The Waters: Beer Trail Goes Upscale!

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Stumped! That’s what we were when we learned Christine’s was not open yet because the building was still being remodeled. We stood on the sidewalk outside of Fletch’s on that lovely June 26 night and pondered what to do. Maybe Woodchuck’s for pizza? Any other place on the northeast side? “We could go to The Waters,” Judy said. We’re not members we said. “Oh, but Don and I are.” Well, that was news.

So while Gary, our designated driver steered the white van east toward Lake Winnebago, Judy explained how she and Don became members of the local yacht club. She and Don and their daughter Amy and her husband had attended a fundraiser dinner for the Boys and Girls Club some months ago. Amy had won a basket of goodies that she had bid on. Among the gifts was a one-year’s membership to The Waters. Amy gave that to her mom and dad since her family doesn’t live in Oshkosh.

Just hours before we had set out on this trail ride, Judy had called The Waters confirming her membership. That’s how we ended up having supper and drinking beer at The Waters, 1326 Washington Avenue. As a result on this trail ride we visited two old architecturally memorable buildings.

The Waters sits on the lakeshore just south of Menominee Park. It was built in 1903 from a design by William Waters as the Oshkosh Yacht Club. It underwent major renovations in 2008. It is now an “events” center as well as yacht club and American Legion Post. People can buy summer memberships for dining and sailing.

It is a lovely white clapboard two-story building. Corinthian columns mark its Classical architecture entrance. We climbed the staircase to the main floor, crossed a large reception room and entered the barroom. Two bartenders, Kyle and Kyle, smartly attired in blue polo shirts with The Waters logo, were ready to serve us. While I snapped a picture of the two Kyles, Marvin ran his eye over the top shelf of high-end liquors: Bulliet, Basil Hayden, Larceny, 12 year old Glenmorangie, Jameson, Bushmills and Johnny Walker Black were among those he saw.

We selected a table in the dining room facing the lake so we could watch the few sailboats in the harbor. At the table next to us sat our former mayor and friend Burk Tower and his family. There were only four tap beers available: New Glarus Spotted Cow and Moon Man, Coors Light and Lakefront Eastside Dark. Elaine, Marv and I chose Moon Man; Don chose the Lakefront Eastside Dark, Judy chose a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and Gary, our designated driver had a glass of water.

The menu centers on soups, salads, and sandwiches. Don and Judy shared a bowl of soup and warm pear salad. Elaine and Gary shared a Reuben sandwich and soup. Marv had soup and a corned beef sandwich. I had a portabella mushroom Panini. All the food was very tasty.

Earlier at Fletch’s Don brought up the country’s political mess and Marvin further had depressed us by urging us to read Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data in which the author, among other things, writes that people lie about whom they vote for and even if they vote. Sigh.

Now it was time to talk about something more upbeat like what do you like to watch on TV. Marv likes Preacher (I read while he watches that). Don likes Homeland. We all agreed the best series in the last few years was Justified. We jumped from that to upcoming events. Don and Judy’s granddaughter was appearing in Beauty and the Beast. Hurrah for her! Marv and I were looking forward to a visit from Marty, his cousin, and wife Janine and had planned a day at the horse show at the fairgrounds in Oshkosh. Marty has a stable of ponies down in Illinois. He never brings up the horses to this show, but like to watch the events. Elaine told us that in grad school in Illinois she took an equestrian class and even “rode to the hunt.” Really? In southern Illinois? So, that explains Gary? I always associated that activity with upper class Britons in the 1890s.

As we were leaving the dining room to explore the second floor of The Waters, we met John and Susie. “Oh,” John said, “are you on one of your beer trail rides?” “Yes,” I said and “I’ll mention this in our blog post.” So, John and Susie are you reading this?

We climbed the staircase to the second floor that has a large ballroom and a stage. In the second floor hallways hang several photos of The Waters. Two in particular caught our notice. A large photo of The Waters with the yacht club members taken in 1904. Next to that hangs a large photo of The Waters after its 2008 restoration also with a large group of people including Elaine and Gary. Cool. Marvin saw Zelig in both pictures.

So, though we didn’t have an egg roll at Christine’s, we had to admit our visit to The Waters was ideal for a summer evening.

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About Author

Frankie Mengeling

Frankie Mengeling taught English at Oshkosh North High School and Lourdes High School and was co-director of the Fox Valley Writing Project at UWO. She lives on the Oshkosh’s only hill, with her husband Marvin, son Tom and cat Katrina. The blog www.ridingthebeertrail.wordpress.com began in the summer of 2009 after the three couple beer trail began.

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