My Travel Memories: Manitowoc, Wisconsin

When I added “Wisconsin” to my tag list, for some reason WordPress wanted to turn it into Switzerland.  I mean, it has some of the same letters, but the two words aren’t that similar.

I’ve actually been to Manitowoc three times. Our first trip was to visit my dad’s cousins who live in that area in 1987. I later found out that my now-ex-husband (whom I hadn’t started dating yet in 1987) had a friend who lived there. I called her on the phone when we were there the second time (which would have been around 1990). Then my now-ex and I went there sometime in the late 1990s. No, I think it might have been the early 2000s.  I seem to remember that Alex was there.  I think it was the year that we went up a week early for Thanksgiving and spent that extra week in Wisconsin, but don’t quote me on it.

While we were in Manitowoc the first time, we visited the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (home to the USS Cobia submarine) and stumbled across Lincoln Park Zoo and Beerntsen’s Confectionery Shop.  I remember the submarine more than the museum.  Apparently they’ve enlarged the museum quite a bit since 1987, so perhaps there wasn’t much to it besides the submarine back then.

Lincoln Park Zoo was, sadly, kind of depressing back in 1987.  Again, photographs seem to indicate that the zoo has improved markedly in the last nearly-30 years.  In 1987, the three of us were all alone and most of the animals were in chain-link-fence enclosures.  At least the pictures show other people in the zoo. So that’s hopeful.

Beerntsen’s is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.  They also make chocolate candies in-house.  I won’t talk much about food in this blog, but I think that ice cream is probably fairly universal (though I’m not likely to want to eat mung bean or green tea ice cream or flavors like that on a regular basis).  I am, actually, a sucker for combinations of mint, marshmallow, and chocolate in sundaes.  This all started at Valentino’s ice cream parlor at the Old Crown Point Courthouse in Crown Point Indiana (That reminds me — I probably should write up the courthouse sometime.  Is it a travel memory or a Northern Illinois destination (despite actually being in Northwestern Indiana?)?).  Anyway, they had a chocolate-and-marshmallow sundae. A few years later, the man in line in front of my family at a Baskin-Robbins ordered a sundae with mint chocolate ice cream and marshmallow topping and it was all downhill from there.  Back in the 1980s, Beerntsen’s had a chocolate and marshmallow sundae, so of course I had to try it.  I seem to recall that it was awesome.

And, of course, I absolutely loved Manitowoc Breakwater Light.  I don’t know if you can still do so today, but back in 1987, you could walk right up to the lighthouse along the breakwater.  I think we took some pretty good pictures of the lighthouse in our 2000s visit, but those pictures are still with my now-ex and so the only picture I have of the lighthouse is yellowed with age. The first time we walked out to the light, it was foggy, so the fog signal was going.  I grew up in the Chicago area, but in a landlocked area, so this was my first experience with fog signals, which was pretty cool.

I don’t know if I’m ever going to get back to Manitowoc, but I certainly would like to return someday.

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