Monday, August 12, 2013

Road Trip Detour: Milwaukee and the Jelly Belly Factory

After we moseyed on out of Chicago, we headed north to the land of cheese. Wisconsin! Another state I'd never been to! (Check!) Compared to the day before with our frenetic sight-seeing pace, this day was downright low-key. 

When we were planning this trip, Matt's mom told us again and again how great the custard is in Wisconsin, so we decided that if nothing else, we wanted to go get some custard in Milwaukee! She remembered a place they had tried years earlier, called Kopps, with giant hamburgers and frozen custard, and we made that our one goal on our way to our destination for this leg of the trip, Madison.

As we passed into Wisconsin, we started seeing signs advertising tours of the Jelly Belly Factory. And because it wasn't too far out of the way — only a couple of miles off the highway — we thought it would be a riot to take the tour.

Of course, it being a food warehouse, we had to wear ridiculous hats.

Not gonna lie, the tour was a little cheesy. It wasn't so much a tour of the factory as it was a train ride around a warehouse, where they showed us videos about how they make jelly beans. I can imagine it'd be a great tour if you have kids, but since we were four adults ... it was a little underwhelming. But the tour was free, and at least you get free jelly beans at the end!

The coolest part was they had several of these pieces of art that were made completely of Jelly Bellies. They had one of Ronald Reagan, Elvis and several other famous people!

After we left the factory, we headed up to Milwaukee. We had wanted to do something in the city — we were planning to do a Miller brewery tour — but some construction on the highway caused us to pull into Milwaukee right around 1 p.m. With our stomachs rumbling, we only had time to drive through it before heading west towards Madison.

We drove along the waterfront — more Lake Michigan! — for a few miles, and stopped to see a cool old lighthouse that I forgot to take a picture of.

Then, starving, we started looking for sustenance. Where to? Kopps, of course! And boy, my MIL wasn't kidding when she said the burgers were giant, and the custard cups were huge too! I tried cookies and cream frozen custard, and could barely finish my portion (and you KNOW how I feel about ice cream!).

Of course, the second we were back in the car and heading toward Madison, I fell asleep and didn't wake up until we got there. If I had been lacking sleep before, I was certainly making up for it now! 

Have you ever done any of the tourist attractions advertised on the side of the highway? What was your favorite? (Or alternatively, which is the worst?)


  1. The portrait made of jelly beans is so cool. I can't imagine trying to make it though! I think the free jellybeans would entice me to take the lame tour LOL


  2. The Jelly Belly tour looks awesome! Aaaaand now I want some custard :)

  3. I think I said the exact same thing about the Jelly Belly tour when I went! And Kopps is delicious. It is DANGEROUS living so close to so many custard places.

    1. I believe it! I saw on Kopps' website that they have daily flavor forecasts, and I would be all over that all the time. I'd have to try them all!