Dunes, Beaches, Beer and Barbecue

Wisconsin may not be a tropical paradise. But hang on a second, the state’s eastern edge features a ginormous, clear lake. And, come summer, America’s Dairyland gleams with lush green vegetation, radiating good humored vibes for those craving both adventure and relaxation. So, being a combination of crystal waters and emerald forests, with its diverse geological attributes and breezy persona, the Lake Michigan shoreline is definitely cause for fun in the sun.

Lately, I’ve focused on Door County, which boasts a ton of Lake Michigan shoreline. But there are other places, such as towns and parks set on the state’s eastern border, with just as much coastal charm. My focus, this week, is a town known as Sheboygan. More specifically, I sought out a dune filled state park, just a few miles south of the city.

The Kohler Andrae State Park is actually two state parks. Yet, it’s managed as one, and both parks sport similar features. Mainly, the sizable grassy dunes, hunched right along the Lake Michigan shore, are the star attractions. I think, and I’m not a geologist, and my research may be a bit shoddy, but these anomalies are a result of wind and waves, coupled with a slight recession of an ancient shoreline. If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments. But in any case, the mounds are definitely at these two parks, amassing over two miles of dune laden beachfront.

The coolest highlight, besides walking the grassy sand hills, which one may attempt via a narrow boardwalk, is the seemingly endless beach. Like I had mentioned, it’s a couple miles long. And on our chosen Saturday afternoon, oodles of sun seekers were strewn along the flat narrow surface.

Beyond the sandy shore, the dunes rise with a slumping posture. Grasses, stabilizing these grainy behemoths, are abundant on the hills.

We started off on a half mile trek through the sandy mounds, and then strolled down towards the beach.

The water was refreshing and the temps were perfect. And besides a few pesky flies, the atmosphere and experience was complete relaxation.

I should mention that I’ve read about a few other park attributes. There is a wetland portion and a pine forest-and one can camp in this state park’s woodlands. Yet, the dunes and beach definitely were the show stoppers here.

After several hours of beach going fun, we packed our things and headed into Sheboygan. We started off with a brewery I was familiar with. And when I say I was familiar with the place, I mean I knew of their beers – having purchased them at a local Green Bay grocery store. Three Sheeps Brewing Company turned out to be an excellent choice.

Basically, and It’s quite literal too, we pulled into a lot that seemed part of an Industrial zoning district. Corrugated steel buildings suggested a warehouse lot. With a sign declaring ‘Taproom’, the sizeable shed like structure had me guessing what was inside.

When I crossed the threshold, my mind was pretty blown. It was super trendy and hip, meshing modern, rustic and industrial aspects seamlessly. Not to mention, as the day was perfect for lounging with a beer, three monstrous garage doors allowed for views of tall grasses and a super industrial setting-even if the brewery sits at the edge of a pleasant neighborhood.

We finished up the day on Sheboygan’s canal, enjoying barbecue at a two-story shack, known as Parker John’s. Craft beers and bloody Mary’s were available, and the patio, not to mention a small boat landing, added to this joint’s fun atmosphere. We sat on the deck, enjoyed the temps and watched all types of watercraft meander through the passageway…I failed to get a good picture. But the spot was absolutely perfect!

After everything was said and done, considering this was only my second time in Sheboygan, at least since I started blogging, I was pleasantly surprised. The town offered much of what I sought after. Basically, it provided an uplifting break from reality. And considering the pushes and pulls of this fast paced world, we all need a restful day set in an attractive haven.

Safe Travels!

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