Door County – Cape Cod of the Midwest

Take a break from spring cleaning and head to Door County, Wisconsin for its timeless charm and natural beauty. Situated on a 70-mile long finger of land surrounded by Lake Michigan to the east and Green Bay to the west, Door County has something to offer everyone and every budget. There is history and culture or you can keep busy exploring the many shops, boutiques, and galleries. If being outdoors is your primary objective, there is an extensive park system for hiking, biking, picnics, and kayaking, and 300 miles of shoreline to enjoy boating, fishing and beaching.

Voted “Best of Door County” the Landmark Resort was where I dropped my luggage as I sped out to Wilsons for lunch. The Landmark sits on 40 wooded acres and is central to everything. The accommodations are all one, two, and three bedroom suites, which makes it wonderful for families to sprawl out and be comfortable.

Wilsons in Ephraim is a 1906 old-fashioned soda fountain complete with white and candy red striped awnings, old Coca-Cola signs, and jukebox. Forget will power because as soon as you see their homemade root beer floats or banana splits, it’s out the window. Leaving there I made the scenic drive to Cana Island lighthouse in Baileys Harbor. Built in 1869, it is one of 11 lighthouses, which makes Door County a lighthouse enthusiast’s heaven.

With so many great restaurants to choose from, The Bistro at Liberty Square won out. The crab cakes and fresh baked French bread were an excellent choice and it was then I realized I was going to have to pace myself throughout this trip. I ended my evening at the Peninsula Players Theatre in Fish Creek watching the play Always….Patsy Cline. I was spell bound as the actress belted out song after song. If I had shut my eyes I would have sworn it was Patsy herself on that stage.

Next morning with coffee in hand and the warmth of the lobby fireplace, I sat admiring the panoramic view. I could have sat there for hours all comfy cozy, but I was anxious to get hiking at Potawatomi State Park. Along the Sturgeon Bay shoreline with 1,200 acres sits the park and one of the most serene hikes I have taken.

Thank God for that morning exercise because, little did I know, lunch at Scaturo’s would be homemade mac and cheese and homemade cherry pie. The Village of Ephraim is so Mayberry-esque. I took a tram ride and sat in the pews of the Moravian Church with its splendid stain glass windows, enjoyed some penny candy at the Anderson Store, walked through the 1858 Pioneer Schoolhouse, and marveled at how the teachers of the day could teach without computers.

Early evening brought a chill but as I sat around the bonfire at The Old Post Office watching Lake Michigan whitefish being cooked over the open fire for our fish boil, I was lost in the simplicity of this village. The fish boil in Door County is a century old tradition and you shouldn’t visit without going to one.

My last day here came way too quick. There was so much to see, do and enjoy, and I had too little time. I decided a bike ride was in order, so I grabbed a bike at Edge of Park bike rental and started down the ten-mile trail in Peninsula State Park. I stopped several times along the way just to take in its unspoiled beauty.

Soon it was lunch time (again with the food) and Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza & Grille in Fish Creek was the place to go. When you are there you have to have The Fun Guy and the Green and Gold pizzas. And, of course, to wash it down, the Lefthand Milk Stout beer is a good choice!

Once again, I found myself having to work off some food and what better way than shopping and gallery hopping. Hours later I was sitting at the Harbor Fish Market & Grill. It just seemed apropos to eat New England style seafood watching my final sunset in the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.”

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