Big Ship, Fun Ports 2

You might be wondering what to do having disembarked from the S.S. Badger... We had visited Manitowoc on one other occasion, so at least we had a pretty good feel for the layout of the town. The Executive Director of the Manitowoc CVB, Kathleen Galas – our contact for the Manitowoc portion of the trip – suggested that for lunch we try a small restaurant downtown called Garnishes.

Garnishes Restaurant

Downtown Manitowoc


Run by two close friends, Rudy Baumann and Tom Gray, Garnishes is a great place to get excellent soups, salads and sandwiches at extremely reasonable prices. Heidi had the Ham & Mushroom Soup, a small Caesar Salad and a Tuna Salad Sandwich on whole grain bread, while I decided to try the Tomato Florentine soup with a Roast Beef Sandwich and a small Caesar Salad. Rudy and Tom are both easy going and make great partners. They took some time out to visit with us and describe their passion for the business. Garnishes is successful in its catering as well as in the restaurant portion of the business. It was a fine lunch and a friendly atmosphere, and I highly recommend that you stop in on your next visit to Manitowoc.

It was already past 2:00, but there was still time to check out some shops in downtown Manitowoc. Cooks Corner – a great place to shop for just about anything for the kitchen, Beernsten’s – the place to go for a marvelous selection of home made chocolates, Natural Ovens Bakery, The Rahr-West Art Museum, several places at which to purchase incredibly good cheeses and ice cream cones (especially Pine River Dairy) are just a few of our favorites.

The S.S. Cobia

My all time favorite place however, is the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. It is an absolute must see in Manitowoc. There are plenty of things there for the children to see and do – including lots of hands on stuff – and many wonderful exhibits involving the vast maritime history of Manitowoc, not the least of which is the fact that Manitowoc produced 28 submarines for the United States during World War II. Visitors can also tour the USS Cobia. Although the Cobia was not built in Manitowoc, it is an absolutely incredible tour, since most of the things on board still function. You just gotta go see it!

We checked in to a great room and excellent accommodations at the Holiday Inn at about 4:00 and took a brief respite before heading back into town for dinner at Newey’s Restaurant (now closed). Newey’s specializes in Thai food. Heidi had the Sweet-Sour Chicken (cucumber,golden pineapple, onion and red bell peppers served with jasmine rice) and I had the Pad Thai (pan-fried noodles with beef, topped with fresh bean sprouts, fresh basil and a sprinkle of peanuts).

Dinner at Newey's

Now, believe it or not, prior to this particular evening, I had never eaten Thai food, but our dinners were absolutely wonderful… and the portions were more than two of us could have eaten! We also had the opportunity to speak with owner-chef Mr. Newey. A native of Thailand, Mr. Newey has been here for over eight years and has, I’m sure, brought much joy to diners every time he prepares them dinner. Newey’s is also a place that I highly recommend you try for dinner when in Manitowoc. We took a short stroll down to the river after dinner and marveled at how clean the city was.

Kohler Art Museum

Sheboygan's Waterfront

We had saved the visit to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and submarine tour for Sunday morning, when we virtually had the place to ourselves, and thoroughly enjoyed the visit before heading south to Sheboygan. According to Denny Moyer, our CVB contact in Sheboygan, a must see was the John Michael Kohler Art Museum. We followed his advice and indeed, the museum was well worth the stop. There is some excellent “Kohler Art” there as well… I will only tease you and say that you will just have to see it for yourself.

We also had some time to walk along the waterfront and watch the boats as they sailed or motored up the river. This is an area that seems to be in the process of development and appears as if it will be a super place when totally finished. We didn’t have as much time in Sheboygan as I had hoped, but there are at least three places that you should not pass up when you visit Sheboygan.

The first of these is a fish market called Schwarz, which is right on the river front walkway. We purchased some of the finest and freshest fish (lake perch) and tastiest smoked whitefish dip that I have ever had. I also recommend that you take some time to locate Meisfeld’s market on the north end of town, just west of Route 43. They have, without a doubt, some of the finest meats I have ever tasted.

Blue Harbor Resort

Sunday night we stayed at a wonderful venue right on the lake called the Blue Harbor Resort. We had a room that overlooked the Lake and really enjoyed the sunrise on Monday Morning. The resort boasts a 43,000 square foot water park with 7 water slides and 12 fountains (for the kids in all of us), a spa for spoiling, and four restaurants for a variety of taste preferences. We thoroughly enjoyed both lunch and dinner at the resort and had a wonderfully relaxing stay.

Shrimp Cocktail at Blue Harbor Resort

All too soon, our excursion had come to an end, and we headed back south… and back to work again. Keep one thing in mind though: it is not just Michiganders who should “see what’s on the other side.” Ludington, Michigan and sister city Manitowoc and Sheboygan, Wisconsin are all great places to which you can go for any occasion. Just don’t forget that The SS Badger is there, ready and willing to take passengers and their vehicles from any state, safely from one side of the lake to the other. It sure beats the trip driving around the bottom of the lake!

R. Karl


Special Thanks to the following people:

  • Donna from the Ludington Pier House in Ludington, Michigan
  • Captain Dean Hodds & Crew of the SS Badger
  • Rudy & Tom, Garnishes Restaurant in Manitowoc
  • Mr. Newey from Newey’s Restaurant, Manitowoc
  • Pat Riley, General Mgr. and Staff, Holiday Inn in Manitowoc
  • Josef Haas, General Mgr, and Staff, Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan
  • Lynda Daugherty, Director of Media Relations, SS Badger
  • Kathleen Galas, Executive Director, ManitowocConvention and Visitors Bureau
  • Denny Moyer, Sheboygan Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Gary Knowles, without whose help, nothing would be possible…



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