While I finish up the final installments of my Ironman race report, I thought I’d share some other updates. First and most importantly, I bought a new camera. Hooray. You may remember that I lost my camera in June when I was in San Francisco visiting my brother. After making myself suffer all summer without a camera, I finally decided I had learned my lesson. I’ve promised myself I will not lose another camera. So I’m back at it and very excited to begin documenting my life again.
Speaking of pictures, last weekend (Oct. 8-11) I headed to Door County for a fall weekend with my best friend. It was my third time in Door County this year. Late-September/early-October is always my favorite time of the year to visit. I love the cooler temperatures, crisp leaves, fresh apples and cider, and weekly fall festivals. We lucked out with incredible weather – it was warm and sunny the entire weekend – and hit what was likely the peak of the fall colors. The only challenge was the crowds – I didn’t know it beforehand, but apparently the second weekend in October is traditionally the busiest weekend of the year in Door County. There were people everywhere – especially in Egg Harbor, which hosted a weekend-long Pumpkin Patch fall festival.
We attempted to escape the crowds on Saturday by heading to Washington Island. I had never been to the island before, so I was excited to explore someplace new. We took a ferry with our bikes from Northport Pier (the tip of the peninsula) to the island. Our round-trip tickets were $15 each (which included our bikes) and the trip took about 30 minutes. Upon arrival, we biked across the island to a cider pressing party and fall festival at the farm museum. I was particularly enamored by the make-your-own caramel apples. I meticulously coated my apple in abundant layers of caramel and chopped nuts. Then I sat down and devoured my warm gooey creation. Meanwhile, we watched several people press their own gallons of cider from a contraption that looked as if it were from the late 1800′s. It all seemed a little unsanitary. And the resulting green liquid was rather unappealing. So we passed on that adventure.
After we’d had our fill of the cider festival, we made our way around the island exploring the various cafes, restaurants, and stores along the way. It was cool to see the field where the organic wheat for Capital Brewery Island Wheat Ale is harvested. But I was disappointed to find the famous Washington Hotel closed – like boarded-up closed. I can’t seem to find definitive answers on why and when it closed, but it sounds like it happened sometime in 2009. The web site is still up, but the phones are disconnected. It’s all very sketchy. I had always heard rave reviews about the hotel and restaurant, and had been very much looking forward to a nice lunch there. Oh well. After that, we made our way back to the ferry for our return trip. It was great to check out Washington Island. I would definitely go back, but probably just for another half-day or so.
The rest of the weekend was filled with camping at Peninsula State Park, trail runs, a trip to the Pumpkin Patch fall festival in Egg Harbor, nice dinners out, a visit to the apple orchard, and more caramel apples…
Yes, that’s right. Make-your-own caramel apples, eat your heart out. I hit the jackpot of caramel apples at the most unexpected of places – a BP gas station along Highway 57. They’re called PJ’s famous caramel apples. Advertised on a sign out front, the apples can be found in an unassuming plastic case next to the cash register. Sweet and thick caramel. Salty peanuts. And a big, shiny apple that packs the ultimate crunch. Simply the best caramel apple I’ve ever tasted. As you can see from the picture, I purchased a few for the road. All in all, it was a very enjoyable weekend. And I certainly had my share of caramel apples.