"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
Also this interesting structure I thought was another lighthouse. We found out the next day after we crossed that it was a lookout tower attraction, $1.00 admission as part of a souvenir store called Curio Fair. Maybe we can stop there on our next visit.
What a good time and we learned a lot about the early history at this crucial Straits of Mackinac Lighhouse. Stop in if you can!
Manistee is a city of 6,226 and is the county seat of Manistee County. We only a saw a little since we were just staying overnight here before going to Mackinaw City the next morning. It’s 25 minutes from Ludington and is of course, another port city. The sun was getting low since it was after 7:30 PM by this point. We did want to see the light house so we went to First Street Beach. Unfortunately, it was under wraps for some restoration work.
There was still plenty to see here, this is a beautiful park and even has a walking path that we saw many people using this evening.
There is also a beautiful marina here called Harbor Village and a Coast Guard station is located here as well.
On display to the right of the buildings.
Also a Lions Club concession stand and pavilion, complete with lion.
On the other side of the pavilion is a ship propeller and plaque. It was from the S.S. Glen. When I was walking around I saw Al looking at them, he appeared to be saluting. He actually was trying to block the setting sun while reading the plaque.
We were getting hungry and asked some passing walkers what would be a good place for dinner. Without hesitation they said T.J.’s Pub in the historic Ramsdell Inn downtown. Now I see how it got it’s slogan, “Victorian Port City”.
And here we are! What a beautiful building at the heart of downtown!
A few steps down and you are in! We had a great dinner in a relaxing setting at the end of the day. This crystal decanter reflected the light in the room beautifully. The french dip and chips hit the spot too.
What a great dinner, it was time to go to our hotel, Microtel not not far from here.
Also known as America’s Kringle Capital, Racine is one of the many beautiful Wisconsin Harbor Towns on the shore of Lake Michigan. We didn’t waste any time acquiring one of the delicious Danish pastry. We entered Racine on the west side and made our way to Bendtsen’s Bakery, providing Kringles to Racine for four generations, since 1934. We enjoyed the Turtle Kringle. They ship too!
Racine also has a statue unique to the state, if not the country. On the grounds of Gateway Technical College is a statue of Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd. It depicts them before he became President. Mary Todd had been in Racine in June 1867 to see Racine College, which had been recommended for her son Tad.
Racine Light Stations
A very important service protecting ships and boats on Lake Michigan for over 100 years. The one below is managed by the Coast Guard.
The Racine Reef Lighthouse is also equipped with a warning horn, protecting boaters from a limestone reef in the area. Here is what is sounds like.
Finding this Light (directions provided by terrypepper.com) “From I-94, take Hwy 20 east. Hwy 20 eventually becomes Washington Ave. Follow Washington Ave. to Hwy 32, and head north on Hwy 32. Turn right on Christopher Columbus Causeway, and follow around the marina until the road ends in a parking area. Walk the short distance to the lighthouse at the marina entrance.”
There is also an info board telling more about the light station.
Wind Point has a marker and a museum open during the summer.
We ate a meal at three restaurants and got a snack at another place during our visit. Lunch on Saturday was at Kewpie Lunch, open since the 1920’s. Yes, the theme is Kewpie Dolls. They have great food too!
We had dinner at Apple Holler, with a country theme. Lots of fun with many activities for kids and adults alike. Wonderful food there too.
On Sunday morning, we enjoyed brunch at Reefpoint Brew House, quite a nice menu there and a view of the Marina from the large windows.
Frank Lloyd Wright in Racine
He had a large presence in Racine, including company buildings. There is one house designed by him, the Hardy House. It’s located in the Southside Historic District.
Also Wingspread, which we took a free tour of! You have to book this tour in advance. S.C. Johnson and his family lived here originally. Due to high demand, we scheduled our tour about a month before our trip. You can also book a tour of SC Johnson Research Tower as well, they are just five miles apart. The tower looks beautiful at night! Book your tour(s) here.
Also on the site is the beautiful Golden Rondelle Theatre and Fortaleza Hall, where a Sikorsky S-38 amphibious aircraft is displayed.
We had been to Racine before, but it was all the way back in 1998, before we were married. We were very active scuba divers back then and we took a dive in the quarry here. We got a sketch of what you can find underwater in the quarry, facing north.
Across from Mound Cemetery (where we also visited), George Washington and other soldiers are honored. A cannon is also at the park.
At Mound Cemetery, we saw a marker commemorating Revolutionary War soldiers buried there.
Racine Harbor Park
Over by the lake and Marina, this park has a walking path along the lake, plus an elevated platform where you can see both the Breakwater light station, the other one across from it, and the Racine Reef lighthouse as well. You can eat at the Reefpoint Brew House too out by the Marina.
Near the Racine Zoo is another marker (2131 N. Main), describing the cream-colored brick that many of the buildings are built from.
Manitowoc is a city of 33,736 located on the shores of Lake Michigan, 7 miles south of Two Rivers. It is also the county seat of Manitowoc County. My husband Al grew up near here in the suburb of Branch and I have grown to love this city by the lake. A great resource to learn about this city and county is the Wisconsin Historical Society. Here you can find historical markers and museums in this county and all the others in the state. Be sure to stop at the Visitor’s Center to pick up all the info you need about the area, and much more!.
Manitowoc is the gateway to fun on Lake Michigan and beyond! This sign is located near the S.S. Badger Car Ferry, taking passengers to Ludington, Michigan and back. We finally took the voyage to Ludington on June 20, 2016. Read more about our visit here. Take the trip with us here.
When we were visiting on 8-19-16 we saw a lot of activity in the port. It was being dredged with the job expected to be completed in September before conditions get more challenging. We were also lucky enough to see the S.S. Badger depart!
This restaurant no longer exists, this picture is from 2010. It was demolished 11-19-12. The Penguin was a place my husband went to with friends when he was a teen. Too bad it couldn’t be saved.
We discovered more buildings on the chopping block when we came back 8-7-14. It was the Alf Muchin Furniture House in 1930.
Also the former Mirro cookware company factory is coming down. They moved overseas, many jobs lost. In 2016 it’s still not completely demolished.
Now back to the history that has been preserved. There are many museums in Manitowoc. The one we have been to most is the Maritime Museum. This museum is a fun place to visit, and you learn about Manitowoc’s rich heritage on the lake, and in WW II. Permanently docked is the Cobia sub, whose crew defended our country in the war. You can take a tour of the sub too with one of the museum guides!
On 8-19-16 we were back for a final visit for the year and were able to view the annual Balloon Glow festival across from the Maritime Museum. We were attending an event on the rooftop and we had a great view!