Strawberry Moon in June


Spring full moon (J Jacobs photo)
Spring full moon (J Jacobs photo)

Berries are fresh and plentiful in the grocery stores this June. But if you want one to substitute for the cheese associated with moons look for strawberries to accompany the “Strawberry Moon” the first weekend of June.

Look at the eastern horizon when the moon starts to come up. It will look bigger than normal even though it hasn’t changed size because it will appear close to Earth.

And no, it is more likely to look golden due to the Earth’s atmosphere, than strawberry pink.

Among the origins of June’s full moon names are those given it by Native Americans such as the Algonquian, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota tribes, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Other names, such as the Honey and Mead Moon, supposedly come from Europe. Does that translate to honeymoon because June is known as a wedding month? Maybe. 

Space gives the time of moon’s full illumination for June 3 and the full moon dates for other 2023 months. But if you look up the nights of June 2 and June 4 you will see what looks like a full moon.

Another site that has good lunar information is Time and Date. It says the moon is now (June 1, 2023) waxing gibbous (as opposed to waning) at 92.5 %, so you know if the weather is clear tonight you will already have a bright night lite even if not completely full.

How to watch the Strawberry June Moon: Nible on strawberries spread across a slice of pound cake and topped with whipped cream.




Make Door County Lighthouses a vacation destination



Cana Island Lighthouse (J J photo)
Cana Island Lighthouse
(J Jacobs photo)

They are historic, they have saved lives. “They“ are the 11 sort-of tower-like, mid to late 19th century structures that are celebrated in Door County Wisconsin’s twice-a year Lighthouse Festivals.

If you saw Think lighthouses for next vacation  you know some are seen by water and others can be visited or viewed on land and that some are definitely off the proverbial beaten path.

But during the Lighthouse Festivals: Spring June 9-11 and Fall Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023, visitors can take boat and land tours that bring them up to and often, inside, many of these historic structures.

Or go to The Door, as it is popularly called, now through early October when four lighthouses are generally open to visitors and even more can be seen and photographed.

Your mission, if you accept it, is to see as many of The Door’s lighthouses as can be fit into a vacation. But remember this is a vacation so enjoy the Peninsula and divide the lighthouse sights into day destinations.

Doing the middle of the Peninsula from Lake side to Bay side

Two of the lighthouses, Cana Island off Highway Q near Baileys Harbor on Lake Michigan and Eagle Bluff in Peninsula State Park on Green Bay, are easy to visit spring through fall. They sit approximately opposite each other on the Peninsula so can fit into one day by taking County Road F across. 

Stop in their keeper’s rooms to see the furnishings and how they lived at the lighthouses. 

Eagle Bluff LTH in Peninsula State Park (JJ Jacobs photo)

Eagle Bluff LTH in Peninsula State Park (J Jacobs photo)

Both lighthouses are definitely worth a visit but save extra time for Cana Island whose tower is the most photographed in Door County. It has one of the last 3rd order Fresnel Lens of two still operating on the Great Lakes.  The lens, installed in 1869, can be viewed at the top of the tower. You’ll get your exercise in for the day or week because Cana has 97 steps up but the rewards are terrific views.

If the lake cooperates, the lighthouse and island are reached by walking across a sometimes wet, always stony, causeway or by taking a bumpy tractor-pulled, hay-wagon ride.

Operated by the Lighthouse Preservation Society and the Door County Maritime Museum which has three sites, Cana Island has a fine, new building on the lighthouse side of the causeway where visitors now pay to be on the island and visit the lighthouse. Stay for a short, good video, see a couple of exhibits and pick up information on lighthouses and the Maritime Museum.

Cana is a bit of a twisty drive from the town of Bailey’s Harbor. After seeing how Cana Island LTH is placed, visitors can better understand that lighthouses are on islands or a rocky tip of land.

While in the area, visit the Range Lights on Ridges Road. The big news is that visitors can, as of late May 2023, go inside the Upper Range Light which has been updated for volunteer lighthouse keepers to stay during the summer.

Visitors can park at The Ridges Sanctuary building, the Cook-Fuller Albert Nature Center that is downtown Bailey’s Harbor. Take its boardwalk to the Upper Range Lighthouse or park in the tiny lot across from the red-roofed Lower Range Light on Ridges Road and walk up the path. The two lights are still operating. When a boat has them lined up the lights are used to safely guide it. 

Lower Range Light at Baileys Harbor (JJ Jacobs photo)
Lower Range Light at Baileys Harbor (J Jacobs photo)

Another lighthouse is near there but it’s privately\ owned. Built in 1852 and called the Bird Cage because of its style of lantern room, it’s on a Baileys Harbor island. Deactivated in 1869 when the range lights were built, it can be seen on the lighthouse festival’s boat tour that leaves from Baileys Harbor Marina.

Go North

For a full day’s adventure head to Gill’s Rock where there is small gem of the Maritime Museum. Then take the Washington Island (Car) Ferry from neighboring Northport to Detroit Harbor on Washington Island. Tip: check the ferry schedule on-line ahead of time. It gets busy in the summer.

The ferry captain usually points out the lighthouses. Travelers can see the Pilot Island LTH and Plum Island Range Light’s tower. Plum Island is also open to visitors this summer.

The plus is that Washington Island is an interesting, multicultural place to visit. 

 In addition, another ferry continues north to Rock Island where the Pottawatomie LTH sits in Rock Island State Park and can be visited in the summer. First constructed in 1836, it is considered the earliest lighthouse in Door County. 

Rock Island LTH (Photo by Dan Eggert, courtesy of Destination Door County))

BTW, if you do venture across to Washington Island you are crossing waters the French called Port des Morts. With more than 275 shipwrecks, the waterway between Door County Peninsula and Washington Island became known as “Death’s Door.”

Well, not so much lately with well-built ships, but sometimes when the weather is really bad the Washington Island Ferry does not cross. Visit Traveling Death’s Door | Destination Door County   for more info.

However, given that people live on Washington Island, shop there and stay there, the ferry has regular summer and winter hours. 

Go South

A third day should include the impressive structures at the southern end of the Peninsula’s tourist region: the county seat of Sturgeon Bay.

Sturgeon Bay is divided by the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal that has the Sherwood Point Lighthouse on the southwestern edge of the canal and the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Light on the northeastern edge of the canal where there is a bridge and narrow walkway to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Light out in Lake Michigan. They are worth seeing in person and by water.

Sherwood Point LTH (Photo by Mike Tittel courtesy of Destination Door County)

Sherwood Point LTH is used by the military as a respite to be rented for active members. It is not on view except during the Lighthouse Walk, the second weekend of June which coincides with the end of the Spring Lighthouse Festival. Opened in 1883, it became the last of the Great Lakes lighthouses to be manned when automated in 1983.

The Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Light Tower on the northern edge of the canal opened in 1899 and became automated in 1972. Park near the station’s gate and walk on a driveway up to the seawall.

Then, in the “can’t-miss it” category is an impressive red structure that is the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Light. The lower-level walkway out to the pierhead light is open to the public up to a painted line.

Whether the Sturgeon Bay lighthouses are at the starting or ending point of your lighthouse destination vacation, there is another must see structure in Sturgeon Bay. It looks like a lighthouse but it really is the newly compeleted Kress Tower of the Door County Maritime Museum.

Surrounded, as Door County is on three sides by water (not counting its ship canal), the many tales of the Peninsula’s watery life and boundaries are in three maritime museums – Sturgeon Bay, Gills Rock and Cana Island. 

Kress Maritime Museum Lighthouse Tower (Photo by Dan Eggert, courtesy of Destination Door County)

 The main one at Sturgeon Bay recently grew to 10 stories high as the Kress Maritime Museum Lighthouse Tower to tell all its tales. “It’s not really an official lighthouse,” said Executive Director Kevin Osgood. “But it is used by boats,” he added.

Osgood recommends starting in the Maritime Theatre and an interpretive center on the first floor for a video, then taking an elevator up to the Baumgartner Observation Deck on Floor 10 and walk down.

“You get an idea of the vastness of the area from the Observation Deck and the scale of the Tower,” he said. “Visitors can take the elevator but when you walk down to each floor you learn about the area’s history,” said Osgood. 

As an example, he pointed out that in the stairwell to “People of the Water” on Floor 8 that features Native Americans and early settlers, “You hear them speak their languages.” (Visit Native American Historical Sites for more information and Door County locations.)

All the floors are interesting, from geological formations (The Door has part of the Niagara Escarpment) to the Door’s ship building industry, but if you ferried over to Washington Island you might want to know more about what’s on Floor 2: Shipwrecks. Many of the shipwrecks are sitting in less than 60 feet of water. 

Figure at least an hour to do Kress Tower. But now that you’ve visited at least a few lighthouses and at least part of the Door County Maritime Museum (You had to be in one at Cana Island) you know that doing Door County lighthouses takes planning. Driving the Door takes time. Speed limits are strictly enforced and The Door is larger than first-time visitors expect.

If you crossed from Bailys Harbor to Peninsula State Park you saw that Door Peninsula is a large, agriculture-oriented finger separating Green Bay from Lake Michigan. The entire mass is about 80 miles long and 25 miles across and includes part of Brown and Kewaunee Counties. In addition, there are two more lighthouses on the Lake Michigan side: The Algoma and Kewaunee Pierhead LTHS at the very southern end of the larger peninsula land mass.

Whew! Visiting even a few of Door County’s lighthouse towers, range lights and pierheads becomes a different way to spend a vacation. However, the Door is also a destination known for its inns, boutiques, bistros, cherry orchards, wines and cheese. So go for it.

If you go:

Before you go  Visit Find Places to Stay in Door County | Destination Door County

When you first get thereAs you approach the tourist and lighthouse part of the Peninsula before you cross the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, stop in at the visitors center called Destination Door County at 1015 Green Bay Rd., Sturgeon Bay to pick up a map of the county and a guidebook.








Think lighthouses for next vacation


Door County, WI has some good lighthouses to tour on land and some seen just by boat. (J Jacobs photo)

Making lighthouse stops can be fun or daunting as a vacation theme. Best is to plan ahead because given the amount of shoreline on the Great Lakes in the United States and Canada, there are way too many lighthouse outposts in service and deactivated to fit into one trip.

For some idea of how many lighthouses abound in the region visit the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers’ Regional Map. Count the orange dots or click on them for their info. Yes they are numerous but those don’t tend to include lighthouses that have become landmarks and tour sites such as the Grosse Point (not in Michigan) Lighthouse in Evanston, IL and also available at Grosse Point Lighthouse.

Do notice the white dots on the map. They don’t have information. But the town listed will so go to Holland, MI to learn about its Big Red Lighthouse. it should be considered as a lighthouse road trip. Big Red is reportedly the state’s most photographed lighthouse.

In addition, although not  even as white dots on the GLLKA map, Door County, WI has fun lighthouses to visit as does Traverse City, MI

Don’t worry that it takes a number of years to drive by all the lighthouses, active and not on the Great Lakes.

BTW boating is easier but not all lighthouses in the Great Lakes region are on an existing Great Lake, really. Many lighthouses on the GLLKA map are on islands or inland or far out from the roads. They are or were supposed to steer or warn boaters of potential trouble or guide boaters towards safe harbors.  Also, not all lighthouses are visible by boat, others are not visitable by car.

So, if considering a road trip connected to some Great Lakes lighthouses consider your parameters. Maybe do one state. Michigan, with 3,288 miles of lake shore, claims to have more lighthouses than any other state at 130 so visit Lakeside Lights | Michigan.

Or consider staying just in the United States (not the Canadian side) and think about just one lake area such as Lake Superior’s Upper Peninsula.  

Or consider those that are reputedly haunted. See “Dark side of area lighthouses.” 

Or those that have been repurposed such as B ‘n’ Bs. Two are listed on the GLLKA map and more from across the country are on the United States Lighthouse Accommodations done by the US Lighthouse Society.

Now that you have some ideas to consider the next article will be an easy Midwest/Great Lakes lighthouse trip to Door County, WI.

Why visit Chicago this summer or fall

The 'Bean' in Millennium Park. (J Jacobs photo)
The ‘Bean’ in Millennium Park. (J Jacobs photo)

Music floats on summer breezes in southeastern Highland Park, a suburb in Lake County, IL north of Chicago and on the North Metra train line. That is where you will find Ravinia Festival, summer host of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and dozens of concerts from classical and folk to pop and jazz.

But if summer won’t work plan to go this fall when “Hamilton” returns in mid-September. See more schedule info at Chicago Theater and Arts.

Either way, summer and fall are good times to yell and gobble hotdogs and cheesy fries or nachos at Wrigley field for a Cubs game or at Guaranteed Rate Field for a White Sox game.

Chicago’s museums also are interesting destinations this year.

The Art Institute of Chicago is holding a blockbuster van Gogh exhibit. called “Van Gogh and the Avant Garde: The Modern Landscape,” it runs May 14 to September 4.  If you are driving, Route 66 actually starts on the south side of the museum but the sign for it faces the Art Institute across Michigan Avenue. AIC is at 111 S. Michigan Avenue.

With the recent change of England’s royal family, now is perfect to see “First Kings of Europe at the Field Museum. It’s 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive on the city’s Museum Campus with the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium.

BTW, Lake Shore Drive is now called Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive to honor its first non-native settler.

Three must stops:

The Chicago Cultural Center, covering a Michigan Avenue block from Randolph to Washington Street, was once the city’s main library and called the “People’s Palace.” its marble staircase and mosaic walls at the Washington Street entrance and cultural information room at the Randolph Street entrance, plus art exhibits on almost every floor are all worth stopping time.

Millenium Park sits across Michigan Avenue from the Cultural Center. This is where you find the city’s famed Bean., also called Cloud Gate, the Pritzker Pavillion/lawn with Frank Gehry’s sculptural bandshell and the Crown Fountain of Jaume Plensa’s interactive, “spitting” water. There is also a stairway to an upper floor of the Art Institute’s Modern Wing.

The location of the Chicago Architecture Center on the Chicago River just south of Michigan Avenue is great for taking its famous river boat tour. but it is also a building to visit for a build-out of the Chicago Fire and the upstairs exhibits.

Tip: Don’t try to do everything in one or two days.

Jodie Jacobs






Early May sky show


Spring full moon (J Jacobs photo)
Spring full moon (J Jacobs photo)

May 5 is celebrated as a victorious battle day by Mexican communities in the United States. So if in Chicago find a couple of Cinco de Mayo restaurant deals at Dining Out Eating In.

But if wondering why there are “falling stars” overhead or why it’s so bright outside that night, check out the following information.  

The Flower Moon

If the sky isn’t particularly cloudy where you live than the evening will seem brighter than usual May 4-6, 2023. May’s full Moon has total illumination in the afternoon of May 5 at 1:36 p.m. EDT but will appear full in the evening of May 4-6. The clue to the name of the May full Moon surrounds us almost everywhere there is a plot of earth. 

 The Old Farmer’s Almanac has the time the moon will be rising above the horizon and setting where you live. 

As followers of Travel Smart know by now, the name of a month’s Moon (and yes, it often is referred to the whole month by the same name), often comes from Native American tribes, long ago European farmers and also religions and cultures that base some festivals on lunar events. 

Thus the May Moon is called the Planting Moon, Budding Moon, Milk Moon and Egg Laying Moon. For more name info visit  The Old Farmer’s Almanac and (


Meteor shower (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Meteor shower (Photo courtesy of NASA)


May 5-6 is also when to watch for the Eta Aquarids, a meteor shower that typically sends about 50 meteors an hour across the sky. Their parent is 1pHalley which produces two meteor showers during the year.

The May shower is named for a bright star in constellation Eta Aquarli and is the first meteor shower from Comet Halley debris.

Earth passes through Halley’s path around the Sun again in October when its debris is known as the Orionid meteor shower that peaks around October 20.



Solar eclipse info

Photo from Adler Planetarium Eclipse Exhibit 2017
Photo from Adler Planetarium Eclipse Exhibit 2017

Remember when about half dozen years ago there was a solar eclipse Aug. 21 in 2017 and places to stay near group watch locations filled fast?

NASA is already making plans on where to send experts for watch parties for the next solar eclipse. It’s less than a year, April 8, 2024.

If interested make plans to travel to Kerrville, TX, Indianapolis, IN and Cleveland, OH. NASA will set up group watching places with experts to talk about what is happening. And they are likely to have the special glasses and equipment needed to safely watch.

However, there will be an Annular Eclipse to watch this fall, Oct. 14, 2023. Although the sun will appear as a ring around the Moon, it still is dangerous to watch without precautionary measures.

The moon will appear small because its orbit has it near its farthest distance from Earth. But it will not be safe to watch this eclipse without good protection for the eyes because the Earth will not be blocking the Sun.

NASA will be broadcasting the Annular Eclipse from Kerrville, TX and Albuquerque, NM.

Visit NASA Solar Eclipse to see both the 2023 Annular and 2024 Full Eclipse paths.

The Lyrids are here


Meteor shower (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Meteor shower (Photo courtesy of NASA)


The prolific Lyrid Meteor Shower fills the skies with “falling stars” April 15 through April 29, 2023. But to really see them in action check the late night sky after the moon has set during their peak activity April 22-23.

However, the moon should not be a factor because it is between its new moon (dark) phase April 20 and First Quarter Moon (sliver) April 27.

The Lyrids typically produce about 18 meteors per hour traveling about 29 miles per second. On rare occasions they have produced a storm of meteorites shooting across the sky.

Lyrids’ arrival in Earth’s atmosphere is an annual sky event discovered by A.E. Thatcher in April, 1861. Thus, they are formally attributed as debris from Comet Thatcher (comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher).

To get a good idea of where they seem to originate visit Time and Date for its live-action photo centered on an area between the constellation Lyra (The Harp) with its bright Vega star, and its neighbor, constellation Hercules.

Best is to go out after midnight through pre-dawn when the star, Vega, is overhead. Be patient and allow your eyes to acclimate to the dark sky. You don’t have to look for the Lyrids’ radiant (origination point) because their trail appears longer further away.

If you have ever seen a sky show in a planetarium such as the Adler in Chicago, you know that stars and constellations rise and move from one direction in the sky to another.  So, you may look northeast early in the evening for Vega, then overhead as the night progresses and then more southwest at dawn. 

For more information visit Space and Earth Sky.

Travel to colleges and vacation destination


Even though spring vacation is mostly over travel how-to decisions still lie ahead.  It seems there is more than one way than the family car or name airlines to get to your destination.

Megabus has added more Midwest destinations. (Photo courtesy of Megabus)
Megabus has added more Midwest destinations. (Photo courtesy of Megabus)

Go by bus in the Midwest

There are now more options than the family car for students to get back and forth from campuses in the Midwest and for vacationers to visit some Midwest cities without worrying about construction hassles and rising gas prices.

As of April 3, 2023, Megabus now partners with Indian Trails to expand service between cities in Illinois such as Chicago and  Michigan, such as Ann Arbor, plus Wisconsin to include Milwaukee and Green Bay, and to Minneapolis in Minnesota.

“We are delighted to be expanding our service offerings once again in the Midwest,” said Megabus Vice President Colin Emberson. “This partnership will allow us to expand travel opportunities for customers in some existing cities in our network like Detroit and Chicago while also welcoming customers in a plethora of new cities.”

For more information, dates, rates and locations visit Megabus and Indian Trails


Go by Seaplane in the Northeast. Photo courtesy of Tailwind)
Go by Seaplane in the Northeast. Photo courtesy of Tailwind)

  Go by seaplane in the Northeast

Tailwind Air reopens for the season April 14, 2023 at Boston Harbor (IATA code: BNH) and Manhattan’s Skyport Seaplane Base on East 23rd Street (IATA code: NYS).

It also announced the launch of its newest seaplane route, Boston Harbor to Nantucket Airport (IATA code: ACK). The new Nantucket route, a popular summer destination will begin operations May 17.

The new daily service to Nantucket will take approximately 45 minutes from Boston Harbor. One- stop connections from Manhattan are also available.

Tailwind Air, which already includes such destinations as Provincetown and the Hamptons, plans to resume flights to Washington DC this fall. Visit their website at


National Parks are part of Amtrak destinations. (Photo courtesy of Amtrak)
National Parks are part of Amtrak destinations. (Photo courtesy of Amtrak)

Go by train in the U.S.

Amtrak has added several options to vacation travel including taking an Auto Train similar to a car ferry so you’ll have your car when you get there.

Or if going traveling long distance book a private room,  meals included.

Amtrak also has National Park routes as vacation destinations.

Check out Amtrak routes and schedules.


Our April Night lite

Full Pink Moon lights up April sky (J Jacobs photo)
Full Pink Moon lights up April sky (J Jacobs photo)

If it felt as if you left a light on all night Sunday April 2, it’s because our  April moon begins to look full even a couple of days ahead of April 5 when it is at full illumination at 11:34 p.m. DCT. It will also appear full a couple of days afterwards.

 To catch it for an early evening photo look east after sunset. If still up around midnight, look overhead.  A good reference is at EarthSky. Just remember we’re after the equinox so expect sunset later each day.

The April full moon’s nickname is Pink Moon for flowering blooms but it is also called Egg Moon, Paschal and Passover Moon and even the sprouting Grass Moon. For more names and information on full moons visit Space and Solarsystem NASA.

Related: Planet Parade plus Pink Moon.

However, April’s sky watch isn’t over. The Lyrids Meteor Shower is April 15 through April 29 so more on the Lyrids next week.

Planet Parade plus Pink Moon


Venus, Jupiter, Moon shine from Space station. (Photo taken by former Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly NASA photo)
Venus, Jupiter, Moon shine from Space station. (Photo taken by former Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly NASA photo)

Look up Tuesday night, March 27 (best night) and all this week for what appears to be a parade of five planets, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Uranus, plus the moon and star cluster M35. 

See them live on EarthSky. Or follow what NASA Astronomer Bill Cooke said, “Look at the western horizon right after sunset.”

OK, accept the challenge and find an unobstructed view of the western sky away from electric lights. The setting sun will still be a problem but give it a shot.

The first two planets to look for are Mercury and Jupiter but don’t wait. They set about half an hour after sunset. Jupiter will appear brighter than Mercury but both could be a problem because of the fading sunlight. Binoculars might help but you can see them without them . They will appear close together.

Then, look for Venus which always appears to be bright. When looking at Venus you might see Uranus as a pale green color dot to the upper left.

Find Mars. It ls not as visible as it was in November when closer to earth. However, look for the moon then check out the bright, yellowish orange dot at the upper left of the moon.

For the M35 star cluster look for its Geminit constellation.

For more information on this unusual parade visit Space.


Spring full moon (J Jacobs photo)
Spring full moon (J Jacobs photo)

 Next Full Moon

A week after the planet parade the Pink Moon will dominate the sky.

It will be full April 5-6, reaching full illumination at 12:37 a.m. ET April 6 but will appear full April 4-7. The best time to appreciate how large it will look is at it rises

The Old Farmer’s Almanac  talks about the color pink and other names. Pink is supposed to be for the color of wild flowers appearing in early April.

As the first full moon after the spring equinox (March 20), it is also called the Paschal Moon which sets the date for Easter, this year April 9. The April full moon is also called the Breaking Ice Moon, Budding Moon and Growing Moon.

For more information on when it will appear full in your area visit Time and Date.