When the original immigrants from Glarus, Switzerland, happened upon the rolling green landscape of the northwest corner of Green County, they probably said something like “ja, die hügel gseh us wi die daheim!” (yes, these hills DO look a bit like home!) And the village of New Glarus was established.
Now more than 175 years later, a visit to New Glarus is your destination for all things Swiss: cuisine, traditions, and colorful festivals with yodeling and alphorns.
Swiss Bucket List
- +Step back in time at the Swiss Historical Village and Museum and learn why the original settler’s cabin is in such great shape despite being 175+ years old.
- +Taste some authentic Swiss cuisine – like Fondue (the Swiss national dish) or Roesti (hash browns kicked way up the scale with onion, cheese and crispy happiness).
- +Listen for the alphorns – you’ll often find alphorn duo Heinz and George entertaining at festivals and pubs (Hint – buy them a beer if you want to make two new friends real fast).
- +Visit the “Swiss-onian” and marvel at the whimsical, magical and eclectic collections of the Chalet of the Golden Fleece museum.
- +Slow down and admire the Brown Swiss cows grazing the pasture at the Voegeli Farm – a fifth generation registered Brown Swiss dairy farm located right along Hwy. 69 south of New Glarus.
- +Explore Swiss roots at the Swiss Center of North America – a repository of all things Swiss, including an amazing collection of dolls costumed in authentic outfits representing the villages and cantons of Switzerland.
- +Fest with the best: New Glarus celebrates with the Polkafest in June, Swiss Independence Day in August, Wilhelm Tell over Labor Day weekend, and Oktoberfest on the last weekend in September.
Swiss roots and traditions beyond New Glarus…
- +Visit Turner Hall – the Swiss social center of Monroe. Dine in the ratskeller which features traditional cuisine from the various regions of Switzerland. On the walls: folk art, photos, and artifacts celebrating Swiss traditions like turn and schwing, yodel clubs, and local history. There’s often live music and dancing in the Grand Hall on Sunday afternoons.
- +Stop in at the Imobersteg Farmstead Cheese Factory in Monroe – an original factory with all the equipment that was used for making wheels of Swiss Emmentaler cheese back in the days when the farmer made his own cheese from the milk of his own herd.
- +Yodelay-hee-hoo! Swiss native Tony Zgraggen is the proprietor of Alp and Dell Cheese Store in Monroe – stop in for cheese and he might throw out a quick yodel if you ask!
- +Get your Swiss on at the Green County Cheese Days Festival in Monroe (even years, on the third weekend in September). Alphorns, yodeling, accordions, Swiss tracht (traditional Swiss clothing), a giant Cheese Tent, and Wisconsin’s only parade led by a herd of Brown Swiss cows. And be on the lookout for festival mascot Wedgie, who is shaped like a giant wedge of Swiss cheese.