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The Spirit on the Lake: Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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The Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The City of Sheboygan is along the western shores of Lake Michigan, the largest surface fresh water system in the world. They say the beaches are brighter and the fish are bigger here. Activities in Sheboygan range from diving for the lake’s shipwrecks to exploring a spaceport with people who trained NASA astronauts.

The coastal lifestyle is a good one. Unemployment is low and Forbes ranked Sheboygan #3 after Google as a best place to work.

The waters are pending NOAA approval as a National Marine Sanctuary, which would protect the lake and its maritime history, which includes many shipwrecks from late 1800s early 1900s. Sail Sheboygan promotes national and international sailing competition and education.

Sail Sheboygan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Sail Sheboygan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The pride in America is symbolized by Acuity Insurance’s 400’ flagpole, 100’ taller than the Statue of Liberty, and flag, which is wider than a football field. It is called the world’s tallest symbol of freedom.

Sheboygan also has the top charter fishing fleet in Wisconsin.

Slammin' Salmon fishing excursiions, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Slammin’ Salmon fishing excursiions, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Deep water access is close to shore, and with three unique rivers and a varied lake bottom structure fish like trout and salmon are abundant. Schwarz Fish Co. will smoke your catch and ship it home.

Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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The Blue Harbor Resort and South Pier Peninsula from the Sheboygan River, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The stately and turreted Blue Harbor Resort is a top Great Lake vacationland. There are 180 hotel rooms and 64 villas, some with views of the Sheboygan River and fishing village, others with views of the lake and century-old lighthouse.

predawn view of the walkway and lighthouse from the Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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predawn view of the walkway and lighthouse from the Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Its fine dining Latitude 43 restaurant overlooks the lake.

The 54,00 square foot entertainment zone includes indoor mini golf courses glow in the dark and Breaker Bay Waterpark, best in the state, where kids shriek with excitement as they surf the waves or zoom down water slides. It is a reminder of the hotel’s original owner, Great Wolf Resorts, the world’s largest chain of indoor water parks. There’s also Stand Up Paddleboarding right from the Blue Harbor’s beach.

Many people we met were there for a family reunion, a couple’s getaway, a conference, to get out on the lake. Some simply wanted to relax on the beach, at the pool and or just enjoy the view.

When the mood strikes, there are boardwalks to stroll along the South Pier peninsula or the Riverfront Fish Shanty Village, a row of structures originally built for commercial fishermen. There’s an array of dining, shopping, bicycle rentals and maritime activities like a motor boat tours, sailing, and Great Lake surfing. Golf is nearby. Or stop by for a refreshing Really Cool Waterslides IPA by Sheboygan’s 3 Sheeps Brewing Company.

fish shanties, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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boardwalk past fish shanties, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

3 Sheeps Really Cool Waterslides IPA., Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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3 Sheeps Really Cool Waterslides IPA, brewed in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

 

boating by the lighthouse on Lake Michigan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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boating by the lighthouse on Lake Michigan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suborbital rockets have been launched from Sheboygan’s restricted airspace on Lake Michigan for decades. Now visitors can reach for the sky at Spaceport Sheboygan, home to the Great Lakes Aerospace Science and Education Center.

Spaceport Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Spaceport Sheboygan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Mission Wall, Spaceport Sheboygan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Mission Wall, Spaceport Sheboygan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

There are live science shows, demonstrations and hands-on activities to entertain and educate all ages.

The Multi Axis Trainer, Spaceport Sheboygan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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The Multi Axis Trainer, Spaceport Sheboygan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Eight astronauts in the NASA program came from Wisconsin and many artifacts of the space program are here.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is right off the historic Main  Street.

Main Street, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Main Street, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, where the motto is “expect the unexpected,” has four-season gardens and twelve themed contemporary art galleries that cover an entire city block.

Material Fix, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Material Fix, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Carnegie Library, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Carnegie Library and sculpture by Carl Peterson, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The colorful artist-created award-winning public washrooms, featured on the Travel Channel’s Most Extreme television series and created by Kohler Co.’s Arts/Industry program, are attractions in themselves and should not be missed.

technology lavatory, Kohler Arts Centyer, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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technology lavatory, Kohler Arts Centyer, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

America's Best Bathrooms sign, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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America’s Best Bathrooms sign, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Industrialist lavatory, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Industrialist lavatory, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

lavatory, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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lavatory, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

men's room, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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men’s room, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Volunteers created and maintain the two acre Bookworm Gardens, which brings over sixty works of children’s literature to life.

Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

There are six themed gateways to gardens, sculptures, structures, musical instruments, and whimsical displays based on books.

Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Winnie the Pooh area, Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The Magic School Bus, Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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The Magic School Bus, Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The books are stashed in pillars along the way.

books in pillars, Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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books in pillars, Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Volunteers read aloud in grassy areas and there’s a secret garden for picnics. Admission is free.

volunteers reading stories, Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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volunteers reading stories, Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The spirit of Sheboygan is embodied in people like Caitlin Brotz, who emerged from a tragedy to reach for the stars. After her boyfriend Adam, a semi-professional snowmobile racer, was burned in an accident she began making lip balm and a soothing lotion at home according to his therapist’s recommendations.

Caitlyn Brotz, Olivü, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Caitlyn Brotz, Olivü, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Adam recovered but died in a car accident. Caitlyn earned an entrepreneurship certificate to add to her business degree and opened a shop on Main Street to sell her freshly-prepared preservative-free personal care products made from natural ingredients. Customers at Olivü 426, a name derived from a major ingredient, olive oil, the sound of “I love you”, and Adam’s snowmobile number, were busy customizing their purchases by mixing in their choice of colors and fragrances.

The lip balm and whipped lotion are top sellers among the over 120 products. They were included along with with her anti-aging serum in the 2014 Emmy Awards and 2015 Golden Globe Awards swag bags.

Macadamia nut whipped lotion, Olivü, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Macadamia nut whipped lotion, Olivü, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Caitlyn is now married with children who cherish Adam’s mother, Sandra Muesegades, as a grandmother. Mrs. Muesegades works in the shop and beams with pride at Caitlyn, a “gift from her son.”

Caitlyn and Mrs. M, Olivü 426, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Caitlyn Brotz and Sandra Muesegades, Olivü 426, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

These are but a few of the reasons that Sheboygan is known as the “Spirit on the Lake” and that Wisconsin is consistently named great place to live in or to visit.

 

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