19 September 1998

Exploring Fish Creek (the town, not the water)

We drove a while then decided to stop for breakfast. We stopped at a McDonalds to use the restrooms and buy OJ (and get spoons) then we sat in the parking lot and had our cereal, milk and juice.

Unremarkable road and countryside until we actually got to Door county. We stopped for gas in Manitowoc and had lunch on the green by the Maritime Museum. They have a WWII submarine docked in the canal adjacent to the museum. We didn't tour the museum but we watched boats moving through the canal, the drawbridges going up and down and enjoyed the sun.

After lunch, we continued our wander up the eastern (Lake Michigan) side of the peninsula. At Algoma, we stopped at a roadside beach to walk on the shore and out a breakwater to a red-painted lighthouse.

At Sturgeon Bay, we crossed from south Door County to north Door county and the landscape changed some. There were more dairy farms in the south and as we moved north, they changed to fruit orchards. We saw lots of signs for apples and cherries (and cider of both), Wisconsin cheese, sausage and wine. It sounded really good but we didn't stop to get any.

After Sturgeon Bay, we got on highway 42 which runs up the western (Green Bay) side of the peninsula through most of the tourist towns. We'd decided to head for Peninsula State Park at Fish Creek. In Fish Creek, I missed a turn somewhere and we ended up at a marina. Luckily, there was a civic building right there with a map on it and we found our way to the park.

When we got there, the campground was full so we couldn't get a spot. I asked the park attendant for other places in the area and she suggested Path of Pines...a private campground just outside of town. We found it and liked it a lot better than what we saw at Penninsula. PSP was right near town (the entrance is on a busy street) and the grounds looked way too "civilized" for us. PoP was far enough out of town to feel like it wasn't the center of activity without being too far from the park and town. We liked the proprietor also. He seemed to run his camp the way that we wanted and helped us pick a good site. The restrooms/showers were very clean and we had a water tap and electricity right at our site which was nicely nestled into some trees.

We went to look at the available sites and settled on #20...although we really liked 19 which wasn't available. We went back to the office to say we'd decided on 20 and he said, "Nope, I put you in 19. They just called and canceled while you were out." We were thrilled! We went back, moved the car and started setting up camp.

We talked about how to structure the rest of our day/evening. We decided to eat supper first, while it was still light then go into town to wander through some of the shops and sites. I made the lentil/bulgar chili, we ate, cleaned up then headed out.

We swung through the park office of PSP to get park maps of the biking trails for our ride the next day then parked near the park entrance and started walking.

Our first stop was a jewelry-maker's shop. He works mostly in gold and had some beautiful things. The thing that we were most impressed with were his cast, gold spiders. He'd cast real wolf and garden spiders then molded them in gold. The threadlike legs were amazingly thin, and except for the color, lifelike. In one of his display cases, he'd made a web out of filament and perched one of the spiders in it. He showed us photos he'd taken of webs so that he could create a web that was authentic to the spider. They were fantastic! And not for sale. He wouldn't even put a price on them.

Further down we hit another little collection of shops ("Fred's Back Yard") and got ice cream cones. Further yet we came to Founder's Square...a collection of tiny little buildings (maybe they used to be cottages for the summer folk?) that now house various types of merchants and artisans. An adjacent restaurant was having a traditional Door County Fish Boil, which we watched but didn't partake of.

The Wild Orchid was a favorite with it's yard and garden "stuff"...kinetic lawn watering sculptures, ornamental garden plaques/tiles and wind chimes. I saw a wind chime sort of thing that, instead of tubes hanging on strings, was a collection of small temple bells mounted on lengths of wire. The sound was extremely pleasing (moreso than the traditional chimes) and the chime itself was very graceful and swaying. I'd really like to hear these chimes in the rain...as they filled with water, the tones would change until the cupped bells finally tipped to spill their contents. The base was butt-ugly though...a poured concrete sort of monstrosity. If I bought it, I'd definitely either bury the base or remove the chime wires and set them in another sort of base...a real rock or piece of wood.

The Stargazer shop was kind of cool, too...in a very retro sort of way. It was basically a 90's version of the old "head shops". Lots of crystal prisms, incense, aromatherapy, etc. And a wicked assortment of pins sporting slogans like, "Tell me again why I need a man" and "Martha Stewart... cutify THIS"

By the time we got back to the car, I felt like we'd been walking for hours, although I'm sure most of it was standing around looking at things. It was fully dark by the time we got back to camp, even though it was only about 8 or 8:30.

I laid out on the picnic table for a bit to look at the stars but with the light breeze and the cooler night air, I needed more clothes than I had on so I decided to just go to bed. Coe Ann and I talked over the day for a bit then I think we were both asleep by 9:30 or so.