Photo: Fuzzy Gerdes via Creative Commons
I’ve always theorized that people tend not to be tourists in their own towns. That is to say, the closer one lives to a landmark destination, the less likely he is to visit that place. People who live in NY don’t go to the Statue of Liberty, for example.
From my own experience: save one time for work, I have not visited the Packers Hall of Fame since establishing permanent residence in Green Bay. I have been to the National Railroad Museum once, and that was for my wife’s high school reunion, so that hardly counts. I’ve never been to Heritage Hill, outside of an interview I had to conduct with the blacksmith. I’ve visited the NEW Zoo one time, when it first opened. I remain a Zippin Pippin virgin.
When I was growing up in Wauwatosa, the Mitchell Park Domes, Milwaukee County Zoo, and the Milwaukee Public Museum received similar treatment – essentially places my school took me on field trips.
Add to that list: Mars Cheese Castle.
Just off I-94 in Kenosha, the Mars Cheese Castle has been in business since before my grandparents were making oleo runs. Countless times, en route to the outlet mall or Great America or a Cubs game, I would pass the Mars Cheese Castle and give it not a second thought. It was merely something to yell aloud “MARS CHEESE CASTLE!” to mark the approximate halfway point to our usual destination. All of that changed this weekend.
On a trip southward for my niece’s birthday party in Gurnee, my wife and I were forced to stop at the Mars Cheese Castle to refuel our daughter. It will undoubtedly serve as a target stop on all future trips down south.
Complete with a full bakery, bar/restaurant, snack counter, foodstuffs and beverages (adult and non) galore, this was indeed a castle in the medieval sense – a full-on, sustainable village. I’m serious. A guy could live in the Mars Cheese Castle and never want for a thing.
The next time you are traveling to our neighbors down south, do yourself a favor and make a stop at the Mars Cheese Castle. Too bad Highland’s Cheese Food is no longer around. I have a feeling that place too rocked!