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June 09, 2006

Slow start, lovely park

Had a slow start to the morning. Janene wasn't feeling great for a few hours, and then as soon as she was doing better, I got a stomachache that kept us in our room for another hour more. But once we finally got going, we saw some beautiful glacier-influenced scenery today. First stop was Toft's Point, just up the road in Bailey's Harbor, a nature preserve with beautiful open Lake Michigan views. It's a lovely spot, with open grasslands giving way to huge, flat stepping stones leading up to the water. Quick lunch back in Bailey's Harbor, buffalo burgers at Weisgerbers Cornerstone Pub. Pure Wisconsin, right down to its collection of headshots of famous Green Bay Packers. Then a lovely walk in Whitefish Dunes State Park. Both Janene and I like the idea of hiking a lot but don't do so well when we actually have to get close to nature. But this park has not only beautiful scenery, but nice wide trails that help keep nature at a comfortable distance. Janene's stamina was the only problem on this walk, as the hills -- something we don't see a lot in Highland Park -- were a bit much for her. On the way home, we made a brief stop at Cave Point County Park, next to Whitefish Dunes and equally beautiful. Then on to Wilson's in Ephraim for an old-fashioned root beer float. (If you're in the mood to transport yourself back to the 1950s, then Door County may be for you.)

June 07, 2006

Not the "New England of the Midwest." But nice enough.

I've seen Door County referred to in various guidebooks as "the New England of the Midwest." According to Lee's Law of Travel, anyplace that describes itself as the X of the Y is not nearly as good as the original.

I'm here to report that Door County has not disproved Lee's Law, although it's a reasonably pleasant place to spend a few days.

Today was a day for exploring the peninsula, beginning with Peninsula State Park, which according to our guidebook gets as many visitors per year as Yellowstone National Park.

It was quite empty today, which we attributed to it being midweek. But it could have just as easily been because we're the only ones who didn't hear that Wisconsin's mosquito population was throwing a party. I think we were the guests of honor. The ranger said that he'd never seen so many mosquitos at any time in the past three years. We believe it. We stepped out of the car and were instantly swarmed. Then we got back in, killing one mosquito after another, generating bug-lotion-greasy handprints all over the windshield.

We managed to find a reasonably bug-free hike to do along Green Bay and had a pleasant walk for about 30 minutes. Lunch was in nearby Fish Creek at The Cookery. The food was pretty good -- Janene had a large salad with grilled chicken and dried local cherries while I had a garlic pesto burger -- but we were the youngest people in the restaurant by about 25 years.

Baileys Harbor in 15 minutes or less

While Janene was getting ready for the day, I took a walk to explore Baileys Harbor, our home for the next couple of days. It's very pretty and relaxing and unhurried, especially since it's still early for tourist season. We've read that we're on the "quiet" side of the peninsula, and I believe it. There's not much here -- not much traffic, not many stores, not many restaurants. It's a relaxing getaway and very beautiful, but don't expect much to do here.

June 06, 2006

In Door County

Made it to Door County, Wisconsin, in time for dinner. For a long time this morning, we didn't think we'd make it out our own door.

Last night we had been warned by ComEd that there would be a planned power outage this morning at 9. It was bad enough that we only had 12 hours' notice -- particularly since I had some last-minute work to complete before we could go. But they also turned the electricity off at 8:30, a half-hour before they said they were going to. So I didn't get the files off my computer that I needed, so we couldn't do some last minute ironing, so we couldn't load the dishwasher, and so on. But even worse, we couldn't get the garage door open until a service person came to fix it (it was fortunate we were able to get someone to our house on short notice.

The power came back on at around 12:30, and we were on our way. We made the obligatory detour to Milwaukee for custard at Kopps, finally making it to Door County at around 6:30 in time for dinner -- a very good but overpriced meal at the Harbor Fish Market and Grille. I'll post more tomorrow after we've had a chance to see more of the area. But we very much like where we're staying, the Blacksmith Inn, in Bailey's Harbor, Wisconsin. The room overlooks the water, and we have a great view of Lake Michigan, as well as a soothing soundtrack of water lapping up on the shore.