Family Reunion, Kringle & Cheese Curds!
Racine Travel Blog› entry 12 of 18 › view all entries
Back on the road, we headed North and in about an hour we were in my home State of Wisconsin. Even though I have lived in Maryland since I have been 12 years old, Wisconsin is where I was born and where I have the fondest of memories growing up. The family reunion has always been a big event for my Mom's family, and I can remember times when there must of been 50-80 people attending. My Mom was one of 9 children, so this is a very large, and close family! I had close to 30 cousins, some of which were more like brothers and sisters to me growing up, so when we all got together, it was a party to say the least! But as time goes by, and with the passing of my Grandmother a few years ago at age 98, the group isn't as big as it use to be. The reunion was held at Armstrong Park in Racine, Wisconsin which is a private park for the use of employees of SC Johnson.
OFF!®, Baygon®, Autan®, Pledge®, Scrubbing Bubbles® and more. One of my uncles is retired from SC Johnson, so he still has use of the park. This is a very large park with many baseball fields, volleyball courts, soccer fields, picnic pavilions, and a small river flowing through it for canoeing and fishing.
It was good to see many of my Aunts, Uncles and cousins I hadn't seen since the last reunion I attended about five years ago.
After a full day of eating and playing, it was sadly time to say our goodbyes. But, before we left Racine, we had to visit my favorite bakery, O&H Danish Bakery. Here they make a pastry call Kringle, and every time we are in Wisconsin, we visit here and bring a few back home with us. Now they do have a website, and they will ship Kringle anywhere, but visiting this wonderful place is like a pilgrimage.
One last stop before getting back to Chicago was the Mars Cheese Castle. I've past this place hundreds of times living in and visiting this area, but had never been inside until now. This is cheese heaven! Wisconsin is famous for cheese, and they also have something called cheese curds. What are cheese curds you ask? Well, cheese curds are usually the fresh curds of young Cheddar cheese. They would have become Cheddar, pressed into a mold and aged. Instead, the curds are removed from the vat and packaged for immediate sale in their natural form, random-shaped nuggets the size of unshelled peanuts. Curds are meant to be eaten the day they are made. I've been eating cheese curds since I was little, but since you can only get them in Wisconsin, we had to stop and get a few bags for the road! Not only do they have cheese, but there is a deli and meat counter, a small bakery, a souvenir shop, and a selection of beer and wine too.
Once we arrived back in Chicago, we relaxed in the hotel a bit, then headed out to the Navy Pier for a night time stroll. We were hoping to catch the fireworks at 9:00pm, but they didn't start until 10:00 pm tonight, and I was tired, and there must have been a few thousand people out here tonight, so back to the room for our final night here in Chicago.
Tomorrow we drive to Indiana to visit my cousin from my Dads side of the family. Our time in Chicago was great and I can't wait to come back and check out more of what this city has to offer!