A Squared: 48 Hours in Wisconsin: R & R in Kohler

Thursday, November 7, 2013

48 Hours in Wisconsin: R & R in Kohler

Recently, Alex and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. We always like to make sure that we do something special to celebrate, but unfortunately our budget doesn't really allow for the Italian vacation I am dying to take...

So, instead we went up to Wisconsin.

Actually, I have to say that this was my second trip to the cheese state and I am a fan. In general, it's just really nice to get away with Alex-- especially for our anniversary-- even if it's just a roadtrip to somewhere nearby. This tine around we decided to spend a long weekend in Wisconsin: first, relaxing in Kohler and second, exploring Milwaukee.

Neither of us had ever been to Kohler, but I had heard great things about the town and about the American Club Resort, where we stayed. The village of Kohler is tiny and quiet and located just outside of the city of Sheboygan. The resort is really the center of Kohler and the whole area is just picturesque: full of gardens, outdoor sculpture, and tree-lined streets. We had perfect fall weather that weekend to get out and do a little exploring and shopping.

While out exploring, we popped into the Craverie Chocolatier Cafe. This cafe is the home of Kohler's famous original recipe chocolates, which Alex and I have been snacking on since our visit. Specifically, they are known for their terrapins (a combination of chocolate, pecans and caramel) and their Garden Ganache truffles. I loved these! Milk chocolate shells are filled with a variety of interesting flavored ganaches. We sampled several and I think my favorite was a tie between the hazelnut filled (kind of like Nutella) and the chai tea, which had a great spicy flavor.

Kohler Garden Ganache truffles

I totally fell in love with The American Club Resort during our stay. It's a 5-star resort, but the fact that it's a bit old and quirky and in located in a little Wisconsin village gave it a very laidback vibe. It was the perfect mix of top notch amenities with Midwestern comfort. The beds are comfy, the rooms are cozy and well decorated with elements from Ann Sacks, Baker, and McGuire (child brands of the Kohler company), and the bathrooms are decked out in the best of Kohler fixtures.

I would also mention that while it is a five star resort, the prices are incredibly reasonable-- a perfect destination for anyone looking for a romantic or relaxing weekend getaway. And it's only about a 3-hour drive from Chicago.

The American Club is situated across the street from the Kohler factory and corporate offices and it has a really fascinating history. The American Club opened in 1918 and was used as a dormitory for single immigrants workers who came to the area to work in the Kohler factory, but could not afford their own housing. The building was later renovated and opened as a luxury resort in the early 1980's
En route to The Immigrant

There are little hints at the building's history all over the grounds, which is a very cool touch. One of my favorite places on the grounds was the entry to The Immigrant restaurant (pictured above). It's below ground and you walk down this dimly lit hallway of stone-clad walls. It felt kind of medieval and made entering the restaurant (which already has such an exclusive reputation) even more special.

We were lucky enough to dine at The Immigrant during our stay and it was amazing-- so amazing, in fact, that my recap of the experience will receive its own follow up post.

Tub or loveseat? You decide.

As you might imagine in a town called Kohler, design is a big deal here. Just a block away from The American Club you can find the Kohler Design Center, three-stories dedicated to the past, present, and future of Kohler designs. A few people who have visited encouraged us to stop in and though I was a bit skeptical about this place (you've seen one design showroom, you've seen them all, right?) I could not have been more wrong.

Alex and I began on the lower level, which is actually a mini-museum dedicated to telling the history of Kohler: the family, the village, and the corporation. You can wander around learn a little more about how the brand began and they have fun (and frightening) examples of the earliest bathroom fixtures and how they have evovled over time. Check out the 1970's/80's toilets above. Love it!

Remember those Bold Look of Kohler ad campaigns where plumbing fixtures were juxtaposed against high fashion models and clothing? Well, here's one of the gowns from those ads!

The ground level of the Design Center is a showroom featuring all of Kohler's current product and fixture lines-- from the very traditional to the very high tech. When we walked by on our first night in Kohler I was totally struck by this interior wall, which you can see from the street. It's a backlit double height wall of toilets... but it looks like art. Cool, right!?

Lastly, the third floor of the Design Center was probably my favorite part of our visit. This floor features kitchen and bathroom vignettes designed by renowned interior designers. The styles featured here ranged from the traditional and practical to the over the top, luxurious, and futuristic. Check out the Mick de Giulio kitchen above. I am in love with that wall, that range, the light fixtures... pretty much all of it.

And on the opposite end of the design spectrum is this bathroom vignette designed by Jonathan Adler. How crazy is that feathered head? And the lit flooring?

Kohler is a beautiful place to visit and this is just a little peek at it-- I'll be sharing some more info about everything we ate there with you soon too!

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