This weekend was packed full of activities! We decided to spend the weekend in Door County and make a trip to Washington Island. The daytime weather was perfect for the trip and we saw pretty much all there is to see on the 35 square mile tip of Door County. The ferry took us there in 30 minutes.
We had lunch at Nelsen’s Hall where the boys were able to get in a game of pool, Sophie picked out a few tunes on the jukebox to add to the ambiance and we became card carrying members of The Bitters Club. Built in 1899, by Danish immigrant Tom Nelsen, The hall has served as a social center for Island residents and visitors. Throughout the years, it has housed the tavern, movie theater, dentist office, pharmacy and ice cream parlor. It has also been the headquarters for the world renowned Bitters Club.
On display are many photos of early island residents and landmarks, as well as the original movie projection equipment from 1910. The adjacent pub was added in 1902. The elegant back bar, built in 1850 was brought by sailing ship from Michigan. The custom of drinking Angostura Bitters as a stomach tonic was established at Nelsen’s Hall by Tom Nelsen. Throughout most of his 90 years, Tom drank nearly a pint a day. He credited his long and healthy life to this habit. Tom would be proud to know that today, because of him, Nelsen’s Hall is the single largest purveyor of Angostura Bitters in the world according to the Guiness Book of World Records. More bitters are consumed at Neslen’s than any place in the world. We tried our best to contribute to Nelsen’s continued legacy!
Afterwards, we stumbled back into the car free of all ailments and headed north (or at least what I believed to be in that general direction) towards the Washington Island Art and Nature Center and School House Beach. We met Brandon there and he spent nearly an hour teaching the children about Tardigrade or Water Bears.
|A Tardigrade or Water Bear|
|Brandon and Sophie discuss Tardigrade|
The beach is on a cove that is covered with millions of smooth white stones. Not a good place to lay back and relax, but certain fun is to be had if skipping or stacking rocks is your passion.
|Sophie and her Zen rock pile on School House Beach|
|On the Look Out Tower. Noah refuses to have his face photographed….|
A trip to the Washington Island lookout tower was next. Here we tried to get a family portrait, but Noah had decided that this was the day that no photographs of his face could be taken. It was a challenge for us, but we WERE able to capture a few.
Finally, a trip back to the mainland and Newport Beach State Park for some boomerang practice and a poison ivy identification seminar. Dinner out in Fish Creek and a movie at one of the last remaining Drive In theaters in Wisconsin… The weather was spectacular until during the movie “Super 8” the water tower collapsed and we were coincidentally drenched in a sudden rainfall while sitting out in the benches in front of the theater. Luckily, this was the end of the movie and we were able to navigate back to the boat and arrived at 1:00 AM on Sunday…..EXHAUSTED!