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  • Stephanie Donnelly

Door County Summer Guide

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Welcome to Door County, WI! With 300 miles of shoreline, you can watch a sunrise and a sunset over the water without leaving the county. See thousands of acres of orchards, explore art galleries, devour cherry pie, sip on local wines and brews, splash in the lake or paddle along the bluffs, stroll through five state parks or tour 11 historic lighthouses. No matter what you're looking to get out of your vacation, Door County’s 19 unique communities allow you to live life well.



We’ve put together a travel guide filled with all of our favorite highlights and hidden places in Door County. Everything from food and drinks to places to stay and things to do are included with a short description for each. There’s something for everyone from foodies and adventure seekers to shoppers and history buffs. You’ll definitely want to add Door County to your must travel list, and you may just find a new favorite vacation spot.


Restaurants


Door County’s culinary influences may date back to the 1800s when Icelandic, Scandinavian, and European settlers began immigrating here, but the region’s position as a Midwestern culinary powerhouse is only a development of the last few decades. These days, you can find everything from kid-friendly fast-casual spots to classic Wisconsin supper clubs to pubs serving gourmet burgers to fine-dining restaurants embracing the latest in global food trends.


Chives

One of our favorite dining spots! Inspired by Wisconsin's tradition of sustainable agriculture, their menu features fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms. Everything is delicious, especially the chicken marsala! Chives in Baileys Harbor offers choices for everyone. Enjoy a farm to table culinary experience utilizing fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients, some of which are grown on property by their Chef. Complete your experience with one of their really good old fashioneds.


Wickman House

Known for their craft cocktails, the mixologists at Wickman House can whip up a beverage or two and serve especially good old fashioneds. Located in historic Ellison Bay, they serve an eclectic mix of surf and turf favorites that are sure to leave a lasting impression. Try their signature pork chop in the evening, or make plans to experience their brunch in the morning. There's nothing quite like it and something for everyone. Enjoy an exceptional, casual dining experience in the cozy dining room or a glass of wine in the gazebo.


Heirloom Café

Try something new every day at Heirloom Café with their rotating lunch menu. With weekly menu changes and daily specials, you’re always in for a delicious surprise when you stop by to eat. Ready to eat deli items, freezer meals, made from scratch bakery, and specialty coffee drinks are all additional reasons why you should make it a priority to stop by the café on your next visit.


Trixie’s

Delicious, photo ready, and perfect for a girl’s night out, Trixie’s is a place you won’t want to miss! Produce, dairy, and meats are sourced locally whenever possible. Everything at Trixie’s is created from scratch. Seasonality of ingredients is always taken into account by their chefs, and many of the local ingredients used are foraged by them as well.


Barringer's

Barringer’s is the place to go if you are a steak lover with an appetite! Their menu showcases specially selected steaks, fresh seafood, and generous sides. Weekly blackboard specials highlight their daily features. The historic dining room and indoor/outdoor bar provide the true Barringer’s experience with locally sourced ingredients and craft cocktails and wine selection by their in-house certified sommelier.


Wild Tomato

Family friendly, casual, and delicious, Wild Tomato is perfect for a night out or an evening in. Wild Tomato is founded on two things: using sustainable products to create an affordable dining experience and developing a broader definition of service. The restaurant not only produces the best wood-fired pizza, salads, sandwiches, and burgers on the peninsula, but also shares their success with the surrounding community. Specialty pizzas are rotated monthly, and a portion of their proceeds from that pizza go to the selected foundation or charity. Our personal favorite is their unmatched veggie pizza. Be sure to give them a try the next time you go!


Parador

Stop by for excellent tapas and delicious house made sangrias! Share small plates and a spirited evening with friends, family, and loved ones. Enjoy the cuisine of Spain made with the best locally sourced ingredients of Door County. Patatas bravas, charred cauliflower, and the bomba are our favorites. Hurry up, summer 2022 is their last season to be open!


Door County Ice Cream Factory

Serving its own Super-Premium Ice Cream made right in the store, the Door County Ice Cream Factory has more than 30 flavors to choose from (although our favorite is chambers island fudge) as well as a long list of sundaes and other specialty ice cream offerings. With more than 15 sandwiches all made to order, as well as homemade pizza, soups, and salads, there really is something for everyone.


Door County Creamery

Visit the Door County Creamery for the freshest goat milk and cheese you’ve tasted. Owners Jesse and Rachael let their beloved goats roam freely in the pasture and are waiting for you to visit them on one of their amazing Farm Lunch Tours. The creamery resides only one mile from the farm, which allows them to source the freshest possible milk. Jesse, Rachael and their amazing team ensure that the animals are well looked after and are producing the best goat milk possible. Jesse makes the freshest Chevre you have ever had along with a special cave-aged hard cheese called Falltum. Other hand-made cheeses produced are Farmhouse Bricks, French Fetas, Marinated Feta, Goat Cheddars, Fresh Cheese Curds and other seasonal cheeses. When you come to the creamery you may just spot Jesse through the production room doors making cheese or Rachael with a friendly smile welcoming you to their home.


The Roots Inn & Kitchen

Located in downtown Sister Bay, Roots Kitchen is a quaint pub with outdoor dining, open to the public Saturday-Tuesday for lunch, 11:30-2:30. The Kitchen can also be privately rented for a wide variety of events. The menu consists of a healthy alternative to pub food, with beer, wine, & craft soda.


Drinks


Indulge in the local flavors of all of your favorite types of drinks from coffee to ciders to local brews. Door County has some of the best drinks around that are sure to be a highlight of your visit and make you want to come back again for more!


Door County Brewery

Established in 2012 and located in Baileys Harbor, Door County Brewery values family, friendships and community above all else and creates one-of-a-kind craft beers to bring these all together. Our favorite withier is called “Little Sister.” This pale and cloudy witbier is brewed with equal parts Belgian pilsner malt and wheat. A blend of coriander, orange peel and other unique spices provide bright citrus and zesty notes. It’s intriguing, mischievous yet easy drinking.


Island Orchard Cider

Island Orchard Ciders drink like wines, but they have half the alcohol content and are not as heavy as a beer. Plus, they are gluten free! These ciders are produced from Door County apples grown at the Washington Island orchard along with other local growers. In 2006, 36 types of American, French, and English apple trees were planted specifically for the purpose of creating some of the best tasting ciders around. Taste these award winning ciders for yourself when you visit the Door County Cider House with flight tastings, small plates, and full pours of your favorite cider.


Bearded Heart Coffee

If you’re looking for the best espresso drinks around, Bearded Heart Coffee is sure to impress with their delicious house made syrups. In 2014, Bearded Heart Coffee opened its doors, giving Baileys Harbor its first taste of specialty coffee and tea. The café pairs espresso drinks and pour-overs with creative toasts on a tiny but thoughtful menu. Bearded Heart supports regional suppliers of organic, sustainable methods for everything from the coffee beans to the milk steamed for lattes and cappuccinos. Drinks depart from traditional offerings, folding in local ingredients. One example is the lavender latte, featuring lavender buds sourced from an herb farm located on nearby Washington Island. The Beautiful Burnt Goat latte features espresso, steamed milk, and salty burnt caramel syrup. For the Le Coeur a Barbe, espresso and star anise syrup are shaken over ice.


Shopping


It’s always a blast finding hidden gems anywhere you go, and you’re sure to find many treasures throughout Door County’s one of a kind shops!

Sister Golden

Sister Golden offers a thoughtfully curated collection of one-of-a-kind and vintage pieces from creative artisans around the world. Among the most unique offerings are Vicki's flower art pieces, made completely from Mother Nature. Sister Golden has garnered attention from design industry trendsetters like HGTV Magazine, Spirituality & Health Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, Apartment Therapy, Origin Magazine, and Popsugar.


Chelsea Antiques

Located in the beautiful Door County countryside, these shops are a celebration of the American home. Delight your senses and enhance all aspects of your lives from gardens and interior to foods and spirits. Chelsea Antiques (purveyors of fine English and French Antiques) has twice been voted best antiques shop in Wisconsin by readers of Wisconsin Trails Magazine.


Filled with tons of different styles of local artistry, Door County is an excellent destination for exclusive artwork. Local pottery, art galleries, jewelry makers, wood carvers, blacksmiths and more, these local artists create home and handmade pieces that are sure to be a conversation piece.


Fresh Produce


One of our favorite parts of Door County is the county’s focus on local and fresh produce throughout all of their offerings. You’ll definitely want to check out some of these local places for yourself!


Waseda Farms

Waseda Farms is an organic cattle/butcher and carries organic produce. Being able to trust where your food comes from is a very important aspect of their services to you. They are a certified organic farm located in Baileys Harbor and raise organic beef, pork, and poultry with almost 2 acres of produce in the summertime. Their humanely raised, hormone free animals enjoy over 300 acres of beautiful Door County farmland, and their market store is open year-round selling their products and many other Wisconsin culinary delights.


Greens N Grains

Greens N Grains is Door County's first and northern Door County's only full-service natural food store. Located in a historic building in the heart of Egg Harbor which housed one of the County's first mercantile stores, Greens N Grains provides a natural, organic option. Greens N Grains carries a full line of natural groceries including local, organic produce, poultry and meat, supplements, personal care items and educational materials. Better health begins when you walk through their door.


Baileys Harbor Fish Company

Enjoy fresh fish caught directly on their boats! Baileys Harbor offers fish caught from Lake Michigan and Green Bay waters. They catch, process, and sell native fish from their historic fish house. Fresh, frozen and smoked Whitefish are available at their local fish market, along with other popular seafood choices. Not only will they process your sport fish catch, but they will also professionally vacuum pack it for you.


Things To Do


There is so much to do and so little time! Make the most of your visits by hitting all of your favorite activities while learning about new ones.


Peninsula State Golf Course

Perhaps the most scenic 18 holes of golf in Wisconsin are in the middle of Peninsula State Park. Since 1921, golfers have been enjoying this spectacular rolling woodlands course lined with majestic oak, maple, and birch (not to be missed in the fall!) With its panoramic views of the waters of Green Bay, the shoreline and villages of the peninsula, cameras are a necessity along with clubs. Excellent playing conditions, reasonable rates and a friendly atmosphere make Peninsula a golfing must.


Peninsula State Park

Peninsula State Park is a 3,776-acre state treasure on Wisconsin's Door County peninsula. Recreational opportunities are endless. Visitors can hike, bike, boat, fish, golf, and swim during spring, summer, and fall while winter offers cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and snowmobiling. Camping, nature programs, and sightseeing are offered year-round.


Whitefish Dunes State Park

Enjoy 863 acres of forest and dunes on rugged Lake Michigan shore with a mile of sand beach, two miles of rocky shore, and the highest sand dunes in Wisconsin. Hiking, ski touring, snowshoeing, swimming, and fishing are available during the different seasons, so no matter when you visit there is sure to be something to do!


Cave Point Park

Cave Point County Park is perhaps the most iconic natural landscape in all of Door County. Revered by divers, photographers, swimmers, hikers, and all who visit, the beautifully carved rock faces lining the blue waters of Lake Michigan are quintessentially Door County. While not a state or national park, Cave Point has no shortage of majesty. Local county officials preserve the park, offering free admission to the picnic areas, trails, and spectacular views just up the beach from Whitefish Dunes State Park.


The Ridges Sanctuary

Founded in 1937, The Ridges Sanctuary is Wisconsin's first land trust, protecting the state's most biologically diverse ecosystem. Its ridge-swale complex provides a variety of environmental conditions from open beach to densely shaded conifer forest, home to 500 species of plants, 60 species of birds and 12 threatened or endangered species like the Hine's Emerald dragonfly. Each year, thousands hike trails where orchids thrive as they did when the paths were first cleared by founding members.


Pirates Cove Mini Golf

Meet the challenge and discover the fun! Enjoy 18 challenging championship holes, where you putt your way through mountain caves, over footbridges, and under cascading waterfalls! It’s sure to be swashbuckling fun for the entire family!


The Farm

Kids love this interactive farm filled with all kinds of barn animals. There are farm animals that are fenced in as well as animals that roam freely on the property for you and your kids to pet and hold. A few of these animals include sheep, baby kittens to hold, and baby goats to feed milk.

Be transported back in time when you visit the sheds and cabins dating back to the 1850s for you to explore and learn about what farm life was like many years ago. They also have old farm equipment used to show you how they used to do things “back in the day.”


Land Lovers List


Skyview Drive-In features a classic drive-in movie theater that’s sure to be a hit for all ages! Are you more into traditional theater experiences rather than modern movies? Northern Sky’s outdoor theatre is the outdoor entertainment for you! Not wanting to chance the weather? Check out Peninsula Players indoor theatre as they proudly present plays for your enjoyment. Looking for adventure with a twist? Door County’s Trolley Ghost Tours take you the scenic route as you tour local pubs and wineries while learning about folklore of the past.


Shipwreck Tours

Door County is a treasure trove of Great Lakes shipwrecks and shipwreck diving. More than 275 wrecks remain at the bottom of the lake, and dozens can be explored by boat, kayak, or wreck diving and tours.


Lake Lovers Life

Camp on the lake at any number of camp sites located throughout Door County and discover all that Door has to offer! Take a lighthouse tour, go boating on Lake Michigan, or rent paddle boards and kayaks to explore the lakeshore. There are plenty of beaches to visit and local fishing charters to board!


History


Not only does this county feature tons of development and new designs, but it also carries with it much history that is just as lively as the present!


Alexander Nobel House

Visit the Alexander Noble House, built in 1875, an authentic example of a Greek revival farmhouse. Lived in by 3 generations of the Noble family, it is a landmark on Fish Creek's busiest corner. Enjoy a tour of the 10-room home and experience a portrayal of domestic life in Door County at the turn of the century. Special Exhibit will feature "A Glimpse of Old Fish Creek". Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this museum is a must see.


Anderson Dock & Museum

A rare example where graffiti is an accepted part of an attraction is at Anderson Dock. A posted sign notes that boaters have "signed" the dockside warehouse walls for years with their boats' names and the year that they docked.


Lodging


You’ll be glad to finally rest your head after a fun filled day packed with activity, but your Door County experience doesn’t need to stop there!


The Roots Inn & Kitchen

Roots Inn is a beautiful historic building located in the heart of downtown Sister Bay. The Inn sits on a gorgeous piece of property, completely secluded with mature landscaping, yet steps from the beach, music pavilion, restaurants, bars, & shops.


Whistling Swan Inn & Restaurant

A meticulously renovated country inn with one hundred years of intriguing history, an elegantly appointed room or suite, embellished with antiques, and a picturesque harbor village in the heart of Door County awaits you at the Whistling Swan. Not only is it close to harbor, beaches, Peninsula State Park, galleries and shops, but it also includes a full breakfast.


Blacksmith Inn

Nestled on the shore, the Blacksmith Inn offers the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway. Each of the 15 guest rooms offers an in-room whirlpool, fireplace, and an extraordinary view of Baileys Harbor. Bed and breakfast charm and complete privacy allow you to unwind and relax. Linger over their homemade continental breakfast from your balcony, wander down to the shore and take a double kayak for an explore, or hop on a tandem bicycle and meander the backroads at the Blacksmith Inn, in the heart of Door County.


(Bonus Event!)


Fourth of July


The Fourth of July is an event no one wants to miss in Door County! Bailey’s Harbor boasts a fantastic parade, delicious food, incredible drinks, an art fair, live music, and spectacular fireworks show at dusk. This is the event of the year!


Wherever you decide to plan your next trip, we hope you share your adventures with us and let us know when you make your way to Door County!




~This blog was brought to you by S. Donnelly Interiors. Learn more about the interior design project process by following Stephanie Donnelly and her interior design services in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and the surrounding areas!


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