Event: Dade’s Battle

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In 1835 the Florida Seminole were struggling to defend their homeland from the encroachment of white settlers. Tension had been building for over a decade what with the tendency of the Seminole to take in escaped slaves and the U.S. government trying to move them out to Oklahoma. Everything finally exploded in 1835 when Seminole warriors attacked U.S. soldiers under the command of Brevet Major Francis Langhorne Dade who were on their way from Fort Brooke in Tampa to Fort King in Ocala. The soldiers had a cannon but the Seminoles had the element of surprise and claimed victory after a day of fierce fighting. They won the battle, but they ultimately lost the war. The Second Seminole War that started here lasted over 6 years, only ending in 1842 after the deportation of over 90% of the Seminoles – 4,000 people – from their ancestral homes in Florida to Oklahoma.

Dade Battlefield Historic State Park now protects the ground where the battle took place & hosts a reenactment every year in January. I attended this year’s reenactment & found it to be very interesting. The event began on a scary/exciting note when one of the horses threw her rider & went tearing around the park! Fortunately another rider caught her pretty quickly, nobody got hurt, they restarted the battle, & everything went without a hitch after that. There were a couple dozen reenactors on each side, plus a canon firing every couple of minutes, so it was pretty intense! Before & after the battle itself I wandered through the encampment, where a variety of booths sold everything from alligator skulls to Davy Crockett style raccoon hats. The park also has trails & a small visitor’s center with a museum.

I don’t know how it was when they started doing these or how much input the Seminole tribe has with it, so for all I know it’s a huge improvement over what went on in the past & everybody’s happy, but I did find parts of the event to be fairly biased. The Seminole narrator discussed his people’s feelings about their land & the idea of having to leave their homes at the beginning, so that was good, but then at the end he left the scene while the Army narrator talked about trying to escape the battlefield with a friend, so the sympathy ended up being pretty one-sided. One of the speakers, I don’t recall who, said that there were only 3 survivors of the battle, but there were actually only 3 survivors on the Army side of the conflict – nearly all of the Seminoles made it out alive. I get what they’re going for but I think it could still use some tweaking.

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The Last Three Months in Awkwardness

Welp, I’m down to the home stretch of my time in Sheboygan (maybe at some point I’ll post the half-finished piece on my 3-week road trip up here…who knows, miracles do happen). It’s been a stressful, weird, wild ride & as much as I’ve come to enjoy this town, my job, & my new friends, I’m looking forward to getting back to Florida & resting up for a while.  For probably like a week before I get bored.

I’ve finally crawled out from under my rock & gotten a Twitter account, so you can follow me there, Facebook, Instagram, and/or YouTube if you want to.

Winter plans include trying to learn a new language (again), adding some blog posts about past travel experiences, video games, sleeping, having a real refrigerator & oven, paying down student loans, visiting family, uploading some new stock imagery, and just generally being warm & stuff.  (I forgot what cold is like.  Also the sun goes down at 4:30 here once daylight savings time ends.)

Some unique Sheboygan weirdness to brighten your day:

I found this under a bridge; it’s like 4 feet across so not a small undertaking & I seriously have no idea what’s going on in this image or why it’s there – graffiti?  City-sponsored art project?  Who are these people?  Why do they have a monkey skull wearing a top hat?  The world may never know.

Day Trip: Door Peninsula

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In other words: FALL COLORS!

I love fall, & I haven’t had it for the last couple of years because it really isn’t a thing in Florida.  A few trees turn pretty colors but for the most part they either just drop leaves everywhere all the time or insist on staying green & leafy year-round.  Anyway, I’m pretty excited about fall in Wisconsin.  I’ve been looking at wandering up into the Door Peninsula the whole time I’ve been here because I’d heard it was beautiful, & I figured what better time than fall?  I checked out the fall color report (easy to find for pretty much anywhere with a quick Google search) saw that Door County was up to 90% with expected peak this week, the weather was supposed to be nice on Saturday, so I packed up my camera & headed out for my mini road trip.

The Door Peninsula is the little thumb of land that sticks out into Lake Michigan north of Green Bay.  It’s about 90 miles from Green Bay out to the very end at Northport, to go any farther than that you have to get on the ferry to Washington Island (which I would love to do sometime but alas, it was not to be on this trip).  It was a long drive from Sheboygan, about 3 hours each way, but it’s a beautiful area & there’s plenty of little lakeshore towns to visit along the way.  It’s been 3 whole years since I’ve been north of the 45th Parallel so I was glad to get back!

WI-42 & WI-57 both wind up into the peninsula, I ended up taking 57 there & 42 back, both are great drives.  The only unfortunate thing is that I think half the state decided to go leaf-touring on the same day, plus half the little towns were having farmers’ markets and/or fall festivals so there was a surprising amount of traffic to deal with.  Sister Bay is a town of less than 900 people but there must have been thousands at the fall festival, all having to walk a long way from where they parked to downtown, none of whom seemed able to keep themselves or their dogs out of the road.  I think a weekday would have been better, although it would take a whole camping trip to properly experience everything.

I visited the farmers’ market in Two Rivers (self-proclaimed birthplace of the ice cream sundae), ate lunch in Bailey’s Harbor, & finally made my way all the way up to Northport to watch the car ferries for a bit.  Northport sits on the passage between Lake Michigan & Green Bay, a strait known as Porte des Morts or Door of Death.  The true origin of the name is unknown, but may derive from the oral histories of local Native American tribes.  It is appropriate today because this area may hold more shipwrecks than any other patch of freshwater in the world.  I’d really like to get back up there when I have more time (and maybe it’s warmer!) to visit the islands.  Pilot Island has a really cool-looking abandoned lighthouse that I could see from the mainland & looks like it would be really fun to check out.

On the way back down the peninsula I stopped at Door Bluff County Park & Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, both of which are very small but also free and had great views out over the lake.  The County Park is far enough off the main road that you start to think maybe you missed it but no, it’s there, keep driving.  I ended up spending 11 hours wandering around & it wasn’t nearly enough time!  Hopefully someday I can go camping up there & really get some proper exploring done.

 

This Week in Awkwardness

I made it from Forsyth, Georgia to Paducah, Kentucky, with stops in Chattanooga and Nashville. Two more weeks of road tripping before I start my new job in Wisconsin!


Crossed Off the Travel Map: Tennessee (mostly) Edition

This Week in Awkwardness

I made it through Georgia in one piece, despite some pretty epic rain storms.  I don’t know why the South has this weird thing about rain, one second it’s perfectly clear and the next it’s pouring so hard the road is barely visible.  Anyway I’m in Chattanooga for the weekend & it’s still raining.  Hopefully I’ll be able to find some stuff to do despite the weather.


Crossed Off the Travel Map: Georgia Edition

 

This Week in Awkwardness

I’ve been busy packing & planning my drive up to Wisconsin – lots of fun stuff to see along the way!  I have 3 weeks of road trip between here & my new job so I’ve just been adding pins to my Google map for anything that sounds remotely interesting, plus of course looking for things to do over the summer & fall on my days off.  I’ve already earmarked Sputnikfest in Manitowoc in September & the Midwest Historical Archaeology Conference in Chicago in October.  Looking forward to getting my hands dirty as an actual working archaeologist!


Added to the Travel Map: Summer in Wisconsin Edition

House on the Rock, Spring Green – weird house with crazy stuff inside.

FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard, Sparta – giant molds laying around in a field.

American Science & Surplus, Milwaukee – crazy awesome store.

Mars Cheese Castle, Kenosha – when in Wisconsin, celebrate cheese.

Stavkirke, Washington Island – Norwegian-style church.

45 x 90 Geographical Marker, Athens – The exact geographical center of the N. Western hemisphere. Stop at the Wausau Visitor’s Center to sign the log book & get a commemorative coin!

Al Johnson’s Swedish Restuarant, Sister Bay – they have a sod roof with goats on top, who wouldn’t want to go there?

UWM American Geographical Society Library, Milwaukee – thousands of historic maps, globes, expedition photos, etc.

Circus World, Baraboo – Ringling Brothers circus museum.

Crash site of Korabl-Sputnik 1, Manitowoc- pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Sputnikfest September 7th & 8th!

Man Mound, Baraboo – human-shaped effigy mound.

Mr. Marvel’s Wondertorium, Wisconsin Dells – museum of the dime museum, compounding the absurdity.

Toy Train Barn, Argyle – giant model train diorama in a barn.

Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee – historic home of Milwaukee’s beer baron.

Little Bohemia Lodge, Manitowish Waters – site of a shootout between John Dillinger & the FBI.

Recently in Awkwardness

I got a job! I’m heading up to Wisconsin to work on an excavation for the summer & fall. Planning an epic road trip to get there so be watching for new posts!

I also bought a new inflatable kayak, so hopefully there will be some great paddling in my future!


Crossed Off the Travel List: