Door County: Day 1

Dear readers,

Today is an exciting day for me because this blog entry is a trip I actually went on!

This past weekend, I got the chance to head “up north” to Door County, Wisconsin for the weekend. My boyfriend and I left on a Friday morning, and got back Sunday evening, which means we had almost three blissful days to explore. I had been there many times before, but he hadn’t, so it became a chance for me to show off my stellar knowledge about the peninsula. And now, I pass my Door County wisdom on to you!

Photo credit:
A Door County marina

Friday morning we started out drive from my home town. On the way, we made a few stops.

We have a stack of travel books that we love, and all of our stops were in them: some must-dos, some obscure, some delicious, but all fun.

The first place we stopped was the Rahr-West Art Museum—a tiny art museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin (on Lake Michigan) with some modern art, and some traditional. The featured exhibit was by Larry Shimon, an artist who travels the world and paints (for lack of a better word) paper mosaics of the sights he sees. Unfortunately, my camera died for a while, so I couldn’t take pictures, but you can check out some of his work here.

The museum is also attached to a mansion, which was built by Joseph and Mary Vilas between 1891 and 1893, for between $35,000 and $50,000. The mansion has 13 bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and six fireplaces–and is designed in 1800s-fashion. The museum is named after the  Rahrs, who bought it in 1910 after the deaths of the Vilases, and whose wife donated it to be used for civic purposes . When in danger of abandonment in the 1970s, the Wests joined the effort, remodeled it, and opened the museum. Here’s a shot from the outside:

Photo credit: Galen R. Frysinger

Our next stop was also in Manitowoc: Beerntsen’s Confectionary. They have fantastic fudge—enough said. Oh—and they serve lunch as well. Make sure you get the mint chocolate if you go; I swear it’s the best (although that may just be my personal preference).

And then we headed to Door County.

Before reaching our hotel room (read on to find out what our room was called—you’ll never guess), we stopped one last place, and I’m glad we did. We stopped at the Door Peninsula Winery, in Carlsville—an unincorporated town just south of Egg Harbor.  It was beautiful—and delicious! We tried a few of Door County’s trademark cherry wines—you could just taste they needed to be sipped on a cottage porch, and nowhere else. But, we eventually settled on a crisp pear and apricot zinfandel: sweet, but not too much so.

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The winery also sold about a thousand flavors of jams, salsas, and olive oils. There were samples too—all delicious. It also happened that the winery had just opened a distillery; they now offered their own vodka.

We grabbed bruschetta and a salad at the in-house restaurant Bistro 42 for a snack. My boyfriend tried a Door County screwdriver, just to taste the vodka. The verdict: worth it.

Finally, me driving, we reached our lodgings for the weekend, at the Alpine Resort, in Egg Harbor (population: 250). Our room: a golf chalet. Brilliant, right? It overlooked the golf course and was quite nice. Jacuzzi included.

Photo credit:
The Alpine Resort, Egg Harbor

After settling in, we headed into Egg Harbor for dinner. The tiny village of Egg Harbor is, in a word, adorable. It manages to be classy and cutesy at the same time. The downtown is only a few blocks-large, but it backs up to Green Bay. The park downtown, Harbor View Park, dotted with picnic tables, overlooks a sizeable marina, which was, busy weekend that it was, packed full. We almost caught the sunset—an Egg Harbor tradition (Hear about the storm that kept us from seeing the sunset the next night, in my next post).

We made it back to the room at about eight. The thing about Door County, wonderful as it is, is there isn’t a lot to do after eight o’clock.

So, we finished our chocolate, the bottle of wine, enjoyed the air conditioning, and each other’s company. And it was fantastic.

Next: In which we taste the country’s best breakfast, explore caves, and are nearly killed by 60 mph winds and falling power lines.

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