lower in the center. The orchestral music included “Before the Parade Passes By,” “It only Takes a Moment” and of course the unforgettable “Hello Dolly.”

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Their signature buffet included several entrées with their famous sweet potato souffle. It ended with Bailey’s Irish Cream cheesecake for dessert. It is customary that the bakery send along boxes of homemade cookies wrapped with red ribbon bows for the ride home.

The following day of our two-day tour was spent in New Glarus. Dubbed as America’s Little Switzerland, it was originally settled in 1845. It is located about 28 miles south of Madison in the rolling hills of Green County.

This area is famous for their Swiss cows and products like Swiss cheese and other varieties.

New Glarus has retained its Swiss charm from the Alpine-style architecture, such as colorful window boxed shutters on most buildings, writings on the buildings and gourmet food.

Upon entering this village of about 2,100 people we quickly got a glimpse of their rich Swiss heritage as we began seeing some of the 15 decorated statues of cows, each painted with a theme related to their business and used as a store front.

After a city tour with a step-on guide our travelers boarded a recently purchased trolley, which would take us to the Hilltop Brewery.

The New Glarus Co. Brewery was established in 1993 by a local couple with help from family and friends. The brewery is a beautiful building, converted from an abandoned warehouse. They brew more than 50 varieties of beer. This beer is sold only in Wisconsin.

As we arrived at the Chalet Landhaus Restaurant for our lunch, we were greeted by a gentleman dressed in Swiss attire carrying a huge cow bell. He continued to entertain and educate us in Swiss traditions.

The restaurant’s chef started off with a Swiss fondue, followed by a Swiss meal. The choices included veal, or a combination of veal, beef and pork. We were also served Roisti, Swiss-style potatoes, and spatzli with swiss-style noodles. A delicious strawberry dessert followed.

As our greeter said good-bye, he attempted to teach us all to yodel and learn a couple of Swiss words. A trip to one of their yearly seven festivals would be a fun visit.



•Sept. 28: Cranberry Festival and Crafts Show in Warrens, Wis. 7 a.m. departure. Fee is due now. We have openings.

•Sept. 30-Oct. 6: Travel packets available, 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

•Oct. 13: Oktoberfest Lunch and Lock Cruise. Fee due now.

September Newsletter is available near the south door. Travel number is 507-438-3946.