Monday, August 9, 2010

Near Whistling Straits, in Wisconsin

On the date of this August 9 posting, practice will begin for the 2010 PGA Tournament, to be held August 12-15 at Whistling Straits, on the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.
(Photo of Whistling Straits by Jack Fabick.)

If you are at all familiar with this area of Wisconsin, you may assume that The American Club ($400/night), in Kohler, is the only place to stay. But not so. There are some very decent options in Sheboygan (even closer to Whistling Straits than Kohler is) and in Plymouth (an extra 8-10 minutes’ drive along a pleasant country highway).

I’ll say more about The American Club later, but would like first to mention Sheboygan’s offerings.

The largest is a beautiful resort on the water, the Blue Harbor (about $200/night), done in a style that’s somewhat reminiscent of the Del Coronado near San Diego. It sports an indoor water park, which may or may not be considered a plus, depending on your perspective and the age of your fellow travelers. Nevertheless, this place is definitely easy on the eyes.

Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, WI (ScheckTrek Photography)



Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, WI (ScheckTrek Photography)





Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, WI (ScheckTrek Photography)



Many times I’ve thought of these chairs, overlooking Lake Michigan, and wished I could be back there, sitting in one of them.


Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, WI (ScheckTrek Photography)


Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, WI (ScheckTrek Photography)

The hotel’s interior includes whimsical, water-related touches, such as this ceiling in one of the cafes…


…and this window to a bar.


Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, WI (ScheckTrek Photography)


Considerably smaller (and no doubt, quieter) are two rather mansionous B&B’s: the Brownstone Inn ($175-250) and Lake View Mansion Bed & Breakfast ($129-249), both either overlooking or very near Lake Michigan. The d├ęcor is a bit too “authentically Victorian” for my taste, but I’m sure the architectural details are a treat. Here are photos taken of Lake View Mansion’s exterior when last we were in town.

Lake View Mansion Bed and Breakfast, Sheboygan, Wisconsin (ScheckTrek Photography)



Lake View Mansion Bed and Breakfast, Sheboygan, Wisconsin (ScheckTrek Photography)




Though it is not my pick for virtual travel – which ignores all suggestions of budgetary restraint – for my money, I would drive an extra 8-10 minutes to stay at the Inn on Windhill ($99-159) in Plymouth. My family and I can personally attest to the charm of this delightful bed & breakfast, though I must warn you, some redecorating has taken place since our visit in 2006; so double-check online if you’re considering it.

Inn on Hillwind, Plymouth, WI (ScheckTrek Photography)




Inn on Hillwind, Plymouth, WI (ScheckTrek Photography)






Normally, flowered patterns get an automatic veto from me; but I made an exception for this place, and we didn’t regret it.  This was the suite we chose.
Inn on Hillwind: John K. Curtis Suite (ScheckTrek Photography)






Our chest of drawers.  There was a twiggy theme in the room: in the coat rack, mirror frame, a twiggy desk, and even in twiggy brass arms of the crystal chandeliers.
Inn on Hillwind: John K. Curtis Suite (ScheckTrek Photography)






The suite had a fireplace and a loveseat sofabed for our daughter, who was traveling with us.
Inn on Hillwind: John K. Curtis Suite (ScheckTrek Photography) 



The redo since our visit. Not to say it couldn’t have done with a little less pattern than before, but I fear something was lost in the translation.
Inn on Hillwind: John K. Curtis Suite  (photo from BedandBreakfast.com)


Our private balcony's bucolic view
Inn on Hillwind: John K. Curtis Suite (ScheckTrek Photography)






Our wood-burning stove across from the soaking tub.
Inn on Hillwind: John K. Curtis Suite (ScheckTrek Photography)




Inn on Hillwind: Martha's Suite (ScheckTrek Photography)



Inn on Hillwind: Martha's Suite (ScheckTrek Photography)



Inn on Hillwind: Martha's Suite (photo from BedandBreakfast.com)



Inn on Hillwind: J. Edward Curtis Room (ScheckTrek Photography)



Inn on Hillwind: J. Edward Curtis Room (ScheckTrek Photography)


Having said all of that, for virtual travel – or anytime when budget is not high on the deciding-factor list – my pick for the area would have to be The American Club ($400/night, probably more during tournaments). Especially during the PGA, when one might reasonably expect in its public areas to run into golf greats on their off hours – it would be hard to top this resort in the region. The American Club is the area’s brightest jewel, boasting the only AAA 5-diamond resort rating in the whole Midwest.

(Photo from TripAdvisor.com)



(Photo from HotelRates.com)



(Photo from TripAdvisor.com)



(Photo from TripAdvisor.com)


Yes, the American Club is the top pick. Just don’t try to get a room there for this week!

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