Thanks the for views and comments on last weeks blog post on Madison’s Concerts on the Square. Click here if you missed that story.
For the next few weeks, I’ll take you along on our adventures in Door County. I’ve written a lot about Door County over the years but to me is never gets old, I hope you think so too! Here are just a couple posts from the past; Door County Wisconsin v. April 2022, Door County Maritime Museum, and Winter in Door County Wisconsin.
Heart of the Door Homestead
We spent the month at the Heart of the Door Homestead located in the center of Door County near Peninsula Center. The farmhouse sits on thirteen acres of land that gave us plenty of room to roam and play.
The occasion was our 50th Wedding Anniversary! My Traveling Partner came up with this idea last year when we were campground hosting at Potawatomi State Park near Sturgeon Bay. At first, I was hesitant, not sure how it would work. Eventually, I came around and I’m glad I did! Friends and family from around the country joined us, staying with us for a few days in the four-bedroom house. Early in the month, we did have some positive cases of the virus that shall not be named. We made the best of the situation by quarantining at the Homestead. We played games outside, watched movies on the side of the house (used an LCD projector), read, and rested. Cases were mild and everyone recovered quickly. I’m happy to report that My Traveling Partner and I did not contract the virus, thanks to our recent second booster, we think. We did have to call off some guests that planned to celebrate with us. There’s always next year, my Traveling Partner is already searching and planning!
This is a photo of the barn on the Homestead. While it was off limits, it added a lot to the atmosphere.
Some of our guests did yoga under the trees in the large yard.
The challenge of Giant Jenga kept us busy after our evening meal and before it was dark enough to watch movies.
Nightly camp fires were a favorite evening activity. The fire was often accompanied by making s’mores!
The rain stayed away for most of July. One evening early in the month a rain shower came through and presented us with a double rainbow.
During our month long stay, we visited four of the five state parks located in Door County. We planned to visit the fifth, Rock Island State Park, but the virus cancelled our excursion. It requires a car trip of about forty-five minutes and two ferry rides to reach the remote park. We’ll do that next year!
Potawatomi State Park
We spent our first two nights during our trip at Potawatomi State Park near Sturgeon Bay. This allowed us to purchase supplies for our stay at the Homestead so we could hit the ground running. While I don’t have any photos of the park during this stay, here are a couple of blogs I’ve written in the past about this beautiful and pleasant park. Click here and here to check out those stories.
Peninsula State Park
The Homestead was a short fifteen minute drive from Peninsula State Park. This allowed us to visit several times during our month-long stay. Just about every time we stopped at the Eagle Tower to walk up the accessible 850 foot ramp to the observation platform that stands about ninety feet above the landscape.
The views of Green Bay are stunning especially on those sunny days with scattered clouds in the sky.
We also stopped in at the Eagle Bluff Light that is located within the park. The lighthouse sits seventy-six feet above the waters of Green Bay. It provided solace to ship’s captains during stormy nights. The Door County Historical Society restored the lighthouse to its past glory and offers tours seven days a week from 11 AM – 4 PM. The tour provides a glimpse into the lives of lighthouse keepers and their families.
Peninsula State Park is also host to the Northern Sky Theater. One evening, we took in a performance of the musical Fishing for the Moon. It was a pleasant evening under the clear, starry night.
Whitefish Dunes State Park and Cave Point County Park
Whitefish Dunes State Park is located on the Lake Michigan side of the Door Peninsula. This is a day-use park with a sandy beach, hiking trails, and a picnic area. Each time we stopped at Whitefish Dunes, there were folks sunning themselves and playing in the water.
Even the waves provided some entertainment for this photographer.
Whitefish Dunes surrounds its popular cousin, Cave Point County Park. If visitors to Door County pick up any brochures or check out tourism websites, I can guarantee that all of them will mention Cave Point. It’s perhaps one of the most iconic landscapes in Door County. The caves, the water, the trees clinging to the cliffs, the hiking trails, there’s a lot to see and do at Cave Point.
Here a group of kayakers made their way along the shoreline. Note the calm water, it’s often pretty choppy so exercise caution.
The water this fellow is jumping into is very cold. I should point out that jumping off the cliffs and swimming is not recommended. The week after our visit, a woman that jumped in broke her ankle and had to be rescued by boat. Besides that, cliff jumping distracts from the natural beauty.
Cave Point is very popular with photographers for the beautiful sunrise photos. In past visits, I’ve arrived at Cave Point about thirty minutes before sunrise to find other photographers staked out in some of the choice spots. I join them to wait for the light to peek over the horizon. During the last week of July, the Door County Plein Air Festival was taking place. On one of our visits, we came across these painters plying their craft. In a brief chat with one of the painters, he mentioned having difficulty with depicting the light on the water. We photographers often have the same problem.
Newport State Park
Newport State Park is near the tip of the Door peninsula. It’s so different than the big and busy Peninsula or the family friendly Potawatomi or the rugged Whitefish Dune State Parks. Newport is more of a wilderness experience. It has thirty miles of hiking trails, a very nice sandy beach, walk-in primitive camping, and is designated as a Dark Sky Park, one of only eighteen in the United States.
Our first visit during the July was to check out it’s Monarch Waystation. Unfortunately, this year there weren’t very many Monarchs around due to an unexplained collapse in the colony during migration. Apparently, there were significant numbers of Monarchs that overwintered in Mexico and began their journey north. Something happened along the way resulting in much smaller numbers in the northern US and Canada. This combined with decrease in their natural habitat and climate change, the Monarch was recently placed on the endangered species list. You can help by creating your own waysstation, planting milkweed (I know my agricultural friends will find this disturbing!), and other food sources. To learn more about preserving Monarch habitat check out Monarchwatch.org.
After our disappointing search for Monarchs, we checked out one of the Newport trails. We hiked a couple miles of the seven mile Europe Bay Trail. We walked along the ridges of ancient dunes that ran parallel to the beach. Despite the mosquitoes, we had an enjoyable walk in the woods.
On a beautiful Friday evening, we drove back to Newport to take in “Universe in the Park” presented by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Astronomy Department. The talk centered on galaxies beyond our own. After the presentation, members of the Newport Wilderness Society set up large telescopes to show us the night sky. I was amazed at seeing a far off galaxy through a powerful scope and remarked “there’s a lot of stuff out there.” That there is! Just after the presentation ended, one of the telescope operators pointed out the orbiting International Space Station that can be seen with the naked eye. A very fun evening. There’s a lot to do and see in Door County.
Well, folks that’s it for this week. Join me next week for more adventures in Door County.
Until then, happy travels!