Saturday, June 23, 2012

Door County, Part Two: The Happy Birthday Edition

This morning dawned bright, clear, and cool.  LR and I went for a three mile walk while SB made French toast and bacon, which LR had requested in honor of her birthday.  While we were walking, we saw

Wet plants
 We returned to the suite and before we ate breakfast, we sang

Happy Birthday (number 1).

After breakfast, we made sandwiches to take along for lunch and headed out to the zip line we had read about yesterday.  It was down near Jacksonport, so we headed south and east, to the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula.  We stopped at a small park on the way, so LR could look at the Lake instead of the bay.  It was very beautiful.

The birthday girl and the chauffeur.

However, when we got to the zip line place, we realized that it was not a scenic sort of zip line, as we had expected.  Instead, it was a team-building kind of ropes course in the middle of a corn field.  We decided that was not what we had in mind, and instead called a different zip line course up in the northern part of the peninsula, to see if we could go there instead.  We made a reservation, but then learned that only two of us would have been able to go on it, and it was more expensive, and SB’s contact lens was ripped in half.  So we decided not to go zip lining at all, and cancelled our reservation.  Instead, we drove around the eastern side of the peninsula, looking at the beautiful houses and forest.  Then we took our sandwiches back to the motel and ate them there.  We forgot to sing to LR before we ate, so afterward we sang

Happy Birthday (number 2).

We decided we would take a scenic boat ride this afternoon, so I called the place in Fish Creek and made a reservation for 3pm.  We were told to arrive by 2:40 to purchase tickets and board the boat.  Between lunch and 2:40, we walked around the cute town (unincorporated) of Fish Creek, looking in many of the touristy shops.  In the first shop we went in, SB and I bought commemorative shirts, but LR couldn’t decide on one she wanted.  After looking in several other shops, we decided to get some ice cream at Dippy’s Ice Cream.  SB had Zanzibar Chocolate (a combination of three African chocolates), and LR and I had Heaps of Love (vanilla ice cream with fudge, cookie dough, caramel, oreos, and pecans).  Before we ate our ice cream, we sang

Happy Birthday (number 3).

After that, we wandered around a little more until it was time to get on the boat.

Although the weather had gotten cloudy and breezy, with just a hint of rain, it was a very fun boat ride.  The captain took us south along Millionaire Row, a line of upscale houses along Green Bay.

Then we turned north and went past a bunch of birds—seagulls, cormorants, and even pelicans!—flocking on some sandbars.

We continued through the Strawberry Islands, a group of four small, privately owned islands.  (Actually, the fourth and smallest island, known as Pirate Island, isn’t owned by anyone, because it’s not always there.  It’s so small that in wet years, when the level of the lake is higher, it ends up as only a sandbar.)

Finally, we saw the Eagle Bluff lighthouse, which we hope to visit tomorrow and climb up in.

The girl narrating the tour did a good job of describing some of the history and interesting factoids about the areas we saw, including which islands were privately owned and how frequently the owners stay there.  SB says she would like to own and live on a private island when she retires.

After the boat docked again at the marina, we went back to wandering the streets of Fish Creek again.  We wanted to go to a “fish boil” for dinner, so we chose Pelletier’s because they offered table service (instead of buffet) and flexible seating times.  We got our tickets and found a table where we could see the fish boil man doing his spiel.

He had a giant pot over a fire.  First he put in a large kettle of red potatoes, with only the ends cut off.  A little while later he added about two cups of salt. Eventually, he added a slightly smaller kettle of fish, which nested inside the potato kettle.  He explained that they control the temperature of the fire using wooden slats around the outside.  While the fish cooks, the oils rise up and form a sort of gray scum on top of the pot.  You don’t want to get that scum on the fish itself, so instead of pulling the fish out, he makes the pot boil over on purpose.  To do this, he pulls the slats off the fire, yells “BOIL OVER!” and throws a can of liquid fuel on the fire.  This causes the fire to roar up into a fireball, raising the temperature of the water enough that it quickly boils over, taking the gray scum with it.  Then he and another man use a long pole to lift the kettles of fish and potatoes out of the pot.  The kettles have holes in them so the water easily drains out.  Then the man adds more water back to the pot to replace what was lost in the boil, and adds the next kettle of potatoes.
We were served our meals (the potatoes, onions, and fish from the boil, as well as some coleslaw and bread), but before we ate, we sang

Happy Birthday (number 4) very loudly in the outdoor seating area of the restaurant, whilst smiling and pointing at LR.

The fish was quite good.  We had a little trouble removing the bones, but it was definitely worth it.  The potatoes were also delicious with a little butter and salt and pepper.  SB and I had cherry pie for dessert, which was supposedly local but turned out to be surprisingly average.  Its biggest flaw was that it was not warm.  Alas.

After dinner, SB and LR went into another clothing store to try to find LR a shirt, while I went to the local market to pick up hot chocolate and brownie mix.  Everyone knows you don’t get any older on your birthday until you’ve eaten your birthday cake, but LR doesn’t really like cake, but she does like brownies.  We met up again, SB bought a few important things I had forgotten, and we returned to the motel.  Once there, I started making brownies while LR uploaded the fish boil video and SB Skyped LH.  Unfortunately, the kitchenette didn’t have a cake/brownie pan, and the market hadn’t had any disposable ones.  Instead, I poured the brownie batter into a flat-bottomed metal mixing bowl, hoping that would work well enough.  It sort of worked.  It took forever, because the mix wasn’t spread out as much as it would have been in the right pan.  LH got tired and had to go to bed before they were done, so before she left, we sang

Happy Birthday (number 5) (which is, alas, not at all similar to Mambo number 5).

When it was done, I pulled it out, stuck some candles in it, lit them, turned off the lights, and we sang

Happy Birthday (number 6).

LR blew out all but one of the six candles on her first try.  Then I learned an important lesson: one should not put birthday candles into cake (or brownies) without letting said baked good cool somewhat first.  When we pulled out the candles, the parts of them that had been below the surface of the brownie/cake were totally melted away, presumably into the cake itself.  Oh well.  I cut the confection into eight pie-shaped pieces, and LR finally turned 34.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you added the photos ... waiting for Day 3