How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Days 1 & 2)

By Tommy Obert, Fifth Grade

Inspired by total indifference to (and subsequently falling off even more) the series “How I Spent My Spring Vacation,” we bring you . . . summer vacation!  As regular readers of this missive, you all are of course aware that The Biddies (capitalized and italicized at the behest of their cousin Linda) recently completed a road trip through the wilds of Northern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin, where at any moment they ran the risk of being overcome by an overdose of white food.  Anyway, as a result of that adventure, the supervisor (a Biddy) decided it would be nice to re-visit Algoma, Wisconsin on the way to camp.  And from Algoma, we could visit Door County, famed in song and story.  All this on the way to summer camp in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Camp is Camp Brosius.  It is the supervisor’s Indiana University alumni camp – we go there on an annual basis, except when we can’t.  The camp, as you will be able to tell from the photos, is old-style lake lodge and cottages – meaning no A/C, much to my chagrin.  (Fortunately, this year a conclusion of all campers is that it may have been the best weather ever – the lack of A/C was never an issue.)  The camp is open for eight weeks (for camping) during the summer, and campers come for a week at a time in numbers from between 100 – 120.  The Biddies, and families, are always there for week 8 – in fact, most campers get the same week from year to year, so it’s like an annual reunion.  The camp provides all manner of camp activities, has college staff to amuse and entertain the kids, and serves three meals a day that we work off walking up and down the 63 steps from where we live to where we eat and recreate.

So, we trundled across the state to Algoma, on Lake Michigan, where we stayed at . . . well, you can read the photos.  They were once part of the ongoing series, “Where in the World is Ruthie?”  We had a winner – Diane O’Brien actually knew we were in Algoma, don’t ask me how.  And while I thought the lakeside views were the reason for this destination, I subsequently learned it was for . . . the von Stiehl Winery.  The supervisor thought this would be a lovely stop – and it was.  We enjoyed the tour and the banter with winery staff – their brochures noted they did not cater to wine snobs, so I advised I was either a wino or a snob, I just couldn’t remember which.

[Their best seller is “Naughty Girl.”  The supervisor said she could be naughty for the photo – but then this is a family publication.]

The rest of Algoma:

[4 “coyote” statues on the beach apparently to act as bird scarecrows.]

Then next morning we were off to Door County.  We didn’t stay there that first night on the road because the supervisor’s AAA book of Wisconsin showed the cheapest lodging in Egg Harbor to be $200/night – and her book was 11 years old!  Door County unofficially begins in Sturgeon Bay – that’s the first indication you are entering “Yuppy Land.”  And as a petrified yuppie, I really liked it – kind of the Midwest’s version of the Hamptons.

Then it was Egg Harbor.  I told an Illinois tourist that I didn’t know the real estate prices there but I was sure they were well beyond the range of government retirees.  Nice place!

[For those of a certain age, the most important sign no matter where you are.]

Ephraim was nice, too:

To the northern tip of the Door County peninsula and the ferry to Washington Island:

Ellison Bay:

Kewaunee:

Manitowoc:

Then it was on to Kohler’s Whistling Straits Golf Club, just north of Sheboygan, and about 15 miles straight east from our camp.  Very understated entry with no preliminary signs.  We discovered you could get a tour – so we did.  The green fees are $350, you must have a caddy for $60, and a recommended caddy tip is at least $35.  Economy, schmeconomy – the course is booked solid every day.  Absolutely beautiful setting – but it doesn’t look like there’s anyplace safe to hit a golf ball.  Staff say most players come into the clubhouse after 9 holes to buy more balls.  A highlight I wasn’t aware of – the course has 30 free-roaming sheep, and every night they return on their own to their on-course pen.

[Ricky Fowler?]

And then to camp, where we were greeted by staff.  More anon:

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