More personality than a sweater: One of the specimens at LondonDiary Alpacas in Two Rivers, Wisconsin
A glass of wine (or two) and a fuzzy sweater. Such are the survival tools for February. There’s plenty of both in the Manitowoc and Two Rivers, Wisconsin this weekend, where you can sample the wares of Wisconsin’s oldest licensed winery and get up close and personal with alpacas (and the cozy sweaters they provide). Where to go for wine and cuddles, plus two additional winter adventures in the area:
- Wine and history
The von Stiehl winery opened its doors in 1967, becoming the first winery in the state. Today, you can sip while savoring the place’s history every Saturday, when von Stiehl offers tours of its arched limestone production cellars (the building dates back to 1868) where more than two dozen varieties of vino are produced (including local favorite Dr. Stiehl’s Cherry Bounce, made with Door County’s famous cherries and named for the winery’s founder).
GO Von Stiehl Winery, 115 Navarino St., Algoma; 800-955-5208, vonstiehl.com.
- Snuggle up
You could go to Peru to see alpacas. But if that’s not practical, the fuzzy animals that look like a cross between a dromedary and a standard poodle are also plentiful at LondonDairy Alpacas in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Run by the fourth-generation farmer Kevin Stoer (although from the 1870s until the 1990s, it was primarily a chicken and dairy farm) and Alpaca textile innovator Wade Gease (he produced one of the nation’s first fabric blends of alpaca and bamboo fibers), LondonDairy is now also home to the Alpaca Threads Gift Store, which stocks a warm wonderful array of eco-friendly gifts, including teddy bears and slippers.
GO LondonDairy Alpacas and Alpaca Threads Fiber Studio, 6827 State Hwy. 147, Two Rivers; 920-793-4165, londondiaryalpacas.com.
- Making tracks
For $5 you can rent snow shoes for three hours at Two Rivers’ Woodland Dunes Nature Center, where trails are open over a portion of the 1,200-acre preserve. Bring binoculars: The area is home to some 260 species of resident and migratory birds. Trails are open dawn to dusk; check the website for snowshoe rental times.
GO Woodland Dunes Nature Center, 3000 Hawthorne Ave., Two Rivers; 920-793-4007, woodlanddunes.org.
- Going deep
All respect to the mighty Museum of Science and Industry and its U-505 German sub, but the country’s most fully restored World War II submarine, the USS Cobia, is in Manitowoc’s 60,000-square-foot Maritime Museum. So are a host of other aquatic exhibits, including a sport-fishing simulator.
GO Wisconsin Maritime Museum, 75 Maritime Dr., Manitowoc; 866-724-2356, wisconsinmaritime.org.
Where to stay: The Red Forest Bed and Breakfast (1421 25th St., Two Rivers; 888-250-2272, redforestbb.com) has rooms from $120 to $125. The Westport Bed & Breakfast (635 N. Eighth St., Manitowoc; 888-686-0465, thewestport.com) includes a full breakfast for $135 to $175 a night.
Where to dine: Al Corso (20931 Main St., Collins; 920-772-4056, alcorsorestaurant.com) offers contemporary American fare and a hearty wine list. Samantha’s (167 McKinley St., Valders; 800-775-5828, samanthasvalders.com) serves traditional steaks, fish, and chicken in a restored 1907 tavern.