Summer Road Trip 2010: Door County, Wisconsin

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Our next stop was on a peninsula in Wisconsin my pal, Jennifer, from work suggested. She's from Wisconsin, so she helped me quite a bit when deciding what to do to experience this state fully. She gave us great restaurant, and site seeing destination suggestions for Door County, and I took them, and I don't regret it b/c it's a great little area!
Door County is covered with more farms, and cows... (I'm sorry, we just don't have farms that look this cute in Texas, I can't get over it.)

It is also a county that is known for it's cherry orchards, and I believe them, this entire area is covered with these products, and the goodies they make out of them. (I tried dried, chocolate covered cherries, and cherry salsa, and I approve of both, for what that is worth.)

And Fish Boils

These fish boils were going on all over the area on the beach, around outdoor seating at restaurants, the back yards of bed and breakfast locations etc. You could smell the smoke, and see the people waiting for their fish. I don't eat fish, but I wish I did b/c it looks like a fun summer activity. Just before the fish is served the pots are lit on fire, and it flames up in a big dramatic finish. I like dramatic finishes!
All along this little peninsula are small towns that border the bay and lakes with boat launches, little Inns, and B&Bs, boutiques, ice cream parlors (another famous, must do activity Jennifer told me about), restaurants, antique barns, wilderness, the friendliest and most helpful people I met on my whole journey, and lighthouses. There were tons of lighthouses, and we saw most of them!
We stayed for parts of 3 days. We decided to go out and see a few of the lighthouses near Sturgeon Bay before it was completely dark on the first day.
It was a little difficult to follow the relatively unmarked roads, and I accidentally trespassed to see this first lighthouse. I didn't read that I was on private property until I had taken my picture, and luckily I just read about it, and ntohing more happened. I feel fortunate that I got to see this little beauty.
Sherwood Point Lighthouse

The fun thing is most of the lighthouses are still used along these rocky shores.
Our last stop of the first day was to a set of lighthouses, this little red gal was attached to a long arm of rocks you could walk out on to get a closer look.

I ran across a few fishermen hunting for Sturgeon who were also taking advantage of this long line of rocks that extended quite a ways into the lake.
Back on shore was this lighthouse attached to the Coast Guard's quarters.

The lighthouses were a little difficult to find, though the map in a book the County sent when we request information gave detailed road information (don't use the free maps provided by the stores when looking for these specific places, it just gives you a general area), there were not clearly marked signs to the lighthouses, but they are worth the extra effort.
The second morning we were in town we got up and began shopping and sightseeing along the little beach side towns. We stopped at some of the country stores, and antique malls, and I'd love to go back and explore these in further depth. There were some really picturesque, sailboat filled bays that peeked out at you along the road, and my favorite town was Ephraim. I'd definitely want to stay here next time b/c few shops block the view of their waterfront. They are also home to a really famous ice cream shop-Wilson's. It was a very delicious stop.

We grabbed lunch at Al Johnson's in Sister Bay. It's a Swedish restaurant with a grass covered roof, and real goats that graze on the roof, as you eat in their dining hall below. It was one of the best meals we had, very authentic, so tasty, with a great atmosphere.

This was the day of Sweden's royal princess' wedding, so the gift shop was filled with memoriabilia marking the occasion taking place in Sweden. Sadly, it was also the day after Al Johnson (the owner's) funeral services. He certainly left a really great legacy, and pays tribute to this areas Swedish/Norwegian/German roots with this great eatery. I understand the popularity of the stop, and the goats on the roof are just an added bonus!
We then drove through the nearby State Park (there was a $5 entrance fee if you were staying for an hour or less, more for all day). They had swimming beaches, all kinds of trails, a Eagle's watch tower you could climb up (and my cousin, Holly and I did make the 75 foot climb).

The tower rocked, and the stairs were a little less than 'secure', but the view was worth the draw backs once you made it to the top!

Another stop we made in the park was to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. It was an additional fee to go inside, and we had another lighthouse in mind for climbing, so we observed from below.

I love that each lighthouse has a different feel, style, and no doubt, a different story!
The next two lighthouses we saw from a distance. We had to stop and ask for directions after unsuccessfully following the map. There were no clear markings b/c they are actually located quite a distance away on two separate islands. We found them at the ferry dock that takes cars, and passangers over to Washington Island (home of another lighthouse we did not see b/c we didn't have time, and we didn't want to spend the 25 dollars for a car transport, and 11 dollar per person fee).

Our next lighthouse was one on Cana Island. You park on the side of the road, and walk across a 'rock bridge' to the island.

It's $4 to get on the grounds (this includes access to the house, which is a small museum), the beach below, benches which held artist sketching and painting these scenes on this particular day. For an additional $4 you could climb the lighthouse. Holly and I did. The view on top was worth every dime and tummy flip (though I will warn you the stairs are winding with only one side to grip, this made my cousin nervous, prepared for a few flutters if this sort of thing bothers you, but she'd still tell you to go given the end results).

Our last 'lighted stop' was this rangelight.

The rest of the evening was spent sitting by the bay in Ephriam and enjoying some music, ice cream, and people watching at their annual Fyre Ball Festival.
On the third day we got up early (before heading down to Minnesota) and decided to visit a few of the Belgium churches listed in the guide book. We again found ourselves in the middle of pastures, on unmarked roads, but we were able to find 2 of six or seven of the 'churches.' They are tiny, and so cute, and such a neat testament to the past that influences their present in this county.

I think all of Wisconsin is absolutely charming. I want to go back, like, yesterday. The alternative is I now want to paint my house red, and open a dairy. I'd say that I want to grow grass on my roof, and add goats, but things are already pretty wild on the inside with my three dogs and their antics.


Katie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and your sweet comment. Those lighthouses are so cool!

Kansas Amy said...

Your photos are always so amazing. And oh, how I love lighthouses!

Lori said...

Ohh that red barn, this may be my favorite part of your trip yet.

susan said...

Christy-Nice to "meet" you. Your pictures are beautiful and you have great information for anyone thinking about a trip there. I have never visited this part of the country. The lighthouses are SO beautiful!

Shane and Laine said...

I'm not gonna lie, (I'm glad you're having fun) everytime I see a new far away place, I get a sudden panic thinking you are still there and not here for the party:)

Allison said...

Looks like you had a fabulous trip!!
Also, thanks for comment on my paper rose wreath. I love how it turned out and what it looks like on my shutters.