2015 Door County Wisconsin Rally Recap

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2015 Door County Wisconsin Rally Recap

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                                                                         2015 DOOR COUNTY WISCONSIN RALLY
                                                       …MORE THAN JUST A GOOD TIME!

The recent gathering of 70 Born Free club members in Door County, Wisconsin, gave new meaning to that sometimes tiresome expression, “A good time was had by all”. Indeed, a really great time was experienced by of all of us who attended the June 15-19 rally!

“I was taken by the beauty of the place, how pristine it is,” remarked Ramona Birdsell, from Ames, Iowa, who now lives in Florida with her husband Jim. Door County is a peninsula with Lake Michigan on one side and the waters of Green Bay on the other. It has been called the Cape Cod of the Midwest. The rally was hosted by Pat and Dick Dittmer of Gills Rock, the northernmost village of Door County, and Marie and Dick Holt of Pewaukee, Wisconsin and Titusville, Florida.

The four day get-together began on Monday with a tasting event of local wines and cheese at the lovely Bailey’s Harbor Campground where our 36 coaches spent the week. On Tuesday, the group traveled due south of Bailey’s Harbor to Sturgeon Bay for a tour of Door County’s Maritime Museum where we learned about shipbuilding, an important historic as well as present day activity. We also enjoyed a tour of the nearby Door County Historical Museum.

Since the area is packed with places to see and things to do, the rally hosts thoughtfully scheduled almost three days for freewheeling sightseeing. During this time, some in the group drove to Sister Bay and some ventured further north to enjoy a short boat ride to quaint Washington Island, just off the northernmost point of the Peninsula. Others headed over to the famed White Gull Inn in the bayside village of Fish Creek for a breakfast of their signature cherry-stuffed French toast.

Born Free coaches were spotted all along the peninsula throughout those four days, and friends found each other everywhere during our forays away from the campground. As a matter of fact, meeting up with old friends and forming new friendships was the happiest experience of the rally as it is whenever Born Free-ers get together. Remarks on that happy feature of the Door County rally were expressed by many in the group.

For Sue Boley, a New Hampshsire native now living with her husband George in Inverness, Florida, one of the best things about the rally was seeing beautiful places and “lots of friends”. Suzanne Gulbranson, a long time rally attendee from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, agreed that “seeing old friends” was one of the most delightful experiences of the week. Mike Marsden from Marquette, Michigan, attending his first Born Free rally with his wife Mary, couldn’t say enough about the “wonderful week and wonderful people” he met. He and Mary are looking forward to another rally and another chance to catch up with their new friends.

Shopping in the many and varied wayside shops in Door County was also a treat for the attendees. Cherries are a mainstay occupation for the full time residents of the peninsula, and a visit to the Seaquist Market where cherries are grown, harvested and processed was another highlight of the week. Janet Ryan of Brooklyn, Iowa, was happy to be able to buy everything cherry for her church events back home. She filled her shopping cart with bags of cherry muffin mix, dried cherries, cherry butter, and cherry cookies!

Tuesday’s Happy Hour and traditional Fish Boil Dinner back at the campground, however, was probably everyone’s most memorable experience. Our traditional Door County fish boil featured fresh Lake Michigan whitefish caught and prepared by a local fisherman and his crew. They cooked the fish outside over an open fire, just as it was done one hundred years ago by the Scandinavian settlers of the Door County.

The evening’s entertainment was provided by local luminary Don Makuen, who truly regaled everyone with Door County history, fascinating trivia tales and facts about the history of the fish boil. Dressed in overalls and plaid shirt, this former college professor-turned-redneck amazed everyone with his keen understanding of both the history and the local folklore of Door County.

On Wednesday, Born Free factory staff provided another fine dinner. Scott Cran and Ed Newman served a delicious barbecue dinner on Wednesday evening. Most agreed that “too much food was had by all”! Host Dick Dittmer entertained us around the nightly campfires, including one talk about the Niagra Escarpment, a nearly 1,000-mile-long cliff that begins in east-central Wisconsin, runs northeast alongside Lake Winnebago, forms almost all of the Door Peninsula, Mackinaw Island, and, in Canada, the Georgian Bay and the Bruce Peninsula. It continues north east further through Canada and into upstate New York, forming Niagara Falls.

Unfortunately, “a sad moment was felt by all” when we gathered early Friday morning for the traditional farewell breakfast. Our group represented 18 states from New Hampshire to California, and all had lavish praise of our hardworking and very kind hosts, Pat and Dick Dittmer and Marie and Dick Holt, for making the Door County experience so memorable.

Submitted By Helen Hornbake

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