We weren’t yet ready for lunch, but walking around was losing its appeal due to the damp, cold wind that was scouring the town. We drove around looking for interesting things.
We found this old bridge across the Fox River with its own manger scene.
This old water tower. According to the Internet, there’s a plaque somewhere around that reads, “This city’s first water tower was completed in July of 1890. The original tank burst when its iron bands gave way on July 19, 1938. The second cypress stave tank was retired from service and reinforced with concrete in July of 1981.”
And a bunch of very impressive old houses. This was the most impressive. We were somewhat amused to see two Hondas in the driveway/garage.
While in the Chamber of Commerce, I picked up a booklet on Burlington. Under “Historical Sites” it listed the Voree Strangite Mormon Settlement. We drove about a mile south of town and found two buildings along a country road. This house, with an indecipherable sign on the front …
A woman was walking in the side door, so I didn’t feel comfortable getting out of the car for a closer look.
And this small church building with a monument in the yard.
The monument was decipherable, but it has to be in contention for the prize of most poorly worded thing ever engraved in stone. See if you can make anything of either bit.
The Strangites are a denomination of Mormonism that followed James Strang instead of Brigham Young. According to Wikipedia, “At the death of Joseph Smith, Strang insisted that there still was a Mormon seer [him] who communed with God and conversed with angels. Strang’s claim was bolstered by his discovery of the Voree Plates, purporting to contain the last testament of an ancient Native American, one “Rajah Manchou of Vorito”. These plates were found in the so-called Hill of Promise, which would become the temple site in the new Strangite town of Voree.” The Mormons in Utah don’t consider the Strangites, all 50 or so of them that remain, legitimate Mormons.
Burlington also has a Lincoln statue, but I’m not sure why.
We had exhausted the town’s attractions, but we still weren’t ready to eat lunch. On the advice of our chocolate guide, we stopped at Gooseberries Fresh Food Market and ate samples of cheese and pizza and bought some Wisconsin food specialties, like cheese curds and kringle and Point Root Beer.
It was now around 1:40, and there was nothing left to do but eat lunch. We headed downtown to Fred’s, home of the “World’s Best Burger.” We’d been told by someone during our morning’s wanderings that this was Tony Romo’s favorite restaurant. He lived in Burlington during high school and played quarterback for the local Burlington Demons. The town booklet says, and I quote, “Romo has gone on to become one of the most famous people to have ever left Burlington through his starter position on the Dallas Cowboys football team.” Supposedly, he returns to Fred’s whenever the Cowboys play the Packers.
They had a Romo jersey and other memorabilia behind the bar.
Fred’s was a small place, with maybe 20 tables and a bar. It also had the clunkiest ordering system I’ve ever seen. Teenage waiters offhandedly pointed us to our table. We looked at the menu, then filled out cards with our orders. We then took the cards to the register by the bar where a waitress wrote down everything on our cards on a separate check. We were then given a number to place at the edge of our table. When the food was ready, a waiter brought it to our table. When we’d finished, we took the number back to the cashier who compared it to our check and told us how much we owed.
Fred’s made their own potato chips, which were kinda cool. The potato was spiral sliced and fried without being pulled apart, so when it came to the table, the chips were linked in a chain.
I ordered the Fred Burger, with ham and green onions and Swiss cheese. I think “World’s Best Burger” might be stretching it a bit.
We stopped at a nearby chocolate store and bought a few pieces, but much like the chocolate museum, the chocolate was unimpressive.
And so, having nothing left to do, we left — thereby becoming the 8,945th through 8,948th most famous people to leave Burlington.