Known as the Swiss Cheese Capital of the U.S., Monroe is a charming town that truly delights at every turn. A key fall attraction is undoubtedly the outdoor farmers’ market. Running through the end of October, this producer- only market features more than two dozen vendors. Keep an eye out for pies made by local Amish vendors and Green County’s own trailer selling the best grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese puffs — plus, you’ll find producers selling kimchi, sauerkraut, pumpkins, squash, maple syrup and hot apple cider. On Sept. 25, the outdoor market will feature additional outside food vendors and live entertainment, as well as drop-in yoga classes that are open to all levels on the courthouse lawn.
Visitors to Monroe can also discover more than 150 barn quilts that have been installed on historic barns dotting the region and the back roads of Green County. Self-guided tours of these barn quilt displays (using a barn quilt locator map found in the Green County visitor guide), provides ample opportunity to celebrate the region’s farm life and fall harvest.
To sample favorite eateries in Monroe, check out the Baumgartner Cheese Store and Tavern, which features daily specials and rotating homemade soups — including the second-best chili (because no one’s is better than your mom’s). For donut-lovers, the Sunrise Donut Café recently opened in a charming 150-year-old historic building right on the downtown square. Also, no visit to Monroe would be complete without indulging in made-from-scratch pasties from Mad Charlie’s Café. The café strives to offer locally-sourced and organic food whenever possible.
This time of year, you can also enjoy Oktoberfest-style beers. Minhas Brewery features a beer garden, restaurant, winery and distillery. For wine lovers, check out Hawk’s Mill Winery, just 10 minutes from downtown Monroe. This establishment offers brick oven pizza, live music and sweeping views of the surrounding area that makes it a perfect afternoon escape.
Of course, as the seasons change, gift and home goods stores really shine in Monroe. For example, 213 Mercantile makes and designs virtually everything they sell. And House to Home Designs is a true premier emporium, while Frame ’n Color offers a unique variety of gifts, especially for gifting to men.
CONCERTS ON THE SQUARE
Monroe wraps up their Concerts on the Square series with the final show on Sept. 17. Performances include local favorite The Jimmys, voted Best Local Blues Band and Best Local R&B Band. See complete details and full calendar at mainstreetmonroe.org.
Each Halloween, Main Street Monroe becomes a Halloween adventure zone, complete with a Halloween parade and Truck-Or-Treat, where kids can safely enjoy trick-or-treating on the downtown square.