Roz on the Road: Wisconsin visit to Kohler and Sheboygan

By Chicago 6 Min Read

KOHLER, Wis. (WLS) — Fall is the perfect time for a road trip. This week Roz takes us on the road to Wisconsin to visit Kohler and Sheboygan.

But this time she brought Val!

The Village of Kohler Wisconsin is home to the original Kohler factory, Design Center and The American Club, a five-star resort hotel with humble beginnings.

“The American Club opened in 1918 as a dormitory for immigrants coming over from Europe to work in our manufacturing facilities,” Betsy Froelich, Kohler director of marketing, said.

By the 1950s the building was no longer needed for housing. After major repairs and renovations it re-opened in 1981 as the iconic American Club Resort Hotel.

You don’t have to stay on property to take a free tour of the Kohler Factory! Roz and Val observed the final steps in making these cast iron bathtubs.

Once the tub is heated to 1,800 degrees, it comes out of the oven and is coated with a layer of fine glass powder. Back in the oven for two minutes until it melts. The process is repeated, the tubs slowly cool for a smooth enamel finish.

The next stop is the WasteLAB and an amazing recycling project!

“The Kohler WasteLAB, we are taking anything that is landfill-bound material from our Kohler manufacturing processes and turning it into any other product,” Monty Stauffer, lead industrial designer for the Kohler WasteLAB said. “Currently we’re doing tiles, tiles is our first foray into a product line.”

In the past five years Kohler WasteLAB tile has diverted more than 54,000 pounds of waste from landfills.

Speaking of tiles, the last stop is the Kohler Design Center. Originally used as a recreation hall for residents of the Village of Kohler, in 1985 it was transformed into a three-level showcase of all things Kohler – including…The Great Wall of China!

Visit to Sheboygan

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Roz, and Val also headed up to Sheboygan Wisconsin, Bratwsurst Capital of the World, among other things!

Sheboygan is also considered the Freshwater Surfing Capital of the World! And, it was less than 10 minutes from Kohler!

The City of Sheboygan sits along the shores of Lake Michigan, about an hour north of Milwaukee. The lakefront is a huge draw for visitors, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

“Sheboygan is kind of tokened as the freshwater surf capital of the world or the Malibu of the Midwest because of the fact the geographical location on Lake Michigan,” Andrew Jakus, Owner-Operator EOS Surf Shop, said. “We don’t get better waves in other places, but we get the most frequent waves. Our primary surf season really kind of kicks off mid-September, and then we can surf all the way through the winter provided that we don’t have too much of an ice shelf.”

The waves weren’t strong enough to see surfers during Roz and Val’s visit, but that didn’t stop them from testing the waters.

From beaches to books and bookworm gardens, a seven and a half acre botanic garden based on children’s literature.

“Our mission is to inspire the love of books and nature in the young and young at heart,” Elizabeth Wieland, Executive Director at Bookworm Gardens, said. “Our current collection of books is 77. Our newest one, which opened in July, was Pinkalicious.”

You’ll find all kinds of book themed gardens for all ages from the popular Little Blue Truck Series to Winnie the Pooh and friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. You might even find one of your favorites found.

They couldn’t head home without trying the German delicacy. The town is known for. After all, we were in the bratwurst capital of the world.

“Miesfeld’s started back in 1941 and back then in Sheboygan, there were just a lot of German people that traveled here, and one of their main staples was bratwurst,” Richard Sachse, Owner of Miesfield’s Meat Market. “We still use our same recipe that we started with in 1941 in what we call our grand champion bratwurst.”

That’s not the only brought they make. There are up to 30 different varieties on it. Mac and cheese brats. Chipotle Cheddar Euro flavor. The list goes on.

Miesfeld’s is also a full-scale butcher market with snack sticks and summer sausage, hams and liverwurst. Two T-bones and porterhouse steaks. So many choices. So little time.

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