The Third Coast – Day 1

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This year we decided to take a few small vacations rather than a big one. So that’s how we found ourselves working our way up the Lake Michigan coast for 4th of July weekend. We were actually just going to do Door County and be done with it, as that is always a fun little getaway, but then we realized (1) our crazy boys will need a few stops along the way and (2) making those stops along a scenic route is much more enjoyable than in the middle of nowhere. And it was only another 20-ish minutes to go coastal, so why the heck not.

So we took our time, and ended up only spending one day in Door County. Funny how that happens. So, here is our trip, Day 1 at least. Enjoy. A few more days of pictures to follow…

So hey! We drove, right on over to the MKE but no stops, then straight up the Lake Michigan coastline. We were able to make it up to Manitowoc before the kidlets got all antsy and needed a potty stop. We ended up at the dirtiest gas station bathroom in town. Wee. We thought about stopping here for lunch, but opted to move up the way to Two Rivers.

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Two Rivers proved to be the better option.

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We stopped at Neshotah Park, a nice woody spot full of shade and with nice shelters and a good play area too. We busted out sandwiches/chips/drinks, but mostly were happy to just chase around and play.

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Eventually we finished up and packed our stuff back in the car, then wandered up the short wandering path to the lake. From there, we goofed on the beach for awhile. They have a beautiful beach here, with clean soft sand, and it’s a good size to boot. Definitely a must stop for future trips (plus my buddy Becky is from here, and what could beat a friend’s hometown).

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We piled back in the car and made it a bit farther north up to Algoma, which was our stopping point. We had a motel booked here, nothing fancy but I loved it anyway. It was a little older on the outside but well updated in the rooms, and neat as a pin (one of the cleanest places I have ever stayed at, and that’s really saying something because like most business travelers I’ve stayed at some swanky spots for my work). The owners were super nice, we were able to book for the holiday relatively late, and they were very affordable. WIN WIN WIN. And I know it sounds lame, but we were tired so we actually ended up relaxing there for a few hours before attempting to move again. (In our defense: Scott and I were up pretty late packing/preparing, hence our lack of any desire to move our parked butts once we sat down.)

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Eventually, we dragged ourselves out of our room and went down the street to explore the beach here. It was literally a 1-minute drive down the street to get to the main boardwalk. This beach was full o’ rocks, but that wasn’t bad at all, in fact I ended up filling the side pocket of the car with the smooth, pretty little lake-polished things (however I will point out: they had several volleyball nets set up and I would not feel too comfortable diving into that sand.)

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We mucked around a bunch, then walked the Boardwalk and decided to head to the nearest spot for some burgers. We didn’t have to go far; Dean’s was like RIGHT THERE BY OUR CAR. Sweet. It was also next door to a major garage sale, that I perused while Pete used the bathrooms at this joint (which were ‘charmingly’ located outside the restaurant itself, like a cheap gas station…). More on that garage sale later though.

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We went inside and Pete was sad because I did not want to sit at the table he picked out. The one right by the walk-up service and front door, um no thanks. The funny thing about this spot is that every table had a different food ‘theme’, so I was able to convince Pete that we could not sit at that table, because you could only order salads at that particular veggie-filled laminate tabletop. Instead we found one with a breakfast theme, and settled in.

Pete got French Toast, Linus a PB&J, and Scott and I got cheeseburgers and we all split an order of fries. The place itself was rather dive-y (in fact, at the time we were there the only other patrons were two bikers who got in a heated argument over a muffin) but the burgers were really greasy, really good, and really hit the spot.

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Then we went back to our room and cleaned up, as we had to meet up with Caitlin for family photos. We drove a half hour to meet her, did our thing, had some ice cream, then went home. I took no photos during this time (in fact I just left my camera in our motel room, which was rare for a paranoid me) but rest assured, the only thing you really missed was the cloud of mosquitoes that chewed all of us to bits during the shoot.

Caitlin, the poor thing faring the worst of all of us, hung in there like a trooper and I can’t wait to see the end result. She’s a master and intentionally found a splashy creek for my very-much-boy children to muck around and play during picture time, so: a brilliant location choice. Even with those pesky little buggy effers.

We headed back to Algoma and got Linus ‘down’ for the night, but he decided to bounce around and sing nonstop and Not Sleep, so Scott, Pete, and I all headed out to the little table and chairs outside our room to wait it out (in sweatshirts, because: chilly, dude!). Eventually he passed out, we all trudged back inside, and passed out because TIRED. More tomorrow, friends.

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