Leaving Minnesota and the grandkids is always hard. We will see Cate in a few weeks as she and Cassie are flying to Ohio for a visit with Zach and Lauren while we are there. Also Christmas is just around the corner so we know we will see them soon. The time between Christmas and when we return to Minnesota in the spring is the long stretch when it really gets hard. Those grandkids know how to pull at the heart.
We decided to investigate Door County this year on our way to Ohio. We have heard many wonderful things about the peninsula and our daughter Amanda had been there the first part of September and she loved it. We have never been to the peninsula so it was time to check it out.
October is a wonderful time of the year to travel. The fall colors were spectacular driving through Wisconsin and Door County was truly beautiful with the multi-colored trees. We stayed at a cute little campground, Hy-Land Court, with only 39 sites set in the woods. We were fortunate that they had a cancellation for three days otherwise CGs were pretty booked. There are several state parks on the peninsula and we did a little hiking in two of them – Peninsula State Park and White Fish Dune State Park.
Peninsula State Park had many campsites but it was very tree filled which always makes us a little nervous with the Lifestyle. We drove through a couple of the loops and were glad we didn’t come through with the 5th wheel. If you were going to stay in Door County I would look at staying in this state park. A very nice park with hiking and biking trails and close to shores of Lake Michigan. We stopped at Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, one of many lighthouses on the peninsula, and enjoyed the view and again the fall colors.
We decided since we had bought a day pass ($10 fee) for the WI state parks we just as well check out another park. White Fish Dune sits right on the shore of Lake Michigan with miles of beautiful sand beach. We decided to take a three mile hike to “Old Baldy” the tallest dune in the park at 93ft tall. We walked about a mile down the beach watching a thunderstorm approach. We decided we wouldn’t make it before the storm hit so we turned around and just in time. We didn’t make it back to the truck before it started to rain but made it back before the storm hit. We would love to go back and hike some of the trials in this park.
One day when it was 44 degrees and windy we decided to take the 30 minute ferry ride to Washington Island, close to the tip of the peninsula. The round trip cost for the truck and both of us was $55. We felt it was worth the cost. The trip over was a little hair raising. The swells in Lake Michigan were pretty good so it was a rough ride. I didn’t like it and couldn’t wait until we got to the island but then dreaded getting back on. The ride back was much better. There isn’t a lot on the island but the trees were fabulous. We stopped at a lavender farm, of course the fields were bare but I could imagine the beauty in the summer time of lavender blooming in those fields. They had a nice store filled with products made with lavender. I bought a jar of lovely lavender lotion. Mmmmmm! There Joe talked to a man who told him about the Mountain Tower we had to climb to see the gorgeous views of the island. A short drive (there is only 100 miles of paved roads on the island) and we found the tower. Of course to get to the tower we had to climb 120 steps but that was just to the base of the tower. To get to the top of the tower is another 64 steps but the climb was well worth the view. We had a spectacular view of the trees and Lake Michigan off in the distance. After the climb we were ready for a late afternoon lunch at a cute little coffee shop called The Danish Mill. Great place for a sandwich!
It was time to head back to the ferry so we didn’t miss the last one going back over to the main land at 5:00. If you head to Door County I would recommend taking the ferry over to Washington Island. During the summer from Washington Island you can take another ferry (for a cost) to Rock Island State Park. If the ferry would have been running we would have done that.
There are eleven lighthouses in Door County. Unfortunately to see most of them you have to take a boat. We checked into taking a boat tour of the lighthouses but the boat was small and half of it was open. With the weather being chilly and windy most of the time we were there we opted not to take the tour. If we went back in the summer we would definitely take the boat tour. We think that during the heavier summer season they have a larger boat that goes out.
Door County consists of small villages with shops, restaurants, wineries, apple and cherry orchards. If you love any of these Door County is a great place to visit. We stopped at a couple of wineries for tastings and bought a little wine. There was a great orchard across the road from the campground and we bought a few things there but the best was we ate dinner one evening in Egg Harbor at Casey BBQ & Smokehouse. Not much to look at in the inside but we had a fabulous meal. I would highly recommend this place if you like ribs.
We left the peninsula on a Saturday when all the people we coming. Traffic was very heavy coming into the peninsula so another recommendation would be go during the week. We loved our three days there but probably if the weather would have been better we could have used a few more days.
We made a stop at Illinois Beach State Park in Zion, IL on our way to Elkhart, IN where Joe did a tour of Augusta RV to see the new top of the line luxury 5th wheel the Luxe. The cost for this beauty will run you about $140,000, not something that will be in our future but it doesn’t cost you anything to look. Joe really enjoyed his tour but still loves his Lifestyle. Talking about our Lifestyle we had a first. Someone asked Joe if he gets asked if he enjoys the Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous. First time we heard the comparison with the TV series “Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous” with Robin Leach from the 80’s. We got a chuckle out of that.
A little side note on toll roads – Going from Zion, IL to Elkhart we had to drive through Chicago and pay the tolls in both IL and ID. A total cost of $40.30 on absolutely terrible roads. This was three toll booths we went through so we decided to put “no toll roads” on our GPS when we left Elkhart since we had gone off the toll road to get to the Elkhart Campground. Okay so maybe sometimes that can be a mistake. It took us about an hour to drive about thirty miles through one town after another, through one stop light after another. Which is worse – toll road or stoplights? You have to be the judge of that but I think next time it will be toll road for us.
We are currently in a state park in northwest Ohio, Indian Lake State Park. It has 459 sites so you can imagine how large it is. We came without reservations because of its size but I think again I would check to see if they have openings before coming especially during the summer. It is a nice park close to the lake and very family friendly.
In a few days we will be in Zach and Lauren’s area for a few weeks. We always look forward to spend time with them. I think it must be a mother thing because the closer in proximity I get to my kids the more excited I get about seeing them. I can’t wait to get those hugs.
Joe and I will celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary tomorrow on the 23rd. Where does time go? We say we don’t have to celebrate the day because we celebrate every day together. I will say it again and again, we are so blessed not only for being able to do what we are doing but we are blessed for being able to share this life together, for four wonderful children and their spouses, for beautiful grandkids. Every day is another day to celebrate our blessings.
Stay safe! Love to all our friends and family especially our kids and their wonderful spouses and Cate and Alex. Bless you all!
PS – this time if there are mistakes in this post it is Joe’s fault. He is looking for some paperwork and keeps asking me questions. MEN! (he is my blessing)