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Door County – The Majestic Cape Cod Of The Midwest

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Have you ever visited somewhere on a roadtrip and marvelled just how perfect it was, exactly what you had been searching for in your months of preparation. When I was first planning our Wisconsin roadtrip, so many people suggested the Door County region, which lies on a 70 mile long peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. After a hectic 10 days racing through Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, the Wisconsin Dells and Green Bay, I wanted somewhere to relax and unwind.  I pictured kayaking on the lake, cycling through the forests and lunching in Cape Cod-esque villages.  And this is exactly what we got with the majestic Door County.

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How did we get there?

It took us about 90 minutes to drive from our hotel in De Pere (close to Green Bay) up to Baileys Harbor.

Where did we stay?

Door County is a hugely popular place to visit, with over 2 million visitors per year, many of whom come from the Midwest.  If you are hitting Door County during peak season, it is essential you book your lodging far in advance. I trawled through Tripadvisor and stumbled across Gordon Lodge in Baileys Harbor.  Unfortunately the cottages were fully booked but I nabbed their last ‘Lodge Room’, a classic double.  

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The room was lovely, a traditional hotel room with outdoor patio. There’s so much to do outside at Gordon Lodge that we barely spent any time in our room!  I highly recommend this place, it was my dream hotel in a lake setting.  There’s tonnes to keep the kids happy from the pool, jacuzzi and tennis courts to a gym and well stocked games cupboard. Best of all, the lodge has its own private sandy beach were you can paddle in Lake Michigan.  img_8676There are complimentary kayaks, paddle boats and fishing gear – kayaking out on the lake was a highlight of our entire Wisconsin roadtrip.  There are also complimentary bikes (including a tricycle for my 4yo) and you can explore the Nature Trails on the property.img_8678

What did we do?

  • Door County is all about the great outdoors and boy is it great.  There are 5 state parks and more than 50 beaches to enjoy.  We loved Cave Point County Park and there’s an easy walking trail although hold on to little kids as there is quite a drop on one side!  The rock formations are amazing, turn left to see the stacked rocks in the beach.
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  • Whitefish Dunes State Park is a fun spot for the kids with huge sand dunes hugging Lake Michigan.
    [#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon D80 Focal Length: 50mm Optimize Image: Color Mode: Mode Ia (sRGB) Long Exposure NR: Off High ISO NR: Off 2008/07/15 15:41:05.6 Digital Vari-Program: Auto White Balance: Auto Tone Comp.: Auto JPEG (8-bit) Fine Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern AF Mode: AF-A Hue Adjustment: 0° 1/250 sec - F/8 Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached Saturation: Color Exposure Comp.: 0 EV Sharpening: Auto Lens: 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 G Sensitivity: ISO 100 Image Comment: [#End of Shooting Data Section]
  • Earning its moniker as the Cape Cod of The Midwest, Door County is dotted with picturesque towns. You can easily while away the hours shopping, eating and walking through places like Sister Bay, Ephraim and Fish Creek.
  • I’m a lighthouse nerd and Door County has 11 historic lighthouses that protect the peninsula’s shores.  Cana Island Lighthouse is fascinating, especially if you get to wade out during high tide!img_8749
  • There are more than 50 beaches in Door County. Sister Bay Beach is a goodie for those with kids as there’s also a playground and large grassy areas.img_8727
  • When kids visit a farm, essentially all they want to do is play with the animals. Which is exactly what you get at The Farm!  Here you can feed goats, milk a goat, pat ducklings and best of all cuddle kittens!  I mean seriously, where else can you cuddle kittens.  The Farm is also a living museum of rural America with some interesting exhibits dotted around the beautiful grounds. If you can tear yourself away from the kittens.img_8656
  • Stop in at Renard’s Cheese where you can taste endless amounts of cheese curds and other Door County produce.img_8646
  • Sadly we missed just missed cherry picking season (Door County is among the top cherry producing regions in the USA). Although we did enjoy some cherry pie and cherry wine elsewhere!

Where did we eat?

  • Top Deck Restaurant in Gordon Lodge serves excellent food and wine.  Sit on the deck for sunset views over Lake Michigan.img_8686
  • I’m still dreaming of the amazing grilled cheese at the Bluefront Cafe. This airy spot with a delicious menu, is the perfect place for lunch if you’re passing through Sturgeon Bay.img_8649
  • It’s no surprise Wild Tomato have two pizza joints in Door County. Their pizzas are sensational and don’t forget the fried cheese curds!
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  • You can’t come to Sister Bay and not gawp at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant… there are goats on the roof![#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon D80 Focal Length: 135mm Optimize Image: Color Mode: Mode Ia (sRGB) Long Exposure NR: Off High ISO NR: Off 2008/08/01 09:12:27.6 Digital Vari-Program: Portrait White Balance: Auto Tone Comp.: Auto JPEG (8-bit) Fine Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern AF Mode: AF-A Hue Adjustment: 0° 1/500 sec - F/5.6 Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached Saturation: Color Exposure Comp.: 0 EV Sharpening: Auto Lens: 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 G Sensitivity: ISO 125 Image Comment: [#End of Shooting Data Section]
  • Check out the small but perfectly formed Bearded Heart Coffee for your caffeine fix if you’re in Baileys Harbor.
  • Wind up an afternoon at Sister Bay Beach with a yummy ice-cream from Door County Ice cream Factory.

 

A huge thanks to Jon Jarosh from the Door County Visitor Bureau for all his great suggestions and Door County knowledge!

 

 

 

Things to do

4 comments

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  1. Allison

    We’ll have to check this place out. We live in the Chicago area so it’s not too far from us. #citytripping

    1. Nicola

      you must, it’s stunning and so close to you!

  2. MummyTravels

    This looks so beautiful- I had no idea Wiston since had anywhere like this in. Thanks for linking for linking up with #citytripping

  3. WanderMum

    This looks beautiful! It’s great to find those peaceful places to recharge and relax a bit on a road trip and when going inbetween bigger cities.

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