Bill, Tyler and I just returned from a few days ago in Sheboygan. We stayed at The Lakeshore House. It was adorable, and true to its name, was right on Lake Michigan. Tyler had a tough time the first night. He could sense that other dogs had been there and he was very nervous. Also, the stairs were quite steep for him, but by day two he was navigating them with no problem. The house was located on the edge of a cliff. I’m kind of a safety conscious person, and I couldn’t help feeling that locating a firepit two feet from a hundred foot dropoff was a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, most people are more fun than me.
The house was decorated with lots of original art and notecards for sale art by owner Mark Nash. It was a cute touch. When we left we bought a print of print of his painting Garden View as a souvenir of our vacation.
The house was very clean, well-maintained, and cute. Anything we could ask for was included, from a telescope to piles of clean towels, to movies and books. It was wonderful to find a place so nice that allowed dogs. Highly recommended, although I’ve got to say, please keep your dog (and your kids, and your drunk self) away from the cliff.
Sheboygan reminded me of many other small Midwest towns like Watertown, Wisconsin and Dubuque, Iowa. Throughout the downtown, and in many of the shops, it was like stepping back in time, but to several decades all rolled into one. There are CD shops, resale shops, Christian stores, stores that sells mugs and magnets, and tons of jewelers. Stores smelled like incense and gum. It was like 1990 meets 1950.
On our second day there we had the excitement of watching someone quit her job at a coffee shop. I suppose I will refrain from saying the name of it, but I will give you a hint: It’s a chain named after balls of celestial gas and male deer. By ‘We’ I actually mean ‘Me’ since Bill was so distracted by the baked goods display that he missed all the juicy details. I’ll give you a play by play:
Younger woman (a manager?) to older woman, who is working at the drive up window: You DO realize that customers can hear you when you have that headpiece on, right? (rolls her eyes like, can you believe her, to her co-workers)
Older woman: I DON’T CARE IF CUSTOMERS CAN HEAR ME!!!!!
Younger woman: Well, I’m just sayin’
Older woman: Do you talk to your mother like this?
Younger woman: What does my mother have to do with this?
Bill to me: That raspberry pound cake looks good!
Older woman stomps past, removing her apron, grumbling under her breath about how people talk to their mothers. A moment later she reappears and tells young guy something about how she needs some workman’s comp or something. Then she’s gone.
It was so exciting! I knew our vacation was going to be good once that happened. It was like a happy omen of fun things to come.
We ate dinner one night at Trattoria Stefano. We were dressed in jeans, flip-flops, and hooded sweatshirts (at least the hoods were down), and quickly realized we were a little under-dressed. The staff tolerated our relaxed appearances. They wore white T-shirts with the restaurant logo printed on them, so it’s not like they could say much about how we looked. Our food was good. Bill got chicken with mushrooms, potatoes, and fennel. He loved the mushrooms and thought the chicken was very good. He was not a big fan of the sauteed fennel bulb gracing the side of his plate, but at least he tried a bite. I got some pasta with a tomato, mozzarella, arugula topping. It was good and, as far as I could detect, truly was vegetarian, as our Curtis Sittenfeld lookalike waitress promised it would be. The bread was good and very fresh and crusty, but it was almost too crusty to go with dinner. It was kind of difficult to eat it. I felt like I had to rip it apart like a caveman. It reminded me of actual European bread, so it had that going for it, but it felt like peasant bread that should be served with lunch, and with soup. We thought our meal was a little on the expensive side. I wouldn’t have minded a small salad being included with dinner. Bill felt his portion was a bit too small, but mine was quite large. I took leftovers with me and they were almost as much as I was able to eat at dinner. Over all, Trattoria Stefano earns four out of five carrots.
The Children’s Museum caught my attention with its clever boat design. An abandoned fountain also caught my attention as being DANGEROUS. Bill suggested it was used for Parkour. Yeah, I doubt that.
There were some cool old buildings in the downtown. I was crazy about these neon signs, and also these old buildings from the 1800’s.
I always appreciate street art and non-dangerous crazy people. I’m not sure what the mural on the side of this building (below) means.
This guy who parks his car by the park and (I think?) encourages people to let him tutor their children seemed to be a regular part of downtown life. We overheard him denouncing public schools to some lady on one of the days we were there. Another day a lady and her two children were eagerly hearing him share his wisdom. There was a darling little squirrel who lived in a garbage bin in the same park (see below). Also, check out the cute Children’s garden right in the middle of downtown.
Bill was really excited to run into some of his friends. They turned out to be made of cardboard. Cardboard Justin Bieber was in the same shop, along with lots of weird, naughty stuff. This was all I could get him to pose with.
We checked out Olivu 426, a fun shop where people can choose from dozens and dozens of fragrances, and add them to natural lotions, serums, oils, and perfumes. It was started by Caitlin Brotz and has won several awards, like the 2013 Sheboygan Retailer of the Year Award, and has even been featured on The Huffington Post. Here is the Olivu story. While I was there I picked out some lotion, lip balm, perfume, and warmer wax cubes. I’ve barely tried them and I’m already a fan, in particular of the light, olive oil based lotion.
When we got back home, Tyler was beyond happy to be back in his safe domain. He stretched out on his tummy on the rug in the living room and fell right asleep. We’re realizing that he’s really not much of a traveler. Oh well. We had a good time, once he stopped barking and pacing on night one. Thanks for the memories, Sheboygan! We hope to see you again someday.