While the S.S. Badger has been honored with a placement on the National Register of Historic Places, its beginnings were humble. First setting sail in 1953, the Badger originally carried railcars, along with a few select passengers, across scenic Lake Michigan year round. Now the last of the United States’s coal-fired steamships, the 410-foot vessel ships cargo of a different kind, transporting guests and their vehicles across Lake Michigan with the comforts and amenities of a modern cruise ship, with efforts to improve their ship environmentally in the near future.
While the boat embarks along between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, guests amble through the open deck for views of the scenic shorelines or set up shop on deck chairs, armed with a cool drink and a Mermaid-to-English dictionary. The ship’s shaded interior entertains with movies, guests shouting at celebratory bingo, and arcade games giving off musical tones as kids set new high scores. For a more muted ride, private staterooms let guests snooze away the hours, and a quiet room elucidates the ship’s history in hushed solitude. An in-house bar blends, shakes, and stirs ingredients into a range of refreshing cocktails, while the café showcases artfully crafted sandwiches like a deli hall of fame.
The Wisconsin Cheese Man has been has been filling empty stomachs and dressing empty crackers with their high quality cheeses, spreads, and snacks since 1947. Each party-perfect, three-pronged option includes a half pound of cheese carefully matched with sweet and salty compliments, along with a marble cheese slicer ($15), saving you the exasperating trouble of provoking the cheese onto your cracker with excessive pretzel prodding.
The only dealer of the company's iconic hogs within Brew City proper, Milwaukee Harley-Davidson showcases 36,000 square feet of new and used motorcycles and clothing and collectibles bearing the company's signature bar and shield. Composed of red brick and hardwood oak, a large depiction of the iconic logo graces the showroom floor as well, shining beneath the light of vintage lampposts that once lined Milwaukee's streets. Behind the scenes, service technicians build engines, perform bike repairs, and outfit cycles with everything from twin cams to panheads, spiffying them up before hot dates with the tricycle next door.