Door Explore

Last week was spring break for us, and it was lovely to get away and take the time to relax.

We drove up to Sister Bay, Wisconsin, which is in Door County. Since it was the off-season, we were lucky enough to have a spot right next to the lake.

It was crazy foggy when we arrived, so it was like living in a cloud, but Tuesday afternoon the fog cleared, so we hopped out onto the balcony to enjoy the view

…and to dive into a good Lego encyclopedia.

Our first excursion beyond Sister Bay itself was to Cana Island. There’s a lighthouse on the island, and while driving around the area happened upon the causeway that leads to the island itself. So we hopped on over.

The lighthouse was cool, but we were really drawn by the beach

So many good stones to throw

Wednesday, we took the ferry to Washington Island. The strait in between the peninsula and the island is called Death’s Door, and riding through icy waters in thick fog and wind, I can attest that the name would have been fitting for those in early sailing vessels.

Henry loved the rocking of the ferry

The ferry runs year round, so they had two heated passenger cabins, which was very nice.

Most everything on the island was closed, but we managed to find enough food and enjoyed exploring areas whether they were “open” or not.

Schoolhouse Beach

Percy Johnson Beach. Joe experimented with walking about the ice floes, which the boys found entertaining.

The Jacobsen Museum was closed, but their outdoor stuff, like the remains of this shipwreck, was open for anyone to check out.

Right before we hopped on the ferry back, we stopped in somewhere to see if we could find food. We did, but we also found Zoe, a sweet dog who spends her day hanging out at the bar. Literally.

Back in Sister Bay, the main building in the complex we stayed at had a pool/hot tub combo. We made full use of both!

One of the highlights of the trip for me was our hike in Peninsula State Park. We started with a great view from the lookout tower.

It was an accessible tower, which meant it had this amazing long ramp option to get to the top. Big fan! It was fun to climb the steep stairs, but Henry adores a good long ramp. He wanted to go back up and do it again.

The terrain and views on the hike that followed was super cool

The rocks were beautiful and had these fun hidey-holes

The boys helped me find good birch bark to bring home for weaving, so it was like a scavenger hunt with the built-in obstacle course of water, rocks and roots to navigate.

When we found the end of the trail, the boys were pooped, so Joe went to retrieve the car for us. Wisconsin State Parks have these built-in selfie stands for you to prop your phone on, so we took the opportunity to do some posing.

We had a truly enjoyable dinner after that at the Door County Brewing Co. after that, and then stopped in to play some mini golf.

It was closed for the season, but that didn’t stop us from doing a round. Here’s Joe gathering up some golf balls for us.

I found a stick that served as an okay putter.

This is the complication and joy of off-season vacationing. No one’s there, but because of that, you have everywhere to yourself!

The big downside to off-season was the lack of good food, so as we headed out of town on Friday, we sought out this smoothie place to nourish us on our 7-hour journey back home.

I’m glad to have had the weekend home before heading back to school. Now we’re all rested and ready to get back to reality…er, as ready as we’ll ever be.


Last weekend, the boys and I headed down to Des Moines for some Grandparent time. I spent most of it at the dining room table reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone aloud while Henry drew snakes, and Charlie constructed. Grandpa Steve got pretty into it, so Grandma Penny might have to find a copy to read the rest aloud to him and finish the story.

One of the mornings, we had poffertjes, and Grandma generously let Grandpa have a whole one to himself!

Saturday morning, cold though it was, we all walked up to Beaverdale. I wanted the bookstore and the coffee shop, and the boys wanted the candy store. Everybody won! Grandpa took this of us by a pretty mural that showed the weather we wished we were experiencing.

After a lunch at La Mie, they headed to the Science Center, and I walked home, stopping by a little record shop I’d never seen before. I found some winners!

That evening we hit Snookie’s for some ice cream, because, despite the cold, it was opening weekend! Gotta hit opening weekend when possible.

Sunday, there was a luncheon gathering for my uncle who’s moving back to the midwest. A great deal of the Sikkinks were there, which was really nice. It had been since Maine that these buds got to hang out, and they definitely made up for lost time.

The Lemonade War was a perfectly-lengthed audiobook that got us door-to-door from my grandparents’ house to our own back in Minneapolis. We were happy to see Joe again after his cabin weekend.

The strike was resolved, so on Monday I headed back into the building for the first time. I hung up in my classroom the Ella Baker artwork I’d made before we left.

It was an emotional re-immersion for the staff, but good to have Monday to prepare ourselves mentally and physically to get back to school life.

That evening I got some rejuvenation in the form of our friend, Hollis. Charlie just loves him. Henry, as you can see, was more ambivalent. He really liked playing with their dog, though!

The school week went really well, and even though my in-classroom sink was shut off on Tuesday, we’ve been working on clay. It’s been a fun adventure, and a good way to get back into the swing of things.

Thursday, the boys were giving Blue some love, and I ended up with this great series of pictures.

Blue’s claws tickled Henry’s legs through his sweatpants, and he just giggled and giggled!

This weekend, Joe was in Costa Rica meeting his new co-workers, so we had another weekend with just the three of us.

We decided an outing to the MN Zoo was in order.

It is cool to see how differently they experience this place now. They really take in the details and want to spend time observing, figuring, and wondering. The bats were a new discovery. We’d never, in my memory, actually looked at the bats, and this time we took probably 5 full minutes watching them.

They’re actually really cute! Charlie decided they are mini-chihuahua heads on furry pterodactyl bodies. Agreed.

Emma and Nora joined us after nap time, and she immediately wanted to get to the sharkies.

We never get to see the monk seals!

Nora was practically sprinting everywhere we went, so we made amazing time following her lead. With maybe only 15 minutes before closing, we made it to the sea otters, Grizzlies, and the leopard.

It is so good to be out in the world, breathing freer, and feeling lighter as the sun shines and gets us closer to spring. Day by day.