Since the west and everywhere near us was HOT, Dennis came up with the idea of going north. Way north. Like as far north as you can get without either needing a boat or a passport. Thus, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota were the three areas that we decided to hit in a two-day drive.
|bald eagle fishing|
We saw our first bald eagle after Merrill, Wis. It was mostly cloudy, and the teperatures were in the high seventies. As you may know, we've been dealing with 90's and wicked humidity for weeks on end. We wanted to get away from that. It was as though our get away triggered the temperature change in our area.
And, it doesn't take you very long to figure out the little stop and yeild signs off in the ditches are for snowmobiles all along every road you come to. Yep. That's their second national past time, besides fishing and rooting for their beloved Packers.
Because it is not a very long distance to Eagle River, we arrived by early afternoon. This was an area which was used by French fur trappers to bring their pelts down from Canada, on these huge boats. I was told that these men had to be of Viking build to be able to paddle them because of the furs piled high on the boats, and the boats themselves were like small ships, had to wiegh considerably.
After getting a room in a local Super 8, we enjoyed a short walk, trying to figure out where we might eat. Somehow the whole idea of eating at a "family style" restaurant didn't really settle with us. So, we got into the truck and I had mentioned that I saw something on our little map from the motel a place that sounded interesting. Thus, we went in that direction.
And there it was, the White Spruce Restaurant. My husband liked it's spot right by the river, and the low, old look to it. Come to find out it was the oldest building in town, having been built in 1833. The original was burnt down, and then rebuilt. It was to feed the lumberjacks of the area, and you could just see it in the low roof, dark wood, the character of the place just oozed with abveance you just don't get in an IHOP or Denny's.
We had come into the little place, and found only a family at one table, and the woman hostes was pouring glasses of wine. I watched. OMG! She actually filled the glasses within an inch of the top! Unheard of!
The woman said she'd be with us in a second, and then she came out to us. "Just go ahead and seat yourselves at the farthest table by the window."
We did. Out our window we could see the river. We saw that there were a couple of docks and board walks, and a beer garden surrounded by different levels of shade-loving plants. I noticed that they had toad stools carved out of small tree trunks to add to the idea that it's a magical garden and I hoped to see a gnome. The trees were wrapped with the small Christmas tree lights, and I sat there trying to imagine what the place looked like at night. Probably romantic. Like someone's dream. That is, if you got rid of all the crazy people who might flock to a place like this and ruin it with their partying.
The woman told us that people came in to lunch, mostly, from the river on boats. And you could see people riding past, ejoying themselves.
Our dinner was not exciting, but we did have walleye, a salad, the soup was really good, and the salad was not made with "head lettuce". I would give it a 3 1/2 for quality. The ambience was what got to us. I ordered a white zin, and the woman brought it out exactly as I'd seen her fill the other glasses. It was chilled perfectly. The wine--local--was possibly the very best white zin I had tasted, bar none. Wish I'd written it down.
After dinner we, of course, had to venture outside and have an "after dinner drink". I was thinking Kahlua and cream. I never said this to Dennis, and while I went to the ladies room, that's exactly what he'd ordered. Either he knows me that well, or was reading my mind again. I'll put it at both equally. (Husband gets 10 stars for choosing this place and getting my drink desire correct.)
We were the only ones out on the beer garden, with the exception of the bar keeper. I had to guess he was married to one of the women who worked the place. Maybe an owner, I wasn't sure. But he did talk our ears off. At the end, when we were done with our drinks, Dennis steered the conversation to an end and we meandered down to the dock to simply enjoy the water, the place and to talk.
It sometimes amazes us that we are able to find one place during our trip--a new place--to eat a great meal/enjoy the ambience, take in the local flavor as well. We have found, though, that usually, we never can experience it the same, should we ever go back. But you always do, hoping for a repeat performance of the feel, the atmosphere, and not have anything alter your enjoyment of it.
And, as we strolled to the back entry to our motel, I spotted a deer. And then it was two, and then four. . . up to six I counted. Oh, and there was a male with his velvet coated antlers.
I hope to be back with Day Two tomorrow, if I can. Superior Lake was a new experience for us. It's too bad the weather didn't cooperate.