The harbor in Algoma
Goats on the roof of Al Johnson's Swedish restaurant in Sister Bay
I don't seem to stay home much these days, even though this time of year is one I enjoy in my house and garden. I drove north Friday with goals to meet up with friends and family, to do some doll shopping and some gallery hopping. I hate to use the phrase, but mission accomplished.
On Friday I packed my bags and drove to the Fox River valley to meet an online friend, a woman with whom I have discussed books on AOL. She wasn't the first; over the past decade I have met a dozen or so fellow readers in person. It was frightening initially, and exciting. Would I recognize this person? Would we get along? Was the individual actually who he or she claimed to be? But my worries have disappeared as each person has turned out to be very much whom I expected, and in each case it was a matter of meeting an old friend for the first time. This time too we fell into talk of family and books that lasted through lunch and on into the afternoon.
Saturday was the Algoma doll show, an event I have attended the past several years. Usually the show has been in July, but the earlier date suited me. For one thing, the Door County area becomes clogged with tourists about the 4th of July, so this time was less crowded. The show was only one day this year and there were fewer dealers, but I still managed to find a pretty little composition Shirley Temple. I also drove over to Forestville to buy some dried cherries and some chocolate covered dried cherries for snacks. Later on my aunt and I managed to get in some catching up, some eating out, and some girl time together.
Sunday I headed out to do my annual tour of Door County art galleries. The trip started out with a first. As I was driving the county road headed toward Sturgeon Bay I had to put on the brakes. Traffic both ways was stopped, and it took a moment to realize why. A fawn just losing its spots stood uncertainly at the side of the road, considering whether to sprint ahead or to turn back toward the field and distant woods. Four cars waited and watched, and the fawn turned chose the field. Everyone was on her way. I wandered through several favorite galleries in Fish Creek, Ephraim, and Sister Bay. It's inspiring to me to visit art galleries, to occasionally recognize favorite artists, and to wonder if my own work might ever measure up to some I saw exhibited there. At the end of the day I planned to drive to my brother and sister-in-law's house. They currently live in the Milwaukee area, and have been building their retirement home in Door County for years. Recently they added a garage and master bedroom, and my goal was simply to see the progress. I was really surprised to see their name on the marquee of a local tap, announcing a family reunion. So I did a U turn and crashed the party. My trip to see their empty house turned out to be a good visit and a full tour.
I never like driving home on Sunday because of the heavy weekend traffic, so Monday was my travel day. I love to take the scenic route home through small towns and rolling countrysides. There is a beautiful view of Lake Winnebago from a wayside on highway 151. The road drops away, and the wayside shows a vista of farms, trees, and the lake in the distance. I have stopped a dozen times to snap pictures that I later tried to paint. Monday I just got out and sketched for a half hour. I told my aunt about this place last year, and she startled me. Her grandmother, my great Grandma Smith, had a summer vacation home on the shores of that same lake. I wonder where it was. I like to think it was near my favorite spot.