BY NAN BIALEK
From left, clockwise: The Kohler Festival of Beer / Photo courtesy of Kohler Co.; 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. / Photo courtesy of Studio Finch; Sandhill cabin / Photo courtesy of Kohler Co.
It’s not just the “Bratwurst Capital of the World.” Sheboygan, about an hour north of Milwaukee, is bringing the sizzle to vacations and weekend getaways. Get out on Lake Michigan for fishing, sailing and kayaking. Conquer the freshwater waves on your surfboard — Sheboygan is also known as the “Malibu of the Midwest.” Whether you prefer the polished elegance of amenities at Destination Kohler, or exploring the city’s parks, shops and riverwalk, Sheboygan could be your new happy place.
WHERE TO STAY
Surrounded by 350 acres of Wisconsin wilderness, the luxuriously appointed private Sandhill cabin in Mosel promises a tranquil, secluded retreat. A newer addition to the Destination Kohler group, Sandhill is just a 10-minute drive from amenities at the world-renowned American Club. The family-friendly Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan offers views of Lake Michigan or the Sheboygan River in your choice of suites or villas. An indoor waterpark, game arcade and mini-golf course are fun for kids, while adults are pampered at the resort’s Reflections Spa. Want to sleep under the stars? At Kohler-Andrae State Park, 2 miles south of Sheboygan, choose from 137 campsites, each with its own campfire ring. The park rents tepees for $40 per night — a memorable way to end a day of building castles in the sand dunes on Lake Michigan’s shoreline.
WHAT TO DO
Browse the charming shops of downtown Sheboygan and find a treasure, from distinctive home goods and gifts at Nest, to customized cosmetics at Olivü 426, rustic chic décor by more than 40 artists at Urban Artique, and budget-conscious furniture and accessories at Design Cents. Kids will love to explore the Above & Beyond Children’s Museum in downtown Sheboygan. Tour the award-winning 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. and Tap Room for a behind-the-scenes look at the craft brewing process and beer samplings, or join the fun at the brewery’s fifth anniversary party on April 8.
A must for golfers is Dest-ination Kohler’s world-class Whistling Straits, chosen for three PGA championship tourneys and site of the 2020 Ryder Cup. Or take on the challenge of Blackwolf Run, site of the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open and considered the crowning achievement of legendary golf course designer Pete Dye. Head to Destination Kohler for festivals and events, such as Taste of Scotland, featuring a fine scotch tasting followed by a reception and dinner at Whistling Straits, April 7 and 8; a workshop weekend with instructor Patrick Beach at Yoga on the Lake, April 7 to 9; and Kohler Festival of Beer, April 28 and 30.
WHERE TO DINE
Start the day with caramelized creme brulee-style French toast at Sheboygan’s Field to Fork, or try the restaurant’s homemade granola and fresh fruit with a bracing beverage from the raw juice bar. A hot spot for wood-fired-oven pizza in downtown Sheboygan is Il Ritrovo. Chef Stefano Viglietti visits southern Italy each year to ensure both the ingredients and technique used to create his menu are authentic. For a double brat on a toasted bun, the old-school German Al & Al’s Steinhaus on 12th Street is a friendly place to lunch. Opt for lighter fare at the Craverie Chocolatier Café, at the Shops at Woodlake in Kohler, so you won’t feel guilty when you can’t resist the temptation of handmade Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates.
The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, celebrating its 50th year, will host a Midsummer Festival of the Arts July 15 and 16. The festival features 135 artists from across the country, live music, ethnic foods and famous Sheboygan brats. Like a fairy tale come to life, Bookworm Gardens on Campus Drive is a botanic garden based on children’s literature. It opens for the season May 1. Foodies will be descending on Kohler for the 17th annual Food and Wine Experience Oct. 19 to 22. M