1. Drive up the length of the west side of the "thumb of Wisconsin" -- through Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, and Sister Bay -- all the way up through Ellison Bay and Gills Rock (which is the furthest you can get before you need to start jumping ferries to islands). It's more fun to do this on a weekend, but it's also more crowded. Personally, though, I like to see touristy places full of tourists. I love RVs and trailers and bicycles and kayaks on every other car, and I like when I have to wait for lazy pedestrians to cross the street while licking gigantic ice cream cones. Seriously. It's what summer is all about.
I jumped out of the car to snap a photo of the sunset from Ephraim:
Last night we drove up as far as Ellison Bay and stayed in a small motel there. We got there just as it got dark, and we had to be up early for a bike ride in the morning, so we didn't really do much sightseeing in Ellison Bay itself -- however I do know that there is a cool bookstore there called William Caxton Ltd. I found a sweet Damien Hirst book there when I discovered it last summer.
2. Stop at a drive-in. We went for burgers and onion rings (some drive-thru's you're better just sticking with the ice cream, though, but you never know until you've tried it). There are so many little ice cream shops and confectioneries in Door County, it's almost ridiculous. But this gal is not complaining.
3. Stop at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay. It's one of those places that I've been going ever since I was a kid. It's been around forever; the Swedish pride is alive in Sister Bay! It can be viewed as a little gimmicky, but there are no two ways about the fact that their Swedish pancakes are to die for. Served with lingonberries and even Swedish meatballs, it's a seriously awesome place to have breakfast -- or lunch, or dinner. ;) We did breakfast this time, and man, it was just what we needed before going on a...
4. Bike ride! Door County is an awesome place to cycle. The reason we went there was for an annual bike ride called Ride for Nature, which benefits the Ridges Nature Sanctuary. My mom and one of my sisters loaded up our bikes onto the back of the car and by 9am this morning we were on the road.
Even though I still feel like I've got a wad of cheesecloth stuffed up my nose or something. This random virus I caught about a week ago just will not let up. But I was determined to go for a bike ride, and I don't regret it.
I love organized rides. I've only done a couple now, but there's another one coming up in mid-July closer to home, and I'm looking forward to that, too. It's really fantastic when bikers of all skill levels get out on the roads and just have a good time -- and for a cause. There's almost always great food afterward (the kind that's full of carbs and sugar, except that when you've just biked howevermanymiles, that's EXACTLY what you need).
We did the 25-mile route. There was a 15-mile family route, and then a 50 and a century route. We're all pretty leisurely bikers, as in we're not racers (ha!) so it was a great way to get a good workout in and not get overwhelmed. I give my sister kudos for riding a steel-framed mountain bike that whole distance; I know she was feeling it at the end!
There were so many tandem bikers! That's my little Trek in the foreground. It's served me well so far. :)
Plenty of fortifying snacks, and the best part: free beer and food!
We were all pretty psyched about New Belgium sponsoring because we got sweet little bike decals and stickers, and free Fat Tire beer afterward. !!!
We took a small side trip to Nor Door Cyclery where they rent bikes and also sell Treks. We've inadvertently turned into a Trek family, it seems. I found some new handlebar tape that I'm excited to use.
5. Stop at local markets. Door County is famous for its cherries, the tart kind that are perfect for pies. There are numerous orchard stands along the highways, and many of them sell seasonal produce. I was on a mission to get fresh asparagus, which I did! Hooray -- at Wood Orchard Market. And we checked out the little green cherries starting to grow on the trees, so it won't be long at all until we'll have some fresh cherry pie.
I'm having a hard time not salivating at the thought.
I live close enough to Door County that we usually go up there for a day. There is some good camping to be had in a couple of the state parks, and there are plenty of cabins for rent and hotels. Sometimes we're glad to just be able to go up and come right back home. But this weekend might have been one of those instances where we would have enjoyed another night to relax, unwind, and find another cool place for dinner..
But there's always next time...