2010 was the first year I’ve spent in Door County since high school, when I would come home from boarding school and work the summers. It’s the first full year since middle school. In 2009 I graduated from UW-Madison with an English and Theatre major. I worked my last summer there and moved home in August to a bustling Door County.
We had an Indian summer; September was hot and Colin and I took the boat out to Chamber’s Island on Labor Day. I mountain biked Peninsula State Park and Potawatomi Park trails. I did not recognize any of my old hiking haunts except Eagle Trail. I climbed the tower and looked out over the treetops turning red, orange and yellow. It all felt like the first time.
The first snow took me by storm. Unable to climb the Peninsula Players blind curve, we put on our thermal shirts, snow pants, scarves and jackets. I hadn’t had a snow day since my early teens. Outside the snow was too heavy for a snowman or snowballs, but we sufficed with throwing the crusty top layer at each other. We ran around in the forest shaking snow off the trees, watching them slowly bend upright after the weight had been lifted.
At Peninsula State Park I learned to cross-county ski. The downhill from Sven’s Bluff lookout suddenly became a slippery slope. I ended up on my butt more times than I can count. Colin and I were the first people on Hill 17, with our inner tube and a bike he built with skis on the bottom instead of wheels. We blazed the snowshoe trail, seeking out snow-covered signs indicating this way or that, climbing under or over branches laden with their fluffy white burden.
As summer arrived, I moved into The Peninsula Players for a season full of fast-paced work and play. I got to experience Door County living mostly outside, eating three meals a day in front of Green Bay’s shores. There I witnessed some of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen.
I got to be a part of the up-and-coming entertainment section of the Peninsula Pulse, with writing assignments that ranged from music and visual arts to sustainability and the exciting addition of reader contributions like “pet peeves,” “obsessions,” and “overheards.” I started my blog, “Today I’m 20-Something,” and now I write for it regularly.
I tried to eat Wild Tomato once a week. Their Donation Creations are my weak spot. The Fun Guy mushroom pizza with cream cheese absolutely delights my taste buds. I saw John Hiatt play at the DCA and got a little sentimental over his “Have a Little Faith in Me.”
My “grown-up” eyes saw a blossoming county, one full of blue skies and brilliant green grass. A county where, during the summer, there’s live music every evening. We toast the spring and celebrate warmth with Fyr Bal, turn out in our patriot gear for the 4th of July and eat as much pumpkin pie in a cup as we can stomach at Fall Fest.
I spent my last New Years on Washington Island and will spend this one in Costa Rica. It was a wintery night surrounded by Lake Michigan, but warm inside at the local pub. On December 31st, I’ll ring in the New Year in Uvita’s sunny jungle, 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean.
It’s been an instructive year, and I believe the coming one will be full of equal inspiration and new opportunities for learning and personal growth. I hope to continue as a regular contributor to the Pulse and Door County Living and to revel in many more Door County delights in 2011.