I’m proud to say that the Jurkiewicz family makes an art of "The Day Trip."
My parents always felt that nothing bonded a family or educated a child more than travel. They took us on full-fledged vacations as often as possible, but in a pinch, a 16-hour getaway worked just fine. We had plenty of those, and they count among my favorite childhood memories.
Now that we’re grown with spouses and children, my siblings and I still love to travel with our parents, and not just because they pay for our food. We usually transform my mom’s Astro van into a clown car and pile all eight of us inside; this July, when my sister has her second child, that won’t be possible, so we decided to take the clown car out for one last spin on Saturday. Door County or bust.
It might seem like a strange choice for this time of year, but my family has previously day-tripped in Door County during the winter. It’s true that many attractions and shops are closed (my all-time favorite, Wilson’s, shuts up for winter), but there are still a lot of great places open – and in the off-season, they’re not clogged with rich Chicago vacationers.
Because the truth is, Door County is something of a ghost town this time of year – and frankly, that’s just how we like it. When my parents honeymooned there in 1983, it wasn’t the chic Midwestern vacation destination it is now. It was a kitschy, north-y retreat with vistas that took your breath away. Seeing Fish Creek, Ephraim, Egg Harbor and Sister Bay all but abandoned in the middle of winter is reminiscent of the tranquil, removed setting and slowed-down pace that made these towns a tourist hotspot in the first place.
For us, the drive is as integral a part of the trip as the destination. We take I-43 to Manitowoc and then continue north on Highway 42. It’s a peaceful, beautiful route that takes about three and a half hours and, in my opinion, shows Wisconsin at its most charming – miles of farm fields, shoreline, small towns, and be…Read more...