BY JANET STEINBERG
The American dream...The American way…The American Club.
|THE AMERICAN CLUB|
As long as there is an America, there will always be an American dream. Since the birth of our nation, immigrants have been coming to the United States in search of that dream. There was a time, some 100-plus years ago, when hundreds of those immigrants headed to Wisconsin where they could find work at the Kohler Company, manufacturers of state-of-the-art plumbing fixtures and faucets. These young immigrants lived in squalor in nearby Sheboygan.
When land was needed for a Jewish cemetery, prejudice in early Sheboygan required the Jewish community to acquire land outside the city. Thus the Sheboygan Hebrew Cemetery was founded on a site of land that has since become Highland Drive in the predominantly gentile village of Kohler, Wisconsin. In 1944, 1959, and 1962, when more land was needed for the expansion of the Hebrew Cemetery, the Kohler Company donated some of their land to the Hebrew Cemetery Association.
|OLD GRAVESITES IN SHEBOYGAN HEBREW CEMETERY|
Walter Kohler, third son of the Austrian immigrant founder of Kohler Co had his own American dream. He wanted his workers to maintain the work ethic and social graces that they had brought with them from 'the old country'. His visionary concept for a quality standard of living found concrete expression in the building of The American Club, dedicated June 23, 1918.
The American Club of the 21st century is a world-class resort for all seasons. Located 55 miles from Milwaukee, It might well be the best-kept secret in the Midwest. The Midwest’s only AAA 5-Diamond resort hotel, The American Club offers a plethora of recreational and dining options from cross-country skiing to golfing…spa-ing to dining…factory touring to shopping.
My first day at The American Club began with a lunch at the Whistling Straits Golf Course clubhouse. The Restaurant, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, is reminiscent of a farmhouse in the Irish countryside; the cuisine is American with British Isles flair.
|LUNCH OVERLOOKING THE WHISTLING STRAITS GOLF COURSE|
Lunch was followed by a round of golf on Pete Dye’s Irish Course at Whistling Straits. This exquisite combination of grasslands and dunes came complete with a flock of 40 woolly Scottish Blackface sheep that call the golf course home. The course was tough, but I was totally captivated by the natural setting that includes 10 bridges over 4 meandering steams.
WOOLLY SCOTTISH BLACKFACE SHEEP CALL THE GOLF COURSE HOME.
The Wisconsin Room, the historic main dining room of The American Club was our restaurant of choice for our first night’s dinner. This is the original dining hall where immigrant factory workers ate hearty meals. The Wisconsin Room’s large windows afford enchanting views of the beautiful courtyard gardens. A John Ruskin quote on one of three stained windows reflects the Kohler family belief: “…Life without labor is guilt, labor without art is brutality”.
WISCONSIN DINING ROOM
My second day at the resort was one of pure sybaritic pleasure. There was time for a factory and /or Kohler Design Center tour where actual size porcelain sinks, tubs, and commodes make up the incredible “Great Wall of China”.
|GREAT WALL OF CHINA|
Then it was off to lunch at Craverie Chocolatier Café where the menu is a balance between indulgences and lean…from low calorie basics to the incomparable Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates.
|CRAVERIE CHOCOLATIER CAFE|
One cannot leave the American Club without spending some time at the Kohler Waters Spa, one of only 48 five-star spas worldwide. From my Immersion Suite in the hotel’s Carriage House, I was able to go to and from the spa in a luxurious guest bathrobe. Pre-dinner relaxation was assured by a Golfer’s Massage and an Organic Facial, complete with buckwheat mask. The latter might well be the best facial I have ever had.
|RELAXATION AREA OF SPA|
Our final dinner was in the award-winning Immigrant Restaurant, the crown jewel of Kohler restaurants. It proved to be a memorable evening of exquisite dining. The American Club signature restaurant is dedicated to the European immigrants who prospered in the area.
The American Club is a place of village charm and old-world elegance; “ a place where champions play…where the spirit is tested…and the soul is nourished”.
|A NOURISHED SOUL SWINGS IN THE AMERICAN CLUB GARDEN|
JANET STEINBERG IS THE WINNER OF 41 TRAVEL WRITER AWARDS AND A TRAVEL CONSULTANT FOR THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY IN CINCINNATI/MARIEMONT, OHIO