You probably think that someone like me, a person who writes blogs for the Kenosha Area Visitors Bureau, is pretty tech savvy, right? Up on all the latest gadgets and software, social media and internet navigation? Well, if you do think that, you would be sadly mistaken in my case. I love to write -- but if it weren’t our blog manager doing her magic, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to get my Word documents up into the blog section of their website. I love my cell phone – being able to text is great and I take way too many pictures with it. But my daughter usually has to re-train me after there has been a software upgrade and she’s normally the one that introduces me to new apps and how they work. So, suffice it to say that I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, and I fully intend for it to stay that way.
My one foray into the media sharing world is Instagram. It started out, as I’m sure all of these platforms do, as a way to simply share cell phone photos with my family and a few close friends. And that’s still pretty much what it is for me – I only have about 20 followers. One new thing I’ve learned, though, is the fun of hashtags. While some people use made-up hashtags to simply extend the caption of their photos in a clever way, some of the hashtags serve a very specific purpose and can be quite entertaining and informative to peruse. Lately, I have been looking at photos that people have posted to hashtags related to the Kenosha area: #kenoshalakefront, #pleasantprairie, #kenoshaharbormarket, #kenoshacounty, #kenoshacountyparks…you get the idea. You can’t imagine how many hours you could spend doing this kind of “research” – the #kenosha hashtag alone has 62,911 posts! And people take the most amazing photographs. Following are some examples of the kinds of things you will see if you check out these hashtags on Instagram – which I highly recommend that you do! Not only will you be blown away by the beauty of the Kenosha area, you will be encouraged to visit these places on your own. Perhaps you’ll even be inspired to snap a few photos and put them out there for all of us to enjoy! (And just so you know, I contacted these Instagram users and got permission to use their photos for this blog. Because that is the nice thing to do.)
It probably goes without saying that water is one of the most photogenic features on earth. There’s something so soothing, so appealing, about water that it enhances the beauty of everything that surrounds it. Kenosha is blessed with an incredible lakefront and harbor area that just screams “take my picture!” – and thousands of people are happy to oblige. User @dieseldogwear posted this picture of boats in the Southport Marina last summer, just steps away from the Saturday HarborMarket. The comment section says, “What a beautiful marina and friendly people”. One thing that was so obvious to me as I looked through these photos was how much people enjoy Kenosha; whether they’re visitors or residents, the comments often reflected not just an appreciation for the aesthetic beauty of the scenery, but also for the welcoming atmosphere. I love how this photo shows the masts of the sailboats reflected in the water and the way the filter they used made the sky and water such interesting shades of blue. HarborPark may be one of the most photographed parts of Kenosha.
The harbor itself is another of Kenosha’s waterfront photo opportunities. User @daynarenee posted this picture last fall of one of the Kenosha Community Sailing Center sailboat lesson taking place in the harbor. Again, all the different shades of blue in the water, the sky and the sails, make for a brochure-worthy photograph. This is one of those cases where the hashtags tell the story: #lakeside, #bythepier, #sailboat, #beautiful. That pretty much sums it up!
One of the newer additions to Kenosha’s fun waterfront area is the Tall Ship Red Witch, which began giving rides out of Kenosha last summer and has now made Kenosha her home. User @ineedapiccolo posted this picture of the Red Witch as she sailed out of the channel with a full load of happy customers last year. I love the way the sun is filtering through the sails – such a great shot. If you haven’t taken a Red Witch ride yet, be sure to put it on your list for this summer!
Of course, one of the best ways to enjoy the water in Kenosha is to go to the beach. User @loversabroad posted this photo of Simmons Island Beach in March. One of the hashtags mentioned in this post points out that they were the “only one on the beach” – of course, March is a little early to be sunbathing! I love the way this picture makes it look like a deserted Carribean island, but it’s also fun to realize that we’re only a couple of months away from this beach being filled with families, umbrellas and beach balls!
No blog about photos from Kenosha would be complete without one of the harbor taken from the west end, looking down the channel toward Lake Michigan. User @jessicafick took a beauty in September of just that. She comments that it was a beautiful day with a lot going on at the lakefront: the car show, art show and farmers market, just to mention a few. Thanks, Jessica, for the reminder of just how amazing that view is – it never grows old for me.
As we all know, Lake Michigan isn’t the only water in Kenosha County -- we have lakes, lots of them. (Wisconsin may have even more than 10,000 lakes so I’m not really sure how Minnesota got that distinction, but that’s a subject for another day…) Pleasant Prairie’s Prairie Springs Park and Lake Andrea hosts the boat races every summer, and one of the participants, user @a_nydahl71, posted this picture from the last race of the 2016 season. I love the bird’s eye view and the way this still shot somehow manages to give us a feel for the speed of these boats. Look for @a_nydahl71 to be back in Pleasant Prairie for the races on Memorial Day!
User @pete3960 posted this picture of another Kenosha area lake, Vern Wolf Lake, in the Richard Bong State Recreation Area last September. I was again drawn to that amazing blue sky – the calm water if like a mirror reflecting those puffy clouds. Check it out sometime! Just 8 miles southeast of Burlington, you can enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, biking and horseback riding. See dnr.wi.gov for details.
Some of the more dramatic photos I saw were those that captured the stunning Kenosha skies. User @tkdmomo posted this picture last fall of two sailboats on Lake Michigan at sunset. Being a California girl born-and-raised, when I first arrived in Kenosha, I grieved that the sun didn’t set over the lake…because I don’t know about you, but I don’t get up early to take pictures of the sun rising! The cool thing is, though, that even during sunsets in Kenosha, the eastern skies will sometimes take on that orange/pink hue that is normally reserved for the western skies. If it weren’t for the two sailboats, you would have difficulty seeing where the water ends and the sky begins. Great shot, tkdmomo4!
User @zhuffm007 is obviously one of those people that don’t mind getting up at the crack of dawn to get a beautiful sunrise picture. Taken in February, she commented that she was missing all the boats at Southport Marina and couldn’t wait for summer. Which will always get an “amen” from me! Luckily, the marina is now filling up and the temperatures are rising, but this photo is actually all the more stunning because of the empty marina, in my opinion!
Between those sunrises and sunsets, sometimes the lakefront gets some crazy clouds in the sky. User @brennasue1019 captured this ominous-looking bank of thunderclouds over Lake Michigan near the harbor last fall. I’m always astonished at how quickly the weather can change here. My guess is that, an hour before this shot was taken, the skies were sunny and clear. The picture is all the more dramatic because of the juxtaposition of the bright white streetlights against the dark gray clouds. Hopefully, brennasue1019 made it inside before those clouds released their heavy load of rain!
Last but not least in the dramatic category is a photo that user @alexmani27 took in August of a spectacular sky over the channel and the iconic North Pier Lighthouse. Apparently not a resident of our city, her comment was, “Ahh Kenosha, I will never stop visiting you!” How cool is that?
Some very whimsical photos caught my eye as I scrolled through the various sites. One of my favorite was taken at the Saturday Kenosha HarborMarket on a cloudy day in June last year. The bubble vendor was attracting attention in the grass between the market and the museums, and user @celiadoodle1993 captured this shot as one of the gigantic bubbles floated up into the trees.
Another fun one was user @nichlas30’s post of Movie Night at Petrifying Springs Park (locally known simply as Pets), taken last summer in August. What could possibly be better than watching a movie and, at the same time, enjoying a warm summer evening? I love how this picture captures the feel of dark theater seating, while also juxtaposing the blue screen against the blue night sky.
My guess is you will only recognize this photo if you spend time in downtown Kenosha with children! User @mmenendez3888 took this photo on a beautiful day in March, at the Tot Park playground by Southport Marina in HarborPark. The “smokestack” has been known to cause a few heart palpitations as parents watch their children jump into what looks like a well from a distance. That “well” isn’t very deep but some small fry do momentarily disappear until they stand up! Somehow @mmenendez3888 managed to take this shot looking straight up through the top of the smokestack.
Summer pictures of the Kenosha area abound on Instagram, for obvious reasons! Spring is always a highlight, too, as we all emerge from our cocoons. But for those willing to brave some cooler temperatures, fall and winter can provide some amazing photo opportunities as well. User @just_kyle_s posted this beautiful shot of the quieter side of the Lake Andrea area, Prairie Springs Park, in November. Don’t you just want to go sit on that bench and read for awhile?
Another stunning autumn shot was this one taken at Petrifying Springs Park in October, just as the leaves were beginning to turn. Kudos to user @stein048 for reminding us why we should take advantage of those crisp fall days!
For our final shot, we must give Old Man Winter a nod. There is something very magical about the mix of sky, water and snow, all in one photograph taken from the north end of Simmons Island. User @zachary_behnke took this picture of the lakefront this past winter and we owe him our thanks. I know how hard it is to take those gloves off and hope that your hands will stay warm enough to press the heat-sensitive shutter button on your phone! I just love that I can enjoy the beauty of all of these pictures while in the comfort of my warm and cozy living room.
That wraps up this seasonal surveyance of snapshots! I hope you have enjoyed our pictorial tour of the Kenosha area, and I also hope that it has not only inspired you to get out and enjoy this beautiful area, but also to take and share some photos with all of us on Instagram! You can find the Visitors Bureau on Instagram, too, by searching Visit Kenosha or checking out the #KenoshaFun hashtag.
Married to Randy. Left Seattle to retire in Kenosha to be near daughters. Grandma to two boys and mom to Cavalier Spaniel "Scuppers". Love HarborPark-living and showing off our Downtown area!