Want to get away for a weekend? There a quirky little place just up the lakeshore where the drink prices aren’t the only thing that will take you back in time.
Touring Wisconsin is a great excuse to try out local twists on old favorites — and perhaps no old fave will so quickly embed you in the local culture as the classic Friday night fish fry.
Shooter Malone’s on Buffalo Street offers both perch and walleye and usually draws a hearty crowd of regulars. If you want an old-school experience, check out the Eagles Club on Hamilton. This one gets busy early, but you can wait it out at the bar with an old fashioned or two. Either way, it’ll be a hearty meal that will make you feel right at home.
Start your Saturday with a trip back in time at the Pinecrest Historical Village. The village features a collection of historic buildings which have been relocated from all over the area and arranged as a turn-of-the-Century town.
Visitors can stroll about the grounds and tour the buildings, which are fitted with period artifacts and displays. The village includes an octagonal dance hall built in 1890, a general store that dates to 1870, and the former Collins, Wisconsin, railroad depot that sits beside an authentic Wisconsin Central Rail Road steam engine and Allis-Chalmers flat car.
Situated in a little downtown storefront that would not at all feel out of place at Pinecrest, Beernsten’s Confectionary on North Eighth Street is an old-time chocolate shop and diner. You can browse their huge glass cases of chocolate specialties or take a seat in the back for light lunch followed up with a classic ice cream sundae. After you eat, you can stroll through downtown and take a rest where the Manitowoc River finds Lake Michigan.
You might not think of Manitowoc having much of a nightlife and… well, you wouldn’t be wrong.
But if the club scene isn’t your thing, and if your idea of a night out includes cheap drinks, pull tabs and spirited discussions about the Packers, you’ll do best to spend your Saturday night clawing through the downtown bar scene.
A good starting point is Ryan’s on York, where you’ll find a menu that goes past the burger-and-wings fare and features a decent variety of craft beers.
And it’ll put you within walking distance of townie favorites like The Elbow Room, Chewy’s , and Shoot the Bull – where I once ordered two double-tall whiskey sours and had the bartender warn me that there was a ten dollar minimum for credit cards.
Spend your Sunday visiting one or both of the unique museums in the area. In downtown Manitowoc, you’ll find the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, which pays tribute to the state’s rich history of fishing and shipping on the rivers and lakes. Inside, you’ll be able to visit a Manitowoc version of the Streets of Old Milwaukee, see dozens of wooden ship models, and browse artifacts from the region’s marine past.
And be sure to tour the USS Cobia, docked alongside the museum. The Cobia is the most completely restored WWII submarine in the country.
Also well worth your time is the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in nearby Two Rivers. The Hamilton Manufacturing Company of Two Rivers was once the nation’s largest wood type maker, producing the letters that printed millions of pages of posters, pamphlets, and newspapers. The Hamilton Museum, the only of its kind, features over 1.5 million pieces of wood type in more than a thousand different sizes and fonts.