Picture a small town where goats on a restaurant roof can cause a traffic jam in a county where visitors to its scenic towns often gather around huge outdoor pots to watch traditional fish boils.
It is Door County, a peninsula that separates the calm waters of Green Bay from turbulent waves of Lake Michigan and where the must-take-home items are chocolate covered cherries or cherry pies and the must-visit time of year is fall.
An easy drive from Green Bay’s airport, the route on the way to the Sturgeon Bay, the first vacation town on the peninsula, is dotted with the crimsons, golds and pinksm of changing leaves. And, as TV ads say, “But wait.” The colors keep intensifying, driving northwest along curving roads through picturesque villages.
That restaurant with the goats is up in Sister Bay. The fish boils are in Fish Creek, Ephraim and a couple of other villages. But Door County’s famed cherry items are everywhere from farm and orchard markets such as Seaquist Orchards Market and gas stations to wineries such as Door Peninsula Winery in Carlsville.
However, a trip to “The Door” means you can leave the car at your B&B, inn or condo. This is a great place to bike, hike or walk.
I’ve biked the great trails in Peninsula State Park on the bay side and the back roads across fields and woods.. My place had loaner bikes but there are bike shops including one near the south entrance to the park. I also loved walking around the harbors and hiking Dunes State Park on the lake side.
But not everything here is horizontal.
If the Cana Island Lighthouse near Bailey’s Harbor on the lake side is open, do the 97 stairs up. The view is spectacular, particularly in fall. But I also loved taking a fall cruise out of Sister Bay to see the park from the water.
Colors here are not just outside. Door County is an artists’ colony.
Potters, painters and photographers have studios and shops in every town. Artists from across the country go there to participate in the Peninsula School of Art’s annual prestigious July Plein Air Festival.
Edgewood Orchard Gallery in Fish creek has an amazing sculpture park. Or you can also do your own thing, from stained glass and sculpture to jewelry and ceramics at Hands On.Art Studio, up the road from Edgewood.
Just remember to charge your phone each night so you are camera-ready for fall.
For accommodations and other help visit Door County Visitor Bureau or call (800) 527-3529.