We left our campground in the middle of the farmers and fields in Milton, drove north and east to Milwaukee, got onto Interstate 43 North, and hugged Lake Michigan until it was time to exit for Two Rivers. This time our natural settings would include forests, rivers and Lake Michigan. We stayed at Scheffel’s Hideaway Campground on County Road O, next to Point Beach State Forest. It was a small and clean campground with nice owners. We were on the outskirts of the little town of Two Rivers so the noise level was low and the night sky was bright. We were at this park for two weeks, and enjoyed our time exploring the sister-cities of Manitowoc and Two Rivers. We took one daytrip a little bit north to Door County, WI, but for the most part we just took advantage of our quaint surroundings and all the natural beauty of the area.
The locals call Two Rivers “Cool City” because the temperatures in summer are always the coldest in the state. If you look at a map, the geography of Two Rivers jets out into the lake and that physical location causes lots of extra weather issues for the community; such as fog, rain, colder air, etc. They say the effect is opposite in the winter, and Two Rivers is generally warmer than anywhere else (until the lake starts to freeze as winter wears on). All I can say is it was chilly during the month of June. We rarely went anywhere without at least a sweatshirt… and we never even thought about having a loungy day at the beach. It was sort of strange for summer, but we didn’t complain. We just kept thinking about how hot it was in Houston, and enjoyed the refreshing temperatures as a novelty at this time of year.
We selected lots of photos to share from this stop too. I’ll keep this narrative brief and let the pictures tell the story again.
The Manitowoc Lighthouse is at the end of this bulkhead, I promise.
Even though it was high noon on a June afternoon, our walk through the Manitowoc Marina on this day felt much more like we were in the thick of a fall evening.
Mike and his affinity for geese.
There was a paved ‘Trail of Two Cities’ along the Lake Michigan shore between Two Rivers and Manitowoc. The trail was dotted by small parking lots along its route. The beautiful landscaping around each parking lot was maintained by private citizens because of their passion for gardening, or in memory of a loved one. The flowers were beautiful, and each bed had a distinct personality. They also had pieces of art at various points along the trail. This eagle sculpture was my favorite.
Friday Night Fish Fries in Wisconsin and the U.P. are sort of like the tradition of Friday Night Mexican Food in Texas. That is what everyone does on Friday. We walked over to a fish fry at the Port Sandy Bay Restaurant next to our campground on the last Friday we were in town. This Point Amber Dude stared at us the whole time we had drinks and ate. He loosened up at the end, and we were friends by the time we paid our tab.
A local guy said this steeple in downtown Two Rivers was featured in the movie “Back to the Future”. Not sure if I’m buying it… but it was a very pretty church.
There were not a ton of waterfront dining establishments in the area we were visiting. We heard about Gibs on the Lake Supper Club, and stopped in Kewaunee on the way home from our daytrip to Door County. It was a beautiful setting. We wanted to have a drink before dinner so we decided to sit at the bar instead of at a table in the dining room – because it had the best view of the water. The bartender was new (as in 4th day on the job). Mike ordered our martinis and the nice kid brought them to us WARM. No ice, no shaker. Warm martinis. Because of the view, we stuck it out. We coached the lad a bit on the second ones, and he did much better. We are glad we persevered because our dinner was delicious.
Our Door County daytrip included a stop in Algoma. Sport fishing is big there. The fishermen concentrate on Trout and Salmon because the waters around there are stocked to eliminate another species of predatory fish. The Ahnapee Brewery and von Stiehl Winery are owned by the same people and located next door to each other where the Ahnapee River meets Lake Michigan in downtown. It was a great spot to grab some refreshments and enjoy the sunshine (which was warm until the wind suddenly switched directions and started blowing off of the cool waters of the lake). I must have taken my jacket on and off about 20 times during our two drinks! My mind kept telling me it was summer and my body temperature kept telling this Texas Girl that it seemed more like late fall.
The marina in Algoma.
Have you ever seen this? A fake (plastic) coyote-type bird deterrent on the beach in Algoma. It is mechanical, and motion sensors cause it to move from side to side when something goes near it. Not sure if it works, but it sure was fascinating to see. (I’m thinking that if it WERE effective… we might have stumbled across more of these contraptions during our travels). On the other hand, maybe it is cutting edge!
Cave Point County Park is in Door County just north of Whitefish Bay.
We stumbled upon these rock stacks while exploring Cave Point County Park. Apparently the act of building Carins is a big deal there. We didn’t know, but it didn’t really matter, either. They were such a whimsical and unexpected surprise to stumble upon. It made the day and the stop at this special county park extra memorable.
The trail at Cave Point County Park was pretty rugged. The roots and rocks were so thick that it was not feasible to gaze at the beautiful view of the water while walking. Instead, it was necessary to look down and avoid tripping into a face plant.
The water blowing off of the Lake and into the caves on the point created a violent yet strangely soothing noise that stifled all of the other tourist voices around us.
The Rawley Point Lighthouse is a working lighthouse in Point Beach State Forest.
The back of the Frank Lloyd Wright House, “Still Bend”, that I didn’t even know I was going to get to see before we arrived in Two Rivers.
I was reading a newspaper after our arrival to Two Rivers and learned that a private individual owned a Frank Lloyd Wright house on the East Twin River – right in town! The Bernard Schwartz House was a Usonian Design that was completed in 1940. Its third and final owners are brothers from the St. Paul area. They rent out the property as lodging and also host special events on site. He gives private tours on the third Sunday of each month, and we just happened to be in town at the right moment! Guess where I was when 3:00 PM came around on that Sunday afternoon. You can find lots more information at www.theschwartzhouse.com
A selfie at Johnny Chimpo’s Bar in downtown Two Rivers. Aside from us, everyone in the place new everyone else in the place. It was very obvious we were not locals. However, Sam the bartender was a great kid, and all the patrons were extremely friendly. We got tons of great advice on things to do and places to see while we were visiting the area. The locals always spot the out-of-towners in the churches and bars.
A selfie at the Two Rivers Carp Fest. They sold beer and pop at the event… but there were no fences or gates or anything. We found this to be a great excuse to bring our own wine, beer and tequila with us. We just left our personal bar in our car in a cooler with some ice. We made our way back to the Honda for refills, and no one cared one bit.
Live music on stage at the Two Rivers Downtown Commons during Carp Fest. The actual fishing is catch and release style. The participants fish from several local parks along the Twin Rivers. Winning is based on the highest weighing catch. We didn’t watch any of the fishing, just came for the music at the end of the day.
A completely restored WWII submarine can be toured from the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in downtown Manitowoc.
The S.S. Badger Carferry transports humans and their vehicles back and forth across Lake Michigan between Manitowoc, WI and Ludington, MI. The 410′ ship holds 600 passengers, plus autos, RVs, buses and large trucks. The trip takes about 4 hours.
The only lakefront restaurant in Two Rivers was the Water’s Edge Restaurant inside the Lighthouse Inn. We had drinks and dinner there one evening. The food was okay. The bartender girl kept opening new bottles of beer and giving them to Mike before he would even ask for another. We finally had to eat and run before she stuck another cold one in front of us.
The Ice Age Trail in Point Beach State Forest was accessible from our campground. If you trekked along a narrow forest trail for about 1.5 miles, you would emerge from a canopy of trees and end up at this beautiful spot along the lake shore.
This boardwalk on the Ice Age Trail took us from the woods, across the dunes and to the lake.
Sand dunes and pine trees at the edge of the lake.
A marsh along the trail from our camp to the lake. One day we stopped here and watched a beaver swimming and playing in the water. The next time we passed this spot, we stopped to watch hundreds of carp mingling around in the shallow water. It looked like they were having their own version of Carp Fest!
The trail off of our campground connected to the trails of Point Beach State Forest in one direction and the Two Rivers Municipal Neshotah Park and Beach in the other direction.
Our camping spot at Scheffel’s HideAway Campground. The owners, Tammy and Paul, were extremely nice folks!