Cana Island Lighthouse-classic Door County

It seems, these days, that every town is delving into the tourist market, whether it be a museum, multi-use arena, trendy refurbished ‘main street’, historical sight, renovated waterfront, adventurous park and- I’m sure you get the Idea.  Tourist dollars are added revenue for any area.  Why not capitalize?

Some places, however, were practically built on that industry.  Take Door County, for instance.  The northern Half of the county, from practically the moment settlers set foot on the peninsula, was considered a place travelers would enjoy.  It, with it’s 300 miles of rocky shoreline, a dozen or so lighthouses, dense forests, rolling farmland, cherry orchards and steep bluffs, has been dubbed the ‘Cape Cod of the Midwest’

Towns are buzzing with people and festivities these summer months, as there are so many draws that the county possesses. One, as I’ve already mentioned it, adorns a lot of Door County Memorabilia.  From T-shirts to Keychains, lighthouses seem to be a signature trait, well, that and cherries.  I’ll save the cherries for another blog.

I grew up in Door County, so you would think I would know all about lighthouses.  Actually, before today, I’ve never set foot in one.  I decided, after a fellow blogger posted a picture of a lighthouse kitchen, that it would be well worth an afternoon.  It was.

I am headed down, what is known, as a rustic road.  This narrow path curves through a thick cedar forest.  If it was not for the power lines, following the twists and turns, I would assume I was in a tranquil woodland void of man.   I am following markers along this paved trail, directing me to the Cana Island Lighthouse.

Finally the road ends, and I do mean ends, at a shore of Lake Michigan.  Before it does, off to my right, there is a compact parking lot full of cars.  I enter said lot, simmering with anticipation.

I hastily bound for the end of the road and have two choices.  I can board the wagon tugged by a small tractor, that at the moment is traversing the water covered causeway, or I could go at it by foot.

I came prepared with shorts and waterproof sandals. So I think, why not walk it? I stride the Icy waters and battle the mild waves of the rocky causeway.    The water line is just below the cell phone in my pocket, as I remind myself one misstep could be an expensive blunder.

I reach the shore of the small Island and find an admission shack.  I pay my twelve dollars and am off to explore.

The Island is absolutely beautiful and well maintained.  I follow a trail that winds through shrubs and trees, the Beacon looming in the distance.  Not only is the steel cylinder, which has cased the tower since the turn of the last century, standing  on the grounds, but other rustic buildings add an old world feel to this very quaint, and seemingly secluded, parcel.

I enter the house, which is attached to the light tower, that claims itself as a gift shop.  It’s much more than that, as many rooms of the house are filled with old artifacts and info. There’s chipped paint, bare plaster and worn wood everywhere.  I am free to read the info and inspect the rooms.  For its time, this would have made more than an adequate family living quarters.  The house is slated to be refinished, to the way it would have appeared circa 1910, in the next year.

After sauntering through the living quarters, I’m ready to climb the beacon.  As I enter, intimidated by the Iron spiral staircase that literally winds towards the top, I gather my courage.  I believe its 97 steps, as the lighthouse is 89 ft.

Being inside the light tower, I can tell that it is much older than the steel façade.  When it was built in 1869, one would have seen a brick exterior.  The worn interior seems to fit the living quarters and is proof of genuine antiquity.

After the daunting climb, I am greeted by a friendly man who recites information about the light itself.  The last source of light used in this beacon was a 250 watt lightbulb, which is fitted in the fixture today.  It could be seen from eighteen miles away.  When the tower was first lit in 1870, lard was the fuel for the lamp, later replaced with mineral oil.

After the information, I am invited to experience the exterior of the lighthouse.  I’m left to indulge in a panoramic view of the Island from atop the light house-absolutely spectacular!

After I descend the staircase, I get one more glimpse of the house.  I then investigate some of the rustic buildings a little closer.  There is an outhouse, made of brick, and a building where the fuel for the lamp in the tower was kept, plus a few more.

Today was enjoyable, as I’ve never been inside a lighthouse before.  It’s such an interesting and, at the time, very necessary structure.  Today, it’s a monument of a past Door County, built and lit around the same time many immigrants began settlement farms in Wisconsin.

Go see Cana Island lighthouse, It is a unique excursion.  My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of the tractor and wagon that brought people across the causeway.  Darn it!

Cana Island lighthouse open 10-5 seven days a week, May thru October.

 

Exploring the sights in Green Bay-letting loose

 

People come in all shapes and sizes, and varying tastes and expectations.   I have to keep that in mind.  I blog with the intent, if I enjoy an attraction, to draw someone to that place.  If the reader has heard about the location before, possibly they gain insight about the Park, Museum or quaint little town I write about.  That being stated, it seems I have found a rut and, maybe, just maybe, my blog doesn’t include everyone’s tastes.

You might say, I can’t please everyone.  Yet, I don’t have to pin myself in a corner either.   Small tourist towns and Parks are pleasant, sometimes breathtaking.  Museums and historical sights are informative and interesting.  Sometimes, however, you have to let loose and have a night, or afternoon, in a great downtown setting.

My intentions, for the day, were different than the end result.  I’m pretty happy with my choices however, as you will find, we had an incredible afternoon that started with a rather lack luster start.

My companion startles me at 10:15, as she enters my room and breaks up my slumber by asking,  “Are you ready?”  She notices my disoriented and confused face, apologizing for waking me up.

She really doesn’t have to apologize.  I told her it was quite alright if she came right in, while discussing our plans last night.  I quickly get ready and we’re headed for some place in South Central Wisconsin.  Well, we start out that way.  That is to say, I take Highway 172 towards the other side of town to catch I-41.  As I do, I feel my heart sink.

I had just finished a six day stretch last night and am still rather spent from the rigorous day six.  I just don’t feel like a long drive today.  So I turn to Heidi, rather sheepishly, and voice my feelings.  She shrugs and asks, “What do you want to do?”

“I’m not sure, something closer to home. I know there is some house around here.”  I mutter as I exit off the highway and park in a local business parking lot.  I pull out my cell phone, with its trusty list of places.  I discover the spot I just alluded to, a place called the Hazelwood Historical House- right here in Green Bay.  Heidi shrugs  “Sounds cool.”

We  find  a house that was built in 1837, accompanied by a knowledgeable tour guide.  We learn interesting facts about the house, as it is decorated and furnished to represent a latter existence of the structure- during the Victorian era.  My favorite fact, aside from the inhabitants history, was that the front door originally faced the river, because  boats were the mode of transportation in its early years.

As interesting as the history is, I am really not feeling the place.  Much of the furniture is not original to the house, there are additions from the renovation and there is uncertainty as to what some rooms were used for.  Don’t get me wrong, its a nice place with many Victorian age pieces to give the house an authentic appeal.   I just feel, as the time has passed, much of the real character of the home has been lost.

Still, for five bucks, its worth the admission.  Like I said, the Victorian feel is definitely there.

It’s still early and I’m craving more.  So, after a stop at a Mexican restaurant in Green Bay’s downtown, we head to a place that should have always been on my list, a very popular destination.

Green Bay’s Botanical Gardens are seemingly something out of a storybook.  With its well groomed shrubbery arrangements, winding trails, countless species of plants and other features, I feel enchanted sauntering through the growth around me.  The feature attraction, during our visit, are Lego sculptures which are adorning the gardens, in fitting locations.

There is plenty of festivities and fun in the Botanical Gardens.  It is the scene of free concerts on Wednesdays, there is an operatic performance taking place this day, it plays host to weddings and there are other great events in this beautiful venue.

We’re finished at the gardens and its only 3:30.

We now head back downtown, and that’s where I discover the appeal of Green Bay’s City Deck.  We pull into a lot on Washington street, enjoying the free weekend parking downtown.   Almost immediately, as I climb from the car, I can tell the rest of the afternoon, and early evening, will be fun.  Riding on the slight winds, I hear the distinctive sounds of live music.  We follow the enticing sounds and find a small band entertaining patrons on the patio of Hagemeister Park.

Hagemeister Park is not a park.  It’s a Restaurant and bar overlooking the Fox River, trendy and cool.  The name is one that recalls Green Bay’s unique football history. The original Hagemeister Park was the first home of the Green Bay Packers starting in 1919, a fitting name for a venue in a city thick with football history.

We listen to the entertaining music of the three member band before us, drinking some refreshments and enjoying the overcast but comfortable day.  After the band is done, we stroll the scenic path, enjoying the sights and sounds of a late Sunday afternoon.  Kids are frolicking in the fountains, lovers are sitting close to each other on park benches and many people are just like us, taking in the sights.

We discover another Bar and Restaurant known as Fox Harbor, as a band is finishing up their final sound checks.  So, again, we check out the band. This patio is smaller and gated, and manned by a young guy with his head in a book. The place is packed with a fun loving crowd, all around my age or a little older.  We enjoy more refreshments and then head home.  Its already eight when we make it through the doors of my house.

The downtown was really the highlight, although, the Green Bay Botanical Gardens is a close second.  Heck, even the Hazelwood House was cool.  It was a great day.  If you get to Green Bay, I urge you to try some of these great locations.

Old World Wisconsin-little house in the park.

Did your ever wonder, as you sat through history class, what a rural landscape would look like in the 1800’s?  I mean,  you can visit some outdoor museums and set eyes on old structures, like churches and blacksmith shops.  That being said, as you would find such buildings in many  historical parks, most times they are bunched together in a rather random order.   These places are definitely fun and educational, some with workers dressed in period attire.  Yet, and I didn’t realize this till my latest excursion, the feel of the pioneer days is somewhat lost.

I discovered a place, with a historical appeal, that rivals any in this world.  It’s focus is  Wisconsin settler’s rural living.  Like most parks of this manner, there is a small village on the grounds, complete with  many components of old pioneer towns in Wisconsin.  However, what Separates this park from most is that it sits on nearly six hundred acres of land, featuring entire farms and rural homes from nationalities such as German, Finnish, Danish, Polish and Norwegian.

This is an extremely huge draw for me.  I’m a quarter German and have heard stories from my paternal grandmother.  Also, and probably more largely, I’m half Polish. So, I would imagine, as it is for many from the state of Wisconsin, there is relevance and significance in these authentic buildings, having been moved and reconstructed piece by piece on the Old World Wisconsin grounds. The buildings in this museum are the actual structures settlers occupied, all coming from somewhere in Wisconsin.

We arrive at Old World Wisconsin after a pleasant drive through lush green, near Eagle Wisconsin.  At the admissions desk, I am presented a map, which, considering how large this place is, is something we’ll use frequently in the future.  We’re offered Museum tokens, at a cost of five dollars a token, to be used at the general store and other venues in the park.  Also, for a price of $5 a head, they offer carriage rides.

We learn of events that are taking place, both today and in the future.  There’s everything from Christmas time adventures to old fashioned baseball games.  Today we’re late for the carriage rides but, to my delight, there is a demonstration on beer brewing and samples of the final product.  The demonstration lasts until three.

Needless to say, we’re headed towards the German section of the park where, naturally, the beer is being brewed.  It is two, and the German homesteads, according to our map, are a little over a twenty minute stroll.  Fortunately, there are ‘Trams’ that transport park goers much more quickly.  There are many stops for these motorized vehicles.

We start off on a rather sour note, as we wait for a tram for a considerable length of time.  After some time, I suggest we hike to the village area, which is only a five minute jaunt, noticing that there are two tram stops on the way.

We begin our trek and discover a simplistic and tiny, but beautiful, church on the way.  As we walk through town I’m tempted to stop at more establishments.  My companion urges me to stay focused and head to the German section.  So we walk, and almost make it to our destination without the aide of a tram.  At the final stop, before we arrive, we pick it up and ride for a few seconds.

When we arrive at the demonstration, there’s a healthy gathering and the beer brewing process is open for everyone to see.  Adding to the old world feel of this little area, the hops fields are just across the road.  I enjoy a slight cup of  brew from this process. They’re also offering bottles from a local micro brewery.

We enjoy the cup and walk to a German farm.  As we look through the different homesteads, there are rustic gardens, historic breeds of livestock, interesting farmhouses and rather rudimentary barns.  There are three German immigrant farms and a polish house in this section. We finish up the tour by stumbling on another small church that hardly looks the part.  The history of the church, as it belonged to a fully integrated community, makes you proud to be a Wisconsinite.

We return to Crossroads Village.  However, as I’m enthralled with places like a boarding house, known as the Four Mile house, my companion is worried we’ll miss the Scandinavian immigrant portion of the park.  So we head off to see the homes of the Norseman.

As we trek through the Finnish, Danish and Norwegian settlements, we find one can hike to certain farms through the vast woodlands.  There are trails that actually take you from the German area right to the Scandinavian without using park roads.  The trails are beautiful, some being about a half mile long.  I believe, as we only end up taking one trail, they could have saved some time.

Besides the trails, there is plenty at the Scandinavian homesteads.  More historic breed livestock is to be seen in this area.  Probably the most interesting of these are the freshly shaved sheep.  There are demonstrations at the Norwegian farm on washing, and preparing wool for the spinning wheel.  Also, in this area, a schoolhouse from the turn of the century stands.

We finish up our visit at Cross roads village, checking out a playhouse, blacksmith shop, general store and a few more homes.  Also, the wheelmen’s club allows you to take a try at riding a high wheel trike.

This cool venue is south of Milwaukee near a town known as Eagle. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit as did my companion.  It rests in what is known as Kettle Moraine State Forest.  If you’re ever in southern Wisconsin, check it out.

Bringing in Summer Right-Gardens and sunsets.

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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.

My Roundabout Run-in With the National Mustard Museum

It was one of those days where nothing went according to plan, every turn ending up very different than I had hoped.  Despite the difficulties, the day turned out to be a fairly cool experience, considering that even the weather seemed to be against me.

I have made it a habit, after reading a little advice about starting a blog, that I would publish the same day every week.  My reading suggested publishing three times a week. However, reality points to a different road.  Taking into account that I work a full time job and I chose to write a part-time travel blog, I’ve decided to make it once a week.  So, since August 1 of last year, I’ve consistently posted every Tuesday.

My work schedule this week was Wednesday through Sunday, giving me Monday off.  No, problem,  I decided I would visit some place, during the day, and write about it in the evening.  That’s where My troubles began.

Since I usually write my destination experience ‘first person present tense’,  I’ll take it from there.

I arrive at the ‘Hearthstone Historic House Museum’ and am indecisive.  The Red Brick parking lot is incredibly small, so small, in fact, I park on the grass.  My stomach sinks as I see the groundskeeper approaching.  I am anticipating to be chastised by this mild looking  man for treading on his well manicured lawn.  However, very much to my surprise, he informs me they are closed.  That conflicts with the information I read the night before.

No matter, I am thinking, I have a back up plan, well, a semi back up plan.  I had wrote about the ‘Paine Art Center’ a few weeks ago, vowing to return after the gardens were in full bloom.  However, before I start that trek, knowing many attractions are closed on Mondays, I check their hours of business.   I am left deflated as I discover they won’t open again till Wednesday.

Alas, there is another back up.  Thinking back to my searches last night, I came across a mineral museum Known as ‘R. Harder Gallery of Gems and Minerals’.  I’m sold on this curious sounding place because it is in the Neighboring town of Neenah, as I am now in Appleton.

I arrive at a building known As the  Jeweler’s Mutual  Insurance Group building.  Yes, that’s right, I’m at an office building.  There are signs for the gallery as I drive into 24 Jewelers Park drive.  I walk in through double glass doors and two receptionists point to a room on my right.

It’s a small black room accented with the coolest rocks I’ve ever set eyes on.  It’s pretty cool, but I can’t blog on this.  I mean, the CEO’s corner office is probably larger than this room.  I’ll definitely share some photos because the rocks are outstanding.  If your looking for some time to kill in Neenah, I do suggest taking a gander.

So, I’m in a predicament.  I really have no other Ideas and being Monday it might be hard to find a place.  But wait, I have a list of suggestions that a friend texted me.  Some of these are five star winners!  I work through the list and find an interesting ‘museum’ Known as the National Mustard Museum.  I know nothing about the topic, actually I hated mustard as a kid.  Yet, its grown on me and I’m wondering what kind of spot labels itself the National Mustard Museum.  Better yet, what’s there?

I check the hours and make my way towards the center of the state, what the heck, I’m a quarter way there already.  Its overcast and raining and the road is wet, not to the point that I’m hydroplaning, but its annoying.  Trucks, which are frequent on this stretch, spray fountains of water on my windshield.  My wipers are stuck on high.

I arrive and find the building fairly easily, using GPS navigation of course.  At first I’m delighted by the genuine General Store appearance from outdoors.  I take a closer look at the sign, discovering this place makes its money selling gourmet mustard.  I feel a sense of disappointment overcome me.  Did I really drive halfway across the state for some gourmet mustard?  Is that even remotely interesting?

I am won over the minute I stroll through the door, however.  A no nonsense lady greets me cordially and points out the highlights of this, I’m not sure what to call it, museum?  Gourmet mustard shop?  What ever it is, I love the rustic approach, I sense the one room corner grocery store I knew as a child.  Every thing says old fashioned General Store.

Along with the ambiance, there stands plenty of creative mustard products.  I also discover some barbecue sauces that catch my eye.  Not only are the products ready for sale, there’s also a tasting bar where you can sample these concoctions.  Seriously, they mixed chocolate  in a mustard?

I’m undecided so I’ll check out the museum.

Down stairs, where the Museum is located, I find glass cases filled with old mustard bottles, labeled according to state, country or continent they come from.  This is the largest collection of mustard memorabilia in the world.  There’s a room with a small flat screen TV, cleverly labeled the ‘Mustard Piece Theatre’, playing a documentary on the topic of the museum.  Center stage are antique mustard pots, one used by the king of England, that fill substantial cases, set in the middle of the small museum.

I’m not blown away.  It’s mustard.  Yet, the uniqueness and style of the venue make it a ten on the interest meter.  I mean, I can find wine tasting, I’ve seen micro brew conventions, I love chili cook-offs and  I can visit Costco and consume a small meal on their samples throughout the store.  Yet, I doubt I can go any other place in the world and sample Tequila Mustard.

I buy a bottle of beer mustard and say my good bye’s to the cashier.  As I head towards the car I’m struck by the quaintness of Middleton.  So, instead of heading home, I decide to find something to eat.

I discover a throwback diner, its front windows adorned with neon.  It’s right next to the Museum, just on the other side of the establishment’s parking lot.  I down a delicious hamburger, cooked by a man who compliments me on my shirt, and head for home.

There you have it, a productive but difficult journey.  I hope you had as much fun reading as I did finding the places that make this blog worth writing.

Paine Art Center and Hearthstone Historic House-in blogs to come

R. Harder Gallery of Gems and Minerals -Open during business hours-no Admission

National Mustard Museum-10am-5pm Monday-Sunday  no admission but hard not to buy a bottle of mustard.

Green Bay’s ‘The Automobile Gallery’-art with some machismo.

They’re the most commonly used mode of transportation in the US.  Birthed at the turn of the last century, they started off a crudely designed and cumbersome machine, living up to their nickname ‘The horseless carriage’.  Yet, by the thirties and beyond, a good number of their designs caused passers by to admire with double takes, glancing at elegance gracing a city street.

Of course I’m referring to the automobile.  It’s not only what’s under the hood that counts, as far as consumers and enthusiasts are concerned.  I remember as I romped about while I was a kid, being thrilled by the sight of a ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ Firebird.  The painted hood was cool, and quite unique.  Also, I loved the high arching fenders of the ’80s Stingray Corvette, never mind that they could get up and go.

As always, everything about an automobile, from engine and headlights to custom interiors, is designed to be eye appealing.  Stunners have stuck around for quite awhile.  Hence, I haven’t seen an AMC Pacer in eons.

So, when I discover a permanent car display, housed on an old dealership grounds, I understand its curious label.  ‘The Automobile gallery’ is just that, as it highlights the curves and shapes that made many drivers covet these highway travelers.  These machines have been conceived on assembly lines in corporate factories, yet these feats of engineering are surely works of art.

I stroll into a fresh reception area, at the entrance of a building that is stylish in its own right, accompanied by a young lady full of information.  I pay my discounted admission fee of $8, listening to her outline the highlights of the Gallery.  In this reception area, interesting vehicles, such as an old Buick station wagon, start my visit off right.

I turn the corner and my eyes must be wider.  There’s a wide array of automobiles, some auto show regulars, from drag racers that hang from the wall to a ford model A.  Of course, like I said, there are the Corvettes, Mustangs and Camaros I tend to find anytime I find a classic car collection.  However, I discover new cars, well new to me.  Like a muscle car known as an AMC Javelin, and for the movie buff, a 1981 DeLorean, being the time travelling vehicle in ‘Back to the Future”.

I’m absolutely delighted in this modestly sized, well presented, and engrossingly interesting collection of  showroom quality automobiles.

As I reluctantly leave the room, I discover a collection of tables, allowing for gatherings.  Not only is this some cool mesh of auto art gallery meets history museum, It’s also an event center.  I peruse the indoor conference room and outdoor patio. Definitely a winner for a small get together.

I also take a gander at the Boardroom, equipped with plate glass windows overlooking the showroom I had left behind.  With the sports cars below and cool amenities of the Boardroom, I feel like I’m on the set of some James Bond scene.

Such a cool Place!

However, I’m not finished, there are more cars waiting in a smaller room.  I discover an automobile known as the Dearborne Duece.  This car is still being produced in this day and age.  It is a replica of the original Duece manufactured in 1932, being constructed from Detroit steel.

Of all the cool cars, as there are roughly 60 according to my research (somehow I felt there was more) there is something else that gives this fresh new venue an added sense of benevolence.  I see a small group of men, I would assume that have reached the age of retirement, working as volunteers.  I only briefly witness their interactions as one talks to me for a moment.  Yet, in those moments, I sense these men share knowledge, camaraderie and a sense of  purpose void of stress.

The Automobile Gallery is a non profit organization, benefitting from these passionate  volunteers.  I almost get the sense that these men belong to some kind of club.  I’m the only visitor in the building at the time, and these men don’t shun me but encourage me to explore their ‘clubhouse’.

This place makes a statement.  Art comes in many forms and one can’t deny the beauty of these amazing standouts.  Yes, many, such as the muscle cars, were manufactured and appealed to testosterone driven men with a sense of adventure, but these cars are both historically interesting and significant, not to mention stunning.

Like I said, there is an array of automobiles here from the crude pieces that ushered in the automobile age to historic station wagons and sedans.  If your even remotely interested in cars or have boys in your family, I do suggest putting this place on your to do list.  It’s also a great place to have a gathering or celebrate an event.

The Automobile Gallery and Event Center  400 S Adams St, Green Bay, WI 54301

Monday, Thursday-Sunday 9am-3pm

Admissions

Adult $10

Seniors, Veterans, Children(7-17), Students with ID-$8

Active Military and children under 7 years of age are free.

Kayaking a Local River-nature found in an urban area.

In my last blog, I recently visited a Wisconsin State Park that stirred thoughts, seemingly never so concrete.  The setting of that Park, still fresh in my memory, portrayed an ancient settlement with residents accustomed to harmonizing with mother nature.  I, myself, not being a hunter and a subpar fisherman, imagine those basic survival tasks almost an impossible effort.  However, today, in the most unlikely setting, I sat in my kayak and pictured a life centuries before the settlement of the white man.

No, I wasn’t in Boundary Waters, the legendary paddling destination that is miles from civilization.  I wish I had the guts to go that one alone.  I started my voyage with the aide of a Kayak Launch in a city park known as Green Isle Park.  I can sense your attempt to stymie a chuckle.  Really, once your paddling the murky water, surrounded by budding branches stretching over the  East River, the solitude and a sense of wilderness abounds.

OK, if you head upstream, your going to find yourself under the HWY-172 bridge.  However, subtract the highway noise, that seems to diminish quite quickly after passing the bridge, and there’s woodlands, jumping fish, basking turtles, floating geese, deer picking through the woods and more.

I begin my voyage with an annoyance.  Young men are sprawled over the launch, reclined over the rollers with fishing poles in hand.  I want to say something harsh.  As I am thinking of voicing my disgust, one allows room for my kayak.  I’m still annoyed but I launch into the river water.

Leaving them behind, the setting grips me and dissolves my ill feelings.  I’m paddling up stream, as there is less man made elements, at least after you pass the bridge.  The current is slight and it takes little effort to paddle at a decent pace.  Some of the trees are budding, yet many are bare, allowing me to peer into the woodlands.

Up ahead, near a log, I see a sizeable fish frolicking at the surface.  I’m wondering if he’s fighting a fisherman.  Yet, when I reach the spot I see no one.  Also, on that same log, as I pull up right to it, a brave turtle basks in the sun.

I approach the bridge, and although it takes from my plight to be one with nature, I do love the thunderous drone of cars passing overhead.  I paddle for a while, my instincts tell me to go just a bit further, so I do.  As I reach a bend, I discover two dear grazing the forest floor.  My pictures really aren’t that great, it took me a while to pull the camera app up on my phone.

The sense of peace, on this small leg of the river, is overwhelming.  I see bikers using the east river trail, zooming by.  Birds chirp and the water softly laps my canoe, as I paddle lazily towards nowhere special.  At moments I stop paddling and just take it all in, it’s kind of cool.

I turn around and return.  As I pull my kayak from the launch I accidentally knock two fishing poles over with my craft.  The young men scurry to retrieve them.  I know, I know, love thy neighbor, right.

Its a one of a kind experience, Kayaking a lazy river.  The natural elements bring a peaceful vibe.  I find myself thinking, living off the land might not be that bad.  I don’t intend to do it.  Those days are mostly gone for the majority of the world, yet there’s a harmony I can feel sitting on a river gazing at a deer.

I do suggest, if you have a peaceful body of water around, to set out on those waters and enjoy the serenity.  I think you’d be glad you did.