Washington Island is located seven miles off the northeastern tip of Door Pennisula in Door County, Wisconsin.
During our week-long stay we immersed ourselves in the island's Scandinavian history and culture. We enjoyed breakfast favorites like pannekaken (Swedish pancakes), limpa bread and kringles -- a Danish confection filled with nuts and fruit and covered in a blanket of white frosting. We visited their local museums, churches and art and nature center. We caught crawdads, toads and snakes (eek!). We spotted deer, a fox and were awakened by a flock of sand cranes as they gathered near our cabin.
We had very limited access to WiFi. Instead we visited with other Sunset Resort guests...some of whom have been returning to the resort each summer for more than 45 years! We met an adorable couple -- Edith and Peter. Edith was just 88 years young (a former anthropologist - she shared with me some of her early adventures working in New Guinea and her groundbreaking experiences as one of the first women to attend Yale) and her partner of 16 years, a retired computer professor -- 30 years her junior! Every day Peter swam out into the clear water...so far onlookers may have mistaken him for someone with the goal of not returning. Faithfully, Edith took up her post in a seat where the dining hall juts out providing a truly majestic, unobstructed view of the shoreline. With binoculars in hand - she'd watch his figure as it shrunk into the horizon. There she would remain until he had safely returned to shore. The two of them truly a set of "love birds" as they frequently embraced and shared how grateful they were to have one another. Peter often played piano in the sitting area and Noah, our budding pianist, shared his love for Star Wars and its music while Peter listened patiently and asked him thoughtful questions. Later Peter told me how much he enjoyed meeting Noah and was impressed by his ability to memorize so many pieces of music. He thought Noah could recite more than he could (someone who had been playing all his life).
Our daily "to do" list looked like this:
Our world became very small as we slowed down. Steve and I got into the habit of rising early and taking our steaming cups with us to sit and envelope ourselves in the smells of fresh air and sounds of the water lapping near the shoreline.
|Sand Dunes Beach|
|Schoolhouse Beach only 1 of 5 beaches in the world with perfectly smooth stones -- perfect for skimming and building stones castles.|
|The water was a crisp 66 degrees.|
|Our home away from home. My friend, Kim, described it perfectly - "It's like staying at grandma's only with a killer view"|
|Catching a sunset just outside our cabin.|
|Mountain Park & Lookout Tower|
|Enjoying a day at Rock Island State Park. A short 15 min. ferry ride from Washington Island. No cars, no bikes...just peds. Many people we met kayak and canoe from the island.|
|We took a 1 mile hike from the ferry to tour the Pottawatomie Light House.|
|Rock Island beach|
|Noah freaks out over every bug...including flies, but snakes - no problem.|
|The weather is perfect for growing lavender. The island is home to two lavender farms. Historic Island Dairy and Fragrant Isle|
|Nat sampled a lavender cookie|
|Early island settler, Jen Jacobsen spent his life collecting island artifacts and erected this cabin that now serves as a museum.|
|Noah asks the docent questions while visiting Jacobsen's Museum|
|Fire in the Hole!|
|island lawn ornaments|
The Stavkirke Prayer Path offers visitors a place for reflection and prayer. It features a number of prayer stations and meditation benches with scripture verses engraved onto plaques.
|Stavkirke Trinity Lutheran Church holds services in July and August. Truly remarkable|
|Each morning Sunset Resort flew different flags to represent the heritage of the guests.|
We attended their Farmers Market...while there were only a couple of vendors -- we purchased vegetables to make a salad and something called Maple Bliss - an all natural maple product of Sweet Mountain Farm that tastes like the candy of my childhood - Bit O'Honey. Delicious spread on toast or enjoyed on pancakes or even ice cream!
|Washington Island Farmers Market nestled in the vineyard.|
On our last day we caught the 6:45 a.m. (yep... a.m.) ferry back to the mainland so we could stop in Sister Bay to have breakfast at the famous Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant where adorable goats graze on the grass rooftop restaurant.
|Natalie enjoyed pannekaken with fresh strawberries|
|In his happy place. Lord, I wish I could have a cat.|
There are so many cute shops and places to visit along the Peninsula - if only we had had more time. Between Memorial Day and Columbus Day there are festivals happening nearly every weekend.
Another time...farewell Door County.