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First time DC in oct

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Chicago, Illinois
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First time DC in oct

Have read a whole lot of posts & realized that going to DC during the Fall festivals will be very expensive & crowded. Would like to avoid that, but also want to enjoy the colors. Can anyone suggest a better time to go in October? We will be traveling with 3 yr old & 5 yr old. We are looking for a relaxing 2-3 days in DC. Budget is abt 120/nt. Looking for a place in fish creek or ephraim, close to the peninsula park. Thanks!

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Fish Creek...
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11. Re: First time DC in oct

Non weekends anytime in Oct rooms north of the canal will be less than $100 if you know where to look

WI
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12. Re: First time DC in oct

I hear good things about Potawatamie, and am curious to check it out too on our next visit as well as explore Peninsula State Park further, we missed some things.

We loved Ephraim's location. For affordable check Ephraim Shores. They also have on site restaurant and an indoor pool which you'll like for the kiddos. Also I believe they offer free bikes to ride and enjoy.

http://ephraimshores.com/

For best rates and less people weekdays are always preferable. The Fall while it still can be busy due to the colors, festivals, etc. the weekends will be more so in this regard.

http://www.wilsonsicecream.com/main.htm for dessert this is great, they close sometime in October (check website). The kids will love it and there will be less crowds than summer.

Door County Confectionery for sweet treats (fun shopping and perusing):

doorcountyconfectionery.com/store-locations/… call to check for Fall hours We enjoyed the dipped oreos!

http://www.goodeggsdoorcounty.com/ (again check for Fall hrs.) a good breakfast that's reasonable cost (featured on "On the Road with Jason Davis" see episodes online).

Avoid Joe Jo's Pizza we had horrible service and it was pricey for thin not so great pizza.

The beaches are nice and oh so shallow in Ephraim which is great for the kids but unless you find an unseasonably warm day it may not matter. The depth is great for the kids especially the young ones. I was even impressed with it.

Peninsula State Park is great for exploring from the trails to the observation tower, especially with Fall colors it should be a grand time to visit.

Enjoy Ephraim!

Edited: 19 September 2011, 18:17
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13. Re: First time DC in oct

It will not be warm enough to go to the beach, much less swimming in Green Bay, in October. Wilson's is not a good choice for young children if you want to get ice cream cones. They have no seating available for customers only ordering ice cream cones. A better choice for families with young children is Not Licked Yet frozen custard in Fish Creek, which has plenty of seating for all customers and a big playground. My 12 and 10 year old daughters went to Jo Jo's Pizza this summer with their aunt, uncle and 8 year old cousin, and all thought it was very good.

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14. Re: First time DC in oct

With your kids being so young, and the weather in October likely to be chilly (at least enough so to prohibit outdoor swimming), I strongly suggest renting a room at a resort with an indoor pool. The kids will love spending time in the pool.

I agree with Hatch that Joe Jo's is not very good pizza. Sonny's and Wild Tomato (both in Fish Creek, although Sonny's has another location in Sturgeon Bay) are the best pizza places in Door County, in my opinion.

Since you have young kids, someone will probably suggest you go to P.C. Junction, the restaurant where your meal is delivered on a model railroad train. I have been to this place twice and disliked it both times. It's dark and dirty, the seating area where one can actually have a meal delivered is small, and the food is mediocre.

A fun thing to do with kids of that age is to visit a farm/petting zoo. There is one called "The Farm" and one called "Plum Loco Farm." I slightly prefer Plum Loco, but both are worth a visit.

Wilson's Ice Cream shop, located on a stretch of Route 42 where traffic slows to a snail's pace, is crowded and touristy. If you want to eat your ice cream cone sitting on a bench outdoors, or while strolling past the bay, it's OK, but RickMP is correct, there is no indoor seating if you're not ordering a sit-down meal. Not Licked Yet is good; another good choice is Door County Ice Cream Factory north of Sister Bay on Route 42.

Good Eggs is great, but might not be the best for young children, unless they are interested in eating a large burrito-style wrap for breakfast. My kids love having breakfast or lunch at Village Cafe in Egg Harbor; it's colorful and offers a kids' menu with things like chocolate chip pancakes and such.

Ephraim is beautiful, but it is a town that "rolls up the sidewalks" early. Fish Creek is more lively, with shops and restaurants staying open later (and alcohol served at pubs and eateries, unlike Ephraim which is "dry"). Both towns are convenient to Peninsula State Park.

Check the local newspapers and free weekly visitors' guides (available at any visitor's center, or on a rack near the front door of many restaurants and shops) for listings of activities and events. Some are child-friendly. My kids, for example, really enjoyed a program of Native American storytelling and songs at Peninsula State Park and a program on stargazing at Newport State Park. Both were free, and I wouldn't have known about them had I not read the "Resorter Reporter." The Peninsula Pulse is one of the best resources for calendar listings of events.

Go to the library in Sturgeon Bay for books, games and story times. Visit a farm stand or orchard...there probably won't be any apples left for picking, but my kids, at that age, got a kick out of the straw maze at Seaquist's.

Edited: 21 September 2011, 06:40
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15. Re: First time DC in oct

Your kids will love THE Farm and PC Junction. PC Junction also has a big play area in back of the Sugar Shack bar. We had a blast eating at PC Junction in the bar/train area this year. Service was great, the train was alot of fun, and we didn't find it dirty at all. The perch sandwich was delicious and a terrific deal. I think, with little kids, PC Junction is a must. Also, the Resorter Reporter newspaper is now titled "Door County Now."

WI
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16. Re: First time DC in oct

info. whether pertinent for this trip or not is worth sharing if folks re-visit Ephraim i.e. great shallow beaches for young ones. I realize it's Fall.

PC Junction is darkly lit and overcrowded in summers even in the middle of the afternoon when lunch crowds should subside so if the train is your whole point in going it's worthless to go then. We were sheperded outside immediately and not even asked if we wanted to wait (we came for the train). So we turned off at the get go. It's all in the service really. The food was fine but the initial service not. We thought the set up could have been better lit and set up to accomodate more in the room. It was very narrow so if you couldn't sit at the bar type area where the train comes it was very disappointing. You may experience better luck in Fall but in my opinion it was worth skipping. The outdoor stuff is nice but if you've come for the train the set up is poor. There's one in the Dells now I believe, that serves by train, maybe that does a similar thing, with perhaps a better set-up.

I'm tired of Wilson's getting knocked too. We didn't experience crowds in late August and were seated indoors and it's a nice treat, their sweet treats are good and make this a fun and worthwhile stop. We didn't order food but were seated there. We had sundaes/cones. I have sent others here that have not been disappointed either. I hear the food isn't where it's at but we had a dessert supper which was well worth it. I like the charming location, building and view as well.

As for our Joe Jo's experience we got flat soda which befuddled the employees to no end. The waitress looked at us like she never heard of flat soda, didn't immediately rectify the problem and treated us like stupid customers as did her passed on comment from the manager who agreed with her. Flat soda is clearly visible and tasteable. I'm not a picky person but really flat soda is ok? Why the poor customer treatment and inability to handle a problem correctly. We're very forgiving of staff and polite at all times but were still treated this way. To us they made the big deal of something that didn't have to be a big deal. To me it was an expensive waste and we should have gone to the Wild Tomato for pizza. I'm glad others enjoyed their Joe Jo's experience. Rarely do I find fault with places but PC Junction and Joe Jo's really were noticeably lacking for us. It's all in how you're treated and the service was substandard at both.

So since the setup of PC lacked as well as service we feel no need to return. The service lacked at Joe Jo's. It was a nice interior otherwise, but the pizza for close to $30 (just under) a thin pizza and four sodas wasn't that impressive either.

Edited: 21 September 2011, 16:31
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17. Re: First time DC in oct

To avoid the issue with PC Junction metioned above, tell the hostess that you want to sit by the train. If there is a wait, you'll get a pager. There is plenty to occupy you and your kids in the play area and bar area during the wait. PC Junction has lots of seating in rooms other than the train room. If you don't tell the hostess that you want to sit by the train, she won't know that you want to sit by the train.

WI
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18. Re: First time DC in oct

She didn't give us a chance to tell her she immediately shuttled us out there rudely. We're not pushy and overbearing and she was clearly very busy or otherwise distracted so we let it drop. As a hostess you'd think you'd ask, we had two kids and the obvious feature is the train. It wasn't just the service I found the interior area lacking, dark and small. I was just sharing a different point of view in case people go in with certain expectations. It certainly didn't exceed my expectations. I came in excited for the experience and left disappointed with the place. On our way out I squeezed our way into the narrow bar area standing behind those seated and watched the train go around once. PC Junction is what it is, go find out for yourself and make a decision is always what I say, the end.

WI
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19. Re: First time DC in oct

Some of our other Door County favorites so far are Whitefish Dunes and Cave Point Parks. Whitefish Dunes has singing sand at the dog walking end of the beach which is intriguing. Fall colors I'm sure would enrich these locations further. These spots we enjoyed coming from Sturgeon Bay and heading to Ephraim. Everything seems not too far off in Door County so though on the eastern side it was by no means out of the way. We missed Cana Island Lighthouse but have heard wonderful things about it as well.

Other stops or pass bys you might want to include is seeing the goats on Al Johnson's in Sister Bay which is just north of Ephraim.

The Farm as mentioned in Sturgeon Bay might be a good stop as well:

http://www.thefarmindoorcounty.com/ Your three year old would even get in for free. http://www.thefarmindoorcounty.com/farm-fun/

…go.com/vacations/…

Edited: 22 September 2011, 19:51
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20. Re: First time DC in oct

In Fish Creek, I'd recommend the Main Street Motel - it's in walking distance to most shops and restaurants. It doesn't have a pool or anything, but it's very clean and very centrally located.

Apple Creek Resort has a pool and is closer to Peninsula State Park, but it's about a 10-15 minute walk to "downtown" It seems a little older than Main Street but it's affordable.

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