Door County: Stay. Eat. Explore.
Updated: Oct 16, 2018
When most people think of Wisconsin your first thought is of cheese. You would be correct, but living here for the better part of this year I can tell you the Badger State offers so much more: beer, brats, the Packers, and Door County... or as I would liken it: Heaven in the Midwest. Honestly, I've never seen it's natural equal, though comparing adventures is usually like comparing apples to oranges.
Door County is located on a peninsula stretching from Green Bay to Lake Michigan. A popular vacation and relaxation destination for many from Memorial Day to Labor Day, it is the perfect spot for those nautically inclined. However, the county is so much more than vessel ports. I've been fortunate enough to visit Door County three times(!) this year: once in the dead of winter, once in steamy swells of July, and most recently, in September. While each visit has had it's own charm, today's post is about my autumn adventure.
We started off our mini-vacay with food and drink at Top Deck Restaurant, a converted boathouse turned stunning dining spot. The seafood fettuccine was to die for! It's located at the Gordon Lodge, where we stayed our first two nights and woke up to this view right outside our bedroom:
I know, right?! Totally insane. From the moment we woke up, we knew we made the right decision to book our stay with Gordon Lodge. Not only can the resort boast views like this, they also offer free kayaks and paddle boats to take out on the water, a private beach, guided tours, and... well... you get the gist. Follow the link above to book you stay now. Pro tip: check out Trip Advisor for major discounts in the off season.
One of my most favorite parts of this trip might have been experiencing apple picking for the first time ever. Ricky surprised me several times during our trip, and the first stop was at Lautenbach's Orchard Country. Walk right in to their shop and you'll be surrounded by foods containing world-famous Door County cherries (including salsa) and Lautenbach wines. You can sample several of the wines (in-house and imports) at their complimentary wine bar. I would highly suggest the Blackberry Splash wine. After sampling some wine, buy a bag at the counter and head out to orchard for some insta-worthy fun!
We picked at least 5 different varieties of apples, our favorite being Blondees aka yellow apples. However, to completely skip over the Honeycrisp section of the orchard would be a major mistake. With our bundle of apples filled to the brim we gorged ourselves for almost two weeks!
As I said before, Door County is bursting with activities and adventures. From trolley tours, to adventure rafting tours, to breweries and ciders houses, to a Swedish restaurant that houses goats on their grass roof... the list goes on and on and on. My favorite activities are, by far and away, the outdoor excursions off the beaten path.
Right before Ricky started making our way back down the peninsula and back to the realities of life, we made a pit stop at Cave Point County Park. The park is lined with beaches and natural gorges. Some parts of the park were closed off due to the incoming thunderstorms, but honestly, the intensity of the waves made the stop totally worth it. The photo you see below has some editing to it, but the color was that like I've only seen on the shores of Ireland at the Giant's Causeway. The blue-green hue is indescribable unless you've seen it for yourself... and you should!
I highly recommend checking out the parks in Door County. Cave Point isn't even the most well known, that title belongs to Peninsula State Park. Take a walk, explore historic cemeteries, catch a play or musical at one of the outdoor theaters in the summer, rent a kayak, canoe, or paddle boat and go fishing. So much to do and so little time. What are you waiting for?!