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Exploring the Door

August 25, 2013

Day One

Ah, summer in Wisconsin—with all the fun-filled activities one can encounter, it’s hard to make a decision between swimming in the lake, kayaking, hiking, or even sitting around the campfire snacking on s’mores. This year, Mike and I decided we would try some new activities and revisit some long-forgotten ones.

Unlike last summer, the weather this year has been beautiful—not too hot or humid, not too wet or dry. One bright July day, we packed our car and headed for Door County, Wisconsin’s premier vacation destination. We had two goals for our mid-week getaway: 1) to pick cherries, like we did when we were children, and 2) to try something we had never done before. We knew how to do the first, but had no idea of what the second would be. We drove to Sturgeon Bay and then to Egg Harbor where we checked into the Shallows Resort (www.shallows.com) for our brief 2 day stay.

Owners Bob and Liz Dickson have created a family-friendly environment where little kids are free to enjoy the grounds as much as the adults. Although the resort is located on the shores of the Green Bay, there is a swimming pool, playground, and bikes available to guests. Our room was located on the second floor with a beautiful view of the bay where we watched the beautiful sunsets every night.

Sunset view from our room at the Shallows

Sunset view from our room at the Shallows

The first activity on our list was to pick cherries—something we had not done wince we were children. We went to Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery and Market (http://www.orchardcountry.com/) outside of Fish Creek and wondered if we would have to climb ladders in order to pick the tart Montmorency cherries. Mike and I told each other stories of picking cherries with our grandparents, aunts and uncles. The ladders were somewhat scary when we were kids and we were relieved to learn that over the years, the Montmorency trees have transformed from the tall cherry trees to the hybrid, much shorter trees whose cherries are much easier to pick. Typically the cherries are harvested by machines that shake the trees, but enthusiasts can also get a pail and pick—if they prefer.

The cherries were bright, beautiful spheres hanging heavily from the low branches. As children, we remember picking until the cherry juice was running down our arms (and a little on our chins), but this time, we picked quickly and experienced only a slight stickiness on our hands. In an hours time, we had picked 20 pounds of cherries and immediately decided we would make cherry bounce when we got home along with a few cherry pies.

Ripe cherries hanging on one of the cherry trees at Lautenbachs

Ripe cherries hanging on one of the cherry trees at Lautenbachs

Cherry bounce is a wonderful concoction made with 1 pound of tart cherries, 1 cup of sugar and 1 quart of brandy. Mix the whole thing together, place in a jar, and store in a dark closet until Christmas. Because both Mike and my family are originally from the Door County region, cherry bounce was a Christmas staple and we hadn’t sampled the cordial in a long time.

Cherry Bounce

Cherry Bounce

After we picked cherries, we decided that we would do something that we had never done before—rent segways from Seaquist Segway in Sister Bay (www.seaquistsegway.com). At first, I was a bit scared—the segway seemed to have a life of its own, but owner Steve Seaquist was a master not only in his ability to ride the, um, vehicle, but also in teaching others to ride it. Segways are computerized devices that move based on the rider’s movements.

If you lean forward, the segway moves forward; if you lean back on your heels, the segway moves backward. If you turn to the right, the segway moves to the right. It’s really a marvelous little machine, but it does take some practice to make it do what you think you’re telling it to do. Seaquist explained that the segway really is telling you what’s going on in your head. If you’re hesitant, the segway will make little bouncing movements—indicating that you are putting a little weight on your heels, overcompensating, and then leaning forward. The segway, in essence is a measurement of ‘monkey mind.’

Seaquist had complete control over his segway and moved as if it was an extension of his body/mind. In a short time, he had the 8 people who had signed up for the tour completely relaxed. He then took us on an hour-long ride through the forest that lined Lake Michigan near Sister Bay. We moved smoothly over the rough path, skirting trees and climbing hills (remembering not to lean back on the climb). We effortlessly glided over sandy patches on the trail and even downhill wasn’t too scary, as long as you kept your hands firmly on the brakes.

Day 2 of our Door County Adventure will be posted tomorrow.

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