The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

A Weekend in Door County

Friday, June 25th, 2010 in Wisconsin
A Weekend in Door County

A cloud of anxiety and exhaustion envelops me. Work is relentless, with tangles of overlapping deadlines and a steady stream of interruptions. I find myself trapped in dull meetings until my eyes glaze over. My patience with managers and teammates grows thin. I’m bombarded with expectations, swept away by obscure tangents. Responsibilities fly at me so fast everything blurs together. Consequently, my work duties leak into my evenings and weekends. My precious leisure time vaporizes.

This maddening state of affairs leaves me with little time to care for myself. I am out of shape and poorly nourished. This cannot continue. It’s time for me to step off the manic hamster wheel and locate what’s left of my sanity.

This is certainly a generous suite, not merely a kitchenette!

After contemplating my options, I decide to decamp on a bonafide mini break. My most practical escape route lies to the north: Wisconsin. A quick search of available hotels reveals a few options in Door County. I locate something that looks promising—a kitchenette room at the Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay. I book three nights. The drive to Sturgeon Bay is little more than three hours, which is perfect—long enough to make me feel as if I’m getting away from it all and short enough to still fit within an extended weekend. The change of scenery alone will do me great good.

I arrive late Friday evening and am pleased with the room. It’s perfect for my holiday. Lovely and spacious, it has an ample living room, a fantastic full-size kitchen, a cozy bedroom, and a spotless bathroom. I soon conclude it’s nicer than my house. What a bargain. I doubt I’ll want to leave when it comes time to, but I try not to worry about that now. Instead, I absorb the comforting surroundings and let the layers of stress drop away.

On the whole, the bedroom is nice, but I can’t say that I’m a fan of the whole jacuzzi suite craze. Bathtubs belong in bathrooms in my opinion. Anything else risks being impractical or tacky.

Tired from my drive, I eat a quick dinner, take a hot shower, and crawl into bed. The mattress is lush and the sheets are soft. I sleep soundly for the first time in months.

I would love to report that the whole weekend continues to unfold in this manner—hour after hour of mind-clearing relaxation and rejuvenation. Sadly, it doesn’t. On Saturday morning, I wake in a familiar mental muddle. I spend much of the day wrestling my anxieties. I feel the nagging pull of work. My thoughts loop and fray. I catch myself rehashing stressful conversations. I construct mental checklists that prioritize the dozens of tasks I must tackle in the coming weeks. Quitting becomes my great obsession.

Eagle Bluff Light, also know as Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

In spite of my foggy head, I eat breakfast and venture out. I drive northward from the hotel along Highway 42. The road meanders along the thickly wooded shores of Green Bay. I pass through the small towns of Egg Harbor, Juddville, Fish Creek. Finally I reach Peninsula State Park. I turn onto Shore Road and stop at the entrance station to buy a parking sticker and pick up a map.

The overcast skies match my mood and mimic my lack of mental clarity. As I drive through the park, I stop wherever I see a pull-off and an interesting view. Among my stops is the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, a lovely cream city brick structure that includes a light tower and two-story keepers dwelling. Constructed in 1868, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse sits at the top of a prominent bluff that rises 76 feet above the bay below. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, the station provided much needed guidance to the growing number of steamboats and schooners that paddled-wheeled and sailed their way into Green Bay.

Climbing Eagle Tower. The wear and tear on the structure is apparent.

After exploring Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, I continue on until I reach Eagle Tower. This 76-foot wooden observation tower offers—to those who climb it—stunning views of the thickly wooded peninsula, rocky shoreline, and island-strewn bay. I scramble to the top and snap a few photos. As I rest for a while enjoying the scenery, I brush away thoughts of work stress from my mind.

Enjoying the view from the top of Eagle Tower.

After my visit to Peninsula State Park, I make my way back to the hotel. I eat a quick meal and spend several hours jotting down my best ideas for a new career path. Then, I organize my belongings and prepare for my departure in the morning. The weekend will soon be over. Although I don’t feel entirely rejuvenated, I’m content to head home and face my job. I am recharged for now. And I have several promising ideas as to how I can better protect my time, my workload, and my sanity in the future.

Postscript · August 2017

In the spring of 2015, officials from Wisconsin State Parks conducted one of their regular inspections of Eagle Tower, and found it to be structurally unstable. The tower was subsequently closed to the public and later taken down entirely. Fortunately, Friends of Peninsula State Park has since been working to raise funds for the reconstruction the tower. The new tower, expected to open in 2018, will adhere to the latest building codes and meet the recommendations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Postscript · August 2018

It appears that things are moving very slowly regarding the construction of the new tower. It’s 2018 and construction has not started on the new tower. It took until August for the State Building Commission to approved the project.

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