Road Trip:

Scenic Door County, Wis­con­sin

Lonely Planet Magazine (US) - - Contents -

Jut­ting into the wa­ters of Green Bay and Lake Michi­gan, Door County is a rocky penin­sula dot­ted with tiny towns with mar­itime names like Stur­geon Bay, Fish Creek and Bai­leys Har­bor. By fall, the coast is lined with rich au­tumn col­ors, and the crowds are thinned out enough that you can en­joy the tran­quil peace of these lake­side com­mu­ni­ties.

FRI­DAY 1 Stur­geon Bay

Be­gin at Stur­geon Bay, the only

“city” you’ll come across dur­ing your trip through Door County (pop. around 28,000). Strike out on the lime­stone clis of Potawatomi State Park ( dnr.wi.gov), about 5 miles north of town; dip into the shop­ping dis­trict along his­toric Third Av­enue; or swing by the Door County Mar­itime Mu­seum ($15; dcmm.org), which cel­e­brates the com­mu­nity’s ship­build­ing his­tory. Stay at Chan­ti­cleer Guest House (from $180;

chan­ti­cleer­guest­house.com),

a con­verted farm­house and barn tucked within 70 acres of pri­vate land.

SATUR­DAY 2 Egg Har­bor

Head­ing north, the towns only get smaller. Egg Har­bor is worth a stop for its docks of sway­ing sail­boats and charming restau­rants. Stretch your legs at Har­bor View Park ( vil­la­ge­ofegg har­bor.org) and en­joy the full view of the shim­mer­ing blue wa­ters of Green Bay be­fore stop­ping in Har­bor View Grill ( the­har­borview­grill.com) for cocktails and flaky white­fish tacos.

3 Fish Creek

The town of Fish Creek has a de­light­fully walk­a­ble down­town area lined with shops, bars and cafés, like the pop­u­lar Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza and Grille ( wild­tomatopizza.com) and frozen cus­tard pur­veyor Not

Licked Yet ( notlickedyet.com). Fish

Creek Scenic Boat Tours ( fishcreekscenic boat­tours.com) leads cruises along the bay, check­ing out the turn-of-the-cen­tury man­sions of “Mil­lion­aire’s Row,” his­toric light­houses and many nat­u­ral ar­eas. Stay at Julie’s Park

Café & Mo­tel (from $60;

julies­mo­tel.com), a great low-cost op­tion lo­cated be­side Penin­sula State Park. The at­tached café serves eggs, sand­wiches and burg­ers all day.

SUN­DAY 4 Bai­leys Har­bor

Across the penin­sula, on the more laid-back Lake Michi­gan side of Door County, Bai­leys Har­bor is a quaint hide­away and home of the rus­tic

Door County Brew­ing Co. Tap Room &Mu­si­cal Hall( door county mu­sic hall .com). Sam­ple the Lit­tle Sis­ter Wit­bier or Polka King Porter and par­tic­i­pate in friendly lawn games out front, or lis­ten to live bands in the back.

5 Gills Rock

Pass­ing through the small ham­let of El­li­son Bay and the pic­turesque El­li­son Blu State Nat­u­ral Area ( dnr.wi.gov), you’ll reach the north­ern­most town on the main Door County penin­sula: Gills Rock. The town con­sists of lit­tle more than a few shops, a mar­itime mu­seum and one of the best restau­rants in Door County, The Shore­line ( theshore­liner­estau­rant.com).

6 New­port State Park

Per­haps the best rea­son to visit this slice of Door County is New­port

State Park ( dnr.wi.gov), fea­tur­ing o”-de­serted beaches that are a huge con­trast to the crowded trails of Penin­sula State Park, to the south­west. An even big­ger se­cret can be found just a short drive away at Europe Bay Beach, a vir­tu­ally locals-only beach where you can ex­plore the sand dunes and take in the won­der­ful soli­tude. Stay at The Har­bor Light Inn (from $99; har­borlight

in­ndc.com), which has two guest suites in­side a replica light­house. Eight other suites are lo­cated in the neigh­bor­ing build­ing.

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