Milwaukee, Wisconsin is Harley Hog Heaven
With more than 450 bikes on display dating to that earliest moments when William Harley and Arthur Davidson started tinkering around with the idea of attaching an engine to a bicycle frame in 1903, the H-D Museum is hog heaven for those enthralled with the concept of freedom on the open road that riding a Harley represents.
There is a bike documenting each year the company has been in existence, most of them fresh off the factory floor, and a number of the wilder custom-built bikes for which H-D is famous. The 13-foot long, dual engine "King Kong" is one of the wildest, but the 1994 Ultra Classic pink and grey "lady rider" with custom lipstick holder is not a bad example either.
Helping to explain how powerful Harley engines work is a crude but accurately worded exhibit called "Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow." Visitors can also straddle a hog of their own with staff on hand to take the obligatory photo.
Extreme sports nuts will be impressed with the exhibits on motorcycle-on-ice races, motorcycle chariot races, motorcycle polo and the ever popular hill climbing competitions. A reproduction of the XR-750 that Evel Knievel rode when jumping 13 busses in London's Wimbley Stadium in 1975 will surely inspire a few crazy antics.
History lovers and patriots will appreciate the area dedicated to military production and how these motorcycles were used by troops transitioning from horseback to motorized transportation in both world wars.
Economics scholars should enjoy the ups and downs of the company through the Great Depression, competition from Great Britain, the merger with AMF and later return to public ownership in 1986.
There's even something for Elvis groupies. The original paperwork and the 1956 side-valve model KH owned by the King. Yes, it too, is here in Milwaukee.
Located on 20 acres along the banks of the peaceful Menominee River, the Harley-Davidson Museum is equally a monument to the industrial age of American ingenuity and Milwaukee's manufacturing heritage that at one point equaled about 60 percent of the local economy. More than 1200 tons of steel, glass and brick speak to the rawness and energy that is the Harley experience.
For those who don't see the world through black and orange-colored glasses, the Motor Bar and Restaurant at the museum complex has quickly earned an independent reputation for a premiere dining spot in the Milwaukee. Known for its breaded cheese curds, a Wisconsin staple, Motor also specializes in Wisconsin fried fish, huge twisted pretzels accompanied by homemade spicy mustard, and brat melt sandwiches. A little chicken schnitzel with lemon butter sauce completes the tasty cardiac arrest available at Motor.
Before visiting the H-D Museum, check the website for special events that include things like Vintage Thursdays, Family Sundays and spotlights on artifacts. The museum is open daily, although hours vary seasonally.
The hog-heaven-high state of nirvana that bikers reached that hot July day elevated to yet another height a few months later when, in October 2008, the Iron Horse Hotel opened its doors, catering to motorcycle mammas, daddies and babies.
Located just across the river within a straight line of site from the museum, the Iron Horse is a luxury boutique hotel designed for motorcycle enthusiasts. Furniture was once made in this 100 year old building that now exposes the oak and pine beams, brick walls and features from Milwaukee's industrial past.
Several vintage Harleys in the lobby and custom bikes in the bar are equal to the quality exhibits at the museum a few blocks away. Throw in a 100-year-old custom billiards table, Bank of London chairs and other period antiques, and a night at The Iron Horse is indeed like a night at the museum.
For the guest who arrives on a motorcycle, covered parking is available including complimentary cleaning rags to keep that chrome shining. There's also a bike washing station and an on-call mechanic if things are purring perfectly, or roaring raucously as the case may be.
Custom-designed hooks in each of the 102 guest rooms can hold up to 80 pounds of biker leather. A boot bench provides a convenient place to remove those bad boys and tuck them away, along with helmets, do-rags and the like. There's also an on-site bike rental service.
A number of special events throughout the year make Milwaukee the perfect destination for the biker culture. The local dealership, Riders Edge, for example offers beginning and advanced rider programs in warm weather months. (Yes, it gets a little chilly in Milwaukee in the winter).
Come for a baseball game at Miller Park, where the retractable roof and heating elements make it a great game destination early and late in the season. But bikers and 42 of their friends may now party in the Harley Deck, a ballpark addition in 2009. Enter through the Harley-Davidson park entrance, feast on brats, barbecue and beer in premiere spot in left field, just above the Brewers' bullpen.
Motorcycles are probably more common on the streets of Milwaukee than any other city in the United States. Rarely does a ride come with frowns from those who don't appreciate the roar. More often, bikers in Milwaukee are recipients of stares of admiration, comparison and camaraderie.
Article and Photography By Diana Lambdin Meyer
Milwaukee Walks the Sustainability Walk
If you want one year of prosperity, plant corn.
If you want ten years of prosperity, plant trees.
If you want one hundred years of prosperity, educate people.
Increasingly more and more meeting and convention planners are looking at a community's commitment to sustainable practices when deciding a host destination. While the Milwaukee area and its Milwaukee 7 Water Council are working to make the region a worldwide hub for fresh water research sciences and sound environmental practices, the community's many educational resources are also leading the way in these efforts.
The University of Wisconsin System is now offering a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Management degree offered collaboratively by four UW campuses: UW-Parkside, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout, and UW-Superior.
The program is available for students who have completed the first two years of a bachelor's degree or have completed at least 60 credits of transferable coursework with a minimum GPA of 2.0 at any of the 26 UW campuses, or (if approved) at other colleges or universities in Wisconsin or the United States.
The Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Management is an interdisciplinary program that helps students gain a broad understanding of the ways in which business systems, natural systems, and social systems intersect. The curriculum includes courses in:
- Environmental studies
- Triple bottom line accounting
- Natural resource management
- Information systems
- Logistics, supply chain management, and sustainability
With a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Management, graduates will be qualified to help businesses develop sustainable practices for a global marketplace, while still helping to preserve natural resources and strengthen community.
What is sustainability?
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
-World Commission on the Environment and Development
By educating our students on sustainable business practices, Milwaukee will be better positioned to capture this workforce and continue its efforts as it continues to leverage its freshwater assets and implement other sustainable practices.
Smooth Traveler: Memorable Milwaukee
More than 10,000 years ago humans began to settle on the shore of the largest freshwater lake in the country. They called it "Michi Gama," meaning "big lake." The first European, Jean Nicolet, discovered the lake in 1634 and in 1761 Milwaukee is documented for the first time.
Milwaukee's first immigrants were hunters and trappers who settled on what was then a land occupied by local tribes and the name was taken from a Potawatomi Indian word meaning "council grounds." The natural harbor was impetus for the village's rapid growth in the early 1800s and the city's continued popularity and current designation as one of America's most livable cities. Situated on the shores of the only Great Lake with no international border it has maintained the vast majority of its shoreline for public use and visitors can enjoy the 1.6-mile riverwalk and 25-mile "liquid parkway" in a variety of ways. In addition to fishing, canoeing, kayaking and boat tours, an exciting way to experience the waterway is to attend an event in the Henry W. Maier Festival Park.
Milwaukee is world renowned as the "City of Festivals," with a schedule of events that boggles the mind and fits every taste. The 75-acre Maier Festival Grounds, named in honor of a former mayor, is best known as the site of "Summerfest", the largest music festival in the world.
It all began in 1968 when the first Summerfest was spread out over more than thirty locations throughout the city. In the 70s a dedicated location was chosen on the lakefront as a permanent grounds for festivals, concerts and varied events. From a series of rudimentary stages the grounds have expanded to consist of eleven, genre-specific stages of varying sizes, an aerial tram, a children's area featuring special activities and artists and nearly 100 retail and food venues.
Although numerous events are held on the grounds the most famous is still the 11-day Summerfest held in June and July. For more than forty years people have gathered here to celebrate the season and the songs on the shore of Lake Michigan.
There are more than 500 music performances and 200 other types of acts. While watching performances on the US Cellular Stage you can text messages to the stage to vote on the best act and prizes are awarded at the end of the show. Headliners perform in the 23,000 seat Marcus Amphitheater. Prices are more than reasonable with a 3-day pass to the grounds costing less than $50.00 with most of the performances being included in the ticket price. This is a do not miss event. http://www.summerfest.com/
Just as Summerfest is a don't miss event, Milwaukee is filled with must see sites and activities. If shopping is on your list one of the fun places is Retique, the first Goodwill boutique stocked with handpicked designer and vintage clothing, high-end housewares and artworks and handcrafted items, all previously owned and all at astonishing prices. The 5,343-sq. ft shop is situated in the historic Third Ward at 190 N. Broadway. http://www.amazinggoodwill.com/
The Safe-House, 779 N. Front Street, is often featured in the media as one of the most imaginative and exciting places in the city and every word is true. This spy-themed cocktail lounge is wonderful from the moment you set out to find it. Tucked away on a side street, with a discreet sign marked International Exports Ltd., you are sworn to not reveal its location once you find it. Entrance is gained via Ms. Moneypenny's office and the delivery of the correct code.
The earliest documented mention of a spy visiting a safe house is that of the Biblical Joshua in the home of Jericho's Rahab the Harlot and the interior of this safe house is designed around the concept that modern spies continue to need a place to regroup. It is divided into different sections, a French café, an English room, Russian and American Sectors, with the center being a neutral Swiss area.
The décor includes movie posters, many autographed by stars who have visited, the world's largest mechanical puzzle, a fragment of the Berlin Wall, a cell door from East Berlin's Stassi Prison and, my personal favorite, a telephone booth with a wide variety of background noises for use in providing alibis. True to the spirit of the venue the website offers a unique virtual experience. http://www.safe-house.com/
Adjacent to the Safe House is the oldest continuously functioning Press Club in North America, the 1885 Milwaukee Press Club. Autographed plaques on the walls are an American who's who and thematically showcase the signatures of thirteen presidents, including Obama, and a host of entertainers, boxers, and literary figures.
How do you honor a legend? Thousands of people find out each year when they visit the Harley-Davidson Museum at 400 West Canal Street. The 20-acre, three building complex houses a museum, archives, retail shop and two restaurants. The 2-story, nine-gallery museum focuses on 106 years of history through interactive displays, audio, videos and photographs.
Exhibit highlights include the oldest known Harley, Serial Number One, displays of both vintage and customized bikes and the Pop Culture Gallery with Elvis' 1956 Model KH and clips from movies showcasing famous bikes and their riders. At the end of the self-guided tour guests can climb atop the Harley of their choice for a photo op. Don't miss the shop. You can purchase anything from a magnet to a $600 Monopoly game. You can really channel your inner adventurer here. http://www.h-dmuseum.com=0d/
The city's most awe-inspiring structure is the Milwaukee Art Museum with its 2001, $110-million expansion that includes a magnificent wing-like brise soleil, moving sunscreen, with a span equal to that of a Boeing 747. It is 217-ft. across and a mere 1/4-inch thick, thin gauge steel.
Tours begin in the atrium with its marble floor that undulates in the light and 90-ft. tall, 293-ft. wide window. Visitors need several hours to view the museum's 20,000 object permanent collection, 1,400 of which are on display. 700 N. Art Museum Drive. http://www.mam.org/
Discovery World, 500 N. Harbor Drive, is the place to test your skill in any of numerous interactive exhibits. This 120,000-foot complex opened in 2006 with a plethora of displays including an aquarium, television studio and recreated 1800s schooner. http://www.discoveryworld.com/
The 3-story Milwaukee Public Museum is a great place to get an overview of the city's history by walking through the replicated "Streets of Old Milwaukee" and a "European Village" that interprets the lifestyles and ethnic heritage of thirty European cultures. Additional highlights include a 2-story Costa Rican Rainforest walk and an excellent series of ethnological dioramas showcasing the diversity of Africa and its people. 800 W Wells St. http://www.mpm.edu/
Brewery baron Captain Frederick Pabst built his Flemish Renaissance Revival Mansion in 1892 at, 2000 W. Wisconsin Avenue, at a cost of $250,000. The 3-story residence was constructed with an elevator, both gas and electric lights, nine bathrooms, 14 fireplaces and hot and cold running water. It remains an architectural gem. Guided tours of the sixteen rooms reveal original furnishings, hardware, woodwork and doors and rooms, each different with furniture designed to match the room. http://www.pabstmansion.com/
The Pabst Mansion does not provide overnight accommodations but leave it to Milwaukee to provide modern day, historic, deluxe equivalents.
The Iron Horse Hotel caters to vacationers and motorcycle enthusiasts. This 6-story, boutique hotel offers 102 rooms in a 100-year old restored furniture company. Guests can experience authentic Wisconsin in the 2-story atrium or in rooms complete with antique furniture, original timbers and artwork by local artists. http://www.theironhorsehotel.com/
The Art Deco Ambassador Hotel is on the register of Historic Hotels of America. It has been refurbished with modern amenities but retains the elegance of its era. 2308 West Wisconsin Avenue. http://www.ambassadormilwaukee.com/
You can't leave Milwaukee without visiting the Potawatomi Bingo Casino. Dream Dance Steak is a 4-star, 4-diamond restaurant that is unrivaled for its cuisine, presentation and service.
After your meal be certain to end your trip with a stop in the 1,300-seat Nest of Life Bingo Hall. It opened in 1991 and pays a jackpot minimum of $73,000 daily. Players choose between paper and electronic cards and the number of cards people can play simultaneously is amazing. http://www.paysbig.com/
There are direct flights to Milwaukee from Philadelphia and fall fares are currently on sale. It is truly a special city filled with unique and unusual things to do and see. Information is available online. http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/
I wish you smooth and festive travels!
By Renée S. Gordon
U.S. Travel Association Gives the Bronze Fonz the Thumb’s Up
A 2009 Destiny Award was recently presented to VISIT Milwaukee for its 2008 project: "Bronze the Fonz: A Celebration of Cool in Milwaukee" by the National Council of Destination Organizations (NCDO), an industry council of the U.S. Travel Association. The Destiny Awards are comprised of four categories: single targeted marketing promotion programs, full campaign marketing programs, interactive marketing programs and special projects.
The Bronze Fonz was awarded in the category of Marketing Programs: Special Projects. The statue of the "Happy Days" character Fonzie portrayed by actor Henry Winkler, was dedicated in downtown Milwaukee on Aug. 19, 2008. In addition to the positive international awareness from the event, the sale of commemorative autographed cast posters and a contribution from Culver's raised more than $17,000 for a literacy program run by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee.
The Destiny Awards, created in 1983, are designed to recognize members for excellence in destination marketing and promotion at both the local and regional levels. It also fosters the development of imaginative and innovative destination marketing promotion programs.
VISIT Milwaukee received the award Aug. 31 during the closing ceremony at the U.S. Travel Association's annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) in Reno/Lake Tahoe, NV.
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $770 billion travel industry. U.S. Travel's mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. For more information, visit http://www.ustravel.org/.
VISIT Milwaukee markets Greater Milwaukee to tourists, convention and meeting planners nationally and internationally and is dedicated to ensuring our guests are warmly welcomed and enjoy an enriching experience in this jewel of the Great Lakes. VISIT Milwaukee has more than 620 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Tourism generated $2.7 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2008 and supported about 66,000 local jobs. The City of Wauwatosa, Midwest Airlines, Potawatomi Bingo Casino and the Wisconsin Center District are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/.