Door County, Wisconsin

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I write many of my camping posts while riding in the passenger seat. The star is Door County.

We decided to spend our long, Independence Day weekend in the quiet town of Rowley’s Bay in Door County, Wisconsin. It was magnificent! My husband used to come up here for his summer vacations as a child. I’ve never been.

He was tooootally holding out on me!

The area is called, The Cape Cod of the Midwest, however I liked the catchier, The Thumb the local radio station used. Cherries and apples orchards are everywhere around here. We were here for cherry season, and if you are a fan, you can enjoy cherries in too many forms for me to list here! Basically, from wine to cheese to pie, you name it, they can make it with cherries here!

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Halfway to the North Pole

The geology of this area is pretty unique. In a seriously, small nutshell: About 425 million years ago, there was a shallow sea in the Lake Michigan area. After the sea dried up and deposited all the Limestone, it was covered in a glacier. All the pressure & chemical reactions turned it in to dolomite. Many years of erosion made all the beautiful bluffs we see here today. Click here if you’d like to read more about it. I think it’s fascinating. I really feel like a true Northerner when we stood at the halfway point between the equator and the North pole.

There are many bays on this peninsula and since the area is so skinny, there aren’t any cities in between the bays on the Green Bay side and the Lake Michigan side. The GB side is much calmer, better for us kayaks, swimmers and non-motor boaters. The LM side is rougher, requiring a larger boat, however that’s where the good fishing is. Many folks at our campground had both campers and boats.

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Actually not sure which Green Bay side bay I’m in here, however they are all equally exquisite!

The area is also known for its concentration of artists. Every craft is represented via signs along the roadways. Aside from the beauty of the area (which would make anyone want to stay), I’m not sure what draws them all here. Is it the camaraderie?

There are many workshops available to attend. The Clearing, a folk school founded by Jens Jensen, a famous landscape architect of this area, is a future destination of learning for me. We visited, however only went on the 2 hour walking tour of the grounds. I’ll have a post to link to this soon.

Otherwise, living here year-round can be tough. There are no Walmarts or big box stores nearby. I think the nearest larger town is Sturgeon’s Bay, which was an hour away from our campsite. The winters can get really hash here and there are no tourists at that time. I could see it being a good time to be immersed in a project. A bit of ‘alone time’.

The towns are all very conscious of the natural beauty around them and try to keep Mother Nature happy. Many shops had beautiful gardens and well chosen natives for the area. I think these gardens gave me about 6 posts of Blooming Flowers alone!! Hmmm, I wonder if I could make it as a garden designer up here?

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Many little nooks contained fountains and other artwork. Modern technology is not abandon here, however it does get its artistic touches, like this cell tower currently getting spruced-up to resemble a spruce!

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These folks spend many hours putting together their summer flower displays. So pretty!

Sadly, we felt that the shopkeepers were all pretty rude. It seriously amazed me. The shops here are all somewhat upscale and expensive, not exactly touristy. Most of the time we were not acknowledged at all. We went into a kaleidoscope shop. I love them! Many were over a grand, however there were some for as low as $50. The ‘Do Not Touch!’ signs outnumbered the kaleidoscopes. Had one of the two clerks just said HELLO, I would have promptly bought the $80 one that I thought would produce some cool photos via my camerone. I’ve got principals, tho. I felt like I was looked-over and dubbed too poor to buy and no energy was going to be exhausted on us. They lost a sale because of their attitude.

Like I said, there are not many average places to buy a shot glass with Sister Bay on it or a T-Shirt, seems those places were off the beaten path. If you did find a T-shirt location, it was an astonishing $35 for a thin shirt. I always feel you have to go to a ‘locals bar’ for good T-shirts. Now those are our homes away from home. We love hanging with the natives and getting the inside scoops to places they go, away from the hustle and bustle. My advice is, always tip heavy and respect that you’re in their hood. They’ll be flapping their gums about the best spots in less than 10 minutes.  We bought our commemorative, vacation glass from a bar in Gills Bay that was being sold for charity, with all the proceeds going to the local dog shelter. Duh, that was a no-brainer!!

As with any area here in ‘Merica, there seems to be a concentration of one culture or another. Here it’s Nordic. We saw many examples of this, such as the Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and Butik, “The place with the goats on the roof”. in Sister Bay. You can click those words for the ‘Goat Cam’… Yes folks, there is a goat cam!!! (It’s a still shot, so repetitively click your ‘refresh’ button to make it a video).

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Clearly not something you see on a daily basis….

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Aside from the horns, they almost resemble Breck!

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Horns are great for getting those back itches!

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Another bay where I don’t know where I am….

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There was only one night of rain, but it was a doosey. Many weak tornadoes around, but little damage. This was Rowley’s Bay.

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More examples of the artistic flair of this county.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip, and we’re so coming back to this area next year. Among so many other pluses, there is little light pollution at night, which makes star gazing and spotting constellations cake. Fishing is great, along with the fish being offered at the restaurants. It is very quiet here, no big box stores, large highways or airports. If you pick a strategic location, you can see a water-based sunrise and a water-based sunset!

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

50 thoughts on “Door County, Wisconsin

    • Good enough time to plan to come back! I’m not a big shopper, so I’ll just avoid the shops in the future. Other folks there (tours, bars, restaurants) were all super friendly.
      We didn’t eat at the goat roofed resteraunt, but will on our return trip. 🐐

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love the pics. Is Green Bay where the Packers come from. And I so understand your feelings about shopkeepers who don’t wanna know you. I have a story to tell that you have just prompted. In a day or two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve already started looking for property up there!! 😅 Yes, there are a few larger grocery stores sprinkled around, but no big box stores. Sorry Mama! BUTT, UPS was there & that means amazon.com can come! No light pollution, very little traffic (the elephant skate would be perfect here) and lovely views everywhere.

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  2. I’m glad I got to experience a small slice of Door County last summer. I can totally relate to the shopping. I too like looking for T-shirts but won’t spend a ridiculous dollar amount. There’s a wonderful Kaleidoscope shop in Jerome AZ without rude signs. You’d love the store.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So pretty! We as “cheeseheads” have yet to go there. I’ve heard it’s a bit upscale and that has always turned me away, however you are right, the locals and dive bars are the best way to really get to know the town you are visiting. Over the winter I worked in a shop in our little tourist town (opposite corner of the state from Door County) and I absolutely loved talking with the out of towners that came into the store and hearing about their travels! Too bad you got the stink eye up there 😦 Glad you’re back and can’t wait to see more!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t believe how rude people can be. If you get the chance swing on through New Glarus! We are on the edge of the drift less region and it’s quite pretty country out here! Plus the people are pretty nice to travelers!

        Liked by 1 person

    • The goats were a hoot! I’m a Capricorn, I can relate and wanted to go home and sod my roof 😉 My dogs would have friends to run around with… ha ha!
      As for rude salesfolks, maybe there will be a new shop in place of the old when we go back next summer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I feel ya sister! This week has been long and we’re going to Illinois State Beach this weekend to camp. Tick tock clock….
      Hope you have lots of fun! Be sure to get a Moscow Mule with blueberries at the Viking lodge next to the goat roof 😉 Yummy! Have a safe trip 🌞

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  5. I hope you went to Grandma’s Bakery at Rowley’s Bay Resort and had some of those Swedish almond rolls (omg soooo good). The more upscale, touristy towns are lovely, but for true “getting away from it all” we like to stay at Sturgeon Bay or on the Lake side of the peninsula. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to hike Toft’s Point, Cave Point State Park, and visit The Ridges. Newport State Park is also wonderful for hiking! I could go on and on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the tips!
      This was my first time up there (hubby grew up visiting), but certainly not my last! I’m already planning next year’s trip. We do like the quieter parts of the area. And really want to hike the park you mentioned. There is so much to do up there and we were only there 5 days.
      I’d seriously move there if given the opportunity. 😍

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