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A quick foray into Door County

Chicago, Illinois
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A quick foray into Door County

My Packers fan wife has us booked to attend Family Night at Lambeau on Aug 3 (and even as a Bears fan I'm anxious to see Lambeau). She's a Packers fan primarily because she spent her youth vacationing in Door County (we were a North Woods family) and wants me to see it. I'm guessing the place has changed somewhat since the 1960s so it's practically a first time for her as well. We've agreed that we will stay in Sturgeon Bay so we can easily get to Lambeau (and because most rooms farther north are booked), but we're making a weekend of it. Saturday will be pretty much going to Green Bay, so that leaves Friday afternoon/evening and Sunday morning.

I imagine we'll drive up one side of the peninsula and back down the other, although if this means splitting the time between our two free days we may split the trip up. I'm thinking a fish boil at the White Gull Inn on Friday night. And even I've heard of Al Johnson's, Wilson's and the Greenwood Supper Club, despite never visiting Door County. What are your recommendations for "must do" or "must see" activities based on this short driving tour (or two even shorter tours)? I realize this may entail some things that regular visitors consider a bit "touristy" but I'd like to get a flavor of the place in two half-days of driving around.

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1. Re: A quick foray into Door County

next to each other Cave Point County Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park (singing sand at the dog park end of the beach).

Cana Island Lighthouse

Peninsula State Park at least drive through or climb Eagle Tower

Wilson's for dessert if you have time otherwise there's a cone place in Fish Creek, etc.

Stop at one of the orchards (we chose Wood Orchard/Egg Harbor).

Or instead of the fish boil you could do Sunday breakfast at White Gull and do their famed Cherry Stuffed French Toast.

Driving the peninsula one end to the other is good and you can be flexible and make stops along the way (pass the goats at Al Johnson's) that interest you etc.

Edited: 26 June 2013, 18:15
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2. Re: A quick foray into Door County

"(and because most rooms farther north are booked)"

There will still be plenty of rooms available for that weekend if you want to stay north.

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3. Re: A quick foray into Door County

A Chicagoan going to Packers Family Night?? Oh, the shame of it ... ;)

In all seriousness, you really won't have much time to do a lot of sightseeing that weekend if you're coming up on Friday, spending all day Saturday in (shudder) Lambeau Field, and then going home on Sunday. Here are my -- very opinionated :) -- recommendations.

Don't bother with Al Johnson's, because, as good as it is, the wait time for a table for Sunday breakfast during peak season can be 2 hours or more. I think the Friday night fish boil at White Gull Inn is a good idea, but be sure to make reservations. You can walk around Fish Creek afterward -- Fish Creek is a fun, lively village and many of the shops stay open late on Friday nights. Maybe get an ice cream at Wilson's if you feel like it, but be prepared for crowds. If you can, on Friday or Saturday night, catch a Door County sunset from one of the beaches on the west side of the peninsula -- Egg Harbor's park would be an ideal spot.

For Saturday dinner, unless you'll be Green Bay for that, try Donny's Glidden Lodge in Valmy/Sturgeon Bay. It's classic Wisconsin supper club fare, but done to perfection. It's better than Greenwood.

On Sunday, I think you should have breakfast right there in Sturgeon Bay at the Inn at Cedar Crossing or a similar restaurant. Then, drive up Route 57 to see the "quiet side" of Door County. Visit Cana Island, maybe take a hike at The Ridges in Baileys Harbor (if you go to a state park you'll pay a higher fee). If you've got time to spare, drive up to the tip of the thumb and check out the views in Ellison Bay on the way; buy some jam from Bea's Ho-Made Products in Gills Rock (you can also buy smoked fish from vendors in Gills Rock; I never do, it's not my thing). Then head back south via 42, have lunch at the Village Cafe in Egg Harbor, stop at the Wood Orchard market and sample baked goods and dips, maybe buy some fruit to take home. If you're into art or wine, stop at the Woodwalk or Edgewood Orchard Galleries (off 42) and/or Stone's Throw or Simon Creek wineries. I also often like to hit the Door County Coffee and Tea shop in Carlsville (between Egg Harbor and Sturgeon Bay) on my way home for a hot drink and a few goodies to take home -- their cherry yogurt muffins are awesome.

Have fun!

Edited: 27 June 2013, 01:23
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4. Re: A quick foray into Door County

You'll have time to pretty much just drive thru and see the sights from your car.

On Friday, drive up WI 42 thru Egg Harbor and FIsh Creek, stopping at anything that looks interesting. Consider a side drive thru Peninsula State Park. Keep going north thru Ephraim and Sister Bay. The shops in those vilalges will probably be closed by the time you get there, but you can still see the views. Drive in Sister Bay as far as the Door County Ice Cream Factory, and then turn around. Pick up WI-57 and drive back to your hotel.

You can get more flexibility by changing your dinner plans. Fish boils take a long time and the food is very ordinary. I'd plan on going to a Friday fish fry a little bit later-maybe 7:30, once the waiting lines go away. Consider the Greenwood, Sister Bay Bowl, Cornerstone, AC Tap-whatever is close to you when it is dinnertime.

On Sunday, maybe drive up to Cave Point County Park, or anything else you missed. Drive home to Chicago the scenic route-take County S to Algoma and pick up WI-42 and take that back to I 43 just north of Manitowoc.

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5. Re: A quick foray into Door County

Thanks for all the suggestions. I realize this is not the ideal way to see Door County and that seeing it is about all I'll be able to do. For the utmost in flexibility, I think I'll just compile a list of the things to see in each town and play it by ear rather than trying to stick to a day-long itinerary. That way, what ever town I find myself in as we make a loop around the peninsula, I'll have a highlights list. Just stop, take a quick look around and stop at the places we really want to see. So I just see the goats. We can eat elsewhere. Thanks for the heads up.

The other complication is that my wife will be revisiting her childhood haunts. They used to stay at a campground next to Potawatomi State Park so I'm sure we'll meander over there. She mentioned a maritime museum in Sturgeon Bay, which I understand will be in the middle of some special Maritime Week. And I've already been informed that our path will be Route 42 along the lake, because "that's the way we always went." I'm going to let her call the shots on this one, but I want to be informed with the casual suggestion or two.

Thanks!

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6. Re: A quick foray into Door County

Our trip is rapidly approaching and I was able to convince my wife to stay in Egg Harbor so we'll be a little closer to the things we (OK, I) want to see and do. Got a basic room at the Lull-Abi Inn.

Our plan is to leave bright and early (i.e., 6 AM) Friday morning so we still have most of the day available. My wife wants to spend the morning showing me where her family used to vacation (near Potawatomi State Park) and to see the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay. That leaves us the afternoon and evening to explore the Bay side. She's much more interested in a fish fry than a boil Friday night. So I've made note of a few places and will follow RickMP's (MP=Mt. Prospect?) suggestion of going to whichever one is closest to us at dinner time.

Saturday is pretty much taken up with Family Night (which actually starts in the morning) but I'm hoping to spend Sunday morning driving along the lake side before heading back.

Thanks for the advice--I realize this is no more than an amuse bouche of Door County, but to someone who has never been there it's enough to finally have seen the places my wife is always talking about.

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7. Re: A quick foray into Door County

the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay is worthwhile, we enjoyed it a lot. We didn't go during maritime week so it was pretty quiet.

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8. Re: A quick foray into Door County

I think you'll be very happy with the Lull-Abi, good locations, terrific reviews. I'm not a fish boil fan either. I called it boiled white food-onion, potatoes and fish. SIster Bay Bowl has a good fish fry. I had their whitefish Tuesday (they do the same thing Tuesday and Friday). There's plenty of fun stuff to check out just in Egg Harbor, but I hope you get up and around a bit more. I'd be happy to join you, despite just coming back last night. I haven't unpacked yet so you wouldn't have to wait long for me...

9. Re: A quick foray into Door County

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