We were really enjoying our time at the Rawley Point Lighthouse, a US Coast Guard Facility (see last week’s article). In fact, we were getting so relaxed that we probably could have just sat on the shore of Lake Michigan and spent our entire time there watching the waves roll in. Nevertheless, there is a lot to do in this lovely region of Wisconsin and we knew it was time for us to be Easin’ Along to explore the area.
Our destination was Door County, WI (pop. 28,000), a peninsula in the northeastern part of the state between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Our plan was to start early with a 40 mile drive to our starting point on Highway 57, then venture into Door County to do as much exploring as we could, and return the next day to venture a little deeper into the places that interested us as well as take a tour of the “frozen tundra of Lambeau Field”, the home of NFL’s Green Bay Packers.
Door County has a lot going for it. This peninsula has ten lighthouses, five state parks, and 298 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan. We didn’t want to miss a thing, and the weather on this day was so beautiful we decided to Ease Along slowly up the western shore until we reached Gill’s Rock at the tip of the peninsula then work our way back south. We stuck to our plan until we reached Fish Creek, WI. This charming little village was too inviting to pass by.
Fish Creek had a plethora of interesting shops and we walked through many of them. We passed Pelletier’s Restaurant. A tour bus was in the process of unloading a group of hungry passengers who had made reservations for one of Wisconsin’s trademark Fish Boils. The group made their way to the rear of the restaurant where the Fish Boil was in progress. We knew we had to see this.
A Fish Boil at Pelletier consists of native Whitefish cut into steaks and placed in a large stainless steel cooking pot along with small Baby Red Potatoes, Texas Sweet Boiling Onions and covered with water. Salt is the only seasoning. We joined the tour group and watched as the mixture was brought to a rolling boil over a wood fire. This allows the fish oils to rise to the surface. At that point, the Master Boiler threw #1 fuel oil on the fire. A huge blaze quickly flared upward, and the oils and the water boiled over the side of the kettle. The tour group responded with a round of applause. It was great theater. We would have loved to have joined the feast, but sadly, we didn’t have a reservation and kept moving. (See photo at top of page)
Understandably, the fish boil had made us hungry so we began to look for a lunch stop. By this time we were arriving in Sister Bay, WI, another village just as charming as Fish Creek. There were many tourists walking about and a lot of them were heading for A. L. Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant. We parked at a public lot along the shore of the lake and, when Helen (adorable wife) got out of Heidi (adorable wife’s car), she yelled out “There’s a goat on the roof of the place!” She was wrong. There were two goats on the roof of this place…seriously! The roof was covered in sod and the goats seemed right at home there. You can see them too. Here’s a link to the goat cam. You must go there during business hours. The pampered goats sleep in a stable at night.
The restaurant was very busy and the food was very good. To avoid the urge to nap on a park bench in the pristine park next to the Bay, we walked around town taking pictures of the Bay and the goats as shown above.
Our next stop was the Lighthouse at Eagle Bluff, a structure completed in 1868 and linked here. The weather was gorgeous and we marveled at the exceptional views from the overlooks. This is truly beautiful country, and we wanted to take in as much of it as possible so we continued on to Gill’s Rock at the end of the peninsula by way of a couple of State Parks. Again, the scenery was incredible.
Once we reached Gill’s Rock we parked and strolled along the shore and entered one of the shops at a marina there by the name of Simply Scandinavian. The owner was a delightful lady who was beginning the process of preparing the shop for the winter season when the shop would be closed until the spring. We chatted with her for a while but resisted the temptation to purchase anything although her shop was filled with some interesting gift items. Helen let me know however that shopping was still on the list of the day’s activities.
In addition to the Fish Boils, Door County is also known for cherry growing and, as we worked our way back to Rawley Point, I was told that we were going to Seaquist Orchard Farm Market, a cherry farm store she had noticed as we passed through Sister Bay. Somehow I missed that–maybe I was looking at the goats, but I love all things cherry so I was all in.
After parking in front of the large store, I entered thinking that we were going to purchase a couple of jars of jam to send to the grandchildren. That thought was soon dispelled when Helen grabbed a large grocery cart and set out to fill it. I followed along in order to keep a lid on things, but soon got swept up in a feeding frenzy as we passed aisle after aisle of cherry goodies. We managed to get out of there in less than three figures at the cash register (whew).
After a quiet drive back to Rawley Point, all that was left of a lovely day was pizza at the lighthouse and a quiet evening listening to the waves roll in. Please visit the Picture Gallery when it is posted on Tuesday, and come back next week when we will post the details of our second day in Door County and our tour of Lambeau Field.
We’re lovin’ this retirement gig…and Easin’ Along in this beautiful country of ours makes it so much fun.