By Lashawnda Becoats
Exploring Wisconsin can be full of adventure, with its beautiful prairies, lake views and city lifestyle. I recently had the pleasure of exploring Wisconsin, for an unforgettable trip full of adventure and surprises. I know you’re wondering what this Midwestern state, known for dairy, cheese and football, has to offer, so I’ll jump right in.
The first stop on my tour was Sturgeon Bay in Door County, located on the peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. This charming city, set on the water, feels quaint and has lots to offer every tourist, including a historic downtown area with restaurants and shops. It’s the perfect getaway for couples and families. www.sturgeonbay.net
To start your day off, take a ride on The Fireboat, built in 1937 and originally used by The Chicago Fire Department. Itis the perfect introduction to the beautiful sights on the bay. It’s a floating museum with snacks, memorabilia and a lively crew with great stories.
Another fun way to explore Sturgeon Bay is by Segway. Book a two-hour tour with Segway the Door, and strap on a helmet for a fast pace and exciting way to explore the area. The tour is a great combination of both city and nature, as you pass the Historic Museum, Big Hill Park, Graham Park Boat Yard and the Canal. You’ll hear fun stories and enjoy learning more about the community. No experience is necessary. Glidenew.com
Don’t miss eating a hearty breakfast off the extensive menu and having an exceptional cup coffee or tea at Door County Coffee & Tea. There are more than 100 freshly roasted coffees in fun flavors, such as my personal favorite,Blueberry Cobbler. Yum. Eat (they have pastries, too), shop and learn more about coffee than you’ll ever expect to know. Doorcountycoffee.com
Renard’s Cheese was my first introduction to the art of Wisconsin cheese. Sample a variety of specialty artisan cheeses, including everyone’s favorite, cheese curds. There’s also a Cheese Deli that serves fresh sandwiches, soups, salads and ice cream. Try the Renard’s Grilled Cheese, made with fresh spinach, bacon, provolone cheese and pesto. To date, it’s still the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had. Renardscheese.com
Door County is known for it cherries. Be sure to have a slice of fresh cherry pie from The Inn at Cedar Crossing and taste any of the delicious products, such as Baumeister cherry soda, made with locally grown cherries. www.innatcedarcrossing.com/
After two days in beautiful Door County, it was time to take on the city of Manitowoc, known for the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and the
USS Cobia submarine. The maritime museum is the largest in the Midwest, and the first Smithsonian Affiliate in Wisconsin. Get a full inside look of what it must’ve been like during World War II with a tour of the USS Cobia, which originally set sail in 1943. Wisconsinmaritime.org
For a hearty throwback-style lunch, The Beernsten’s Confectionary in downtown Manitowoc is a pleasant surprise. With an old-school ice cream look and feel, it offers delicious takes on old favorites. Don’t pass up the Grown Up Grilled Cheese with Tomato Bisque, and top it off with one of the malts or ice cream sundaes. Beernstsens.com
At Henning’s Cheese Factory, they make 3,000-pound blocks of cheese on a regular basis. Here, you’ll want to try some of the most unique cheddar cheese combinations such as Dragon’s Breath made with cheddar and peppers or Blueberry Cobbler. Sample cheese and visit the museum for a great inside look at this famous factory. Henningscheese.com
Last but not least on the tour was legendary Green Bay, home of the champion Green Bay Packers. I was excited to tour the stadium to see what the hype was about, but that wasn’t the first stop.
The Automobile Gallery in the heart of downtown Green Bay was a fun icebreaker, featuring the best of oldie but goodie cars that will blow your mind. With more than18,000 square feet, this facility is heaven for classic car enthusiasts who want to see pristine vehicles (some are still driven today) that will take anyone on a trip down memory lane. The gallery has 50 vehicles to drool over, including a DeLorean (the “Back to the Future” car) that’s worth stopping in to see and snap pictures of. theautomobilegallery.org
Tour Lambeau Stadium to learn the rich
history of the Green Bay Packers and the famed coach Vince Lombardi. The stadium houses a 15,000-square-foot, two-story remodeled Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and a Packers Pro Shop-team store that has everything a Packer fan could ever want.
Bleu Restaurant & Lounge is off the beaten path, but it’s the place you’ll want to go to have a unique farm-to-table dining experience.
The Green Bay Botanical Garden is a great place to spend the day walking the natural trails and landscapes while taking in the beautiful flowers and nature. Take classes and learn a variety of things, from new yoga moves to how to start a garden. Be sure to check the website for seasonal shows and happenings throughout the season. gbbg.org
The Cannery Public Market is a family owned and operated restaurant that takes farm-to-table to the next level. The owner, John Pagel, also owns Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy Farm. Here you’ll find food created with local fruits, vegetables, cheeses and meats for aan unique taste of Wisconsin in the heart of Green Bay’s historic district. Bring your appetite. thecannerymarket.com