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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 22, 2014

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In Travel & Visitors Guide

The Electric Streetcar Circulator is a great way to tour the city of Kenosha.

Kenosha bridges Milwaukee and Chicago


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Chiwaukee Prairie to the south of Kenosha is a great example of natural prairie land, just outside of an urban area. It is one of numerous places to enjoy the outdoors in the county.

When you travel west of I-94, you're into the area where this writer was raised. Outdoor recreation is plentiful, headed by Bong Recreation Area. Here you could spend a day hiking, hunting or fishing.

If you're a golfer, Petrifying Springs, Brighton Dale, Spring Valley, Bristol Oaks and other courses in the county offer fun, challenging layouts. Don't miss the links-inspired Strawberry Creek and the Donald Ross-designed Kenosha Country Club courses too.

Paddock, Hooker, Silver and Twin Lakes are great lakes for boating, fishing, swimming and other recreation. The communities around them also offer small town atmosphere, with plenty of services and places to eat.

If this writer had one day to spend in Kenosha County, it would start at the beach or HarborPark to watch the sun rise over Lake Michigan. Then, it would be breakfast at Frank's Diner near Harbor Park.

Celebrities who have visited Frank's Diner over the years, include Bela Lugosi, Duke Ellington, Liberace and the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. Portions are generous so bring your appetite. The food is great and the service is sassy. The motto at Franks Diner is "Order What Your Want ... Eat What You Get."

Another historic place to eat is Andrea's Jack's Café on 60th Street. It has a historic soda fountain.

Fill out the morning by making some tours of one or more of those museums previously mentioned, then I would head west. If I had time, I'd play golf at either Pets or Spring Valley, which was my home course at one time. Any of the courses will offer a good round.

If I had company that preferred to fish, I'd hit Paddock Lake to wet a line. Again, any of the lakes offer good fishing, depending on the time of the year.

I'd try to make time for a hike at Bong or one of my longtime favorites, Fox River Park. between Silver and Twins lakes.

Then, watch the sun set over Lake Mary or Lake Elizabeth (the two Twin Lakes), and stop for dinner at the Stage Stop in Wilmot. It's an upscale, legendary steakhouse -- family owned and operated for six generations -- making it Wisconsin's oldest tap and dining room.

As you can see, one day isn't nearly long enough. So, why not take advantage of the many accommodations in Kenosha County and stay longer.

If you want to locate there, and maybe even establish a business, the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and other agencies can help. Kenosha County is ideally located between Chicago and Milwaukee, making it a good place to live if you commute to one of those larger urban areas, or a good place to establish a business to take advantage of the location.

There was a time that Kenosha County was primarily known for American Motors, and little else. It was a place to drive through as you headed farther north.

But, that time has long passed. The county now is a diverse, interesting place to visit or live, while still serving as the gateway to the region and state.

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