Thanks for your kind comments on last weeks post, I found a little peace in my heart after sharing with you all. This week, I’ll take you back to Door County and share photos and stories about some of our adventures during our 24 day stay.
As a reminder, Door County is located in northeast Wisconsin and is the peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan. With all that water and 300 miles of shoreline plus lots of local and state parks and natural beauty, Door County attracts visitors from all over but primarily from the greater midwest. If fact, some have called Door County the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” I’ve never been to Cape Cod but it sounds positive to me!
There are about 28,000 permanent residents living in the county but the summer population is said to swell to nearly 250,000. Since most of the roads are two lane, traffic during peak tourist time can be quite heavy and frustrating to those trying to reach their destination. Fall is a great time to visit since only on weekends did we experience some traffic slowdowns especially going through the small villages along the main roads such as Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Sister Bay, Ephraim, Ellison Bay and Bailey’s Harbor. Many of these towns have fall festivals to attract visitors as well as celebrate the season. One of the weekends during our stay, we took in the Pumpkin Patch Festival in Egg Harbor. There was live music, food, crafts and even a llama for kids and adults to pet!
The local volunteer fire department had a great activity where kids (and a few adults!) could try their luck in putting out an imaginary fire. Then a real live emergency happened somewhere nearby and a few of the first responders headed to the scene. Caused a few moments of excitement!
It was a fun time in Egg Harbor, it got even better when we found one of our favorite places on the peninsula open, the Pink Bakery. It’s a great place to spot for some fresh baked goods and coffee.
Although tourism is one of the main economic drivers in Door County, agriculture is still an important contributor. That’s especially true when agriculture and tourism meet such as in the many apple and cherry orchards and wineries located on the peninsula. While the cherry season was long past, almost every shop tempted visitors with lots of things cherry, even cherry wine!
During our stay, we stopped at a number of the orchards to check out their wares and stock up on apples and pears. We also sampled some wines and often carted a bottle or two back to the truck!
One well known attraction in Door County is Al Johnsons Swedish Restaurant located in Sister Bay. While the food is good (especially the Swedish pancakes with lingonberries), the goats grazing on the sod roof are what really makes people stop. The story is that Al imported the logs for the building from Norway and added a sod roof while his wife decorated the restaurant with traditional Scandinavian decor. As a joke, one of Al’s friends put a goat on the roof that began attracting people walking and driving by the restaurant. Soon Al bought more goats and the rest is history! Unfortunately, the cool, windy day we stopped there, the goats were not on the roof. However, during the main tourist season from May through October, you can check out the goats on the roof by going to the restaurant website to watch the Goat Cam!
After a filling late lunch at the busy Al Johnson’s Restaurant, we started our return trip to Sturgeon Bay and Potawatomi State Park. Passing through village of Ephraim, we noticed this interesting building perched on the wharf and made a quick right turn into the parking lot to satisfy our curiosity. The Francis Hardy Gallery located on the historic Anderson Dock is an interesting story. The Dock was originally built in the 1850’s by the Anderson brothers and soon became the center of the Ephraim community. The building below was once a warehouse used to store goods for shipping, in the 1920’s with the improvement in roads and use of trucks for distribution, the shipping business became unprofitable. In the early 1950’s, the village of Ephraim purchased the dock and warehouse with an eye toward historic preservation. The non profit Hardy Gallery was founded by the Peninsula Arts Association to showcase the many artists that call Door County their residence. The Gallery is home to many popular exhibitions and provides arts programming for young and old alike. The Gallery is open mid May through mid October so unfortunately on the day of our visit it was closed for the season so will necessitate a return visit. You may be wondering about the names and painting on all sides of the building. From what I gathered, this comes from the many years that boaters would paint their vessel’s name on the warehouse siding, looks like that tradition has continued, something I’d like to learn more about.
Well folks, that does it for this week’s edition of Traveling with Tom. Stay tuned for next week when I’ll continue sharing our 2018 adventures in Door County.
Until then, travel safe.