Life is hectic, and sometimes we only have one weekend to get away. Make the most of your time and visit Destination Kohler in Kohler, Wisconsin — an exquisite gem of a resort only two-and-a-half hours from Chicago. In addition to good eats, the location also offers a wide variety of activities and events to fill the perfect travel itinerary. Go with your significant other, go with your friends, go with your family, go alone… just go.
But in case you need more convincing, here are four of the best reasons to visit:
Destination Kohler offers year-round activities. In the warmer months, you can enjoy shooting sports, bird hikes, kayaking, horseback riding, and outside sun fun at the Sports Core Health & Racquet Club, which offers two swimming pools, beach access, group fitness classes, and boat rentals — and more! Visitors can also check out the Kohler Design Center (more than 90 designers have showcased their work here since 1985), the Shops at Woodlake, Yoga on the Lake (the resort also has a really nice yoga boutique), fishing, and world-renowned golf at the Pete Dye-designed championship courses (the 1998 and 2012 Women’s Open and the 2004 and 2010 PGA were hosted here).
Destination Kohler has 12 distinctive choices for delicious food and drink, so you can be sure that your palate will be satiated. Here are a few of my favorites: The Immigrant Restaurant at The American Club, which offers contemporary cuisine (including diver scallops, salmon Oscar, and 30-day-aged prime tenderloin) and has a stunning wine room that holds over one million dollars’ worth of wine; The Winery Bar is an upscale, romantic nook that provides the perfect setting for a glass of wine or Scotch (it also expanded its menu in 2016 to include sushi rolls and Japanese-inspired cuisine with fresh fish flown in daily from Hawaii, Japan, and Alaska); The Wisconsin Room, which serves regional Midwestern fare (including a farm-to-table dinner menu) is the place to be for any meal, including brunch; The Horse & Plow is casual and serves up delicious pub food and microbrews; and The Greenhouse is a picturesque locale for little bites, desserts, homemade ice cream, European pastries, and espresso.
Recently, visitors had the opportunity to experience Destination Kohler’s In Celebration of Chocolate event (next year’s dates for the event are February 17—19, 2017), a rich weekend full of educational demonstrations, tastings, cooking classes, and meals that all have a chocolate component. From Executive Pastry Chef and funnyman Josh Johnson’s ice cream-making class to chocolatier and Harley-girl Anette Righi DeFendi’s “The Iconic Pairing — Chocolate & Wine” class, the festive weekend was full of great information and evidences of skill.
“It’s more important to learn something and have a conversation,” says Johnson. “We can’t show you recipes unless we teach you things — you should go home with knowledge.”
And, of course, everyone had the opportunity to sample Herb Kohler’s signature take on the turtle, his Original Buttery Terrapins. Other signature sweets include the stellar Garden Ganache and Rare Facets (chocolate jewelry!).
“The Terrapin launched our business,” says DeFendi. “It’s the best in the world, I promise.”
Destination Kohler has many more upcoming classes: Irish Feast with a Twist on March 12, a Field and Stream hunting and fishing culture special event on March 19, Chocolate Skills with Anette Righi DeFendi on March 26, The Ultimate Bloody Mary Brunch on April 2, Gluten-free Baking on April 16 and Italian Cheese Making at Home on April 30, among others.
A not-to-miss annual event is the Kohler Festival of Beer from April 29 to May 1, which celebrates craft brews and brings together beer enthusiasts from around the nation. Guests will enjoy live music, food-paring events, cooking demonstrations from famed chefs, and, of course, a bunch of beer.
Also, mark your calendar for the 16th annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience, happening October 20 to 23. This is a huge four-day celebration of food and wine that lets you experience an interactive culinary event full of celebrity chefs, wine and libation experts, and epicurean delights from around the world.
To learn about other classes, events and happenings — including yoga events at Yoga on the Lake — take a peek at Destination Kohler’s calendar.
Although the food is incredible, the 2015 Forbes Five-Star Kohler Waters Spa (one of only 47 spas globally with this exclusive distinction) is my number one reason to go to Destination Kohler. You can relax in the wet or dry sauna, soak in the hot tub, swim in the pool, and relax in a chaise with an iced towel and cucumbers on your eyes before indulging in a luxury treatment or service. New experiences include the Bamboo Bliss, a warm full-body bamboo massage; the Magnificent Wrap, a hydrotherapy treatment that involves complete exfoliation, a magnesium mineral bathing, a seaweed or mud body wrap, and moisturizer; and the 50-Minute Facial Upgrade option, which adds on 30 minutes to your facial treatment with dermaplaning or the micro-current lift. The menu of services also includes manicures and pedicures as well as scalp and hair treatments.