Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Finding the joys of the summer solstice

May may be the Festival of Blossoms, but June is when Door County really starts to blossom.

The spring and beginning of summer brings the artists out in full bloom. Door is a natural gem — woods and fields surrounded by glorious water, with maritime imagery everywhere: lighthouses, cliffs and crashing waves, ferries, sailboats, ships, all of it inspiring an artist colony full of folks creating images in paint and clay and pixels and words and music and theater — and food!

We took part in a “beer pairing” at Mojo Rosa’s in Egg Harbor the other night and experienced pork chops and tostados and nachos prepared in delightful ways we’d never experienced before — the artistry of the chef enhancing the artistry of the brewmaster.

And that was just a tiny fraction of the artistry available and on display all the time and everywhere during a Door County summer. From the American Folklore Theatre to Peninsula Players, from Birch Creek to Midsummer’s Music, from Door Shakespeare to the Peninsula Music Festival, you can’t swing a cherry branch without hitting sublime artistry somewhere on this gorgeous rock.

There is high art on the stages. There is high art in the galleries and the wineries. There is high art in the whoooosh of a fish boilover. High art is being prepared in kitchens in every community in this county, and in the shipyards and the farm fields. I believe it’s inspired by the high art the water has carved from the rock.

Beauty needs to be shared, of course. I remember when after years of telling my 80-something dad he had to hear the big band faculty at Birch Creek Music Performance Center, he finally made it out from New Jersey and settled into a chair in the big barn.

This is a connoisseur who was raised on Benny Goodman and Harry James and Lionel Hampton, who raised swing to a high art form, so I confess to being jittery whether the Birch Creek folks could live up to his standards.

When, a few seconds into the opening number, the lead trumpeter stood up and tore into a solo, my dad broke into a broad, delighted smile and said, “Oh, my!” My jitters vanished, and I realized I should have known better. This is summer in Door County, where delights are everyday occurrences.

Thank God for the summer solstice — only the longest days can hold all of the possibilities here. I have only scratched the surface; this space is not sufficient to list all of the many choices for so many tastes.

Explore. Don’t limit yourself to these suggestions; find the ones that suit your palette. But don’t let a Door summer pass without exploring the wonders around you.

Cross posted to Door County Advocate

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