MANITOWOC, Wisc., (WFRV) – I am an intentional tourist.

If you have to love your job in order to be happy than nothing makes me happier than when I’m assigned to explore a new place for the job.

And for me, everything is new in Northeast Wisconsin. I have lived in the Southeastern part of the state for 15 years and have no idea I never explored sooner the lakeshore “up north” as they would say “down there.”

As a newbie the first welcoming sign is that parking is free in historic downtown Manitowoc. There are loading zones and sometimes two hour restrictions, but when I visited in April it certainly was a delightful surprise one of many I recently shared as part of the Local 5 News series “Street Cred.”

One wonderful stop I could share more of was on the corner of 8th Street and Maritime Drive. “The Flower Gallery” is what I would call a flower and something special shop. In addition to an array of blooms, they also have section of beautiful clothing, hats, jewelry and home accessories.

What is most remarkable is that this has been a flower shop at this very same spot for nearly a century. The wood and glass flower case in the center of the shop is the original. It was a breath of fresh air to escape the brisk wind that blows at this intersection because of the high rises and the river, creating every changing direction that is bound to put a little pep in your step.

Across the way is the Maritime Museum which is a beautiful testament to Manitowoc’s ship building roots and vital role in the World War II effort. While most know well the incredible accomplishment of 28 submarines ahead of schedule and below budget, I also learned that the land decks for several military vessels were also made here.

“Many of the landing crafts that were used in the Normandy Invasion were built in the shipyards of Manitowoc and tested out on the beach just north of here. In many ways, it is the city’s finest hour.”

Perhaps you get the best perspective on the place you call home when you look at it through the eyes of visitors. While checking out the spot where a piece of a Russian satellite crashed onto 8th back in the 1960’s, I met a couple from Georgia also getting their picture at the spot.

“We had to come here and see this after we spoke with a bartender named Charlie down at the Irish Pub here,” Airline workers Mark Wozniak from Atlanta shared with me. “I think it’s really cool.”

Mark and his wife Deb liked the shops, restaurants, bars and Rahr-West Museum so much they came back for a second day before heading back east.

Manitowoc was part of a Wisconsin tour with friends that included Lambeau Field and Milwaukee.

“Very nice friendly community,” Mark added. “Very welcoming.”

“The Courthouse Pub is awesome, too,” added wife Deb. “She makes the best drinks!”