Up North: Part 2

Nov 01, 2012 View Comments by

Since we only had two days for this trip, we would be concentrating on the west, or bay side, of Door County. Granted there is more traffic on this side, but there is also more to see and do. Also, since we were heading up mid-week, we were confident the traffic would be lighter and even reservations would not be necessary. That turned out to be a close call, because this was “Peak-Week” and the fall colors were at their best—this meant a flood of out-of-state Buick’s and Mercury’s, and darn few bikes, being the high was only 58 degrees. Because of that there were only two rooms left at the Edgewater Resort in Ephraim, and since the colors were still “up,” winter prices didn’t kick in until the 31st of October. These prices are a real deal, but with them come a limited number of attractions, as much of the county closes up. This leaves the outdoor activities wide open, though.

One special place for all those activities is Peninsula State Park just south of the Ephraim city limits. The park is a rolling, twisting set of roads that climb the bluffs with overlooks into the bays and islands off Ephraim and beyond. Even if the roads are a hop-scotch patch of twigs and campers, it’s still one of the best views in the county, and a great place to decompress.

As with all areas of this kind there are “traditions,” those things you must do, or places you have to go to, otherwise the experience has been cheated, or at the very least, lessened by the omission. Door County is no less encumbered by these necessary stops: Breakfast must be at the 115-year-old White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, try the stuffed French toast. Lunch is at Al Johnson’s in Sisters Bay for Swedish pancakes with strawberries. (They’re the log building with the goats on their roof). The afternoon snack; Wilson’s Ice Cream Parlor in Ephraim, a real institution of the 1950s. Supper, a fish boil at the Viking Grill in Ellison Bay shouldn’t be missed; it’s as much theater as it is a meal. For many, a trip to Door County would not be complete without a trip-to-the-tip, Washington Island, the northern most town in the county. Ferries leave Gills Rock through Death’s Door Straits for a short ride to the Island.

The pace of life here in Door County will really get to you, especially in the quieter off-season. Just the ability to kick back by the fireplace at the White Gull Inn with a cup of coffee and a bit of coffee cake is one of those blessings we owe ourselves! I know we’re going back, maybe I will see you there? Ride on.

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About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!