It may be hard to believe, but Memorial Day weekend is just five weeks away. With Memorial Day comes warmer weather and with warmer weather come the tourists, college and international students, and the peninsula’s summer residents.
Vehicular mobility will be challenged, parking spaces will no longer be a dime a dozen, and depending on your employment situation, you may not be as available to enjoy the peninsula’s offerings once the summer season kicks off and businesses reopen.
But there is still time to enjoy the off-season! I talked with a number of Door County full-timers about the little ways to make the most of these last few weeks of relative quiet.
Take a cruise through Ephraim. Rocker Sammy Hagar couldn’t drive 55 mph and neither can you on Highway 42 in the Village of Ephraim, but you can drive 35 mph and that’s pretty close, right? At least until May 1, when one of the most prominent signs of the off-season – the beloved “Speed Limit 35” signs – get replaced with 25 mph signs, which mentally get replaced with 10 – 15 mph from May 1 to Nov. 1, depending on how many things (Eagle Harbor, Wilson’s, the sunset, etc.) the person in front of you is trying to look at while driving.
Enjoy the 15-minute wait. I’ll admit to being pretty surprised when I stopped in a local pizza joint in late March and was told the wait would be 10 – 15 minutes. But having been there in the middle of July last year, I was surprised for a good reason. 15 minutes only? Wow! If it hadn’t already been my birthday that day, it certainly would have felt like it. Wait times are only going to get longer.
Go on a bike ride. Of course summer will offer even better weather for pedaling the peninsula’s roads, but the sooner you get used to being out in the elements and riding alongside two-ton vehicles, the less anxious you’ll be when the number of cars increases. Take advantage of the empty country roads that the locals will turn to when the main drags start getting congested.
Go to the grocery store on a Thursday evening. Every time I tried shopping at the Pig on Thursday nights last summer, the same twist on a quote from 1932’s The Western Code came to mind: “This aisle ain’t big enough for the both of us.” In the off-season, there is a certain amount of accountability to be had and people are pretty generous with each other. But once the anonymous bachelorette party crew shows up in the chips and soda aisle, the chances of your “Excuse me” being heard go down dramatically.
Walk really fast down the sidewalk. Door County’s summertime sidewalks are often just as congested as its summertime roadways. Take advantage of the relatively clear path ahead as you make your way from one 70-percent-off winter sale to another.
Take a left turn. Need I say more?