Welcome to the third article in the series from our recent visit to Door County Wisconsin, there’ll be a few more posts in this series so watch for those in the next couple of weeks. My followers from North America most likely know where Wisconsin is located, the upper Midwest north of Illinois, east of Iowa and Minnesota, south of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and bordered on the east by Lake Michigan. But you may wonder where the heck is Door County, a place that is often referred to as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” Try this, hold up your hand, palm toward you with the thumb extended slightly (see photo below), the thumb is roughly the location of Door County in the State of Wisconsin. The “thumb” extends as a peninsula into the waters of Lake Michigan that adds to the attraction of lots of tourists between Memorial and Labor Day.
This is the third year in row we’ve visited Door County and each year we learn more about what attracts people to this area. We are starting to “get it!” This year we were in the “Door” for just over three weeks. While we had daily duties as campground hosts at Potawatomi State Park, we also had time to explore the county and take in some of the many events and activities available to visitors. We didn’t arrive until September 28, so the main summer tourist season had passed, but that didn’t mean there weren’t people around! There were plenty, especially on the weekends when we tried to avoid the two lane roads that cover most of the peninsula. Almost every weekend there is some kind of festival and of course during the fall season there are the leaf peepers. The color change was a little late this year but by the middle of October the reds, yellows, golds, and oranges were showing their full glory. Here are a couple of photos taken at Peninsula State Park located just outside of Fish Creek about half way up the peninsula.
While the permanent population of Door County is around 28,000 people, it’s estimated that the summer population reaches close to 250,000. There a lots of summer homes, cottages, resorts and campgrounds and many are full the whole summer. Those visitors bring money and require services such as restaurants, taverns, grocery stores, gas stations, and attractions to keep people occupied. There are a lot of artists and with that many galleries of all types to show off their work. We did stop at a couple during our travels around the county but one I’d highly recommend is the Edgewood Orchard Galleries just south of Fish Creek on Peninsula Players Road. In addition to a couple of indoor galleries, they have a very pleasant sculpture garden where one can meander through the garden and appreciate some very large pieces of art. It was a fun stop that was recommended by a friend. At the back of the parking lot was this car, part of the old farm not part of the sculpture garden but with a little artistic talent it could have been!
Late one afternoon after completing our chores we took a drive to the east of Sturgeon Bay towards the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula. First we made a stop at the Sturgeon Bay Canal Light located on the Coast Guard Station and took a few daylight photos (the early morning photos were featured in last weeks post).
Then we head north along a county highway and rustic road that eventually ended up at Whitefish Dunes State Park and Cave Point County Park. Little did we know that we were in for a treat. It was getting dark when we arrived at Cave Point and just after we walked down to the water, the harvest moon popped up over the horizon. It’s call the harvest moon because the moon rise comes soon after sunset resulting in an abundance of bright moonlight that allowed farmers to work later harvesting their crops. Since I didn’t know it was the harvest moon I wasn’t prepared photographically so I don’t think my photos do it justice, you be the judge.
We also made a couple of early morning trips to Cave Point for some sunrise photos although I think we should have arrived earlier for better light. Here’s a couple of samples.
The Cave Point County Park is a popular stop for those who hear or learn about it at the visitors center or from other visitors. It is especially fascinating when the wind is blowing hard out of the east and whipping up the waves. I thought this sign was interesting, especially the part about unsupervised children! How about unsupervised adults??!!
I found these gnarled tree roots at Cave Point visually appealing, think of the strength the roots must have to support those trees against the howling winds, driving rain, snow and ice.
Not far from Cave Point, I stopped at this public area to walk out to the water. It was a cold, blustery overcast morning. As I was admiring the view, a guy (Tim was his name) walked up and struck up a conversation. In short order, I learned that he was meeting his sister in Door County for a reunion, that his wife had died a few years ago, and that he was an Air Force veteran and retiree. He wanted his photo taken with his phone with the water and flag in the background. I obliged. You meet some of the nicest people when you least expect it. Here’s my version of the scene.
There’s a lot of trees in Door County especially in the northern part because the soil layer is thin, in some areas only three feet to bedrock. Door County is known for its cherry orchards that like the soil and climate conditions. There are a number of pick your own orchards so lots of families organize outings during cherry picking season. Here’s a photo of a cherry orchard in the fall.
There also lots of apple orchards and they were in full swing during our stay, nothing like a fresh, right off the tree crisp juicy apple. I don’t have photos of any of the apple orchards but I do have this photo from one of our drives.
Here’s one more sunrise photo I took near the campground. Let me know what you think.
To finish off this post, how about a couple of Door County sunsets.
Thanks for coming along on the Door County adventure. We’ll head back next year for more!
Until next week, travel safe.