Great Wisconsin Lake And Bay Tours – Best Western Hotels


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Lake & Bay Tour

Manitowoc, Door Peninsula & Green Bay

Eastern Wisconsin and the Door County Peninsula ranks among the most beautiful coastal areas of the country. Maritime towns where ships are built and guided by lighthouses lining the shore, sleepy cottage towns popular with vacationers, and the smallest city in the nation to host an NFL team are all part of our Wisconsin Door Coast Tour. We’ll follow Highway 42 and some side roads from Manitowoc up into the Door Peninsula (the “thumb” part of Wisconsin) all the way to the tip, and then back down the other side of the coast and along Highway 57 down to Green Bay. It can be easily be driven in a day, but this is one you’ll want to really take in and savor over a weekend – or a week or more!

Let’s start in Manitowoc (pop. 34,000), located along the Lake Michigan coast off I-43, U.S. 10, and U.S. 151, about 75 miles north of Milwaukee. The city is home to the well-known ice machine and crane manufacturer Manitowoc Company, Lakeside Foods, and a number of energy, metal fabrication, and woodworking companies.

The Manitowoc County Courthouse downtown features a green and glass dome that serves as one of the highest points in the city; blocks away, the silos from a former malting plant carry images of huge Budweiser bottles that date back to the early 1960s. Behind there along U.S. 10 is the port for the S.S. Badger, a 410-foot long passenger and vehicle ferry that has been connecting vehicles across 60 miles of Lake Michigan since 1953. So you can drive into Wisconsin from the east here – normally not something one could do.

Manitowoc is known as “Wisconsin’s Maritime Capital,” and they’re not kidding: even one of the high schools has the nickname “Shipbuilders.” The downtown area features an extensive harbor where the Manitowoc River meets Lake Michigan, ideal for building and launching vessels and is home to Burger Boat Company, the oldest custom yacht builder in the U.S. The first schooner was constructed in Manitowoc back in 1847, which gave rise to an industry producing fishing boats for the Great Lakes and then tankers and submarines for World War II.

During the war, 28 submarines were built here; by far the largest amount by an inland shipyard. One submarine from the era, the USS Cobia, is permanently berthed in the river and can be toured (in fact, events are available where kids bunk in the sub for the night!) The Cobia is a National Historic Landmark and an International Submariners Memorial; it’s considered the most intact World War II submarine in the country and features the oldest working radar in the world.

The Cobia is a prominent feature of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, which holds one of the nation’s most extensive collections of Great Lakes maritime artifacts, history, and nautical archeology. Exhibits on submarines, shipwrecks, aquatic species, underwater treasures, and some targeted for the kids make this an experience you’ll want to set several hours aside for.

The Best Western Lakefront Hotel is right along the river downtown next to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, within walking distance of Manitowoc’s sights. It’s the perfect launch point for this Tour. Once you’ve explored downtown and the harbor, head north on 8th Street/U.S. 10.

If the chocolate monster within you needs satisfaction, check out Beerntsen's Confectionary (108 N. 8th Street, 920-684-9616), a local favorite since 1932. Beerntsen's maintains the ice cream parlor atmosphere in their original location while shipping their chocolates to upscale venues around the state.

Manitowoc had an out-of-this-world experience in on September 5, 1962 when a piece of the Soviet satellite Sputnik IV crashed to earth, just north of downtown right in the middle of 8th Street – a metal ring in the street notes the exact spot of impact. The city celebrates Sputnik Fest in early September to commemorate the glowing visitor’s anniversary, where you’ll see some interesting costumes. The landing site is right in front of the Rahr-West Art Museum, which holds a cast from the original piece of the spacecraft, as the original was returned to the Russians. The Rahr West Art Museum itself is a Queen Anne mansion from 1893 that holds a variety of art, rare porcelain sculptures, furnished doll houses from the 1930s, and original period furniture throughout the house.

Further north near Waldo Boulevard, you’ll find the Lincoln Park Zoo, rife with a variety of animals including black bears, cougars, a snow leopard, an adorable prairie dog area and more amidst a beautiful park setting. The zoo is free, but you know, they'll accept donations.

When you reach Waldo Drive/Highway 42, head east toward the lake and up along the shoreline. Running within a few hundred feet of the water, a brilliant summer day makes for a beautiful ride along Lake Michigan. Several parks along the way provide a great opportunity to walk, picnic, or just take in the view.

About five miles northeast of Manitowoc lies its sister city, Two Rivers (pop. 12,639), known colloquially as "Trivers." The rivers giving the town its name are the East Twin and West Twin (yeah, we know, why isn't it called "Twin Rivers"?), which merge right before flowing into Lake Michigan. Fishing has long been a staple of life here, evidenced by the Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village and Great Lakes Coast Guard Museum, located right along the East Twin River. Calling commercial fishing "America's most dangerous profession", the Rogers Street Fishing Village shows the history of Two Rivers and its fishing industry, boats and shipwrecks while offering a climb up the North Pier Lighthouse, built in 1886.

Two Rivers is where the ice cream sundae was invented. To experience one at the point of origin, hit the historic Washington House on Jefferson Street, one block east of Highway 42, and order a sundae. With its antique soda fountain, you'll swear you're in the throwback days when they only cost a nickel. That’s not the case anymore, but they’re still very reasonable and delicious. Plenty of historic artifacts can be perused and enjoyed as you dig in.

Along with fishing and sundae-inventing, printing has been a significant industry in Two Rivers. The Hamilton Manufacturing Company was the largest wood type producer in the country in an era when most everything was printed by letterpress. The company is still around but today it makes steel lab equipment; its printing legacy lives on at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, which is dedicated to preservation, study, production and printing of wood type. Over 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles and sizes of patterns are held here in one of the most extensive collections in the world. Check out a remarkable variety of advertising cuts from the 1930s through the 1970s, and all of the equipment necessary to make and print wood type and hot metal type.

North of Two Rivers, you can access the Point Beach State Forest, home to the Woodland Dunes Nature Center, a 1,300-acre nature preserve of what’s termed “globally significant habitat.” Filled with hiking trails and interpretive displays, the center also features dunes along the shore and the 111-foot Rawley Point Lighthouse, tallest on the Great Lakes. County Highway O also offers a drive along the forest's boundary and will link you back up to Highway 42 and County V about five miles north of Two Rivers.

Highway 42 itself makes a beeline north out of Two Rivers, past the Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant (clearly visible from the highway) and providing access to the Point Beach Energy Center, which features displays and information about the history of electrical generation and how electricity is generated today – including nuclear, fossil fuels, and renewable, all big topics in our world today.

Highway 42 continues north into Kewaunee, a lakeside town of 3,000 with a sizeable harbor and the World’s Largest Grandfather Clock, a 36-foot tall Colonial-style clock originally constructed in 1976. In 2014, it was moved to its current location at the head of the Ahnapee State Trail downtown, right off Highways 42 and 29. Along the shore, the Kewaunee Pierhead Light maintains its operations, which began back in 1891. In the water, the Tug Ludington has been based in Kewaunee since 1947 after World War II service that included participation in the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Now sitting in Harbor Park, it is available for tours at 920-388-4822.

From Kewaunee, Highway 42 continues north past Alaska (the township, not the state) and back along the lake for the ride into Kewaunee County. Approaching Algoma, check out The Flying Pig, a unique art gallery/garden center/home accessories retailer with everything from beautiful walk-through gardens to selections of unique greeting cards, plants, and lawn ornaments.

Algoma (pop. 3,200) is another port town featuring a nice beach, a pier lighthouse, murals, and antique shops in the downtown area. Just past the beach and junction with Highway 54, veer off Highway 42 to find County S to find the Von Stiehl Winery, the oldest licensed winery in Wisconsin. They use grapes and fruits from nearby Door County – where we’re headed – as well as from California and Washington State to make 25 varieties of wine, including several major award winners. The tasting room is in a Civil War-era building that also holds 10,000 square feet of production space, views of Lake Michigan from their outdoor terrace, and three Civil War-era underground limestone tunnels – not something you’ll see at every winery. Next door, the Ahnapee Brewery is a relative newcomer, taking its cue from Algoma’s original name. The first incarnation of Ahnapee Brewery did some fermenting here from 1868 to 1886 and it was resurrected in 2013. Their Tap Room offers a variety of their own craft beers and others from around the state.

Follow County S northeast from Algoma and use it an express route into Door County, the “thumb” of Wisconsin and a unique peninsula known for natural beauty, maritime weather, and shipwrecks. The county is named after the passage between the peninsula’s tip and nearby Washington Island; the strait was nicknamed Porte des Morts (“Death’s Door”) for its treacherous waters that have taken down both Native American and European boats through the centuries. Door County is a popular tourist destination with Chicago and Milwaukee residents, as well as those from nearby Green Bay and Appleton.

The natural landform extending into Lake Michigan, creating the waters of Green Bay to the west, is part of the Niagara Escarpment, which runs from Wisconsin through Door County and arches across several Great Lakes, even forming the basis for Niagara Falls. As a result, limestone outcroppings and high bluffs dominate the western (Green Bay) side of the peninsula; dunes and a mixture of rocky and sandy beaches comprise most of the Lake Michigan side. Door County features five state parks, ten lighthouses, numerous small towns, nearly 300 miles of shoreline, and plenty of scenery. No wonder it’s often referred to as “the Cape Cod of the Midwest.”

Trivia: Door County contains the most coastline of any county in the contiguous United States, stretching 298 miles.

Follow County S to Highways 42 and 57, which come in from the southwest. While the main highway bypasses the county seat, follow “Business” 42 & 57 into Sturgeon Bay, a city of nearly 10,000 that grew on both sides of a large bay that cuts into the Door Peninsula. In 1882, a canal was built to allow ships both shortcuts and safe passage in the area between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, effectively turning the northern half of the Door Peninsula into an island; Sturgeon Bay is where three bridges let you leap the waters and continue your journey; all bridges are moveable to accommodate not only pleasure craft, but some of the larger yachts and ships that are still built in Sturgeon Bay’s shipyards.

Along the waters of Sturgeon Bay you’ll find dockside restaurants, parkland, plenty of boat launches and marinas, and even some museums. The Door County Maritime Museum offers four galleries showcasing model ships, shipwrecks, lighthouses, the shipbuilding companies in the region, and an in-water exhibit of the 1919 tug John Purves, which was restored in the 1960s and actually served until 2000. You can use a submarine periscope to spy on Bay Shipbuilding across the bay as they busily build more ships, or stroll next to the historic Steel Bridge, which opened in 1931 and served as the only road connection across the bay for four and a half decades. You want to explore the bay, check out the Chicago Fireboat (920-495-6454), which provides a 1 ½ hour tour of the waters of Sturgeon Bay and a guide to all the sights.

Crossing the bay via the historic Steel Bridge (Michigan Street/Business Highways 42 and 57) or the newer, adjacent Oregon Street bridge, you’ll come to the other side of downtown Sturgeon Bay, which features shops, diners offering pie with locally-grown cherries, and unique galleries like Popelka Trenchard Glass (64 S. 2nd Avenue, 920-743-7287), a glassblowing gallery with artists making glass of all shapes and colors right before your eyes. The Door County Historical Museum tracks the extensive and colorful history of the peninsula, complete with an original jail cell, a fire truck you (and the kids) can sit in, and even a nature section illustrating the variety of plants and animals you’ll find throughout the area; the Chicago Tribune named this the “Best Small Museum in the Midwest.”

Following Business 42/57 through town onto Egg Harbor Road, you’ll find the Best Western Maritime Inn, a great stop with prime access to everywhere in Sturgeon Bay and all of Door County.

On the north end of Sturgeon Bay, follow Highway 42 north (Highway 57 branches off, we’ll come back down that way) into the farmlands and orchards of the northern Door Peninsula. In Carlsville, the Door Peninsula Winery & Distillery offers award-winning fruit wines, including Blackberry Merlot, Chocolate Cherry, Plum Loco, Sunset Splash, and other unique styles; over 45 in all, with many high-level awards to their credit. The Distillery makes gin, whiskey, brandy, bitters, and even a cherry moonshine. They are open all year and tours are available on the hour from 10am-4pm.

Can you tell cherries are big in Door County? They are indeed, and orchards filled with cherry-picking opportunities abound along the roads here – in season, of course.

Highway 42 continues north into some charming little towns. Egg Harbor (pop. 201) was named not for its egg-shaped harbor on the waters of Green Bay, but for a legendary egg fight in 1825 written about by witness Elizabeth Baird, who apparently took a few stray eggs to the noggin. Egg Harbor offers local retail shops, golf, and some nice walking trails along the bluffs. Shipwrecked Brewpub along Highway 42 was the first on the peninsula, opening in 1997 inside a former saloon built in 1882. Their signature brew Cherry Wheat (again, with the cherry theme!); several other craft varieties are also brewed throughout the year.

Past Egg Harbor, Highway 42 ventures through Door County forest land. If you’re in the mood for some outdoor theatre performances, the Peninsula Players Theatre near Juddville will have you covered. They’re the oldest professional resident summer theatre in the United States. You’ll also find another winery, the Orchard Country Winery & Market. A farm since 1955, they began making wine with fruits grown on their property in 1985 and have earned a series of awards for them. You can buy the fruit (the before) or the wine (the after) ranging from cherries to pears, along with a variety of Door County-centric edibles and other products.

Highway 42 continues down a steep, scenic hill into Fish Creek (pop. 997), an art-filled resort community home to numerous locally-owned shops, one of the last remaining clockmakers in Wisconsin, a pleasant little beach on the waters of Green Bay, and a number of places where you can rent bikes. The Alexander Noble House dates back to 1875 and is open for tours that include a look many original furnishings and artifacts; it’s right on the main corner along Highway 42.

Fish Creek abuts the beautiful Peninsula State Park, one of the oldest in Wisconsin. Nestled between Highway 42 and eight miles of shoreline on Green Bay – much of which is elevated on the Niagara Escarpment above the water – Peninsula State Park offers a fantastic variety of activities. There are miles of beautiful, hilly hiking and biking trails; an 18-hole golf course; the American Folklore Theatre performing original musical comedies on summer nights; the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, built in 1868; the White Cedar Nature Center, featuring displays of mounted animals in the park, a diorama of the park, historic photos, and artifacts; Eagle Tower, a 76-foot wooden lookout tower perched on a 180-foot high limestone bluff offering a view of the park, numerous islands in the bay, and Eagle Harbor. And in case you’re wondering, Eagle Bluff is once again home to nesting pairs of eagles after a long absence.

Visible from Peninsula State Park and the next stop along Highway 42 is the lovely Ephraim (pop. 288), a village that New Englanders might see and suddenly feel they’ve been transported home. The bluffs of Peninsula State Park, the waters of Eagle Harbor, nearby Horseshoe Island, and the oft-white wooden and brick buildings of the town make Ephraim postcard-ready. A stop at Wilson’s Ice Cream Parlor is always popular, bringing back memories of early soda fountains and offering a patio and breezeway for views of the harbor. Originally founded as a Moravian religious community, and to this day Ephraim is the only “dry” municipality in the state of Wisconsin. Ephraim, like many communities here, has a strong Scandinavian influence, which is reflected in their annual Fyr Bal celebration, held near the summer solstice every year.

Further up Highway 42 is Sister Bay (pop. 876), which has a nice marina along the water and one of the more unusual restaurant rooftops in the United States. Right after Highway 57 meets up with 42 (that’s the road we’ll take back – from here on out it’s a loop on the same road), you’ll find Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik. They’re known for their breakfasts and Scandinavian cuisine, particularly Swedish meatballs with lingonberries. What really sets them apart can often be seen from the street, though: goats munching on the grass – on the roof. The roof was added to the restaurant in 1973; Al’s best friend (Winky was his name) brought him a goat, someone else thought it would be funny to put the goat on the roof, and the rest is history. There’s even a “goat cam” from spring through October so customers can see them even when they’re not eating there.

Continuing north on Highway 42, we’re following the one main road to the peninsula’s tip. We’ll be looping back on the same road to Sister Bay.

Approaching Ellison Bay (pop. 165), check out the gorgeous view along Highway 42; at points you overlook several bays and islands stretching northeast to the tip of the peninsula and several islands beyond. Try to check out Ellison Bay Park, a short walk on their trails along Ellison Bay Bluff leads you to an overlook with a phenomenal view of the Green Bay waters with opportunities to enjoy a magnificent sunset.

At Gills Rock, a ferry port offers one way to Washington Island; another will follow shortly. The Gills Rock Museum features a wooden fish shanty, a fishing tug called Hope, and exhibits on ice fishing, shipwrecks, and maritime equipment. There are also art galleries, pottery studios, and a little restaurant called the Viking Grill, which was an early participant in the Door County fish boils.

The Door County “Fish Boil”

A truly fiery meal, the fish boil started out as an economical way to feed hungry lumberjacks and fishermen. Today, it’s one of Door County’s unique experiences. It takes place outside, where a large kettle of salted water hangs over bonfire. Potatoes and onions are added, followed shortly by a variety of whitefish from the lake. At a certain point known only to the boil master kerosene is tossed into the fire, creating a blaze that boils over the water, carrying fish oil with it. The meal is then pulled out and brought to the kitchen for final preparation. Traditionally, the fish, potatoes, and onions are served with melted butter and a slice of Door County cherry pie for dessert. Many Door County establishments do fish boils; try one or many on your travels here!

From Gills Rock, it’s a two miles east on Highway 42 and then a curve back north on one of the most unique roads in America: a zigzag winding road that lasts for nearly a mile. It’s fun! Swerve your way to the very tip of the Door County peninsula, a tiny establishment called Northport. Here, you reach the endpoint of Highway 42 – and the end of the land!

One option, if you want to forge on, is to jump on the Washington Island Ferry Line and head to Washington Island. The ferry will take you across Porte des Morts (“Death’s Door”) the strait for which Door County and the Door Peninsula is named. Washington Island is sizeable, measuring about 5 miles by 6 miles, sitting about 7 nautical miles from the mainland amidst the beautiful and occasionally treacherous waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay. It’s one of the most Icelandic communities in the world outside of Iceland. Fishing has long been a cornerstone of Washington Island life, and the Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum features artifacts, exhibits, and more in two former fishing sheds. The Jacobsen Museum houses natural and historic artifacts from Washington and nearby islands in an old log cabin. Sand dunes can be climbed on the south side of the island in Sand Dunes Park, and Schoolhouse Beach offers a rocky limestone beach with diving, snorkeling, and rafting activities (water temperature-dependent, of course.)

The other option – which you eventually do anyway – is to head back down Highway 42 to Sister Bay. It literally is the only road back from this far north! You zigzag again just past Northport and head back through Gills Rock. If you missed it on the way up, a detour to Newport State Park lets you explore Wisconsin’s only wilderness-designed state park, protecting 11 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Rock outcroppings line the shore while 30 miles of hiking trails allow exploration of the beaches along with a mix of evergreen and hardwood forests, wetlands, and meadows.

Taking Highway 42 back to Sister Bay, follow Highway 57 south. At this point we’re on the Green Bay side of the peninsula and 57 cuts southward to the Lake Michigan side, coming down into Baileys Harbor (pop. 257). The first established village in Door County (1848, the year Wisconsin gained statehood), Baileys Harbor offers beautiful views of its eponymous harbor, some good restaurants, and plenty of outdoor activities. The Ridges Sanctuary right along Highway 57 was named for its topography and was the first lands trust in the state. Showcasing one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the Midwest, hiking and snowshoe trails let you explore forests and wetlands that hold over 475 plant species, the federally endangered Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly, and over 60 species of migrating and nesting birds.

Abutting the harbor is the Baileys Harbor Range Lights, an historic lighthouse with some unique qualities. Nearby is the Cana Point Lighthouse, which offers tours and a climb to the top for a beautiful harbor and lake view. You can also go kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and more; check out Lakeshore Adventures (920-839-2055) or Gravity Trails Day Tours (920-854-9292) for some adventure. For kicking back a little, Door County Brewing Company started in Baileys Harbor in 2013 and offers brews like the Wisconsin-themed Polka King Porter.

From Baileys Harbor, continue south on Highway 57 to Jacksonport (pop. 738), home to shops, a nice beach, and gateway to Whitefish Dunes State Park. Whitefish Dunes, coupled with Cave Point County Park. The western shore of Lake Michigan isn’t exactly known for sand dunes, but some of the best ones around are preserved in this park. Hiking trails and boardwalks let you explore more outcroppings and wetlands along with the sand dunes; Whitefish Dunes also has a beautiful sandy beach which is quite popular with summer sun-seekers. Check out the nature center, too, which has some nice exhibits on ecology, geology, and history of the area.

From Whitefish Dunes, continue down Highway 57 to Sturgeon Bay, where you can once again stop at the Best Western Maritime Inn to refresh; after all, a thorough examination of Door County can take a few days if done right!

Heading south from Sturgeon Bay, continue on Highway 57 for a four-lane ride past Brussels, which not surprisingly is an area filled with Belgian history. Further south as you leave Door County, beautiful views of the waters of Green Bay come into view. Into Kewaunee County and a quick bend around Dyckesville (pop. 538), we enter Brown County. A stop at Wequiock Falls is pleasant; while only 25 feet high, the falls run over the Niagara Escarpment – the same one that Niagara Falls tumbles over.

Continuing on Highway 57, it’s time to head into the big city of the Tour, Green Bay (pop. 104,000). The oldest community in Wisconsin, Green Bay sits right at the end of the waters of Green Bay, where the Fox River – one of the few northward-flowing rivers in the nation – empties into the bay. Green Bay is the third largest city in Wisconsin, behind Milwaukee and Madison, and the third largest city on the shores of Lake Michigan, behind Milwaukee and Chicago. Green Bay and its environs to the south still anchor a major papermaking center, dotted with paper mills up and down the Fox River. The city is a major transportation center, with its international port on the bay and serving as a hub for northeast Wisconsin. Schneider Trucking, one of the largest in the nation, is headquartered here – so you will see a lot of big, orange trucks.

Highway 57 enters Green Bay from the northeast, crossing under I-43 and heading into town as University Avenue. To the north you can access Bay Beach Park, which holds two terrific – yet quite different – attractions. Bay Beach Amusement Park is a full-fledged fun zone, complete with roller coasters (try the Zippin Pippin!), sky gliders, a ferris wheel, and more. Adjacent is the 700-acre Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, home to a variety of mammals (wolves in particular) and birds. Feed geese or chipmunks, walk or cross-country ski the trails, or just learn about the animals and hear their stories. The Sanctuary is free, but of course they accept donations.

Further in you’ll reach downtown Green Bay, with its low-slung skyline and collection of older buildings and parkland along the banks of the Fox River. Downtown you’ll find the Neville Public Museum, which guides you through the Native American and European history of the area, offers exhibits on lighthouses, public art, gems and minerals, and even an original Abraham Lincoln photograph – with his signature. Across the river, the Children’s Museum of Green Bay is filled with hands-on exhibits for kids of all ages. Of course kids love trains – as many adults do – and on the south side the National Railroad Museum is a must-see. An enormous display of engines, vintage rail cars, exhibits on Pullman trains, tools used to build and maintain the railroads, model train layouts and much more populate this indoor and outdoor museum; you can even stand in Eisenhower’s personal shower on what was his namesake train!

For the adults, Green Bay offers three craft breweries; Titletown Brewing is near the Neville Public Museum on the west side of downtown, housed in the city’s former train depot; the Green Bay Packer statue out front adorned an earlier incarnation of the Packers Hall of Fame before it moved. Across the street and down a block is the Hinterland Brewing Company, making for two convenient stops. A third and more recent brewery is the Badger State Brewing Company, in the Stadium District admist a lot of bars and restaurants that serve hungry and thirsty patrons on game day.

Of course, this all leads us to Green Bay’s primary religion: the Green Bay Packers, one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. The Packers began in 1919 and joined the National Football League two years later; since then, they’ve nailed down 13 World Championships (four Super Bowls among them) and play in the smallest city in the nation – possibly the world – to host one of the major professional sports teams. The Packers grew with the league but struggled mightily over the early decades, eventually coming up with a system of ownership allowing members of the community to buy stock in the team – stock that technically held no value and couldn’t be bought or sold, only transferred via inheritance. Stock gives owners little more than occasional voting rights on board members and a once per-year “shareholders meeting” – but it also comes with bragging rights that many Wisconsinites fully embrace.

We could get more into Packers history but it’s best experienced with a visit to one of the hallowed grounds of sports, Lambeau Field. It opened as City Stadium 1957 to replace their earlier stadium, which also served as home to the city’s East High School Stadium. It was renamed in 1965 to honor Curly Lambeau, a team founder and longtime player and coach. Curly Lambeau is honored by one of two statues you’ll find near the southeast entrance; the other is that of a coach named Vince Lombardi, who of course coached Green Bay to five titles in seven years and was so legendary that the Super Bowl trophy bears his name. A tour of Lambeau is a must! The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame is located inside the Atrium section of the stadium and showcases the team’s remarkable history. It’s open year ‘round, as is the Packers Pro Shop and Curly’s Pub, the stadium’s official bar and restaurant.

Lambeau Field – which is also the tallest building in Green Bay since the addition to upper decks and a massive video board – anchors the area’s “Stadium District”, which includes the Brown County Arena and the Resch Center, home to other teams like the Green Bay Gamblers for ice hockey, the Green Bay Blizzard of the Arena Football League, and the Green Bay Fighting Phoenix basketball team from the nearby University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Built in 2002, the Resch Center also hosts plenty of major concerts and other events.

In the midst of this bustling district, you’ll find the Best Western Green Bay Inn Conference Center, perfectly located for maximum access to all the fun of Green Bay! Make it a base for touring around town or for a great rest before checking out other Wisconsin tours.

So there you go: the Lake Michigan shore from the maritime city of Manitowoc, up and around the beautiful Door Peninsula, and back down into Green Bay with a thorough look at everything this area of northeastern Wisconsin has to offer. With three Best Western hotels along the way, you’ll have great places to stay as you enjoy.