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Texsox

Door County

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I'll be up there for about a week this summer before heading to the UP. Suggestions? 

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On 5/7/2022 at 8:21 AM, Texsox said:

I'll be up there for about a week this summer before heading to the UP. Suggestions? 

What do you want to know Tex?  Other than my home, I’ve probably spent the largest percentage of my life up there.

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We have five days staying in one of the state parks about half way up. A fish boil, a couple wineries, hiking the state parks, Swedish breakfast, Washington Island, and possibly walleye fishing green bay are all on our list. Are we missing any thing and any places better than others?

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14 hours ago, Texsox said:

We have five days staying in one of the state parks about half way up. A fish boil, a couple wineries, hiking the state parks, Swedish breakfast, Washington Island, and possibly walleye fishing green bay are all on our list. Are we missing any thing and any places better than others?

I used to have a summer home on Madeline Island in Lake Superior but where yr going is almost (I'm partial) as good, did you ever check out Rock Island? Its super remote and IIRC its claim to fame is the grave site of Daniel Boones brother

 

Maybe RTC can elaborate more, you staying at Peninsula State Park? I havent been there in almost 40 yrs, it was a tourist trap and likely still is

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DISCLAIMER : been going there for 50 years, and my family has always held the opinion that Door County really begins in Egg Harbor.  Sturgeon Bay really holds no attraction (and technically, Door County starts well south of Sturgeon Bay).  I know this sounds like a lot below, but keep in mind, you can drive from Egg Harbor all the way up to Northport (where the ferry leaves for Washington Island) in a little over an hour, longer if you hit weekend tourists in July.  But if you're there between end of June and early August, there's no way to avoid the tourists.  Just take life slow and you'll have a good time.

- State Parks 
Peninsula - I agree with The Grinder that it can be touristy, but if you stay away from Nicolet Bay it really is a wonderful park.  Hikes through the center of the park are fantastic, as is the one along the coast if you hike down the cliff from Eagle Tower.  And on that note, touristy yes, but the new Eagle Tower is really something else.
Other ones - skip Whitefish dunes.  Newport Beach is nice and def quieter than Whitefish.   Cave Point is small but cool, unless you're there when two dozen kayaks happen to paddle up.
Hiking - if you're looking for an overlooked hike (more of a walk than a hike) check out the Ridges Sanctuary.  It's never real busy and it's just a super interesting story about the terrain there and how it was built up.  It's a pretty chill hour or two.  If you're looking for action or a challenge, this ain't it.

- Fish Boil
IMO it's White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, and then everyone else.  The food is pretty much the same everywhere, but WGI you can chill on the back patio while you watch the boil over a couple drinks.  Other places tend to just do it in their parking lot.  For summer .... make your reservations now.  Oh, and IMO, WGI is the best cherry pie up there.

- Swedish Breakfast
SUUUUPER touristy, but Al Johnson's in Sister Bay is the OG.  Have to admit, the breakfast is really good.

- Wineries - Okay this is TOTALLY subjective
Door Peninsula Winery - great if you like a touristy place that sells overly sweet, mediocre fruit wine.  My 2 cents ....
Stone's Throw - most places are overpriced up there, but ST takes it to a new level.  I think people just like the old barn they're in.  Don't waste your time.
Harbor Ridge - not the most attractive location and close to the main road, but the people working there are fantastic, nice wines, and a little cheese shop next door - grab some and sit outside.
Simon Creek - this is my sleeper pick.  It's in the middle of the peninsula, way back off the road.  We've sat on their back porch overlooking the vineyard for 2+ hours eating cheese and drinking wine.  Makes for a very relaxing afternoon.
Twelve Eleven Wine Bar - just opened last year.  Really nice place just south of Sister Bay on Rte 57

- Beer
If you fancy a cold one, three recommendations: One Barrel Brewing in Egg Harbor (avoid Shipwrecked across the street - their beer in mediocre) has great brews.  Biggest tap list is Mink River Basin up in Ellison Bay, always something good on.  If you can get a table, The Garage at Husby's in Sister Bay usually has live music (and good burgers).

- Random food suggestions
Wild Tomato Pizza in either Fish Creek or Sister Bay.  They also sell their pizzas at One Barrel Brewing I mentioned above, not a bad combo!
If you want to pick up some smoked fish - Charlie's Smokehouse up in Gill's Rock
Best non-Swedish breakfast - Good Eggs in Ephraim.  Awesome breakfast wraps - that's all they make.
Other than that, swing a cat and you'll hit a restaurant.

- Washington Island
It really is a great trip, but keep in mind this is probably a full day by the time you drive up to Northport, ferry over, see the island, and ferry back.  Decide if you want to commit a whole day to this.

- TIP : Lake Michigan side is way quieter than the Green Bay side.  I think that's probably your better bet for fishing as well.

And enjoy the UP, it truly is God's country up there.  Do some hiking in the Porcupine Mountains, or as the Yoopers call them, the Porkies!

Edited by RTC

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4 hours ago, The Grinder said:

I used to have a summer home on Madeline Island in Lake Superior but where yr going is almost (I'm partial) as good, did you ever check out Rock Island? Its super remote and IIRC its claim to fame is the grave site of Daniel Boones brother

 

Maybe RTC can elaborate more, you staying at Peninsula State Park? I havent been there in almost 40 yrs, it was a tourist trap and likely still is

We've been to Madeline Island or the surrounding area four or five times. We've never been east of the Porcupine Mountain in the UP. We're spending one week in northern Illinois, one week in Door County, three weeks in the UP, then it's kind of up in the air. 

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@RTC thank you! That was exactly what I was hoping for. We're making reservations now. 

We're actually staying one night at a Harvest Host farm up the island then the rest of the week at Potawanomi St. Park. 

Simon Creek is definitely our style. While we will go to kitschy Swedish breakfast type places you usually try to avoid tourist crowds. 

Any other foods we need to try besides everything cherry and a fish boil? 

Odd ball question, and good bookstores?

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Okay, keep in mind, Potawatomi State Park is definitely not in the heart of Door County.  Like I said, Egg Harbor is where the everything really starts, but at Potawatomi you're actually south of Sturgeon Bay, so you're not even on the peninsula.  Not a problem, but adjust your expectations because you're bit further from everything.  As far as avoiding tourist crowds, you'll be quieter down where you're at, I'm just not familiar with the area.  You might find a lot of stuff to do in Sturgeon Bay, but it's less small-town-ish for sure.  Everything I mentioned is probably an hour north.  And if you don't like touristy areas, be warned, Al Johnson's is in Sister Bay which is the busiest, most touristy town up there. 

Food is pretty much fish and fruit up there (other than pizza and burgers of course).  Lots of orchards, not just cherries.  Will depend on time of summer as far as what's available.  And cheese.  You will be north of the Cheddar Curtain so there is always really good cheese.

I'll ask my wife about book stores.  That's her department!

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Just thought of something - if you're down south of Sturgeon Bay, and you want a REALLY funky little winery, stop in Algoma on the way up and hit Von Stiehl.

Speaking of which, it's a little quicker driving up through Green Bay, but we prefer to take Hwy 10 over to Manitowoc and head up through Two Rivers (Kurtz's Pub/Deli for lunch!), Kewaunee, and Algoma.  More pleasant drive.

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Twrivers, I haven't been there in years. When I had customers up that way there was a hotel right on the water I stayed at. The water would practically reach the bar windows. 

 

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14 hours ago, RTC said:

Okay, keep in mind, Potawatomi State Park is definitely not in the heart of Door County.  Like I said, Egg Harbor is where the everything really starts, but at Potawatomi you're actually south of Sturgeon Bay, so you're not even on the peninsula.  Not a problem, but adjust your expectations because you're bit further from everything.  As far as avoiding tourist crowds, you'll be quieter down where you're at, I'm just not familiar with the area.  You might find a lot of stuff to do in Sturgeon Bay, but it's less small-town-ish for sure.  Everything I mentioned is probably an hour north.  And if you don't like touristy areas, be warned, Al Johnson's is in Sister Bay which is the busiest, most touristy town up there. 

Food is pretty much fish and fruit up there (other than pizza and burgers of course).  Lots of orchards, not just cherries.  Will depend on time of summer as far as what's available.  And cheese.  You will be north of the Cheddar Curtain so there is always really good cheese.

I'll ask my wife about book stores.  That's her department!

We expected to be road tripping each day. We do touristy for awhile then retreat. We also tend to "dip our toes" the first trip then if it's something we really want to explore we'll come back in a year or two and stay two or three weeks. Driving the area helps is to get the lay of the land. I'm also reading some fiction that is set in Door County. That also helps me get a feel. 

 

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17 hours ago, RTC said:

Just thought of something - if you're down south of Sturgeon Bay, and you want a REALLY funky little winery, stop in Algoma on the way up and hit Von Stiehl.

Speaking of which, it's a little quicker driving up through Green Bay, but we prefer to take Hwy 10 over to Manitowoc and head up through Two Rivers (Kurtz's Pub/Deli for lunch!), Kewaunee, and Algoma.  More pleasant drive.

RTC since yr a native do you remember an old Holiday Inn on Washington Island? IIRC it burned down back in the 80s. It wasnt the chain of Holidays either, it was a Ma and Pa hotel, I stayed there a few nights back in the day. The island is where I decided not to marry the only GF I was engaged to. Now I'm 62 and still single

 

And oh the KOA north of Sturgeon Bay is where me and 2 buddies all of us age 19 got booted out at 1am for stealing firewood whilst drunk and stoned and whatever else. We were young, dumb and you know the rest........

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