We sipped tea on the breezy balcony.
October was happening.
Lauren wore a down vest over her spotted robe.
She told me to turn off the production library music I had chosen as the soundtrack for the morning.
"Listen," she said.
All you could hear was the wind and the trees.
The nonsense of the stupid city was far away in its loud annoying importance.
For breakfast The Inn offered cherry stuffed french toast.
Good Morning America had declared it the winner of their best breakfast challenge.
Back in the room Lauren flipped through a Bon Appetit while I researched places to ask her to marry me.
I still didn't know when or where or how I was going to do it.
The ring sat tucked away in a side pocket of my messenger bag.
I decided that tomorrow would be the day to do it.
So I had the "when" narrowed down.
And that I would do it on or near Washington Island.
There's the "where" sorta.
But how? Still didn't know.
I was having a hard time finding a donut shop in Door County.
More on that later.
Based on a letter in Bon Appetit, Lauren found us a restaurant for tomorrow.
I made a reservation.
We took an autumn drive through Peninsula Park.
It's a good park.
We caught the caboose of foliage.
Played in the leaves.
Ogled a lighthouse.
Climbed a 76-foot wooden tower on a 180-foot bluff.
The water looked Tahoe blue, like blue jeans.
We listened to the Kinks.
We took lots of pictures.
Just to prove that it really existed.
We poked around the peninsula some more.
Goofed with gourds.
Stopped for a beer at a Scandinavian pub.
Our second night's stay was in Sturgeon Bay.
The Holiday Music Motel.
Vintage furnishings, Elvis gold records on the wall, live music.
It was much easier for me to get it up here.
I didn't feel grandma's eyes watching us through the peepholes in the floral wallpaper.
The evening involved a haunted trolley tour.
We convened at a winery.
October did a decent impression of November.
The fat white moon made crisp shadows while we waited for the trolley.
A large group of annoying people cut in line.
Their children sang Christmas carols.
Lauren cut in front of the annoying people and nabbed the bench by the driver.
The driver spoke in rich radio tones.
His cadence was cartoonish and ghoulish.
He wore a cape.
The trolley stopped at various haunts on the peninsula.
Lots of shipwreck tales.
He told us about a little girl that had died on Christmas Eve, and how the family displayed her corpse in their window beside the Christmas tree.
Many of his tales were of the odd and sad variety.
To counter this, he conducted sing-alongs of "The Theme from The Addams Family" and "Purple People Eater".
He took us to an old house and let us roam around in the dark.
Lauren said she felt someone reach into her pocket.
But no one was around.
I told Lauren that I love that she has an imagination.
Finally, the trolley took us to a graveyard out in the woods.
We saw the headstones for many of the characters in tonight's tales.
Our guide accidentally kicked over a small tombstone.
It felt kooky to dawdle around a remote graveyard in the wilderness underneath a full moon.
We relaxed back at the rock and roll motel.
Well, Lauren did.
I sat abuzz with thought.
Tomorrow was happening soon.
And I still didn't have a specific plan.
Where were all the donut shops in Door County?