just die already

My Darling B picked up a copy of 1,000 Places To See Before You Die: A Traveller’s Life List, by Patricia Schultz.  I’m assuming Ms. Schultz means these are places you must see before you die because she considers them unmissable, and not merely rando places to see at some time before you die, the distinction being, to a literalist such as myself, that the list of places to see after you die would be, literally, a blank page.  Unless you’re a believer, in which case you would have a list of 1 Place To See After You Die, the place being whatever version of heaven or hell you subscribe to.  I’m trying to be all-inclusive here.  Work with me.

The list of must-see places includes such exotic-sounding places as The Tasman Glacier, Canyon de Chelly, Kilimanjaro, the Island of Rhodes, and the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings.  Thumbing through the 970 pages of the paperback copy that B picked up, I noticed it was organized by nation, and that each of the United States was featured, so I flipped ahead until I found Wisconsin to see what Ms. Schultz considered to be the must-see places of our fair state.  Here’s what she said you absolutely must see in Wisconsin before you die:

The Apostle Islands.  Okay.  Yes.  I’ve never been, but I have seen the Lake Superior shore from nearby Ashland, and it was quite a scenic wonder.  I easily believe that Ms. Schultz considered this chain of islands off the shore of Bayfield to be a treat.

Her second pick of places to die for in Wisconsin was Canoe Bay, a swanky vacation retreat in Chetek where a night in a double room will set you back a week’s pay in the off season.  Ms. Shultz’s writeup highlights the seclusion, the nature trails, and the breakfasts in bed, and I’m sure it’s very nice, but honestly I can’t help thinking there are lots of places in Wisconsin, or really anywhere in the United States, where you could enjoy the hedonistic pleasures of a retreat like this one.  And really, is a resort with room service and a wine cellar something you would consider a place you have to see before you die?  I’m not saying I wouldn’t want to visit Canoe Bay, I’m just saying that maybe there are more scenic vistas to feast your eyes on in Wisconsin.

Then there’s Ms. Schultz’s third place she thought you had to see in Wisconsin before you die: The American Club, a “mega-golf complex” in Kohler.  A golf course.  Wait:  Not just one, but two golf courses, crammed into one resort.  You have to see this golf course.  Before you die.  Because your life would not be complete without seeing this … golf course.  I don’t know what I hate more: The idea that anyone would think they had to see a golf course before they died, or the idea that someone would tell me I had to visit a golf course before I died, lest my life feel empty and awful.

Washington Island is something you have to see before you die.  Any part of Door County is a must-see destination in Wisconsin.  The Chequamegon forest.  The Chain O’ Lakes or the Wisconsin Dells.  There are a hundred and one places in Wisconsin I would recommend that you see in Wisconsin, even if you weren’t about to die, before I would tell you that you absolutely must see a golf course.  Unless you’re one of those people for whom golf is your whole life.  And I’m not making a judgment about that; you do you.  See the golf course, if golf is your life.  But if seeing the wonders of the world is your life, any cheesehead could recommend better sights to see in Wisconsin than a golf course.  Just ask one.

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