A honeymoon, ice cream and dog beds

When you think of a honeymoon, a lot of images materialize in your head–but I bet none of them are “ice cream” and “dog beds.”

I just got back from one of those idyllic time-outs with my brand new hubby. We drove to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, explored, took photos, relaxed–and spent gas and time trying to find two specific things: ice cream, and a motel that would accept pets.

The pet thing surprised us. Maybe a pet thing on a honeymoon surprises you, too, but we’re not the kind of people to leave our beagle behind. Lady was rescued from a shelter and although she doesn’t exactly have issues, she does keep a very close eye on us. She’s learned that when we do leave her home, we won’t be gone long, and we don’t want to disappoint her expectations.

My frustration mounted, however, as we pulled into one motel after another and were  turned away because of Lady. I wanted to assure them that she’s an extremely good dog, quiet, well-behaved–but they probably get those same assurances from the people who leave behind pounds of pet hair and puddles in the corner. In our case, however, it’s true. Lady enters a motel room, gives every inch the sniff test, then settles on her own bed and stays there. She lives up to her name.

In Wausau, Wis., we finally found a Super 8 that allowed dogs–for an extra $10. So, the next night, after being turned down at every place we tried in L’Anse and Baraga, Mich., (which are not visited by people with dogs, I guess) we drove to Houghton-Hancock and headed for the Super 8 there. No dice. By now it was 7:30 p.m., and I was getting desperate.

“C’mon, Lord,” I finally said aloud. “There’s no room at the inn–and you remember what that was like.”

We didn’t have to resort to a stable like he did. Instead, we finally found a pet-friendly Best Western in Hancock where we plopped down Lady’s bed and our weary bones and said another prayer of thanks.

Perhaps less surprising is our nearly unsuccessful efforts to find ice cream–and in Wisconsin, the dairy state, of all places! Still, winter is just winding down, and maybe people are still more into hot soup than cold ice cream.

Cravings don’t just go away because it’s not the right season, though. We both had visions of hand-dipped cones teasing our taste buds. We started searching in Wausau, asking people on the street, total strangers, for the location of an ice cream shop.

They always knew of one. “But I don’t think it’s open,” they always said. And they were right, every time.

So, as we wended our way north, we continued the search with the single-minded determination of an addict. We found candy stores, soft-serve counters, doughnut shops–but no ice cream. Until, that is, we reached Paulding, Mich., in the U.P. There, at last, was our elusive ice cream source–in a bait shop.

The sign did say “ice cream,”  but my doubts grew when we parked our car and traipsed passed signs for fresh bait, lures, and firearm ammunition. The refrigerator case on the inside where I expected to find the ice cream was filled with containers of things I didn’t want to peer too closely at. I was beginning to think that ice cream sign was simply bait of another kind to get unsuspecting customers into the store.

“You DO have ice cream?” we asked the t-shirted, beard-stubbled guy behind the counter. Sure enough, he rattled off a list of about eight flavors, all the while keeping an eye on the “real” customers, the guys waiting to get whatever wiggly things fishermen use in March.

I picked a flavor (mint with Mackinac Island fudge), opted for two scoops, and was rewarded for the long and nearly fruitless search. The scoops were huge! This t-shirted, almost-bearded man behind the counter was a master at stacking an impossible mound of ice cream atop a little plain cone. Profit margin obviously wasn’t important to him.  It took a satisfyingly long time to lick and slurp my way to the end of that large, long-awaited treat. That guy doesn’t know it, but he will always be my hero.

The ironic part of the trip was heading back home down U.S. 141 and finding one ice cream shop after another, sometimes two at a time, in every little burgh along the way. It was too late. By then, our craving had been satisfied.

Ice cream and dog beds. Not the stuff usually associated with honeymoons–but then, who wants their honeymoon to be a cliché?




About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog.
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4 Responses to A honeymoon, ice cream and dog beds

  1. gtrgeorge51 says:

    GREAT story… I would have had a hard time believing it, except that I was there…

  2. Monica says:

    Of course I knew you’d recognize everything!

  3. Ron Z says:

    Hi Monica!

    This column reminds me when I last saw you and George in Sturgeon Bay. Because I had several different places in Wisconsin to visit, I decided to make my “headquarters” in Oshkosh, and stayed at a very nice La Quinta Inn right off the highway. But before even putting in a reservation, I MADE SURE that it accepted pets, as Hershey, the chocolate lab wanted to come along too! She really seemed to enjoy spending time at hotel, the first time for her.

    I don’t know if all the LaQuinta Inns are like the one in Oshkosh, but they certainly made a great impression on me with that visit. I would not hesitate to stay there again.

    Ron Z.

    • Monica says:

      We discovered motels vary from place to place. The Super 8 in Wausau allowed dogs, the one in Hancock didn’t. Believe me, NEXT time we’ll call ahead and make reservations!

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