“Mention my name in Sheboygan, the greatest little town in the world!” (Other Trips, PHOTOS)

When my great-grandfather immigrated from Croatia (through Canada) he settled in the town of Sheboygan, Wisconsin along Lake Michigan. It was there he met my great-grandmother (the daughter of Croatian immigrants), built Croatian Hall (now a Boys and Girls Club) in 1927 with other Croatian-Americans on Sheboygan’s south side, and where my grandfather and great-aunt were born. Once the family moved to Chicago and my grandfather had his own sons (and they had their own sons) there seemed to be an almost yearly “pilgrimage” back to the “mother-town” for the males in my family. In my competitive card playing family the tradition included many games of Sheepshead and Euchre and lots of brats (it is Wisconsin!)!

Of course in a family as large as mine there always tends to be someone left out (my Uncle Vince will never let my grandmother forget that he “apparently” never had a birthday cake at his 1st birthday). When it comes to this male family tradition the one left out was ME! I had never been to Sheboygan and was the only male grandchild to have not been (except for maybe one of my cousins). This is partially that I grew up on the West Coast and partially my busy summer schedules (as my brother had been before) so I won’t seriously hold it over my family… for now…

Luckily this all finally changed this past weekend when the entire family had a reunion in Sheboygan. In attendance was the matriarch of the family, my grandmother (with my grandfather of course there in spirit), all 9 children, 7 of the 8 spouses, and 13 grandchildren rolled into the Blue Harbor Resort with a bang (we even got a letter from the mayor!). We didn’t stop there though because my great-aunt (grandfather’s sister) joined us with her family- 8 children and 8 spouses and most of her just as numerous grandchildren. When we took a gigantic family picture at the family dinner on Friday it felt like a game of Tetris getting all 57 of us in the right spots and using multiple rows of benches and chairs. Knowing my family (and I’ll leave it at that) we were lucky it didn’t turn into a game of Jenga…

We made a lot of great memories, even if it was record lows for the days of our trip… (of course I visit after I became a Floridian by blood). We did of course a lot of family meals (dinner, brunches, BBQs), trips with my little cousins to the indoor water park, many games of cards (Hearts and Euchre this time), and hearing about old memories.

One notable night of memories was Saturday night when my great-aunt’s family threw a big BBQ in the villas most of us were staying in. The night started off with each villa having something different- snacks in one, non-alcoholic drinks in another, beer and wine across the courtyard, desserts next to it, and the brats in the last one (including brats in gluten-free beer!). But later that night each room turned into almost themed rooms of story-telling. In one room was my grandmother and great-aunt recounting stories about their college years, my grandmother meeting my grandfather, my great-grandfather and great-grandmother’s best Croatian recipes, my aunt’s election to her judgeship, and more (a great recount can be found of my aunt’s blog Molly B and Me). Then in another room it was the next generation of my aunts, uncles, and mom’s cousins also recounting many great memories, but maybe a bit more comical and PG-13… (funny wedding stories were a common topic). Then with my “adult” cousins and I sprinkled throughout the rooms the younger cousins represented the next generation by taking over one villa for video games and the Disney Channel! All in all it was a great night of family traditions and favorite foods!

Given the cold weather and the amount of family time I don’t have too many photos to share besides the resort (actually just one other!). Sheboygan seems like a really quaint town with the lake and the river so I wish I had explored more. But if there was one place to stay close to home base it was Blue Harbor. The resort was beautiful. A classic Great Lakes resort that I love (the Grand Floridian at Disney World always reminds me of them) overlooking the lake. The indoor water park on the property (multiple inter-tube slides, lazy river, water play structure) was pretty clutch given the cold weather and the number of family members under 12! Additionally the villas were a great set-up for a family reunion and in the main hotel there were spaces for a family banquet and family brunch. Check out the pics of the Blue Harbor Resort plus one Sheboygan-at-large picture below! If you ever visit take a verse from the song my grandfather would always sing and “mention my name in Sheboygan, it’s the greatest little town in the world!”

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Blue Harbor Resort

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Back of the Blue Harbor Resort from the lake

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Lobby of the Blue Harbor Resort

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The row of villas along the lake

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Breakers Bay Water Park, which is indoors and on-property

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Fireworks to celebrate our family reunion!…. (well maybe technically a simultaneous festival across the street)

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The only non-Blue Harbor shot. The wall of Victorian Chocolate Shoppe that really caught my attention.

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One thought on ““Mention my name in Sheboygan, the greatest little town in the world!” (Other Trips, PHOTOS)

  1. Pingback: Finding authentic and fresh house-made gluten-free Neapolitan pizza in Sheboygan!! (Il Ritrovo) | portlandermiamian

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