Porsche Boxster S to Kohler

Porsche Boxster S to Kohler

This report is about an automobile and a destination that perfectly match passion with performance. Neither the creators of the Porsche Boxster “S” nor Herb Kohler Jr. could enjoy a night’s rest if they believed their motorcar or world-class resort delivered anything less than the finest experience of its kind. We’re delighted to report, they all sleep very well.

For the person who appreciates the finest in motorcars, passion usually includes power, performance, prestige, personality and pizzazz. Or you could simply say, “Porsche.” And note that the name of the car, like the family of its namesake, is pronounced with two syllables—”Porsh-uh.”

This exquisite example of a mid-engined, two-seated sports car will put a smile on your face.

As for arriving at The American Club Resort, in Kohler, it’s much like becoming a treasured guest at a dear friend’s manor house. Herb Kohler Jr., president and chairman of the Kohler Company, is a big personality and a man of many interests. He pursues them all passionately, on a grand scale; fortunately he also chooses to share them with guests at the America Club. And his passion is contagious: At every Kohler property, from coffee shop to four-star restaurant, each staff member seems to share the chairman’s passion to provide each guest with the finest and most memorable experience.

The Immigrant Room is Mr. Kohler’s salute to the many Europeans who braved the New World and were the first employees of the Kohler Company. Chef Matt Bauer, a hometown boy who started working in the kitchens of Kohler while still in high school, shares Mr. Kohler’s passion for fine dining. If you’re ready for a food adventure, there’s none better than the Chef’s Tasting Menu with beverage pairings. Wines are drawn from a superb list bigger than many text books.

We have not stopped talking about the opening course. We called it  “Peanut Butter and Jelly Foie Gras.” Seriously. Seared foie gras served on banana French toast, with black currant reduction dusted with peanut butter powder. Wine Steward Jason Van Auken says, “Chef Bauer gives me gold to work with, so I feel responsible to make a perfect pairing.” He serves a delicious Kabinett and thus sets the bar high for the following four courses.

As for the Porsche Boxster “S,” it’s a convertible. The best kind. German engineers built the well-insulated hard top to lower and raise electronically, with one touch of one button. There are no clamps, bolts, fasteners or ill-fitting grommets to mind. You can even drop top as you’re driving (under thirty mph) around the neighborhood. The sun, breezes and big blue sky are yours to savor. Topless feels great. But that’s just for starters.

Step on the exhilarator…err…the accelerator, and the 315-horsepower, six-cylinder power plant embeds you in comfortable, form-fitting, fourteen-position, heated or cooled sports seats. Yes, floor it. In about the time it takes to read this sentence you’ll be at Interstate speed. And if you get a chance to try this at Road America, push another button and the car’s power, shifting, suspension, transmission and performance lock into Sport Chrono mode, eager to eat up twisty corners and let lesser automobiles disappear in your rear-view mirror. Handling is intuitive and exquisite. With nineteen-inch alloy wheels and power rack-and-pinion steering, you will stick to the corners like the white line. The seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung dual-clutch transmission knows, better than you, what gear to use.
Let passion be served.

Back at the American Club, you’ll learn that Mr. Kohler loves chocolate. And pecans. And caramels. Like almost everything in his realm, he has inspired and empowered his staff to make each of these taste treats the best. Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates started with turtles, only done better: At the American Club, they’re terrapins.

Chocolatier Anette Righi loves everything chocolate. She oversees the by-hand creation of Kohler’s signature sensations at Craverie from painting molds with colored cocoa butter to hand sorting pecans. Each chocolate is almost too pretty to eat. Almost. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but the Brownie line with soft, buttery caramel filling is our current delight. And of course we embraced Mixologist Van Auken’s recommendation to adopt vices in pairs, and washed down our brownie with a solid pour of Angel’s Envy bourbon, which took the chocolate course to a whole new level. Such a Kohler thing to do!

Driving the Boxster from the American Club to Sheboygan and out Wisconsin State Highway LS to Whistling Straits at Haven, we were captivated by the car’s beautiful sounds. In town, we enjoyed the perfectly tuned 235-watt CDR AM/FM/CD sound system. Seven speakers surround you with rock, classical or pop. But if you’re a true auto aficionado, you’ll want to mute the music and listen to the car. The sound of the 3.4 liter Boxster engine is a beautiful, mesmerizing, joyous, audacious throaty roar. It could easily become your favorite soundtrack


Back in Kohler, The Horse and Plow pub and restaurant welcomes informal gatherings of family and friends. The pub was once part of Kohler’s “American Club Dormitory,” with a bowling alley, where immigrant employees gathered for socializing. The new incarnation offers a wide selection of craft beers, including Central Waters from Amherst and Three Sheeps brews made fresh in Sheboygan. A new, updated menu includes long-time favorites Cheese Beer Soup and Cheese Curds. Save room for a pretzel, handmade and fresh!

But it’s not all food. After all, no one does water like Kohler. The Kohler Waters Spa is the first and only Forbes Five-Star spa in Wisconsin. It’s one of just thirty-five spas worldwide to earn this distinction.

Humans weren’t designed to give themselves back massages, so Kohler Waters lends a hand.  It offers back exfoliation and hydration as part of the extraordinary Kohler Signature Facial Service. The technician tailors everything to your liking, including aromatherapy, room temperature, and the temperature of the heated water mattress. The term “facial service” is almost a misnomer because nearly every part of your body, including head, hands and feet, enjoys a massage. 

Then, a spirited Boxster sprint from Kohler takes you to cutting-edge contemporary art at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. “Expect the Unexpected” say the Center’s promoters, and they deliver. Changing exhibits explore the outer boundaries of modern art expression in all media. A JMKAC specialty is work by “vernacular artists” such as Mary Nohl, Fred Smith and Nick Englebert, who transformed their environments into multifaceted works of art. From twisted tinsel to colored concrete, these expressions amaze, startle and challenge our notions of art. And don’t miss the JMKAC washrooms, each an extraordinary collaboration between artist and industry—a concept embraced by the museum’s director, Ruth Kohler, at the outset in 1974. Like the car, like the cuisine, the Center is an exemplar of passion.  

Sunday brunch in the American Club’s Wisconsin Room brings to a bittersweet end the perfect weekend. This room was once the dining hall for workers. Toast them, Kohler, and your own passion with a Mimosa and then face tough choices: smoked salmon, walleye, mussels, shrimp, smoothies, Neuske bacon, Crème Brulée French toast with real Wisconsin maple syrup, made-to-order omelets, and Prime rib with horseradish sauce. A buffet done perfectly.

Finally, regarding that motorcar, a word of caution. And no, it’s not about speed. Your good sense, along with the thirteen-inch Boxster brakes up front and 11.8″ back binders, can slow you from sixty miles per hour to zero quickly. No, stopping isn’t the problem. The caution is this: take a look in the showroom and you’ll want to test drive the Boxster. Take the test drive and you’ll instantly understand that you really need this car. You hear a voice: “You only live once.”  Passion wrestles reason to the mat. Yes, passion. Go ahead. Take a look. “You were made for each other.” Sit in it. You deserve at least that much, right?

The American Club Resort

The Horse and Plow Pub

419 Highland Drive, Kohler

(855) 444-2838


Craverie Chocolatier Café

725 D Woodlake Road, Kohler

(920) 208-4933


Kohler Waters Spa

501 Highland Drive, Kohler

(800) 344-2838


Whistling Straits

N8501 County LS, Haven

(866) 847-4856


The John Michael Kohler Art Center

608 New York Ave, Sheboygan

(920) 458-6144


Sousa Concert and Fireworks

July 4, dusk, Ravine Park,

free admission

John Philip Sousa Commemorative Concert

With guest John Phillip Sousa IV

Yoga Retreats

September 26-28, Water Theme;

November 6-8, Winter Theme

13th Annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience

October 18-21,


Taste of Kohler: Farm Fresh to Table

November 17-18

Wisconsin Holiday Market

November 22-24

Five-Star Dine Around

December 5

Gary and Mae Patrice Knowles live in Madison where he is a freelance writer and marketing consultant to clients in travel, food, hospitality and entertainment and she is a Communications Manager for the State of Wisconsin.