Door County Potpourri-Part 1

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to Traveling with Tom. This week I continue my series of posts on our Door County Adventures. If you missed any of the previous articles, click here, here, here, and here.

For the next two weeks, I’m taking you to potpourri of places we visited during our month long stay. As a reminder, we were in Door County as part of our 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration. During the month, family and friends joined us for a few day or more to celebrate and see beautiful Door County. We enjoyed every minute of our stay. We are even thinking of having a repeat next year!

Cana Island Light

The Cana Island Light, built in 1870, is located just north of Baileys Harbor. This active lighthouse is on Cana Island, that is barely separated from the mainland by a shallow channel of water. The white light tower stands nearly 90 feet tall. In addition to the tower, the eight acre island also contains the light keepers quarters and several out buildings of historical importance. It’s a very relaxing place to visit. There is a $10 admission fee.

Last year when we visited Cana Island, the water was much higher, about three feet deep. This year several people walked through six inches of water from the mainland to the island.

My Traveling Partner and I opted to ride the tractor drawn wagon, electing not to take off our shoes and socks to walk barefoot on sharp rocks.

The light is stunning. The day of our visit the tower  and light keepers quarters were closed for upkeep and repairs.

The view of Lake Michigan is stunning. As I looked across the water, I could imagine seeing the tall masts and sails of ships carrying freight to Door County. The light warned of trouble ahead if a storm came up or they were too close to the rocky shore. 

Bloody Mary and Brunch Trolley Tour

It was a Sunday morning at 10:00 AM when we boarded a Door County Trolley for their weekly Bloody Mary and Brunch tour. You might be thinking, ten o’clock on a Sunday morning, isn’t a little early to imbibe in alcoholic drinks? Shouldn’t you be in church? As Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet say, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”

The drivers and guides on Door County Trolley Tours are excellent. Our host for the Bloody Mary tour was no exception. He shared local history and pointed out interesting landmarks as he drove us through the countryside.

Our first of three stops was at the Coyote Roadhouse located on Kangaroo Lake. We enjoyed our first bloody mary with a beer chaser. It was loaded with goodies including a dill pickle, my favorite. Some on our tour chose a cherry mimosa rather than the spicy bloody mary.

This was the view from the deck at Coyote Roadhouse, a pleasant place to stop when in Door County.

Brunch was at the Thyme restaurant on Highway 57 near Sister Bay. The food was delicious, I had a breakfast flatbread (made with cauliflower) pizza. I passed on the bloody mary for the mimosa.

Our last stop was at the Alpine Resort near Egg Harbor. The bay offers a great view of the shoreline as we sat outside near the water enjoying the breeze and mild temperatures while sipping our drinks.

Later that afternoon, someone needed a head and neck massage!

4th of July Parade – Egg Harbor

There’s no better way to celebrate Independence Day, July 4th, than a small town parade. We watched the Egg Harbor parade, population 202, from the front yard of or our friend’s AirBnb rental. Before the parade started, we had to sample the decorated cookies to build up energy to watch the parade.

The long parade route followed Highway 42 through town. As you can see, thousands lined the parade route. The kids couldn’t wait for the parade to pass by, hoping the floats had candy to toss.

Soon, the firetrucks with their sirens blasting away announced the parade.

Then came the American flag carried by 15 people. Everyone stood as it passed and veterans saluted.

Then came the floats. The John Purves is a tugboat at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay. This float came outfitted with a fog horn that added to the cacophony of sounds that filled the air.

I liked this float from a chimney sweep!

The well-regarded UW Marching Band also made an appearance. Fun, antics, and music entertained the crowd.

There were old cars. I liked this 1928 Model A Roadster pickup from a local landscaping firm.

There were queens and princess waving to the enthusiastic crowd.

And there were horses and riders outfitted in patriotic attire. 

This cowboy even roped our friend Iris. He let her go after tipping his hat!

Cherry Picking and Pitting

July is cherry picking time in Door County. During our stay, we (my Traveling Partner, The Eldest, The Son-in-Law, and I) traveled to Sir Reginald’s Sweet Cherry Orchard near Brussels. This pick your own orchard is only open a couple of days during picking season, it’s a small operation run by Eric and Kari Carper. Our first decision was how many buckets to pick. We settled on three small pails at $15 per pail. Kari directed us into the orchard and suggested we head to the farthest end where there were more unpicked trees. 

While the others began filling their pails, I wandered around testing out the various varieties of sweet cherries. They were all delicious but by consensus the dark reds were the favorite. I wondered what we would do with three pails of cherries. Never fear, we ate them all over the course of a few days!

It took less than a half hour to fill those pails. And our stomachs!

Later in the month, my Traveling Partner and The Eldest picked a few pails of the more abundant sour cherries. They also purchased a cherry pitter that we all took turns using to separate the pit from the meat of the cherry. From those cherries, we made what the locals call “Cherry Bounce.” We filled quart jars with pitted cherries, added a cup of sugar, and filled the jar with either rum, vodka, or bourbon. We rolled the jars until the sugar was dissolved. When we arrived home, we stored the jars in a cool, dark place. Once a month until Christmas we roll them to keep the sugar from settling. At Christmas or New Year’s Eve, the adults sip the liquid from the “Cherry Bounce” while the cherries are used as topping for ice cream. I’ll report at the end of the year how this all worked out!

Renard’s

Our first stop when entering Door County is at Renard’s Artisan Cheese Store. It’s also our last stop when headed home. You might be wondering, what’s so special about another cheese store in Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland? First, the location of their main store, just off Highway 57 south of Sturgeon Bay. Second, it’s their selection of over 50 varieties of standard and specialty cheeses. Third, I’m partial to their Smoked String Cheese. I’ve tried other brands but there’s something about Renard’s that beats the competition. Fourth, this store also serves up interesting flavors of ice cream, as well as chocolates and many other goodies. They also feature, what else, cheese sandwiches made fresh and served hot! Finally, Renard’s is a local, family owned business and the staff is friendly and helpful.

If you find yourself in Door County, stop in and enjoy the array of delicious cheese, Renardscheese.com. I was not asked or paid for this endorsement nor offered free Smoked String Cheese as compensation!

The Winding, Curvy Road (aka the Squiggly Road or formally as the Jens Jensen Road)

One of the most famous stretches of road in the Midwest is located near the tip of Door County. Jens Jensen, landscape architect, the founder of The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay and a force for the development of The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor. Jensen also is said to influence the design of the Winding, Curvy Road seen in the photo below. His notion of a road to slow traffic and allow motorists to enjoy the surrounding nature seemed like a good idea. I think he met his goal! Some drivers curse his design as they speed to catch the Washington Island Ferry at Northport just up the road. While others slow down to admire the design and stop to make a photo or two of this famous road. In a previous visit, I talked with a photographer who drove a few hundred miles out of her way just to see and photography this road. She was awed and so am I.

Join me next week for Part 2 of Door County Potpourri.

Until then, happy travels,

Tom

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Door County Potpourri-Part 1

  1. Wow, the Alpine Resort in Egg Harbor is still going? I went there for a week with my parents in probably about 1965. My most vivid memory is they had a jazz band play at dinner every night. They started their set every time with Duke Ellington’s Take The A Train.

    1. Thanks for checking in Paul. The Alpine recently was refreshed and added to. It’s a beautiful spot in the Egg Harbor bay. Your memory of the jazz band is a great story for your memoir!

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