Green Bay, WI

Our NECI camper is unfortunately out of commission right now, it’s in the shop waiting for new axles to arrive. (if you’re interested in knowing more, check out ). We decided to take this opportunity to visit the Green Bay area and Marcus’ cousin, Jeremy, and NECI alumni, Eric Paynter. We spent the first night in the Oneida Reservation Radisson Hotel, and had a fun night taking turns at the casino (we were given $30 each at check in to play with) and swimming in the pool with Chase.

Our next day, we visited the National Railroad Museum. We were hesitant at first, since there was a pretty steep admission charge (almost thirty for the three of us) and we were only planning to spend an hour or so there. Turns out, we spent 3 hours plus and almost didn’t want to leave. We stood next to 1.6 million pound engines, walked through old passenger cars, and took a 30 minute ride on a train around the museum. There were old cars on display which used to haul meats (they weren’t refrigerated, so they had huge ice blocks set inside both the front and back of the car which needed to be replaced every 100 or so miles), there were old corn and grain hopper cars, old liquid food cars…It’s interesting to see how food began it’s cross country travel…from local to nationwide. With the onset of the interstate highways, and the expense of coal (engines weren’t very fuel efficient), our food began to travel in trucks instead of trains as it does today. As fuel began to get more expensive, we see an increase in the price of foods shipped. Hence, the rise of many Buy Local, Stay Local campaigns.

One of the old passenger trains on display contained a food service car. We walked through and admired the full stainless steel kitchen and peeked inside the cast iron, wood fired oven, the lowboy freezers, and the old ice chests. There was even a server station set just below the kitchen with a pass through window. The passengers walked up a short set of stairs and dined in a glass bubble on top of the car. The next car on display was a US Postal car in which mail bags were emptied, sorted, and placed in slots by zip code. Can you imagine bouncing and jiggling down the track reading an endless number of hand-scribbled addresses and trying to figure out the final destination of each letter? All while possibly being shot at? (we saw quite a few bullet holes in the windows of this car). But, “The mail must go through!

The next half of our day was spent walking through the 4-H barns at the Brown County Fair. Agricultural adolescents raising beef cattle, dairy cows, market pigs, sheep for wool, rabbits, roosters, hens, turkey…You name it, they had it. Country kids learning first hand where their food comes from. It’s so easy to forget sometimes…

That evening we enjoyed a traditional Cajun chicken stew made by Jeremy’s roommate, Debbie…a real Louisiana woman. The stew was delightful and not too spicy. She says she held back a little not knowing what we could handle. It was perfect. We had a nice visit with them, then headed North to Crivitz, WI to visit Eric.

Crivitz is a quiet little town with much of the area’s economy based on summer tourism. There are small clear lakes with cabins and beaches everywhere. Eric Paynter, ‘06 Essex, is currently the Executive Chef of a private club. We toured his enormous kitchen, with enough walk-in cooler space to serve thousands. There was even a separate fish cooler in which the members labeled their fresh catch from the lakes and identified the meal when they’d like it served. The place was very clean and organized for being over 100 years old. We then visited with his friend Margie at her house and roasted marshmallows by the fire. It was such a beautiful night. The next day, we stopped at Veteran’s Falls on our way out of town, tossed the gold pan in the water, gave it a few swirls, and turned up with a whole lot of lead sinkers. But, as expected, no gold.

Published in: on August 18, 2007 at 3:12 am  Leave a Comment  

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