Tuesday we headed out to the Door County peninsula. Door County is the “thumb” on the mitten of the eastern Wisconsin shoreline that projects out into Lake Michigan. We learned that it was originally named “Death’s Door” for a dangerous water passage between the peninsula and nearby Washington Island. Wisely, the Tourist Board elected to drop the “Death” and it’s now one of the most popular vacation destinations in Wisconsin. The western shoreline looks across Green Bay to Michigan, and there are numerous picturesque villages strung along the shoreline. There’s a very strong maritime history in the Door, and there are marinas & boatyards all along the coast, and evidence of past shipwrecks everywhere. You’ll be driving along and someone will have a 6′ tall blade from an old propeller sticking in the ground by their driveways. I’ve had “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” stuck in my head for days now…
On the nights of the 4th and 5th, we stayed at the Monument Point Campground (between Sturgeon Bay and Egg Harbor). The campground was nearly deserted, partially due to the time of year, but also due to a very bad windstorm the previous weekend which left most of the County without power and took down a huge number of trees. We had intended to stay at a State Park, but they all remained closed until Thursday. At any rate, we enjoyed the solitude of the campground. There were woodpeckers zipping around and wild turkeys walking through the next campsite. I don’t know if they allow turkey hunting in Door County, but they turned out to be so plentiful that they just roam around in town. Later in the week, two of them flew across the road in front of us and they make eagles look really small! We were all thinking pterodactyls at first….
We putzed along the shoreline, stopping for nice views and wandering along the shoreline. We visited the Shipwrecked Pub for some nice brews on the sunny patio. The weather is just phenomenal – those crisp blue October skies that only October can pull off, with whispy clouds and fall color near its peak, followed by chilly nights that are perfect for campfires.
On the morning of the 5th, Eric and I visited the Maritime Museum at Sturgeon Bay and toured a restored tug, which was really interesting. Eric took a ton of pics, so don’t be surprised if you see another entire post on the tug. The museum was able to contact the tug’s engineer of 20-some years to help with the restoration. He had saved tons of tools and memorabilia which he donated to the museum. So the tug has all sorts of interested hand-lettered signs, hand-made tools, and even the original bed spreads for the officer’s quarters. The engineer was hanging out in the galley drinking coffee as we finished our tour: guess retirement doesn’t exactly suit him and he spends a lot time just hanging out there.