Today’s post is 1550 words, 19 photos, a 7 minute read. Enjoy!
Welcome back to the second installment on my 7th Anniversary of writing this blog. If you missed the first, click here for a link to that post.
This week on Thursday, we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States. It’s a national holiday to give thanks for the harvest and gratitude for for the blessings of the past year. Thanksgiving, here and in many countries around the world, has roots in religious and cultural traditions. To all my friends and followers from around the world, Happy Thanksgiving!
Last week I took you back to our month long excursion from Madison to Death Valley National Park. I also took you back to our 2019 trip to Ukraine after Russia invaded this country on February 24. This week, I’ll take you back to Door County were we visited three different times this year. I’ll also take you back to west central Minnesota where we spent two weeks volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.
Over the thirty-five years we’ve lived in Wisconsin, we have grown fond of the state and especially Door County. Our very first visit to Door County was before we moved to Madison from Fargo, North Dakota. I’d applied to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was accepted. We came to Madison to find a place to live. We found a duplex that would be our home for the next five years. After a few days in Madison, we made the drive to Door County for a bit of family time. We camped in Peninsula State Park. The kids enjoyed the nearby sandy beach and playing in the cool water of Lake Michigan. My Traveling Partner and I relaxed as we made plans for our move. It was a memorable time, yet left us yearning for more.
We didn’t get back to Door County for several years. We were busy family, I was working and going to school, the kids had their activities, and my Traveling Partner was hard at work taking care of patients. We made a few trips, again camping at Peninsula State Park.
After we both retired, we returned to Door County for a week-long stay in our camping trailer. Then we signed up to serve as campground hosts in Potawatomi State Park with stays of three to four weeks. Since that time, we’ve made a couple of trips a year to the Door peninsula. There is a lot to see and do. On nearly every trip, we have visited our favorites; Cave Point County Park, the Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park, the Pink Bakery in Egg Harbor, and Kick Ash in Ellison Bay. Oh, I can’t forget Renards Cheese Store south of Sturgeon Bay and the quilt shop in downtown Sturgeon Bay. We also try to take in some new sites on each visit. There are lots of hiking and walking trails at Door County Land Trust properties around the county.
This summer we spent the month of July at a rented four-bedroom farmhouse near the center of the county. We invited family and friends to stay a few days with us during the month. The occasion was our 50th Wedding Anniversary. We had a great time and enjoyed showing our guests around Door County. Here are a few highlights.
The Anderson Dock and Hardy Gallery in Ephraim
One of our favorite places to stop when driving around Door County is the Hardy Gallery located on the Anderson Dock in Ephraim. Here’s what I wrote about this place when we visited in late April.
The building you see in the photos below is the Hardy Gallery where arts are on prominent display from the end of May to early October. Admission is free. The building itself is a work of art with tasteful graffiti allowed. It’s fun to see some of the new messages that appear between visits.
I hope the prayers worked for Grandpa Gene!
Did Jenny, the farmer, say “Yes?” Hope so.
During our July stay, we stopped by at least four times. The gallery was open and we enjoyed viewing the local art. Door County is a magnet for artists of all types: painters, photographers, writers, sculptors, and everything between. In honor of our anniversary, we bought some small cans of paints and brushes at the nearby hardware store and added to the graffiti
Goats on the Roof in Sister Bay
Believe it or not, one of the attractions in beautiful Sister Bay are the goats that graze on the roof of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and Batik. The goats were not out on our first trip through Sister Bay. But I did get an interesting photo of an employee mowing the roof! That attracted nearly as much attention as the goats!
The next couple of trips, we had success. Users of the internet can also check out the goat cam to see the goats grazing the roof.
During one of our stops in Sister Bay, a protest popped up at the main intersection just down from Al Johnson’s. Here’s what I wrote:
As usual, traffic was slow and heavy. The protesters generated a lot of horn honking and waving in support of their cause. There were only a few that gave the hundred or so protesters the middle finger salute. I saw the protest as a photo opportunity. I did leave several photos in the digital archives due to their vulgar nature. Here in the US, we have the right to assemble and petition our government for redress. It was in action in Sister Bay this day.
The Winding, Curvy Road
One place I gravitate to is a mile and half stretch of road near the tip of the Door peninsula. Here’s what I wrote about our visit in July.
One of the most famous stretches of road in the Midwest is located near the tip of Door County. Jens Jensen, landscape architect, the founder of The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay and a force for the development of The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor. Jensen also is said to influence the design of the Winding, Curvy Road seen in the photo below. His notion of a road to slow traffic and allow motorists to enjoy the surrounding nature seemed like a good idea. I think he met his goal! Some drivers curse his design as they speed to catch the Washington Island Ferry at Northport just up the road. While others slow down to admire the design and stop to make a photo or two of this famous road. In a previous visit, I talked with a photographer who drove a few hundred miles out of her way just to see and photography this road. She was awed and so am I.
During our late September visit we another drive on this unique road. Here’s what I wrote and photographed. Looks a lot different!
On the day of our visit, several cars pulled to the side of the road to take photos as the leaves were beginning to turn. While my goal was to have a car free photo, I quickly determined it wasn’t going to happen. The day was beautiful and sunny with lots of leaf peepers on the road. Here is an example of my efforts for the day.
I could go on and on about Door County but I promised to cover our time in west central Minnesota.
The office of Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota is located just north of Willmar, a city of about 21,000 residents. The surrounding area is mainly agricultural with corn, soybeans, livestocks and turkeys as the main commodities. Kandiyohi County is also home to several large lakes so tourism, sport fishing, and boating are key drivers of the economy especially in the warm months of the year.
For two weeks in mid-September, my Traveling Partner and I volunteered at Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota headquartered in Willmar. Our volunteer gig at Willmar came about after we signed up for Habitat’s RV Care-A-Vanners. This program is for anyone that travels in a RV and would like to combine RVing with building affordable housing.
During our stay we worked in the Restore cleaning furniture for sale, arranging shelves, and other general duties. My Traveling Partner did baking for the build volunteers and I helped at the build site in New London. We enjoyed our time in the Willmar area, the people were welcoming and “Minnesota nice!”
My Traveling Partner and I spent thirteen nights in the Minnie, our travel trailer, at Sibley State Park during our Habitat Care-A-Vanners volunteer commitment. We had a nice spot with electrical hookups in the Oak Ridge Campground. The weekend we were in residence, the campground was full but during the week it cleared out, leaving only a few sites occupied. This park attracts about 300,000 visitors each year, making it one of the most popular in the Minnesota State Park System.
Well folks, I could go on and on about my seventh year of writing these traveling and photography posts. But I’m already over my work limit! Thanks for a good year, I’m thankful and grateful for your readership.
Until next week, happy travels!