Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Time Travel // October 2013 // Home Turf

Ferris Wheel at Bay Beach Park  //  Kewaunee Lighthouse  //  Kewaunee Beach

When I am among foreigners and they realize I'm American they tend to be really interested and ask what from what part, probably getting prepared to hear something "cool", like L.A., Miami or New York. The second I say Wisconsin, the twinkle of interest in their eye instantly drops and they give me an unenthused "oh." Either they have never heard of Wisconsin or they think I'm some cheese-crazed, country hick, which I kind of am but still...

So when it comes to introducing a newcomer to my turf, I accept the challenge of proving that there is more than cows, cheese and The Packers. We started off with a couple days at home, meeting family and showing Torsten around the old farmland I grew up on. My hometown isn't too impressive until you make your way to the lake shore where there is a decent stretch of beach that is secluded and undisturbed. It was always a favorite summer spot of mine to let my dog run around while I read and sunbathed. 

Prairie dog at Lincoln Park Zoo // Young Eagle feasting at Lincoln Park Zoo  
 Artic fox sunbathing at Bremmer Park  //  Peacock exhibit with horse drawn wagons at Bremmer Park

When we were driving up we stopped at the other Lincoln Park Zoo in Manitowoc (not to be mistaken for the one in Chicago), which is also an impressive park with it's lack of an entrance fee. We arrived in perfect time to see the chubby prairie dogs in action, to watch the predator birds feast on their lunch and just about all the other animals running about. I tend to find zoos a little depressing, but they must be slipping their animals happy pills because they were surprisingly active during our visit!

A similar park closer to where I live has a more limited selection of enclosures where different animals have come and, more frequently, gone. I remember their being monkeys, the famous black bear, goats, raccoons, foxes and there is always the large exhibit of deer and peacocks that never disappoints. Due to Bremmer Park being severally underfunded, they haven't always been able to maintain the zoo up to the standard it should be. In recent years the county has taken more serious action in effort to revive the zoo and raise funds, like their now annual Zoobilee. This year we were lucky enough to join my sister and her family where the kids played games and had their face painted while we ate goulash, took an informative horse-drawn wagon ride and looked at some of the newly introduced animals. 

All photos from Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay

Green Bay is the nearest city to my house, where The Packers are really the main/only attraction for out-of-towners. Considering Torsten and myself really have no interest in American football, we opted out of Lambeau Field and the Hall of Fame and instead utilized the sunny day to frolic around Bay Beach Amusement Park during it's last open day of the season. This city owned park is located on the bay and free to walk around. The rides themselves literally cost 25-75 cents a ride with the newly introduced wooden coaster, Zippin Pippin, that I had been highly anticipating to ride for the first time was only a $1. Cheap thrills that was nostalgic for me and entertaining for Torsten who had been deprived of this kind of fun his whole life!

 Cave Point County Park  //  A goat on top of Al's Swedish Restaurant & Butik  
 Lighthouse in Peninsula Stat Park // Admiring the view from Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park

Our last full-day brought us up and around the Door peninsula. Door County is basically the local weekend destination of choice for city-folk from Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison and so on. We were ambitious to fitting the whole peninsula into one day. Abundant with fancy resorts, campgrounds, boutiques and restaurants along the main roads with magnificent shoreline, parks and nature never far away.
I dictated the itinerary with all my favorite spots, first to see the sculpted cliffs at Cave Point County Park. To save time, and the temptation of spending money, we skipped all the amazing shops and restaurants scattered along highway 42 and 52, though didn't spare the sights of the live goats that graze on top of Al's Swedish Restaurant and Botik.

 Higher up on the peninsula is my absolute favorite little town, Fish Creek. My visits there tend to revolve around a weekend art class at Peninsula School of Art where I use the time after class to bike around Penninsula State Park until sunset where I make my way to the drive-in theater. This time around, we only had enough time to drive around Peninsula State Park and admire the trees starting to change colors from all sorts of vantage points, which never gets old no matter how long you've been living here. 

As we left "the 920", as us folk call it, we traded the car for my grandpa's huge conversion van. We took out the last row of seats to rig-up a makeshift bed that would be out home for the next few weeks as we made the tough decision to change our route. But that's for the next installment as we crossed the Wisconsin border into Minnesota!


Visit the places mentioned in this post

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