June 08, 2010

Long weekend in Door County, Wis. to attend a wedding, part 1

Roadside art — not the bride and groom.
At 6:20 a.m. Friday morning we left for the airport to begin a four-day weekend on the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin to attend a wedding. After a long day in planes and airports, we landed in Green Bay and drove 1-1/2 hours to our hotel, Baileys Harbor Yacht Club, in Baileys Harbor. The wedding ceremony was Saturday afternoon, and the reception Saturday evening. We've known the groom and his family for more than 22 years. Other good friends who we haven't seen since we left Wisconsin last year were also there, making for a great weekend. It was a beautiful event and we're so glad we made the trip!

The evening we arrived we stopped at Greens 'N' Grains Natural Foods Store in downtown Egg Harbor before heading to our hotel. Housed in a charming late 18th century building, this is the only full-service natural foods store in Door County. In addition to a full line of natural foods, Greens 'N' Grains has a vegetarian and raw food deli. We hadn't been to Door County in a very long time but we still remembered how hard it was to be vegetarian there, let alone vegan. Picking up a few items for dinner just seemed like the easiest thing for two tired travelers to do. We got wraps, cabbage salad, crackers, strawberries and a small tub of hummus to stash in our refrigerator. We were so tired that we ate our little supper before I even thought of the camera.

On Saturday morning our friends Claire and Alan, who were staying nearby, brought breakfast over to our hotel room. We had a kitchenette, which we were pleased to discover had dishes and flatware along with a small fridge and microwave. We also had a table and chairs in our extravagantly large room. They had driven up the night before from Madison with a food-filled cooler, and had brought home-made granola and soymilk. We added organic strawberries we'd bought the night before on our way to the hotel.

Claire uses the granola recipe from the old, vegetarian cookbook, Deaf Smith Country Cookbook, and the classic breakfast treat tastes as good as it looks.

After breakfast, which lasted a pretty long time, Claire and Alan went back to their hotel to get ready for the wedding. When we picked them up to drive to the church in Ellison Bay, Claire pointed out the bumper stickers on the hotel owners' SUV. Sheesh. Spread a little love, why don't you.

As a point of comparison, I photographed the bumper stickers on Claire and Alan's car.

The wedding ceremony was unconventional but meaningful. It took place in a beautiful white church but was non-religious — in the church but not of the church, so to speak. After the ceremony we had a couple of hours to hang out before the festivities began again at 4:30 with a cocktail reception and then dinner.

At this point, I want to offer a bit of advice, especially for new vegans, about what to do when you're invited to an event where food will be served. Rule number one is never take anything for granted. Let people know in advance what your restrictions are. Everyone will be happier if you are not sitting at the table with an empty plate. I followed the first rule (even though the groom's parents are vegetarian, and the groom, while not vegetarian now, was raised as a vegetarian), but because of a misunderstanding, there wasn't anything at the dinner other than a small salad, that a vegan could eat. I had e-mailed in advance, and the groom sent me a list of buffet foods Joe, the food and beverage director, said were vegan. In addition, he said that Joe would let the chef know we were vegan. He also sent me Joe's contact information in case I had any further questions. I hate to make a pest of myself, and it really sounded like everything was arranged, but because pesto (not usually vegan) was on the "vegan" list, I decided to follow rule number two. Rule number two is follow up on your request to make sure the caterer understands. I sent Joe an email. He didn't reply but it was so close to the date I didn't try to contact him again.

At the dinner, the salad came with cheese and a creamy dressing, and I thought "uh-oh." I requested, and received, a plain one. We went to the buffet line and I took the foods that had been on the list, but I was suspicious. I found Joe and asked if the food had butter, and guess what — everything including the green beans, carrots and vegetarian pasta with mushrooms was made with butter. The chef graciously offered (insisted, actually) to make something for the three vegans, and he created a pasta, green bean, spinach, garlic and olive oil dish that was absolutely delicious. Apparently, Joe expected me to call, and when I didn't, he'd assumed I'd changed my mind about requesting special food. He didn't receive my e-mail, and speculated it went to his junk mail. I was supposed to call him but I didn't know that. It was a misunderstanding. It all ended well but was awkward, and had I followed rule number two with a little more gusto, the situation could have been avoided. (I would have just made due with the salad had not the staff insisted on cooking something.)

With the wedding taking most of Saturday, and a full day planned for Sunday, there wsn't much sitting-around time, but here's Mr. EV pretending to relax by the lake. You can see he's wearing a sweatshirt because it was pretty chilly most of the weekend, but at least it had stopped raining.

And here's the sun setting over the lake. Most of the time we were there the sunsets were rained out, so we were pretty happy to have at least one sunset we could actually see. After all, we paid extra for a lake-view room!

Last but not least, here are a few signs we saw tacked to trees on someone's property. There were more, but I'll spare you.

Door County Weekend Part 2


  1. I guess they don't know how "Mao" is pronounced...

  2. How awesome your friends came over and brought breakfast!

    That streetart reminds me of snoopy. It's very cute!

    Comparing Obama to Mao sounds a bit weird. Hm, some people seem to have very weird concepts about socialsm. Especially since they never experienced it.

  3. WOW! What a beautiful setting for a wedding, just spectacular.

    Sorry about the food snafu...I can't believe EVERYTHING was cooked with butter! Jeez, and we wonder why heart disease is such a big problem. I think I've got the answer right there!

    I'm glad everything worked out for you in the end. We don't go out to parties or dinners too much, so I haven't had to deal with many situations like this. When we do, I always bring a big pot of something or dessert, so I'll have at least something to eat. But at a wedding, that wouldn't be an option so who knows what I'd do!

  4. Anon,
    Maybe they don't care — just wanted to get their (censored) viewpoint in. There were other signs disparaging immigrants and speakers of languages other than English.

    Awesome is the right word!

    If you want to see something really hilarious, watch this:

    The wedding site was definitely pretty. We've had some interesting experiences with food at weddings — from fabulous to luke-warm plain spaghetti. It's all OK. I really appreciate any effort people make to accommodate our diet, no matter how it turns out.:) I hope at some point our diet will become less animal-centric so that animal-free cooking will seem normal, and not exotic.

  5. Sounds like a great trip! I am so glad :-) I have never been to Door County, but have always heard such good things about how beautiful it is, and it looks like what I have heard is true! Your photos are lovely.


  6. Courtney,
    It was a short but great trip, and a much-needed getaway. Door County has a great concentration of wonderful parks, and it was still early in the season so nothing was crowded.

  7. Sounds like a fun--and interesting--trip! Your breakfast looked great. And I had a similar experience at a recent wedding we went to--the vegan meal they prepared for me (which WAS vegan) was--lasagna. WHEAT noodle lasagna!! So I ended up eating grilled veggies for dinner. Good, but not quite filling enough. ;)

  8. I'm glad they made you something in the end; much better than having a plain salad.

    I (don't) love the signs at the bottom of your post. very lame, though free speech is important.

  9. Ricki,
    I guess caterers are still not used to preparing meals for special diets. Hopefully that day will come. You wouldn't have been OK with the pasta dish we ended up with, but it was delicious and we were stuffed!

    Yes, free speech is alive in Door County. I tried not to editorialize too much but I guess since it's my blog, I can. The signs are sad. As Claire said so well, "How about a little hate with your fresh eggs and maple syrup."


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