city guide | door county, wisconsin

Baby Moon time! Mr. A and I skipped town a few weeks ago for a weekend get away to Door County, WI. If you’re not familiar with Wisconsin, it’s the thumb of the left-handed mitten.

For those of you currently in the Baby Moon debacle, as a fellow contemplater of the concept, I love that we went. Traveling while pregnant wasn’t so bad and we genuinely had a great time. Did we sit and reflect on how excited we are for baby and that this might be the last getaway without a stroller and a million pounds of his stuff? Heck no! We actually tried to NOT talk about the little peanut and instead just enjoyed talking about things like: movies, if I should get bangs, and how we should redo the back yard.

Still early in the tourist season for Northern Wisconsin, we had to pay special attention to business hours and ruled out any water activities, but there was still plenty of good food to eat and little picturesque towns to explore. I loved it because at 8 months pregnant with energy levels not up to par with where they normally are, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on too much if I was in bed by 10:00 p.m.

Having lived in Wisconsin for four years, this wasn’t my first rodeo; Door County is one of my favorite summer vacay spots. It’s known for the beautiful scenery, cherries, lighthouses, fish boils, and sunsets. It’s a great place for pure relaxation.

Door County, WI City Guide

Copy our trip below! I also included some things I’ve enjoyed from trips gone past.

Door County, WI City Guide Thorp House InnDoor County, WI City Guide Thorp House InnDoor County, WI City Guide Thorp House InnDoor County, WI City GuideDoor County, WI City Guide Thorp House Inn

Where We Stayed:

The Thorp House Inn | Mr. A and I stayed here for our Baby Moon and with assumptions of portraits from the 1800’s, eating breakfast with strangers, and creaky beds flashing through our heads, we weren’t sure what to expect for our first stay at a Bed and Breakfast. Well, you know what happens when you assume things…

Dating back to 1902, the Thorp House Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was originally owned by the nephew of the founder of Fish Creek. After tragically drowning in a steamship accident, his widow started renting rooms and the Inn was born. It has been kept up beautifully complete with rocking chairs on the porch, a library for you to peruse, true-to-the-time furnishings, and just enough modern amenities to make you feel you’re not staying at grandmas.

Having both a main house and small cottages throughout the grounds, it’s an option for both families and couples alike. We stayed in the Jessie room in the main house and with a fire place, Jacuzzi, plenty of space, and one of those beds you just sink into, we were in heaaaven. For being an old house, we never heard a peep from the other tenants or creaks whenever someone moved and made ourselves right at home. It was so nice to just be able to pop downstairs as soon as we woke up to the dinning and kitchen area where the proprietor, Melanie, served individual quiches made with an abundance of veggies and flavor, fresh fruit, home-made muffins, coffee, juice, and other breakfast fare. Much more enjoyable than waiting 45 min. for 2 eggs and a side of hash browns!

Peninsula State Park | If camping is your aim, this is your game. Immediately upon jumping out of the car, the world kinda slides off your shoulders. The sites are secluded with tall pines on all sides and a faint campfire smell lingers in the air while birds chirp away. It feels as if you’re the only one there, yet right in the grounds are hiking trails galore, lighthouses to see, amazing views of the bay and the prettiest sunsets you’ve ever laid your eyes on, and a lookout tower that expands the tops of the trees. It’s my personal favorite way to stay and at around $20/night (this includes your State Park vehicle pass), also the most cost efficient!

If you’re looking for something in between a B&B and Campground, there are tons of hotels and rentals scattered throughout DC. I would recommend staying on the Bay Side (the East Side) in either Fish Creek or Ephraim as they have more of the popular restaurants, shops, and things to do and they are the most centrally located for the other attractions in neighboring towns.

What We Ate:

Door County, WI City GuideDoor County, WI City GuideDoor County, WI City Guide

Mr. Helsinki | Not the best meal I’ve had in Door County and a little on the spendy side, but if you’re more adventurous in your foodie choices, check it out. What was once a crepe operation, it has evolved into an Asian-fusion menu with a twist on your classic crepe still one of their specialties. We started with the Lemongrass crab cakes followed by the Brandy Apple Pork Crepe (Mr. A’s choice) and the Spinach and Shiitake Crepe (my choice). They both could have used less crepe and more of the good stuff. I wish I would have tried their Mr. Helsinki burger (looked and sounds delish) and their famous Banana Foster, but even this prego mama was too full to enjoy another bite.

Blue Horse Beach Cafe | A bright, breezy cafe and coffee shop with blonde wood floors, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and floor length windows with views of the bay. Start your day here and try the “Vacationer Latte.”

Sweetie Pies | PIE, PIE, and more PIE! You can’t come to Door County without enjoying some form of cherries. My recommendation? Get your dose in Sweetie Pie form. Consider buying a whole pie and bring some home for family and friends or buy a day old piece as their individual piece prices are $7 of INSANE.

Wild Tomato Wood Fire Pizza | Normally wood fire pizza equates with skimpy, trendy pizzas like your margherita or other little sauce varieties. Not here. With an open, down-to-earth, hang-out-vibe setting, you can watch the whole process from hand-tossing to stone fire grilling. They pile on the toppings with either a make your own option (think cheese curds, spin artichoke dip, and smoked pork) or some of the best specialty combos I’ve ever heard of . Double thumbs up: they’re also topping-splitter friendly for those who like to try multiple combos on one pizza. We tried (and HIGHLY recommend) a large pizza with half Green and Gold and half Fun Guy. Get with their homemade cherry soda and you’ll have a food baby cooking in no time.

Grasse’s Grill | We came here on a whim after we found Al Johnson’s offerings a little too touristy (plus we were a little annoyed the goats weren’t on the roof in 60’s and sunny weather). It’s a gem. They are full service: from bfast to dinner from soda to craft beer (no hard liquor though) and you’ll want to try a bite of everything on the menu. For lunch, their menu is on the lighter side with sandwiches, burgers, salads, and plenty of desserts. Mr. A and I highly recommend the Fish Tacos, Harvey’s Burger with a black bean burger patty (two thumbs up that all burgers can be substituted for their black bean patty), and end your meal with a Baumeister Cherry Soda Float.

Fred & Fuzzy’s Waterfront Bar & Grill | Go for their Friday fish fry, sip on a cherry margarita, and enjoy the sunshine in their vast outdoor seating!

What We Did (Plus some Extras):

Door County, WI City Guide, Red Putter Mini GolfDoor County, WI City GuideDoor County, WI City GuideDoor County, WI City Guide

Take in a Lighthouse or Two | There are 11 lighthouses scattered around the peninsula that each have their own history and interesting architectural reasoning. Check out this brochure for a little DIY, self tour.

Visit the State Parks | For swimming and hiking, these are your best spots. Peninsula State Park has the most challenging hiking trails with the best views, but the hike to the top of Old Baldy (the highest sand dune in the state) via the red trail at Whitefish Dunes State Park is a close second. Peninsula State Park is also more centrally located if you’re staying in the more Northern part of DC and they have some great bike trails. A trip to Whitefish Dunes State Park, however, can promise the gorgeous white, sandy beaches and turquoise water that Lake Michigan is famous for. If at Whitefish, the short side trip to see the Cave Point County Park is also a must.

Shop | A few of my favorites stops are: Fred Boutique– trendy, reasonable-priced clothing and accessories, Blacksmith Clothing Co. -one of my favorite spots for unique jewelry!, and Spot -an eclectic gift and women’s clothing shop,

Red Putter Mini Golf | Everything you imagine when you think of a classic mini golf course. Sure, it could use a coat of paint, but it’s charming as heck. Each hole has a nursery theme complete with props around the theme along with a rhyme with hints on how to hit the ball. There are no over-the-top waterfalls and pirate ships and the atmosphere is more laid back. Also at $4 a round, you really can’t complain!

Buy something cherry | You would never guess, but Door County, WI is home to one of the US’s top-producing areas of cherries. Trust me, they don’t let you forget it. From desserts to sauces to wines to sodas to salsas, everything has been experimentally made with cherries. As you drive from town-to-town, you’ll notice dozens of roadside markets that all have cherries, fudge, and other market goodies. Essentially they’re all the same: touristy and a little on pricey side, so once you’ve stopped at one, you’ve really stopped at them all. Lautenbach’s has free wine tasting and tours which is a bonus and Wood Orchard Market is known for their abundance of samples. Choice Orchards and Cherry Lane Orchards are also great options if you’re in DC during cherry picking time – grab a bucket and pick your own!

Take a Day Trip to Washington Island | My FAVORITE thing to do in DC. Get up early, pack some snacks, and a good book and plan a 1/2 day or whole day trip to Washington Island. To get there, you’ll need to take a 35 min. ferry ride– with or without your vehicle (if going without a vehicle, bring or plan on renting a bicycle), but once there, getting around is easy. Your first stop should be the geological stunning Schoolhouse Beach. It’s mysteriously made up naturally of ALL white, perfectly rounded white stone (see how many you can stack!). They have picnic areas as well as areas to swim, snorkel, and sun bathe. They also have some great hiking and look out towers around the island.

Grab a Bottle of Wine and Watch a Sunset | There’s a great spot at the most Western end of Main St. in Fish Creek called Sunset Beach Park. It’s quite popular, but worth the view!

Anderson Dock/The Francis Hardy Gallery | You can’t miss Anderson Dock with it’s bright red and graffiti-ed exterior. If you can find a spare few inches, feel free to bring your own paint and brushes to add your own name. A great photo op! Not only is the exterior a work of art, step inside the old boat house and check out the Hardy Gallery, a low key, small art gallery with unique displays that rotate throughout the summer.

Take in a flick at Skyway Drive in Movie | Every weekend features two movies that are currently still in theaters! Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and portable radios for a movie under the stars. The screen is so big, there really isn’t a bad spot in the house.

Other Ideas | Go Kayaking, Experience an old-fashioned fish boil (you are a tourist after all), or get crafty at the Hands On Art Studio (Friday evenings are adults only)

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