03 October 2009

Door County - Saturday

We woke around 7 but lazed around a bit longer. Alan went to the nook down the hall to get us coffee and hot tea while I showered. Then he showered and we went down to breakfast and met the other guests. Heinz and Char had the room across the hall from us. Debbie and Rachel are next door. Joie and Dawn are in the room downstairs by the front door and Bob and Katie have the back room downstairs.

Breakfast was a feast! … OJ, granola with yogurt and Door County cherries in a tulip glass, caramel pecan French toast, a brown sugar coffee cake, and Door County sausage with apples. It was all incredibly good. I couldn’t eat it all but Alan helped me ‘clean my plate.’ Rachel was running and didn’t want the big breakfast so Judy brought her a bowl of cereal and some fruit.

We all sat around the table chatting for a while, trying to see if it was going to clear off or keep raining. John said we could sit as long as we wanted…although he did let us know that in the 8 years they’ve been running the place, the record is 12:15.

Alan went out to check the rain situation and came back proclaiming it “not raining” so we all headed out. Joie and Dawn are checking out, as they’re here for one night only. The rest of us went on our way. I spent some time wandering around the outside; exploring the deck, bird feeders and woodsy trails.

We made some phone calls about bay sight-seeing cruises and then decided to head to Peninsula State Park, near Fish Creek. We got in line to pay the daily use fee ($10) and started driving through the park, stopping whenever the mood struck us and walking trails whenever they looked interesting.

Eventually, we ended up at Eagle Bluff lighthouse with a tour starting in 5 minutes so we paid the $4/person and took the tour. I’d toured the lighthouse the last time I was in Door County (about 10 years ago) but I thought this tour seemed more detailed. I think it lasted for the better part of an hour.

The lighthouse was built in 1868 and the last keeper left in the mid-20s.Much later it was turned into a historic site and refurnished as it had been. A lot of the items on display were from one of the actual keeper families…a family with 7 sons, one of which was still living in the area at the time and helped immensely with the history and descriptions of what life in a lighthouse was like.

After the tour, we wound our way out of the park and to nearby Fish Creek. We found a parking spot on the street and decided to eat at the restaurant that was right there…the Pelletier. I had a Wisconsin brat and Alan had a pub cod sandwich. Just like I did last night, Alan decided to forego the bun and just eat the fish.

After lunch, we decided to wander among all the little shops in the Founders Square area. At one time they were mostly tiny cottages for vacationing folk but now they’re unique little boutique type shops.

We decided to go back to the Inn to rest a little before heading out again to our fish boil reservations. When we got there, John and Judy had gone out for a bit and taped a note to the banister (our room key had let us into the house). We realized we’d forgotten the name of the place where we were supposed to have supper. While Alan shaved, I called the number left on the note to get the info from Judy. (The Square Rigger in Jacksonport).

By the time we headed out for Jacksonport, it had clouded up again. It had never been actually sunny all day…all trip, in fact…but it has gotten darker. Driving back from Fish Creek there were ominous clouds looming over the bay. Looks like they caught up with us.

We headed across the peninsula on Hwy57 and got to our restaurant. The fish boil had started…the 30-gal pot was on the fire out back, the water was roiling and the potatoes were in the pot. We watched a bit and asked the fire-tender how long until the onions went in. He said about 5 minutes and then the fish about 5 after that. We went back inside and had some hors d’oeuvres of pickled fish, crudités, fried mushrooms, etc. and a glass of wine. We went back out in time to see the fish go in. It cooked a while and they it was time for the boil-over. They take a can of kerosene and dump it on the fire. The fire wooshes up into a huge fireball and water and steam boil over the lip of the pot with the extra heat. Then we watched as two guys ran a pole through holes in the baskets holding the fish, potatoes and onions and hauled them out of the cauldron and into the restaurant. They dished up the plates with 2 slabs of fish, a few potatoes, some onions a pile of steamed veggies that didn’t get cooked in the pot. After they served everyone, the waitresses would walk around and ask if you needed help deboning the slabs of fish. I had her do one of mine so I could see how they did it then I did the other myself. There was a dish of cole slaw on the table as well as a basket of bread. They came around later with platters of fish and potatoes to ask if anyone wanted more. Then there was the cherry pie and ice cream for dessert. There was certainly no shortage of food!

The dining room has huge windows that look out onto the back yard area where the fish boil happened and to Lake Michigan beyond. There were clouds hanging over the horizon but the full moon did peek out at one point and I went out on the deck to take a picture of it.

Once again, we waddled out to the car and drove back to Woodenheart. John met us at the door and asked if we wanted a fire. Sure! Heinz and Char were watching TV in the den upstairs. They came down to the fire and we poured brandy and had a very pleasant evening in comfy chairs with our toes up to the fire.