Now that we are officially in autumn, and I’ve been struggling to catch up recording all of my summer adventures for the blog, I felt I would take the opportunity to share one of the biggest adventures of the year; my engagement to my beloved! As I’ve blogged about before, my family has traditionally taken a holiday every year in the fall to Door County, Wisconsin. This year, though, we embarked on the first summer visit to Door County, and I was proud to be bringing my lovely girlfriend, Lindsay, with us for the first time! Among the usual Door County diversions, we got a lot of reading done, though not always as lovely as the surroundings- check out my reviews of Door County related books over on the new platform for my book blog, Reading Rainstorm.
Summer in Door County was a bit more crowded, but was still fun. Lindsay and I then left the group to do a little exploring of our own in eastern Wisconsin, visiting some places neither of us had ever visited before. Across Green Bay from Door County, we drove up the coast looking for the grave of Lindsay’s great great grandmother, buried in Marinette, Wisconsin. We found the headstone, took a few pictures, and then crossed the border into Michigan, so that Lindsay could say she’d been there. We ate a couple of the Upper Peninsula’s famous pasties and headed back into Wisconsin. Along the way, we visited an interesting local museum, the Peshtigo Fire Museum, the site of the worst recorded fire disaster in North American history, which ravaged the region back in 1871 (but was overshadowed by the Great Chicago Fire, which happened the same day). The museum, housed in an old church, features a few charred artifacts that survived the fire but is also packed full of old stuff of every description. Outside the museum, the Peshtigo Fire Cemetery houses the mass grave of the hundreds of victims of the fire who were never identified. Definitely a interesting place to stop if you enjoy cemeteries, history, or perusing rooms filled with random old objects!
We stayed in Green Bay, which is a bit much if you’re not entirely devoted to the cult of football- though the beer is good! Neither of which appeals to Lindsay, so Green Bay may not have been the best choice for us. I got plenty of good beer at Badger State Brewing, and Titletown Brewery, but being confronted by so much football was a little much. Nope, not a fan! For a train fan like Lindsay, though, the National Railroad Museum was a bit of a must see. The vintage train ride around the grounds was kind of a summer disappointment in that the oppressive heat inside the historic train car required that we ride in a much less charming open platform pulled behind it. However, the museum’s cavernous train sheds housed an amazing variety of old trains, some lovingly restored, like the train that carried Eisenhower throughout the UK during WWII, and some, like the Zephyr, musty and waiting refurbishment. In either of both types, visitors could explore and poke around through many of them.
The college town of Appleton was a bit more to our tastes- we visited the History Museum at the Castle, a very interesting local history museum housed in an atmospheric old Masonic Temple built in 1923. One of the museum’s ongoing exhibits features Houdini, the famed illusionist. Harry Houdini, born Ehrich Weiss in Hungary in 1874, moved to Appleton as a toddler and claimed it as his hometown ever after. The exhibit is controversial, apparently, for detailing how the magician performed his famous acts. In addition to this, the museum had some very touching and informative exhibits on the history of bicycles in the “Fox Valley,” the history of African-Americans in the region, and local homelessness. It is always nice to see local museums tackle such heavy and important topics!
After the museum, we strolled around the town for a bit, stopping by a funky little boutique, the Blue Moon Emporium, which we found packed full of awesome knick knacks by local independent craftspeople and designers. All the Wisconsin shaped earrings and t-shirts one could want! We also saw some lovely rings shaped from antique spoons, and found ourselves enchanted. We bought a pair and proposed to each other under the drizzle and the imposing turrets of the Castle. Engaged in Appleton! Not the most expected locale, but I feel it fits our wandering natures!