There is a lot to enjoy in the charming small town of Racine, Wisconsin. Located on the shore of beautiful Lake Michigan between Milwaukee and Chicago, Racine has lovely beaches, parks and trails; Frank Lloyd Wright architecture; an amazing art museum; zoo; and the Wind Point Lighthouse. The lake provides plenty of opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and other watersports, and area restaurants provide any international delicacy you can imagine.
But speaking of delicacies, there was one we knew we had to sample when we were in Racine. The Kringle. A Scandinavian pastry, the Kringle is a Nordic form of a pretzel which can be filled with a variety of sweet options. Kringles are hand-rolled from Danish pastry dough which has rested overnight. The sheets of flaky dough are layered, then shaped into an oval, filled with fruit, nuts, or other flavors, and then baked and iced.
Since Wisconsin has historically been a center of Danish-American culture and Kringle making, the Kringle was designated the Official State Pastry in 2013, but they have long been a part of Racine’s cultural identity. A typical Racine–made Kringle is a large flat oval measuring approximately 14 inches by 10 inches and weighs about 1.5 pounds.
After learning all about Kringles, our primary goal while visiting Racine was to taste one of these delicious pastries.
First, we checked into the delightful and family friendly Harbourwalk Hotel, which is located right on the Lake Michigan waterfront with a wonderful view of the lake. We were traveling with our daughter, son-in-law, and nine year old grandson so we appreciated our comfortable, marina view rooms, the great indoor pool, and the easy access to area attractions.
After settling in, we took a walk to nearby North Beach, Wisconsin’s first beach to be designated as a Certified Blue Wave clean beach by the National Clean Beaches Council. We were astonished to see this 50 acres of clean sand and clear, blue water in the middle of a city! Free parking, lifeguards, a great kids playground, volleyball courts, concessions, and a wheelchair accessible walkway, meant there were plenty of people on the beach enjoying this great location.
There was even a family of ducks enjoying the beach and beautiful water!
We spent some time in our lovely indoor pool at the hotel, then dressed and walked to nearby Reefpoint Brew House along the charming, scenic walkway beside the lake.
We were interested in some local brews, great food, and a great view and we experienced all of these!
The next morning we were looking forward to what turned out to be the highlight of our visit to Racine. There are a number of bakeries in Racine which make Kringle but Lehmann’s Bakery was voted the best in Racine so how could we pass that up? Made fresh daily and shipped all over the country (you can order on their website), their Kringles are offered in 36 flavors with a variety of fruit, nut, and gourmet fillings.
They are a complete bakery, so they also had plenty of goodies on display in their case.
But we were all about the Kringle.
It was a tough choice.
So many fruit fillings and nuts and…hmmm. Chocolate chip. Ok, that was the winner. It was delicious, fresh, and flaky – the perfect Kringle. Now, we may very well be Kringle addicts. We will either have to order some online or return to Racine!
If you are in the area, be sure you don’t pass up this unique and delicious culinary delight!
On our way out of town, full of delicious Kringle, we stopped at the lovely Wind Point Lighthouse. We strolled around the meticulously maintained grounds, then took a fascinating tour which included the history of the lighthouse.
It was the perfect end to our Racine visit.