(for the three of you who knew we were gone ...)
vacation is officially over. our 13th anniversary officially came and went. and somehow, october is about to do the same.
time flies when you're having fun.
door county was so, so great. so great. and i'm not going to go on and on and on with photos and stories, because i sort of did that in the photo album. one thing i never thought of: use the photo captions to tell the story. much more efficient than posting 30 photos and text AND an accompanying album. huh.
anyway, we drove on monday, our actual anniversary. the trip was uneventful ... some chatting, some reading (on my part), some listening to pandora (the lisa hannigan channel - my pick) and blue collar radio (marc's pick. oy. man's had too much time in the car.).
we pulled into the blacksmith inn in bailey's harbor around dinner time, dumped our bags in the room, then walked to the harbor fish market and grille for dinner. thus began the week of some very memorable eating. the whitefish ceviche was fresh and delicious, the olive oil-poached char in tomato broth with leeks and carrots, shrimp and mussels, with roasted red potatoes and steamed broccoli was wonderful. cherry pie with custard ice cream was the perfect ending. (marc had something white with pasta, scallops, garlic cream sauce and asparagus. followed by creme brulee. a very marc-type meal.) we rolled ourselves back to the inn, played some backgammon, and called it a day.
we started the day with a walk to the end of the pier behind the inn, and enjoyed the view of the water. (while trying to not blow away.) after that, we drove to the tip of door county and got onto a ferry to washington island. the ride was ... breezy, but we had a great time.
after driving around the island for an hour, we decided to head back and see a few more sights, because the next day was supposed to be rainy. so we headed down the west side of the peninsula, with stops in sister bay, ephraim, fish creek and egg harbor. we decided fish creek looked like a good place to eat dinner, so back we went.
(seriously, did we do anything besides eat for four days?!)
dinner wasn't as good as i'd hoped. marc loved his shrimp with spicy noodles at mr. helsinki's, but i was underwhelmed by the beef and veggies in oyster sauce. the sauce was so overpowering that i couldn't eat it. the irony is that i was going to order what marc had, but the waitress stressed that it was HOT, and i decided to opt out rather than not enjoy my food because it was too spicy. then when marc got it, he said it wasn't hot at all, while i sat there pulling red chilies out of my dinner. ugh. however, dinner was redeemed by dessert: a scoop of pumpkin cheesecake baked on a ginger cookie. oh my. heaven.
see? i paused just long enough for a picture:
thursday, as predicted, rained. a lot. we tried to run in and out of a few shops and galleries, but the rain was relentless. we had a ho-hum lunch of swedish meatballs at al johnson's (loved the goats on the roof the previous day; didn't love the food.), then spent about an hour at the fine line art gallery, listening to the rain beat ever harder against the roof.
we finally cried uncle, drove to sturgeon bay, and went to a movie. after that, we had another lackluster meal, drove back to bailey's harbor, played another game of backgammon, ate an apple cider donut from seaquist orchard, and went to bed.
thursday, sadly, was our last day. as with the previous three days, i woke an hour before marc and used that time to eat breakfast (our inn had GREAT breakfast ... fresh fruit, freshly baked muffins, boiled eggs, amazing wisconsin goats' milk yogurt - caprine supreme! demand stores carry it! (ha ha) - juices and coffee), read the news, then wander the inn's grounds and pier. i dragged myself back to the room, woke up marc, and started packing.
once we had checked out, we headed back to ephraim and fish creek. there were so many little nooks and crannies to explore, we felt we hadn't yet scratched the surface. it was a relaxing day of moseying about and ... eating.
wow. thursday was, by far, one of our best eating days ever.
(is it sad that we know that?)
lunch was at a restaurant called the cookery, and seriously ... if i could eat there every day of my life, i think i would. we started by splitting a cup of whitefish chowder that was simply amazing. the hints of red pepper really set it off. i had roasted vegetable quesadillas with tomatilla salsa, and marc had a grilled salmon sandwich with homemade potato salad and a roasted apple compote. and we split a plate of eggplant french fries. to say the fries were good would be a disservice to them. they were life-changing.
as we sat there eating, the topic came up of whether marc could cover his red hat territory from door county.
that's how good that lunch was.
after lunch and a little souvenir hunting for the kids, we headed to appleton, wisconsin. marc's big driving experience day was friday, and we wanted to be closer to the track. and he's in appleton all the time for work and knew of - surprise - a great steakhouse.
(how we don't weigh 300 pounds is a mystery.)
we got to appleton, wandered through an outdoor gear outlet (new columbia mittens for harper - $1.99!, new snow boots and gloves for marc), then headed to fratello's for the steak marc had been craving since sunday. and was it good? um, yes. perfect filet, roasted fingerling potatoes, and asparagus. and two glasses of vouvray. yum. and we opted a share a flourless chocolate cake that was so rich that about three bites in, i had to quit.
friday morning we awoke to ... rain. cold, hard rain. the outlook for driving fast was not good.
an hour later, we were pulling into road america in elkart lake for the richard petty srt track experience (between this and larry the cable guy, the reality of how much time marc is spending alone with his thoughts smacked me in the face. i need to watch him more closely before i lose him to the redneck side altogether.), and the rain was still coming down. but the guys were undaunted.
we ran to the tent at the first stop - the performance drive on a four-mile track - and put on helmets (size small for my pinhead, thankyouverymuch.). marc crawled into a challenger, buckled in, and off he went. 110 mph down a rain-soaked track. i tried to see the joy in it.
after that, there was an agility course with hundreds of little orange pylons around a twisty track, a challenger head-to-head race (marc kept jumping the gun on the brakes, assuming he would skid, and misjudging the brake box. other than that, he kicked butt), and a drag strip. the drag strip was his least favorite (as he says, he floors it every day of the week at some point. awesome.), but despite that, the relentless rain, and the fact that they canceled hot laps with pro drivers in vipers due to weather, he had a blast. and, i have to admit, there was a bit of fun to be had from hearing people say good things about my husband's ability to handle a car. i may not like his hobbies (driving, shooting, etc.), but there is a certain element of pride to be had from hearing of his prowess with manly things.
speaking of which, happy 13 years, sweetie!! it's been great so far, and thanks for a wonderful week!! and ... see you sometime thursday night. because, yes ... it's back to normal around here.
(for more pix, details, and stories, check the album!)