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Winter wonderland
By Kathleen Ostrander

Old World charm and elegance, five-star dining, winter sports, boutique shopping - is your destination Paris? No, a six-hour drive to Kohler, Wis., and the American Club.

Renowned for its world-class golf courses, it is home to four Pete Dye-designed courses at Whistling Straits, site of the 2004 PGA Championship and the 2007 U.S. Senior Open; and Blackwolf Run, host of the 1998 U.S. Women's Open.

Kohler also is a winter paradise complete with dog sled rides, snowshoeing, nature trails, holiday packages and a gourmet chocolate shop.

A four-or-five member crew works on adorning the village of Kohler with approximately 340,000 lights (6,800 strings, each with 50 individual lights). The project takes six to seven weeks to complete.

The display will light the community and the resort the day after Thanksgiving. All the resort properties are decorated inside for the holidays, too.

The American Club, which once provided housing, meals and recreational facilities for immigrants, is now the Midwest's only AAA Five Diamond Resort. Guests at The American Club can stay there, or they can stay at a room within The American Club at the Carriage House.

The Sports Core is the resort's health, racket and fitness club for guests of The American Club and Sports Core members. During the winter, The Sports Core offers indoor tennis, group fitness classes, fitness and training, children's programs, an indoor pool, a salon and a café. It also offers private instruction for yoga, Pilates and kinesis.

Home of Kohler Waters Spa, the Carriage House has a contemporary look with rooms that cater to the spa enthusiast.

There are 55 guest rooms with access to the spa.

An elevator ride takes guests to the spa, or to the glass-enclosed rooftop deck with whirlpool, fireplace and lounge - open year-round. Guests can eat in their rooms or the Spa Relaxation Lounge. Guests at the Carriage House of The American Club and Kohler Waters Spa must be 16 years of age or older.

Kohler Waters Spa is a 16,000-square-foot, full-service spa that offers guests a tranquil, classically styled environment featuring 13 treatment rooms with innovative Kohler Co. bathing products and exclusive therapeutic water services. An expansion in July added 9,045 square feet of new space, including eight new treatment rooms as well as spa immersion suites.

The immersion suites offer the ultimate spa experience. Designed to support in-room spa services and luxurious pampering, they are located in the Carriage House at The American Club.

The 508- to 578-square-foot suites have a king bed, refreshment center, wet bar, sitting area, plasma TV, shower and whirlpool bath for two.

If it's a winter outdoor recreation wonderland that you seek, Kohler has it covered. River Wildlife is a 500-acre wilderness preserve and hunt club. It is a wildlife sanctuary that offers 26 miles of scenic river, hiking and cross-country ski trails, river fishing, shooting sports, upland bird hunting and a rustic log cabin in the woods.

The groomed ski trails wind through wooded vistas and rolling meadows. Trails are available to River Wildlife members or resort guests with the purchase of an entrance pass. Rental equipment is available at Blackwolf Run Clubhouse for a nominal fee.

Discover the Immigrant Restaurant, The American Club's showcase restaurant. A DiRoNa award winner and Wine Spectator "Best of Award of Excellence" winner, the Immigrant Restaurant offers contemporary cuisine and a romantic atmosphere.

The restaurant is arranged in a series of six rooms decorated in the European style of early Wisconsin settlers: French, Dutch, German, Normandy, Danish and English. Jackets are required for gentlemen, and reservations are strongly suggested.

The nostalgic Wisconsin Room features premier Midwestern fare, including grilled angus fillet of beef and Lake Superior walleye.

The original dining hall of immigrant workers for Kohler Co., The Wisconsin Room features antique chandeliers, leaded glass windows, elegant draperies and fine furniture. Attire for the Wisconsin Room is business casual.

There's also the Craverie. It offers an innovative approach to dining, balancing indulgences and lean. For lovers of chocolate, the Craverie is the home of Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates, the definitive chocolate experience. It also offers an assortment of exotic pastries, sandwiches, churned gelatos and other exquisite desserts.

Craverie Lean presents kettle soups, salads, savories, sorbet and desserts that are big on taste but light on calories and sodium.

There is also a delightful selection of beverages, including signature coffees, hot chocolates and some of the best wine and beer. Reminiscent of a French café, the Craverie offers banquette seating as well as oversized leather chairs, a warm fireplace, chandeliers, mirrors and a splendid view of Wood Lake.

Guests can also take advantage of the products that made Kohler Co. famous. Kohler Co. - founded in 1873 and headquartered in Kohler - is a world leader in products for the kitchen and bath, and one of the oldest and largest privately held companies in the United States.

Daily tours are available and they include Kohler Design Center - a design haven of working Kohler kitchen and bath fixtures as well as a variety of Baker and McGuire furniture and Ann Sacks tile. 



Holiday packages

Kohler offers a holiday package beginning Nov. 28 and extending until Dec. 28.

Celebrate Christmas in Kohler includes a framed family portrait, special friend stuffed animal creation at The Nursery Window, letters to Santa, scavenger hunt and a candlelight walk around The American Club or The Village of Kohler.



Winter packages

The resort offers numerous winter packages tailored for all interests:

Taste of Austria

* Two nights, two guests.

* February 22, 5-6 p.m. - Reception at Waelderhaus - Traditional Austrian Recipes.

* February 23, 10-11 a.m. - Demonstration Kitchen Presentation - Viennese Coffee House Desserts.

* February 23, 2-3 p.m. - Wine Tasting in the Wisconsin Room - Wines of Austria.

* February 24, 10-11:30 a.m. - Demonstration and Lunch - Exploring Regional Austrian Cuisine.

Taste of Italy

* Two nights, two guests.

* March 8, 5-6 p.m. - Reception at the Kohler Design Center - A Tasting of Italian Regional Cuisine.

* March 9, 10-11 a.m. - Demonstration Kitchen Presentation - A Sampling of Traditional Italian Desserts.

* March 9, 2-3 p.m. - Wine Tasting in the Wisconsin Room - Wine Tour of Italy.

* March 10, 10-11:30 a.m. - Demonstration and Lunch - Preparing a Rustic Italian Meal.

Dining with The American Club chefs

* Two nights, two guests.

* April 5, 5-6 p.m. - Reception at the Kohler Design Center - Favorite Dishes of The American Club Chefs.

* April 6, 10-11 a.m. - Demonstration Kitchen Presentation - Citrus Desserts.

* April 6, 2-3 p.m. - Wine Tasting in the Wisconsin Room - Wines from California to Wisconsin.

* April 6, 6-7 p.m. - Reception with Chefs in Winery.

* April 6, 7-9 p.m. - Dinner in The Immigrant Room - a five-course meal prepared by the Chefs of The American Club.

* April 7, 10-11:30 a.m. - Demonstration Kitchen Presentation - A Vegetarian Picnic.



Winter activities

Dog sledding

* Explore the outdoors on a dog sled! Up to four people are pulled by 12 dogs at the Kohler Experiential Learning Center, nestled in on the banks of the Sheboygan River in Kohler.

* Dates: Dec. 27, 2008; Jan.10, 2009; Jan. 24, 2009; February 7, 2009; and February 21, 2009. Weather permitting.

* Hours: 9 a.m.-11 a.m.

* Cost: $20 per ride for approximately 10 minutes

* Available to the public; contact Kay Miller at (800) 344-2838, ext. 55029 or via e-mail at kay.miller@kohler.com.

Ice fishing

* With the whipping winter winds comes an abundance of frozen inland lakes and ponds in the Sheboygan County area. Crystal Lake, Elkhart Lake, Sheboygan Marsh and Little Elkhart Lake are the sites for the January "Four Lakes Fisheree." Weather permitting.


* Experience Kohler's winter wonderland on the snowshoe trails at Sports Core and River Wildlife. River Wildlife trails are available to members; or resort guests with the purchase of an entrance pass. Snowshoe rental is available at Sports Core for $11 for four hours, and $16 for up to eight hours.

Shooting sports

* River Wildlife offers a variety of shooting sports. Reservations are required and available to members and resort guests only. Lodging reservations are required before making reservations.

Upland bird hunting

* One of the Midwest's premier hunting clubs featuring ring-necked pheasants and partridge hunts. Expert guides, dogs and equipment are available. Hunting season runs from mid-September to early spring. Advance reservations, purchased hunting pass and experience are required. In addition, lodging reservations are required before making reservations.

Five-stand sporting clays

* A compact five-station course provides an invigorating workout for the experienced shooter. Each station simulates different wild game as it is flushed - "running rabbit," "springing teal," etc. Excellent for group activities. Lodging reservations are required before making reservations.

Trap shooting

* Valuable warm-up before a hunt, Trap shooting challenges sighting and coordination skills as targets hurtle away at 45-degree angles and varying heights. Available for larger groups as well as individuals. Lodging reservations are required before making reservations.



Story published Friday, December 5, 2008 ( Volume 3, Number 7 )

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