Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 28 – Washington Island, Wisconsin

Washington Island is connected to Door County by ferry.  The six mile straight between the land masses connects Green Bay and Lake Michigan and can be very turbulent, hence the name “Death’s Door”.  Washington Island is one of the oldest and the largest Icelandic settlements outside of Iceland.  It is home to fishermen and artists – weavers, potters and painters.

Schoolhouse Beach is a popular swimming spot.  The beach is covered with white round stones, limestone that was tumbled smooth by the lake.

Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum explains the commercial fishing history of the island.  The fishing boats looked quite different from those we see in North Carolina.

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26 – Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

The Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, tells the story of the men and boats that worked the area, fishing and towing.  The Peterson Gallery traced the history of area navigation from Indian dugouts to World War II naval vessels to luxury yachts all made in Door County.  Sturgeon Bay is the “Shipbuilding Capital of the Great Lakes.”  The first shipping container was designed and built here called the “Safe way.”

The Tug John Purves was built in 1919 as an ocean-going tug.  She had been around the world and served in WW II before coming to the Great Lakes in 1956. She worked on all five Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway towing and doing salvage jobs.  The John Purves was donated to the Museum and restored through 27,000 volunteer hours.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 25 – Door County, Wisconsin

Door County is the thumb of Wisconsin.  The straight of water between Green Bay and Lake Michigan is very turbulent and dangerous.  It is littered with shipwrecks.  The French named it the Door to the way of Death – or simply Death’s Door.
Limestone from the Niagara Escarpment is visible along both shorelines of the peninsula.  With the completion of the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal in1881 the northern half of the peninsula is actually and island.  Door County is nicknamed the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” because of its 298 miles of shoreline.  Fish boils, lighthouses, beaches and ice cream draw tourists from around the country.  Orchards of cherries and apples add to the flavor!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

August 24 – Baraboo, Wisconsin

We attended an Indian Pow-wow hosted by the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribe.  We learned that a pow-wow is a gathering of Native-American people to dance, sing and honor their culture.  The music is provided by drums and singers in the center of the arena.  Dancers circle the musicians dressed in their fine regalia. 

Competition divides the dancers by age and dress – traditional, fancy and jingle.  The fancy feather dancers spin and leap in their brightly colored regalia with a double bustle of feathers.  The comparable women’s class is the fancy shawl with long flowing streamers in bright colors.  It was great fun to watch dancers of all ages circle and spin.

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23 – Baraboo Wisconsin

Baraboo, Wisconsin was the winter home of Barnum and Baileys Circus.  The town is the home of the Circus World Museum that preserves a collection of circus memorabilia and circus wagons.  The Ringlings were responsible for many of the cultural attractions in such a small town for example the grand Victorian Theater that is still in use. 

In nearby Spring Green there are two architectural destinations – Taliesin, the home of Frank Lloyd Wright and the House on the Rock home of Alex Jordan Jr.  The House on the Rock sits atop Deer Shelter Rock and features exposed stone, low ceilings and dark woodwork.  Rambling best describes the design.

The Infinity room juts out 218 feet from the house.  It has 3,000 windows and no structural support from below.

Additional buildings have been added that house collections of everything!  There are dolls and dollhouses, the world’s largest indoor carousel, model airplanes and reproductions of the crown jewels.  It is quite overwhelming!