Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Harbor Country!

We decided to take the kids away again for a few days as a part of their Christmas gift. This year we chose Harbor Country. We've been many, many times but never in the winter. It seemed like the ideal place to hole up, play games, read, experience the winter beach and watch movies together.

In the 20's and 30's this area was a huge vacation destination for Chicagoans in need of escape. The well-to-do gathered here for the beach, picnicing and typical summer fun. We stayed at the Paradise Villa. Could the name be any kitchier? I love this place. When we approach the sign, it gives me chills thinking of what this was 70 or so years ago. A sucker for history, I close my eyes and envision children running, tinny jazz, fires burning and giggling girls headed to the beach in wool bathing costumes.

Paradise Villa is set up in three vertical rows, if you will. On the left a row of cottages, the middle a path and tall pines and then to the right another row of cottages. You walk to the beach with pines soaring above, brightly colored cottages all around and the sound of the crashing waves of Lake Michigan. It's a quick walk and suddenly you find yourself at the top of the steps to the beach.

Here is "our" cottage at Paradise Villa.

A perennial classic, The Stray Dog. We've been coming here since before they expanded and when you never saw a Stray Dog shirt walking by.

The Red Arrow Roadhouse, another favorite. We were there Monday for half price ribs, as was everyone else in town. Good food with a little more finesse. I had a great salad with roasted sweet potatoes and we always order the Homemade Blue Cheese Chips. I think we are going to try to re-create the chips at home this weekend. I think we can make them even better.

Drier's Butcher Shop, open since the Civil War. A must-stop for ham salad and liverwurst. Doug loves the meat sticks and Henry eyed up the sausages.

His nose is pressed to the glass of the vintage case in hopes of scoring his own summer sausage, hand tied with butcher's twine. BTW, he did get a sausage.

Froehlich's I love for a lot of reasons. A dilapidated old building saved and a food business born. Sandwiches, coffee and a line of jams, jellies and relishes canned on sight. I love that.

I want to do that.

We all had a lovely time away. Trips to our favorite haunts, our favorite beef stew and a great big breakfast, lots of games and many books read. It was pretty much picking up and moving our home to someplace else without the urge to take down decorations or begin new year's projects. I think that's exactly why we like it some much.

And after all, isn't home wherever the pile of shoes by the front door is?

No comments: