Any time I'm close to one of Wisconsin's many Amish communities, I enjoy driving through to see what I might see. Since my friend had heard me blab on and on about the Amish and enjoyed seeing my photos from several road trips, she was up for an afternoon trip up to Cashton.
We took the scenic route out of the Dells, west on Wisconsin HWY 33. The drive would be about 65 miles and take around an hour and a half. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, so we thoroughly enjoyed the drive.
As we approached an area that I recognized from my September trip through the area, I stopped to tell her a bit about the Amish, their culture and farming techniques. Within minutes we were upon one of my favorite farms, which I have photographed several times from varying angles. They had harvested their corn with the shocks still drying as they stand on the flat farmland.
Just beyond this farm was the next Amish homestead where they build custom cabins. Also on this property is a bakery that is open to the public. I had never really noticed that Countryside Bakery was there, so it was a nice stop on our journey. Inside, they sold lots of homemade goodies including breads, sweet rolls, donuts, candies, jams & jellies along side other Amish goods including rugs and baskets.
We bought several items, which were very good. I especially enjoyed my donut which was perfectly and lightly glazed. Along our drive, we also shared the chocolate marshmallow "drops" which were really good. My friend also bought a large container of granola which she had for breakfast the next day with yogurt. She said it was the best granola she had ever had! I only wish that I could have bought some cinnamon breakfast buns to take home which of course means . . . another trip to Cashton will be in my future. Maybe once the snow covers the beautiful landscape throughout the Coulee region and valley.
After the bakery, we headed over to Down a Country Road, a collection of Amish shops run by an "English" couple who have become friends with many Amish in the area. Previously when I've been through this area, they have not been open or I had very limited time to explore. It was nice to visit with the owner and do some browsing of many handmade items including mittens, dolls, rugs, baskets, quilts and food items similar to what we saw at Countryside Bakery.
As a photographer, I enjoyed looking at the many matted and framed photographs taken of Amish folks going about their daily lives. I was surprised to see several that included their faces, including children playing on a school playground.
Down a Country Road keeps seasonal hours so be sure to check out their website before planning a shopping trip: http://www.downacountryroad.com/ .
Our last stop in Cashton was at the Old Country Cheese Factory on Old Country Road D. This too was an area that I had not previously explored and have made a mental note to return in hopes of capturing a photo or two along the road. Unfortunately, the two photo ops I had were at great distance or moving in a direction that made composition of a decent photo difficult at best.
At the cheese factory, we watched them making Munster cheese via live monitors of the production area. While this is now operated as an "English" factory, some 230 Amish farms sell their milk daily for the cheese produced here. They report that over 120,000 pounds of milk is processed daily!
If you are in the area, traveling on HWY 33, you may see signs for K&K Cheese. That is the current owner's name for their business as Kevin & Kim Everhart are the owner/operators of the factory. At the actual factory, you will see both names (K&K Cheese and Old Country Cheese) on the signs as you approach the humble white building that houses the factory and retail sales area.
For more information on Old Country Cheese, including their hours of operation, check out their website: http://www.oldcountrycheese.com/ .
I hope you will take time to check out the photos I took on this trip through Cashton!