This past Thursday, Sam and I ventured to Fish Creek, WI for a long, relaxing weekend. We camped for three nights in Peninsula State Park on beautiful Lake Michigan and enjoyed biking and exploring the grounds. In my mind, although I haven’t seen much of the East Coast, Door County is the Midwest’s own east coast (literally, for Wisconsin, and figuratively) and I quite enjoyed it’s charm.
As you can imagine, packing was quite a chore. Here’s (some of) what ended up coming along.
When we arrived, we couldn’t yet check into our campsite, so we ventured down to the beach. It was the perfect day for it – not a cloud in sight. The water was freezing, but we braved the cold and enjoyed a day in and by the water. We even rented a paddle board for an hour!
Around three, we were able to check into our campsite and started setting up shop. Despite the story the picture below may tell, I really did help set up camp! 😉
After we were all set up, we attempted a bike ride to the next town to see some live music. We underestimated the distance, and ended up staying in town and finding some Chicago-style hot dogs for dinner and shaved ice (pink lemonade and lime for me!) to enjoy for dessert.
The next day, we got up early and had a quick breakfast before heading to Orchard Country Winery and Market. It was a lovely way to spend the morning. For only $4, we each got a complimentary wine glass and a private tour and tasting. The market was filled with delicious samples to try and we, of course, snagged some goodies to eat and take home as gifts.
I picked up this strawberry rhubarb beer for my dad. He loves strawberry rhubarb anything and New Glarus beer, so it was a no-brainer. Sam and I decided to buy the delicious dip we sampled for my mom and he found some cherry salsa to take home and share with his family.
I loved the old-timey feel of this barn and truck. There were artists on the property that day painting different scenes throughout the winery (as seen under the umbrellas).
And of course, I couldn’t help but snap some selfies amongst the cherry trees (left) and grapevines (right). My sun hat was perfect for keeping the sun off my face after a day at the beach, and this skirt & t-shirt combo kept me cool. I slipped on my Jacks and grabbed my fave tassel tote to hold my daily essentials, and I was ready for the winery.
That evening, we browsed some local shops, one featuring Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, Southern Proper, Sperry Top-Sider, and more. I didn’t buy anything (le sigh) but enjoyed window shopping. We then chose to go to an authentic Door County fish boil for dinner. If you’ve never been to Door County, you’ve probably never heard of or been to a fish boil. Here’s what it is:
The Door County fish boil is a dining experience only found in Door County, and one that everyone should experience at least once. Most people who have tried one make a fish boil dinner a regular part of each visit to the peninsula.
A traditional Door County fish boil features freshly caught Lake Michigan whitefish caught by local fishermen and cooked outside over an open fire, just as it was one hundred years ago by the Scandinavian settlers of the Peninsula. The fish is cut in chunks and cooked in boiling water with small red potatoes. Salt is the only spice used. Fish oils rise to the surface of the boiling cauldron, and when the fish is perfectly done, the Master Boiler tosses a small amount of kerosene on the flames under the pot.
The great burst of flames causes the boilover, spilling the fish oils over the side of the pot and leaving the fish perfectly done, steaming hot and ready to serve. (source)
I managed to get a few good pictures, pre- and post-boilover, and the backdrop was breathtaking.
The meal was delicious and enjoyable (even though I managed to launch a potato onto the floor while trying to cut my onion – mortifying, and I stained my dress), and we went back to camp with full stomachs (after a walk to the beach and a stop in a local chocolate shop for some chocolate covered pretzels).
Thank you, lighting, for not highlighting my butter stains. Blech.
The following day I declared “Sam’s Day”. He’d put up with me at the winery, in the shops, and at the fish boil (all things he enjoyed, but I had chosen), so I let him decide how the day would go. My phone was dead (non-electric campsite, forgot my camera… rookie mistake), so I don’t have tons of incredible pictures from that day, but we spent a couple of hours biking the trails of the state park we were camping in. It was a lot of fun, and good exercise too. We came across a lighthouse and a beautiful beach made up entirely of shells (seriously, I’d kill to have some pictures). After our ride, we went for lunch at a cute place just outside the park called Not Licked Yet where we feasted on delicious paninis. Sam wanted to go back to the beach, so we jumped in my car and headed up the road to the next town, Ephraim, to try a beach we hadn’t been to yet. We enjoyed the beach, ventured back into the ice-cold water, and tossed a tennis ball around. Afterward, we walked through town and got some ice cream, which we ate by the marina.
Sam’s Day began and ended with potatoes and onions. We prepared them over the fire with eggs for breakfast and corn for dinner. By the end of our dinner, you can imagine we were a bit sick of potatoes and onions (especially because they had also been served with the fish the night before). We topped the night off relaxing and chatting fireside.
On our last day, we got breakfast at Julie’s, and we both vowed we would not be getting breakfast potatoes. I had banana and blueberry pancakes (which I doused with their homemade strawberry rhubarb jam) while Sam went with the Santa Fe eggs. Despite my efforts, Sam is a savory breakfast kind of guy, and I just can’t crack him (I literally have world’s biggest sweet tooth). I ordered a chai tea latte which Sam also sipped from.
After breakfast, we packed up camp and headed home. I’m sad to be back (even though I was excited to see my dog, Otis, and I don’t miss the massive amount of mosquitoes). Our vacation is over, which means Sam will be with me just one more week before he’ll have to head home to Florida. I’m just dying to make the move already. Ten more months, ten more months.
What’s your favorite in-state vacay spot? I think Door County just hit the top of my list!