So far we have done all our Door County exploration on the peninsula, but there is an island off the tip of the peninsula that is part of Door County as well. On Wednesday we took the ferry there and spent the day exploring the island. It took me all that evening to download, edit and export the pictures we had taken, so today I can finally write about it.
We went on Mark’s Harley. The weather was beautiful and it only cost $15 to take a motorcycle on the ferry rather than $26 for a vehicle. The water was smooth as glass so Mark had no nausea. In fact, he spent the whole trip (half an hour) just watching everything before us.
By the time we got to the island, it was lunch time, so we stopped in at a cute restaurant called the Danish Mill. They also had a gift shop that had all sorts of Scandinavian things.
While we were eating lunch we studied the map we had of the tourist stops on the island. The first place I wanted to stop was at the Stavkirke. That’s an ancient Christian church structure found in Norway. Here is the information I gleaned from a pamphlet in the church:
…The island Stavkirke is patterned from this ancient style of church construction common in Norway during medieval times — at a time when paganism was giving way to Christianity — and is both a replica and a tribute to Washington Island’s Scandinavian heritage. This particular stavkirke is patterned after the Borgund, Norway, church built in 1150 A.D. Of the more than 1,000 old stave churches that once existed, some thirty-three now remain.
The term ‘Stav’ means pole or support, and there are 12 center staves, or masts, as well as heavy beamed, ship-like construction throughout the structure… Carvings and adornments blend both pagan and Christian symbols.
The words HAN ER OPPSTANDEN just above the altar table mean “He is standing above us” or “He is Risen”.
There is a Bible on the stand that was illustrated by Salvador Dali:
I had first heard about stavkirkes when I was in my early 20s and working for a woman named Mrs Stave. She and her husband went to Norway to see some of the stavkirkes because that was where his family name came from. I never thought I’d get to see one!
Our next stop was at a place called the Historic Dairy that was also supposed to be a lavender farm. There are at least two lavender farms on the island and we found out later that we went to the wrong one. The one we went to was kind of a disappointment, but we’ll try to see the other one next chance we have to go over.
Next on the agenda was to stop at a tower in the center of the island where you could climb up and see out across the island.
The final plan on the agenda was to go to the Maritime museum. I don’t know what I was expecting of a maritime museum, but this wasn’t it. We weren’t sure exactly which building it was in, but after an ice cream, we finally found it.
While we were at the museum, the weather looked like it was about to change so we decided to head back to the ferry. On our way, however, I saw something that I asked Mark to turn around and go back to. There is a place called Sievers that is a fiber arts school. They also sell things made by their instructors and students. This was my kind of place!
Mark finally dragged me out of there and we headed back to the ferry.
Now about Death’s Door. I believe the water we crossed from the peninsula to the island is called Death’s Door because there have been so many shipwrecks there. In fact you can take tours around the peninsula and see some of the shipwrecks. Door County actually got it’s name from Death’s Door according to the man at the maritime museum. The water was a little choppy on our way back, but we made it safely to the other shore.
Once we got to land we weren’t quite ready to go home yet.