this past weekend, mr. h-s and i took a few days off and drove a few hours north to door county. this was our second trip to the county and we had a better idea of what to expect. life up there moves a little more slowly. lodging is a little more rustic. food is simpler (for the most part). shops (and restaurants) close up a little earlier than we’re used to. but there is space to breathe. time to just … be.
but because i am a person that finds slowing down challenging, we started the weekend at my favorite door county spot–the hands on art studio. the last time we came up here, mr. h-s and i spent a fun evening in the metal shop, learning how to spot-weld and designing art pieces out of the metal pieces they offered. this year, the studio has expanded and in addition to a much larger metal shop in a new building, they also have a glass studio building and that’s where we spent our time on friday night.
the tools for lampworking and glass blowing weren’t functioning correctly, so we focused on glass fusing. i’ve been wanting to try glass fusing for a long time and this was a great opportunity to play with the materials and learn how to cut glass without having to learn a whole lot about types of glass or kiln temperatures or other more technical bits.
mr. h-s decided to design one large piece (a bowl–it looks like a flat circle here, but when they put it into the kiln, it rests on a ceramic mold that will allow the circle to melt down into a bowl shape.) and i decided to design a bunch of small pendants.
i think we spent about three hours designing our pieces. we were briefly interrupted by a chicken running into the studio (it’s on a farm). i got to hold it before it was banned to a less disruptive location.
then, i went back to my pendants.
as i was working on my pieces, a fellow glass exerimenter was walking around the room, looking at other people’s pieces. when she saw mine, she said it looked like a quilt and that made me giggle. (i think she thought it was all one piece, but still…) i may have to see if i can find a glass fusing studio closer to home. so much fun!
the next morning, we slept in until the sun shone into our hotel room and woke us up, then we ambled off to find breakfast at julie’s cafe.
mr. h-s needs his coffee.
i need my fresh-squeezed orange juice.
and my stuffed french toast. with cream cheese and door county cherries and whipped cream and powdered sugar arranged to look like a butterfly. i had a bit of a sugar rush by then end of breakfast. speaking of rush, we have never gotten a meal at a sit-down restaurant so quickly. we were actually kind of curious about how they had time to cook the food between the time we ordered and the time it arrived….. but it was very tasty.
after a relatively fruitless morning of shopping (most stores sort of all carry the same bizarre assortment of products except for my one favorite store–maxwell’s house in egg harbor. they have so many drooltastic furnishings for the modern home. this time i was actually able to afford something! a mat of white pebbles that might show up in future photography.) we went to wilson’s for a quick lunch and, of course, ice cream!
they top their ice cream with jelly beans! (guess i didn’t get enough sugar at breakfast…) we did a little more shopping in the vain hope of finding something else interesting (the blue dolphin house was kind of nice and the rustic fish across the street had some nice twig stars that i was tempted by.) but we were mostly just killing time until our dinner reservations at the whistling swan. we’d decided to splurge on one fancy, foodie meal while we were up there and this restaurant won the toss. we loved the atmosphere as soon as we walked in–casual elegance done just right. instead of flowers on the tables, they featured these great carved wooden birds perched on stones and a scattering of riverstones on the table as well (these next photos were taken with an iphone–it seemed too awkward to bring my big black camera into the restaurant. how do other people do that?).
we both started our meals off with the “mixed greens salad” which included roasted beets, goat cheese, pine nuts, parsnip chips and lemon-truffle vinaigrette. i found it very tasty. mr. h-s wasn’t sure about the beets. or the cherry tomatoes (not mentioned on the menu, but they were on our plates).
for entrees, mr. h-s chose the carmelized apple stuffed royal berkshire pork chop (accompanied by nueske’s smoked bacon, fingerling potatoes and a gruyere cream sauce) and i went with the rainbow chard duck breast roulade (accompanied by sunchokes, figs and a few other veggies and a port wine duck demi glace). the pork chop was a big hit, the duck was … a bit odd. this is one of the dangers of ordering things on the menu that you wouldn’t normally eat–you get unfamiliar flavors! but i did enjoy it for the most part, it just wasn’t my most favorite part of the meal. that honor goes to dessert.
firstly, the desserts we got were the most beautiful desserts i’ve ever been served. the plating was gorgeous and yet, i knew that it would taste so good that i had no problems digging right in. mr. h-s ordered the honey crisp tarte tatin with honey mascarpone ice cream, and a cinnamon sugar cookie.
i ordered the coconut almond chocolate cake with luna stout ice cream and caramel fudge sauce. oh man. c’mon. i wish i could share the flavor of this with you over the internet. the chocolate was lovely, dark and deep and yet didn’t overpower the coconut flavor in the cookie. y.u.m.
we went to bed very well-fed.
after a quick breakfast at “good eggs” the next morning, we visited the beach. i love the way that the water and the sky blend into one another in the shot above. then, we headed up even farther north to make our way to washington island. we’d booked one night’s stay at the washington hotel. you have to take the ferry to get across to the island. it’s a little cheaper to take bikes and it’s not that far from the ferry to the hotel and we were both attracted to the idea of traveling lightly, so we packed overnight supplies into backpacks and pedaled onto the ferry. when we arrived, we decided not to try to squeeze in a bunch of activities on the island, but instead to just take it easy. so, after checking in, we biked into town for a late lunch/early supper, then biked back to the hotel for the rest of the evening. to enhance the quiet calm atmosphere of the washington hotel, i’ll just show you a bunch of photos with very little chattery commenting.
(i just have to interrupt here to say that there was only one staff person at the hotel when we arrived and he was so very accomodating. when i asked if there was a lap blanket i could use to keep warm while outside reading, he went back to his cabin (behind the hotel) and brought me one of his own personal throws and when i asked if i could have a cup of hot tea, he even brought it outside to me in this cute steeping cup.)
(although two bathrooms are shared among the eight rooms in the hotel, they both include luxurious steam showers.)
our last morning there was overcast and rainy. the ferry ride was a bit choppier than it had been the day before, but we escaped without either of us getting seasick.
we drove back to the hands-on art studio to pick up our finished pieces and to create a few more. mr. happy stuff was so patient and let me make a few more fused glass designs i’d been dreaming about since our first night there and he even painted a ceramic bowl while he was waiting for me to finish glazing some tiny pottery pieces i’d made. i promise to post pictures of all our completed art when it arrives in the mail.
i haven’t even mentioned the giant flocks of seagulls trailing along the ground behind a tractor plowing the earth or the giant flocks of geese nesting in fields beside the road or the goats on the restaurant roof or the honeycrisp apples and caramel pieces or the chilly picnic by the lake with summer sausage, cheese and fruit or the drive through the peninsula state park and the view from the tall wooden observation tower or the unexpected detour that led to a short hike in the woods where i found a generous stash of rough walking sticks left by a tree and we also stumbled upon jens jensen’s lovely arts school for adults called the clearing which i might have to go back to someday or the fact that i got to read a whole book in (basically) one sitting but i’m sleepy now and this post is plenty long and image-heavy already, so i’ll just leave you with one last image of evening falling over a bay with trees just beginning to turn colors and peaceful waters and hope you enjoyed journeying with us through this blog.