A Groundhog Day Adventure

On our first road trip adventure of the new year, my partner and I headed to nearby Racine and Kenosha, located along the Lake Michigan shoreline in the southeast corner of Wisconsin. Our trip started on Thursday (Groundhog Day Eve), with our first stop being the Siena Retreat Center in Caledonia just north of Racine. We had lunch with Linda McClenahan, aka “Sister Sarge,” a female Vietnam veteran, Dominican Sister, leader of the Coning Home veteran’s retreat, and all-around good friend. After lunch we watched the acclaimed SABBATH film at Siena.

Friday brought Groundhog Day in all its glory. To celebrate, we explored Kenosha in search of murals on buildings, lighthouses and sculpture in harborside parks, and lunch at the legendary Frank’s Diner. As usual, I documented the high points of our adventure in pictures.

Kenosha Mural Madness

I’m a big fan of photographing the beautiful murals that have been painted on the sides of buildings in recent years. In Kenosha, they call it Mural Madness. When I found out that Kenosha has several murals scattered around the city, I was determined to find and photograph as many of them as possible. I missed a few, but found most of them. Here’s the result. 

The Mural Madness website highlights a few of the best murals!Kenosha has it all…it’s even painted on our walls! Enter Kenosha’s Mural Madness.

Franks Diner

Franks Diner has been a famous Kenosha restaurant for almost a hundred years. While in Kenosha this time, we decided we couldn’t call this trip a success unless we ate there. And we did. It was a highlight of our Groundhog Day Adventure!

The Franks Diner website tells the story of this historic Kenosha diner.

In 1926, there was some real excitement in Downtown Kenosha when six horses pulled Franks’ Diner to the spot where it stands today. The structure was built by the Jerry O’Mahony company in New Jersey, and shipped to Kenosha on a railroad flatcar. Anthony Franks, who first learned of the unique restaurant opportunity through a magazine article, paid $7,500 plus $315 in shipping charges to launch his business. He added a dining room in 1935 and a larger kitchen in the mid 1940s. The Franks family operated the diner until 2001 when it was purchased by Chris Schwartz, Lynn Groleau and Kris Derwae from Don Franks and John Gilmores. Chris and Lynn sold the diner to Julie Rittmiller and Kevin Ervin in 2010.

Franks Diner has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and On The Road. As well as the United States of Bacon, the NFL Network, CBS Nightly News and WGN TV; on WNPR, WBEZ and WTMJ Radio, and in numerous travel and historical publications.

Kenosha Harborside Attractions

Part of our visit to Kenosha included exploring the waterfront area, home to lighthouses, public art, parks, and the Lake Michigan beach, complete with its 1934 public bath house.

Racine Art Museum

My partner and I love art museums, and visit them often during our travels. The Racine Art Museum (RAM) is one we’ve been trying to get to for the past couple years. We concluded this trip by finally visiting it. Bonus: We got in free on First Friday! The RAM website explains,

Racine Art Museum (RAM) is home to the largest contemporary craft collection in North America. RAM is located in Racine, Wisconsin, a historic community on the shores of Lake Michigan. The museum’s national reputation is built on its collection of contemporary craft, the award-winning architecture, and its nationally recognized exhibition program. 




  • Pauline Beck

    What a variety of images! I like how you found something to celebrate in the mid-winter dreariness (Groundhog Day Eve). In Franks Diner, the silver and blue of the grill area made a special image. The mural of the penguins, for a tux rental store, was very clever. I’ll bet Grace Lutheran Church is a friendly, outgoing place — the mural shows camaraderie and people working together. Finally, your museum images are always clean and straight and show off the piece in its best light.

  • Cora

    Thanks so much for sharing your adventures. You packed so much good stuff into your Groundhog Day road trip!

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