Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Door County Favorites

Ephraim Beach
Having just returned from an extended stay in Door County, Wisconsin and since this is peak tourist season up there, I've compiled a little list of my favorites. Just in case you happen upon a visit to the Door.

Ephraim Beach. My perennial favorite. This sandy, shallow beach located along Highway 42 on the south side of Ephraim is perfect for kids. Lots of beach for sand castles and you can nearly walk right out to the boats anchored outside of the swimming area. With views of the village of Ephraim and Eagle bluff, this beach is the perfect place for hanging out on a hot summer afternoon.

The Red Putter. Home to the cheapest and best round of mini-golf in Door County. This challenging and fun course is fun for the whole family. If you get a hole-in-one on holes 3 or 6, you get a free round of golf!

American Folklore Theater. I've been going to this Peninsula State Park theater since it was 3 guys and a guitar back in the late 1970s. It's grown and improved since then with 2 of the 3 guys still involved in productions. For nightly original musicals performed under the stars in an outdoor amphitheater, you cannot beat AFT. I took my parents and the kids to a performance of Lumberjacks in Love last week. My boys, who were convinced they would hate it, laughed throughout the whole hilarious show and gave it a standing ovation. The outdoor season runs from Memorial Day through mid-October.

View from the top
Eagle Tower. As long as we're already in Peninsula State Park, don't miss a climb up the Eagle Tower. This 75-foot tower soars above Eagle Bluff and gives you a birds-eye view of the peninsula, Green Bay, and Ephraim.

Cana Island Lighthouse. As a child, I remember having to nearly swim out to this Lake Michigan lighthouse. Not anymore. Thanks to receding waters, you can now walk out to the Cana Island Lighthouse. This is a great little morning trip or you can make it a day trip by biking out to the island along quiet County Road Q outside of Bailey's Harbor. There is a slight fee but worth it to explore the lighthouse and walk around the island. My kids love climbing around on the rocks and throwing an obscene amount of rocks back into Lake Michigan.

Crystal clear waters on Rock Island
Rock Island State Park. This little island is my favorite place in all of Door County. It's beautiful, historical, and remote with the most beautiful sandy beach that is usually deserted. This 912 acre state park is located off the tip of Washington Island. Only foot traffic is allowed on the island. Getting to this park is half of the fun. First you must take the ferry from Northport to Washington Island, make your way to Jackson Harbor on Washington Island, and board the tiny ferry named "Karfi" out to Rock Island. If you have your own boat, there is a dock. You can explore the stone boathouse, the lighthouse overlooking Lake Michigan, the sandy beach, or stay the night in the campground. This park is a true gem.

Dining on the bay at Fred and Fuzzy's
There is so much more to see and do in Door County, which is loaded with shops, galleries, fishing excursions, and restaurants. Here are just a few of my favorite restaurants:

Ephraim: Good Egg, Leroy's Coffeehouse, Wilson's
Sister Bay: Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant (of course), The Inn at Kristofer's, Fred and Fuzzy's, The Waterfront Restaurant
Fish Creek: The Cookery
Egg Harbor: PC Junction

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