This week I have to interrupt my Friday series on the Driftless to share another favorite in Wisconsin. Five years ago my husband and I fell in love with the Door Peninsula, Door County, Wisconsin. It has become our family's summer vacation favorite, and it is truly one of my favorite places on earth.
The Door Peninsula is a narrow piece of land that jets from mainland Wisconsin into Lake Michigan. On it's west the sheltered waters of Green Bay are separated from the vast expanse of Lake Michigan extending north and east of this modest shaft of land.
Door county has a strong agricultural history, still present, it provides a refreshing backdrop to a waterfront speckled with cozy towns, expansive views and stunning state parks.
This summer we discovered a place new to us, and oh.....
Washington Island rests seven miles north of the Door Peninsula and is accessed only by ferry boat(and airplane). It is truly the icing on the cake.
We first visited in July of this year. In mid summer the weather was temperate and comfortable; the island lush and simple. It has a decidedly rural feeling, complimented by thick woods and of course stunning waterfronts.
The term 'island time' is not a quip here. This place truly invites, and in a sense forces, one to slow down. No reason to drive fast, there is not that far to go. Walking and biking on the roads is common. It is as if on any given day there is exactly the right number of things to see, and the perfect amount of time in which to see them. There is not a feeling that you have to squeeze everything in, there is just the simple and pleasing experience of discovering what is around you.
Last week we were privileged to spend another four days on the island. This time we were met by a stunning autumn hue; red, orange, yellow, highlighted by lingering green and a fresh blue sky. Each turn of highway 42 was a new invitation to splendor, splendor that ushered us up the peninsula in anticipation and delight.
The final surge of anticipation comes when boarding the ferry boat at Northport Pier at the tip of the Door peninsula.
The nearly half hour ride aboard the ferry is the final invitation to let go before reaching new ground.
On these shores there is relaxation, reflection, activity and quiet. History, agriculture and art. There is time to wander and sit. Even with small children we were able to keep a slow pace.
I am a lover of Wisconsin. It has a rustic authenticity that resonates with my love of the land and journeying through it. It has a topography that congers the one I grew up in. There is something about it that satisfies my lust for nature.
This place is a feast for the eyes and the soul.
Until next year, Washington Island, thank you for the discovery.