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Door County weekend part 2

Posted Jun 11 2010 1:23pm

You gotta love people who go to this much trouble to entertain travelers!

My last post was about the first part of our trip to a wedding in Door County, Wisconsin. Since we lived in Wisconsin for such a long time before moving to Seattle last August, this was a very nostalgic visit for us, and we savored every moment. I was hoping for some of the hot, sunny weather the Midwest had been enjoying but instead we seemed to bring the Seattle rain with us, but even the rain couldn't ruin the weekend. Saturday was all about the wedding, but Sunday was our day to do some hiking and exploring. We visited four ( yup, FOUR) parks plus the town of Fish Creek! In one day. Our day started at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast at the wedding hotel. I had fruit and granola with soymilk (cleverly brought by our friends, Claire and Alan). When the Madison folks had to take off for the drive home, Mr. EV and I hit the road, too, in search of natural beauty and exercise. We also had a couple of restaurants on our list but we found them closed. More about that later.



It wasn't far to our first stop, The Ridges Sanctuary , a very southern remnant of a boreal forest. The first National Natural Landmark in Wisconsin, The Ridges is 1,600 acres of bog, swamp, dune and wildflowers in their natural habitat.



25 native Wisconsin orchids are found there as well as one of the largest concentrations of rare plants in the Midwest. And mosquitoes. Did I mention mosquitoes? Although I miss Wisconsin dearly, I DO NOT miss the mosquitoes.







Can anyone identify this fern?



There was another, beautifully colored dragonfly next to this creature, but it didn't wish to be photographed.



We wandered in blissful solitude for a couple of hours, until the mosquitoes finally wore me down, and I kind of freaked out.



Our next destination was Cave Point County Park . The water-worn limestone cliffs overlooking the lake are beautiful, and the rocky beach is a great place for contemplation.



I have a thing for rocks, and I've always loved this park. We walked along the cliffs and watched the water crash into the rocks below. For some reason I failed to take photos from the high points, concentrating instead on the rocky beach.



It was hard to get Mr.EV off the rocks, but we had a lot to do in only one day. Normally when we vacation we tend to explore broadly in a limited area, but this was a different circumstance, and I was itching to cover a lot of ground in a short time.



Our next destination was Whitefish Dunes State Park , where we hiked for about two hours through the dark, damp, ethereal woods before making our way to the beautiful beach.



I could have spent hours staring at the lake. It looks just like an ocean, (though it's missing the ocean-y smell of fresh salt air), and the sand dunes, with their sunlit blowing grasses, offer a peaceful visual respite. We were pretty surprised to see people swimming since the air temperature was cool, and I can only imagine the uninviting temperature of the water. Brrr is all I can say. Besides, I'm a real wimp when it comes to possibly dangerous swimming conditions and the emphatic rip tide warnings would have scared me too much.



After all that hiking we were starving, and planned to pass through Egg Harbor for lunch on our way North. There were a couple of restaurant possibilities that were supposed to be vegan friendly, but unfortunately, both were closed, so we visited Greens 'N' Grains yet again, for wraps, and a few other items in case we ended up eating dinner at the hotel. The wraps got devoured quickly and unceremoniously in the car, then we headed to Fish Creek.


Mr. EV is befuddled by an extreme collection of things on sticks.

It had been years since we'd been in this little town, and seeing it didn't even jog my memory. I think I had confused it in my mind with Minoqua, a town in Northern Wisconsin. Fish Creek is a small, picturesque village on Lake Michigan, and is home to a large community of artists and craftspeople. The fabulous Peninsula State Park is also located here. We spent our visit to Fish Creek wandering in and out of the many shops, and enjoying a little sunshine that had finally appeared. I spotted a tiny, hidden, smoothie and organic food shop but it was closed so we couldn't take advantage of their offerings.



Our fourth and last park visit was to beautiful Newport State Park, Wisconsin’s only formally designated wilderness park, with 2,373 acres and 11 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. It was getting late, and we were feeling tired from the long day, so we only did a short hike before heading to the lovely beach to stare at Lake Michigan, yet again. We were really lucky that Sunday was a state park open-house day, and admission to all the parks was free! (Cave Point is a county park and is always free.) Of course, our whirlwind tour didn't do justice to any of the parks we visited, any of which deserves at least several days or more of exploration. But it was still exhilarating to have spent time in so many inspiring natural areas.



The day had turned to early evening and we were thinking about food again. We knew the two casual restaurants we had picked out back in Egg Harbor were closed, and dressed in hiking clothes, grubby and exhausted from a day of hiking and wandering, we couldn't really show up at a "fine-dining" establishment without a reservation (and a shower), so we headed back to our hotel with the emergency provisions we'd bought earlier, and decided to eat in.



We had purchased a huge bag of local, mixed salad greens, raw sunflower seed dip and a carton of butternut squash soup at the natural foods store in Egg Harbor. In the little kitchenette in our huge room, we assembled giant salads with dressing made from the sunny dip, and heated bowls of soup in the microwave. I loved the dip (Mr. EV said it upset his stomach) and even ate it on crackers for breakfast the next day. The soup was OK. It had a powdered ginger aftertaste that I wasn't so fond of, but it served its purpose well, and I'd be willing to eat it again under similar circumstances. I was also happy that it contained much less sodium than similar choices. Just want to mention that the "washed and ready to eat" greens contained a few things you might not want to eat, like a live ant. Remind me to wash my greens!



Monday was our departure day, and we didn't have much planned, but a necklace I'd admired and passed up in Fish Creek the day before, was weighing on my mind. Both Mr. EV and I suspected this would happen, though I really did try to resist, so we packed up, checked out of our hotel, and headed back to Fish Creek. I had no idea which shop it had been in but Mr. EV recognized exactly which one it was, Bath, Body and Soul Essentials , and the necklace became mine. I really do love it.



We continued on to Green Bay for the first part of our return home. The trip home was easy and uneventful. We had barely enough time in the Minneapolis airport to rush to our favorite airport eatery (French Meadow Bakery) to grab two Spa Salads to take onto the plane, for lunch. These salads contain an enormous amount of organic greens topped with tofu, olives, edamame, carrots and more, and the creamy vegan dressing comes on the side, just the way I like it.





When we finally arrived home Monday evening, we were tired, hungry and facing an empty refrigerator so decided to do take-out from a neighborhood restaurant. We chose Janjay , a vegetarian Thai restaurant a few blocks from our house. When we tell the staff at Janjay we're vegan, they know exactly what we mean, and make sure the food we order is what we expect it to be. For example, the peanut sauce that comes with spring rolls contains dairy, so they offered a substitute sauce. We got spring rolls, onion flatbread, and a broccoli lovers entree. We also ordered a clear soup with vegetables that was really filled with veggies.

We had a great time on our four-day getaway but we both agreed it felt like we'd been gone for a month!
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