It’s May, well, the end of May. So, I wanted to find a destination that celebrated those words. Spring has been with us for awhile and, as the past weekend was memorial day weekend, the mark of summer is upon us. Where to go? What to do?
With late spring and summer come many things. There’s boating, hiking, camping, bird watching, and, well, I’m sure you get the point. The options are limitless. I feel like a dog released from his leash, left to explore till his hearts content.
Also on my mind, Memorial day weekend in Wisconsin not only marks the beginning of summer, but the planting season. So, I have the itch. My gardens have been neglected long enough. I could use some influence, as the creative juices just aren’t flowing. So I decide,that this week, I would take a look at a floral garden.
The Paine Art Center gardens were on my list for early May. Yet, I just couldn’t find a time to fit it into my schedule. I had visited in march, totally admiring this testament of a Tudor style country manor. In that blog, The Paine Art Center-a manor for the community ,I vowed to visit the gardens when they were ready.
Beyond looking for a floral garden, with the holiday in mind, a campground seemed to be in order. So, the same day, I picked something close, with a lot to offer, and we enjoyed a sunset.
It was a relaxing, productive and fun day.
I wander through the gates of the Paine estate, for a taste of a Tudor fashioned visit. I must admit, when I start my way through the gardens, I was expecting more blooms. There’s a lot of shrubbery and trees. I’m not really complaining, because the grounds are still cool. Trails wind among plants that appear to be wild flowers, walks are forged through towering hedges, and the courtyard of the conservatory is outstanding.
Cherry blossoms are flowering in the gardens and dust the walks like large, flat snowflakes. Although there is a large group of workers, landscaping some areas of the grounds, I get the sense I’m meandering some well to do family’s back yard.
I do suggest this place, especially if you’ve never been here before. The house paired with the gardens makes for an extraordinary experience. It is located in Oshkosh Wisconsin. If your heading down 41 and take the Algoma blvd exit, heading into the city, you’ll run right into it.
I am now returning to my home town of Green Bay, my mind pleasantly jostled by the Gardens experience. As I mentioned my own yard has been neglected. I’m in the mood now. There’s no way I’m going to replicate what I had just enjoyed, but I can still make the neighbors jealous.
I unearth a few rose bushes, plant some Hostas and dig up a boxwood in my shrub bed, replacing it with a Mugo Pine. I try some flower arranging in a couple of planters, being fairly disappointed with the out come.
I clean up and my companion arrives at my home. As I can see the sun descending in the western sky, I have the urge to watch it set. I tell her I’m in the mood for a drive towards the bay. She agrees and we head for a nearby park, campground and boat launch known as Bay Shore Park. I know, the name of the park sounds generic and probably overused. Actually, I believe the name is Cecil Depeau Bay shore Park, but I’ve never heard anyone call it by that name.
As we enter the park, after a jaunt along the bay on Nicolet Dr, I notice the place is buzzing with activity. It is a few days before the holiday weekend but many seem to have a head start. I relish the holiday atmosphere, imagining that I’m also on vacation.
There’s many attributes to this park. There’s a shelter and pavilion(which can be rented for events), volley ball courts, a softball diamond and a large playground. That’s just the park area, beyond that there are campgrounds and a giant boat launch.
If you’d like to camp in a great family friendly atmosphere, You can reserve your site online or on a first come first serve basis, depending on the site. There’s also what is known as rustic sites, sites without electricity and water.
What separates this place from many others is the fact it is set atop a bluff, as it is part of the Niagra escarpment, a ridgeline that cuts across half the country. You can stand atop the bluff and overlook Green Bay, as it spreads before you like a small ocean. Actually, in the dark, lights can be seen from towns on the distant shore, across this rather large body of water.
We watch the boats return to the launch and the sun plummet from the sky. When it gets close to disappearing, we walk the steep and winding road that brings us to the breakers. There is a small beach with rather course sand at the bottom to our right. However, this is primarily used as a place for boats to cast off into the bay.
We walk the pier and enjoy the the sun’s rays reflecting off the clouds. It’s a brightly colored collage tonight, as the bay is so calm it appears as a sheet of glass. People are fishing from the stony structure as boaters leave with their boat in good order. After the sun has set we leave the park behind.
There you have it, two Ideas for the vacationer, or someone in the state looking for something to do. As always, it was a great excursion.
The Paine Art Center-hours 9-5 wed thru Sun. There is no admission to the Gardens.