So Washington Island is an island. Duh. Thus by definition it’s not attached to the Door Peninsula. But Washington Island IS part of Door County, which is significant because Julie runs Washington Island Pickleball as part of the Door County Pickleball Club. The amazing part is that there only is Julie and a handful of others, yet she not only convinced the town to allow her to remake the two tennis courts into pickleball courts, she also raised the money and found people to help with the work. Now that’s some dedication. Hopefully everything will be done by the time we return in May, because right now the courts are kind of crappy. But we had fun anyway.
Julie grew up on the island, spends every summer on the island, inherited awesome property on the island, and thus knows it well. So after pickleball, she spent an afternoon driving us around. Very cool.
Here we are with Julie on Schoolhouse Beach, famous because the beach is made of smooth stones rather than sand.
Stone poachers are such a problem that they criminalized it. They also provide one last opportunity for thieves who happen to find Jesus on the way out.
Although we can’t find any evidence of Vikings landing on Washington Island—and the Packer fans around here actually hate the Vikings—someone went to the trouble of building a traditional Viking stave church here.
The local Lutherans run the Stavkirke, which holds periodic services despite periodic vandalism. Some people suck, but the church is very cool.
After a delicious lunch of freshly caught whitefish, Julie took us up to Jackson Harbor.
The most interesting thing we found in Jackson Harbor was an odd fishing boat that looked quite uncomfortable and barely seaworthy.
But we know the boat floats and works, because it’s the very boat the restaurant dude used that very morning when he caught our delicious whitefish lunch. Yum. We highly recommend getting it Parmesan crusted.
Washington Island may not be super hopping, but quaint and picturesque make up for what it lacks in action.
TripAdvisor recommends a stop at Jacobsen Museum, which it accurately describes as “a quirky little log cabin packed full with neat artifacts.” It even had some references to Julie’s grandparents, which was in fact neat and all, but truthfully we spent far less than the recommended one to two hours there.
After the tour, Julie hosted us at her house on the water, with a sweeping view of Rock Island.
Unfortunately, Julie skipped what she called her “inbred tour,” because all “the inbreds have died or moved away.” Now that’s the sort of thing only a true islander would know, although Julie says she isn’t actually an islander because she only spends half the year here. She seems to know everybody, however, and supports most of the treasured institutions. Like the famous Coffee Pot, which she painted.
Anyway, Julie is awesome. The green paths and roads of Washington Island Island also are awesome from a scootering or walking perspective.
However, we don’t want green. We want autumn and red and yellow and orange leaves. Apparently we’re a few weeks too early, which sucks. At least we’ll be back in Scottsdale when the license plate colors start changing, so there’s that.
The plan was to scoot over to Sister Bay on Sunday. Sunday it rained and the wind blew, so no scooting. Sunday night 38-knot winds slammed even more rain on us, so no sleeping. That’s not a joke. Whilst we were in our pajamas watching Moira take over the town council and Alexis work towards graduation, what looked ominously like a hurricane magically developed in Lake Michigan.
Today more rain and wind. All day. Two inches of rain in 24 hours. What the hell? How do they even measure rain when when it’s blowing sideways? Arizona doesn’t get two inches of rain in a year. But at least we can cherish our distant memories and photos of back in olden times when the Washington Island weather was nice.
That was supposed to be the end of this post. Just moments before posting it, however, we learned that our friend Rich has passed away. Rich loved talking about pickleball, and golf, and boats, and Wisconsin, and the unlimited and profitable future of hydrogen as an energy source. Mostly Rich just loved to talk. We’ll miss him. Cholla won’t be the same.
*“He made fiddle pegs from her long finger bones.” – Jerry Garcia
** “[Her] name is Julie.” – Jesse Colter