Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Quick, Mini Vacation

This last Thursday, Friday and Saturday I went with my sister Cindy and her husband and daughter to their cottage in Crivitz, Wisconsin. It's about a 3 hour drive straight north from Waukesha, where we live. Cindy's husband wanted to get an early start so we left at 5:30 in the morning! That is truly an ungodly hour for me! I went straight from work to her house (remember I work 2nd shift) and tried to get a little sleep. You know how it is -- when you know you HAVE to get up, you just can't sleep. I may have dozed for an hour and a half and then got up at 3:30 and waited for the rest to wake up. I must have had a flu virus, 'cause I felt like crap all the way up. But I did manage a few pictures between bouts of nausea.

Beautiful sunrise. I sometimes see this when I'm going to sleep!!
Sort of looks like a calendar photo. Not bad taken through a car window.
This is Green Bay. An oil refinery is right on Lake Michigan and look at the smoke spewing out into the air! Below are oil tanks and some kind of retention ponds. I don't know what the hell they are retaining, but the water was a strange intense chartreuse color! Doesn't it look like some sort of ugly, futuristic, environmental nightmare. It smelled awful and Cindy is sure that there are higher than normal rates of cancer in that unfortunate city. Glad it didn't take long to leave that behind.
As we got farther north, I could see that there must have been a hard frost.
Here's the cottage nestled in what's left of a pine plantation. This is a back view.

A closer look at the deck and back of the A-frame. It is very nice and as you can see, Cindy insisted that the area surrounding the house be left pretty much untouched. Kris didn't mind at all not having a lawn to mow. The soil is primarily sand so it would have been an expensive chore to keep a lawn going.

I thought this was funny. Kris is trying to put together some sliding cabinet racks. You can kind of see on the box what it is. He wasn't reading the directions and the contraption kept falling apart as he put new pieces on. Doesn't it look like sort of a weird Tinker Toy play set?? He never got it put together . . .
After laying around all of Thursday and drinking as much fresh water as I was able to choke down (Cindy insists that lots of water, in glass bottles that is, is the key to feeling well and getting over illnesses fast), I went to bed early. The next day I felt pretty good so we went to "The 14 Acres" that they also own. (They speak of the land like it is capitalized. ) It was once a Christmas tree farm and they had someone come and replant it with pines. Then ,primarily Cindy ,planted all kinds of varieties of seedlings she'd gotten from the DNR over the past years. They aren't going to do anything with the land but wanted trees put back on it. It is a labor of pure love for Cindy - that's why it is in capital letters.
Cindy surveying the growth of the White pines.
There is a ridge that is at the far north end of the land that is beautiful. It wasn't farmed so, as you can see, there are lots of lovely mature Oaks, Birch, Maples and Aspen.

Here is a little hunting shack that is on the top of the ridge. Notice that the front of it has been clawed by a black bear. They do that to mark their territories.

The bear also left this behind. It is also used to mark territory.

A neat view from inside the shack. A neighbor is allowed to use it during the hunting season and he gets a deer from it every year. I'm not sure how many deer will be coming past this year with that bear hanging around and pooping all over the place!

Cindy admiring a fantastic Blue Spruce specimen on the property.
Isn't this a very picturesque old barn. Those are green shingles on the roof, not moss like we first thought. It's a shame that this stately building hasn't been kept up. We saw this on our way to a fishing spot of Kris' that they wanted to show me.
This was so nice and notice how the bridge railing details mimic the windows in the power plant.
It just proves that something can be utilitarian and pleasing at the same time. As an aside, whenever I take trips I take pictures of power plants with transformers. That's because I work for a company that makes electrical transformers and I like to see them in action.
Here is a view down the river away from the dam. Kris has caught some big bass just under the dam.
From the river we were on our way to the obligatory Wisconsin Friday Fish Fry. The fish fry was at a resort called The Four Seasons on a 100 acre island called Miscauno Island in the Menominee River. In 1905 a luxury get-away for the rich was built here. A one way rail bridge is the only way to get to the island . After the entire place burned down in 1923 it was rebuilt, with a very posh club house, golf course and resort rooms. It is said to have entertained Al Capone and other shady characters of that time as well as celebrities and distinguished guests. The past 4 years they've added a 55 unit hotel to the resort without taking away too much of the charm.

As we walked up to the original clubhouse, now the restaurant.
This is pretty imposing for an "up north" place. I wish they had one of the grounds keepers straighten up those corn shocks though.

Cindy and family checking out the old photos of visitors to the resort in the dining room where we ate. The food was excellent and we had more than we were able to finish. We'd eaten very early - 4:30! (Kris didn't want to have to come at the busy time -- well, as you can see, we're the only ones there.....) so I had my left overs later that night.

These are the steps up to the entrance. They look quite grand, but were built at a strange width. When walking down them, you can't take two full size steps. It's sort of like a step and a half, which is really difficult after a while. You have to keep your eye on what you're doing. (I just walked on the grass half way down.)
On Saturday, again we got up at an obscene hour (6:30) so we "could get an early start" and we left at 9:00 a.m. and were home by noon. It was a "quick hit" vacation but I had a good time considering I was sick part of the time and didn't get much sleep. The area is so pretty and I always have a feeling of renewal when I come back from the Northwoods. Nature will do that to you . . .
A happy life is one which is in accordance
with its own nature.
Marcus Annaeus Seneca
Bye for now,


Pam said...

I can relate to their place in the Northwoods and the energy connected with spending time in such a spot. Sorry you were not feeling well but think your pictures belie your malaise. Thanks for sharing your vacation. Hope you're feeling better!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Your pictures are very interesting. Our up North is more rugged than yours. The red pines look nice. Such a lavely tree. Another 20 years and they may be valuable as poles or lumber.

Lizzie A said...

it probably seems like I went on a not so mini vacation from blogger, but I am back for I don't know how long. Speaking of vacations, it looks like you had alot of fun in Wisconsin. I have only been there once, and my mom and I drove with my aunt from Minnesota to Wisconsin, and the whole time I was sick with food poisining. So I don't have very good memories, but your memories look like they will be ones you won't soon want to forget!
I know that it has been some time since I looked at my page or yours, but if you wish to still say hello, I will now be trying to make up for what I was lacking during marching season!
By the way, my marching band got second place in state!
Well, it was good to see how well you seem to be doing!

DeeMom said...

The sunrise is Breath taking Alyssa. The area around the cottage is very inviting. DNR has some great package deals in our area, trust me we have ordered 100 Trees at a time. Mind you they are the “Whips” but still 100 need to be planted. I admire Cindy and her hubby’s tenacity. Thanks for the tour, very nice!


kate said...

Hi Alyssa,

This looks like a wonderful spot. The pine trees are coming up nicely - the cottage is beautiful. I love how it is nestled in natural surroundings. The hunting shack is quite something, especially with the bear markings on it.

I hope you are feeling better and have recovered from the virus. I know what you mean about not being able to fall asleep when you have to be up at an early hour.

The restaurant looked like a lovely place, with awfully strange stairs!!

Bare Bones Gardener said...

What can I say it's a male thing,... Bash it ,kick it, swear at it. And if all else fails read the instruction sheet.

Alyssa said...

Pam - Thank you for the well wishes. Cindy's water and the Northwoods have me feeling better.

Tossing - The eastern part of Wisconsin was nearly logged off at the turn of the century and was replanted. That's why the area looks pretty tame. The western part of the state is much wilder.

Lizzie - How good to hear from you! I figured you were very busy with school. Your marching band must be great to win a second. Glad you are well and happy.

Dee - You are very welcome. Cindy and Kris have ordered hundreds of trees and have only good things to say about the DNR reforestry program. They do have a definite "stick-to-it-ness" about them.

Kate - Thank you, I'm nearly back to normal. The thing I like best about Cindy and Kris' cottage is the near absolute quiet that surrounds it. That truly helps me relax. Yes, the steps were really odd and have to go!

Bare Bones - I totally agree - women seem to always read directions. I was laughing a lot while I was taking those pictures. The shelves are headed for the Goodwill now!

kate said...

Hi Alyssa,

I thought you might like to see these pug pictures!

Alyssa said...

Kate - Thanks for the site. I love the pug with a rose at her ear! There are certainly some lovely artistic creations on her blog - those wire hearts stuffed with found objects are so neat.

Kerri said...

Wow - this looks like a beautiful place!

Mary said...


I'm very far behind visiting you and others. You have posted fabulous photos and if you think it's a quick, mini vacation, think again. For me it would be a huge vacation!

Lucky you to get out but I hope you are feeling better as I write this. Fall colds are real downers.

That's a beautiful place to return to...


Lizzie A said...

Thank you for your very nice comment! I have to go get looking at my colleges. It was really nice hearing from you!