Menu

Marine News from the Great Lakes

Door County, Wisconsin

Cruising the Great Lakes

Published: Friday, May 18, 2012 7:00 am
By: Joy McPeters, written for Marinalife

Often referred to as the Cape Cod of the Midwest, Wisconsin’s Door County has more than 300 miles of shoreline packed with activities and great boating destinations. The 75-mile-long peninsula is studded with restaurants, boutiques, and performing arts venues, and hosts numerous summer festivals. The surrounding waters are excellent fishing grounds. Start your cruise at Sturgeon Bay, near the peninsula’s southern end, then head north to explore the charming outposts of Fish Creek, Ephraim, Sister Bay, and Washington Island.

Fish Creek

Founded by farmers, lumberjacks and fisherman, Fish Creek is a small, walk-able village with tree-lined streets that’s a wonderful place to spend a few days.

WHAT TO DO
Since 1935, the Peninsula Players Theater Company has been bringing top-notch plays and performances to the area. It’s said to be the oldest professional resident summer theater in the country. The 2011 season runs from June 14 through October 16. (4351 Peninsula Players Rd., 920-868-3287)

WHERE TO EAT
Indulge in a traditional fish boil at Pelletier’s Restaurant. Lake Michigan whitefish, new potatoes, and onions are cooked together in a giant cauldron, then served with coleslaw and house-baked rye bread. For dessert there’s cherry pie, a regional specialty. (4199 Main St., 920-868-3313)

WHERE TO DOCK
Alibi Marina has lovely views of Peninsula State Park and 24 transient slips for boats up to 125 feet. (920-868-3789, www.alibimarina.com)

Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay is the regional hub and has a vibrant nautical heritage.High performance luxury yacht builders Palmer Johnson have been based there for more than 90 years.

WHAT TO DO
Door County Maritime Museum the 20,000-square-foot waterfront space features the John Purves, a restored 1919 red tug, plus exhibits about the Great Lakes’ haunted lighthouses and Sturgeon Bay’s WorldWar II shipbuilding boom. (120 N. Madison Ave., 920-743-5958)

WHERE TO EAT
The cozy Bluefront Cafe is a local favorite for its pan-fried walleye with crunchy slaw and baby back ribs with house-made cherry-barbecue sauce. (86 W. Maple St., 920-743-9218)

WHERE TO DOCK
Harbor Club Marina offers concierge-style dock service, private bathroom suites, dockside pump-out, a heated pool, and a boaters’ lounge. (123 Madison Ave., 920-743-6900, www.skipperbuds.com)

Full-service Quarterdeck Marina has a picnic area, ship’s store, gasoline and diesel, and pump-out services. (910 Hwy. 42/57, 920-743-8985, www.skipperbuds.com)

Washington Island

Located about six miles off the tip of the peninsula,Washington Island is popular for its tranquil landscapes and laid-back way of life.

WHAT TO DO
Don’t miss a visit to the stunning wooden stavkirke church, constructed by hand by local craftsmen and based on a 12th-century Norwegian structure. (Town Line Rd., 920-847-2341)

WHERE TO EAT
Hit the Fiddler’s Green pub for great sandwiches and bar snacks, expertly poured pints of Guinness, and rollicking jam sessions. (1699 Jackson Harbor Rd., 920-847-2282)

WHERE TO DOCK
The full-service Shipyard Island Marina has transient slips and haul-out and boat-repair services. (166 S. Shore Dr., 920-847-2533, www.shipyardisland.com)

Ephraim

Picturesque Ephraim is loaded with shops, galleries, and historic structures that speak to its deep Scandinavian roots.

WHAT TO DO
The 3,776-acre Peninsula State Park has hiking and biking trails, a sand beach, an 18-hole golf course, and an observation tower that offers 360-degree views. (608-266-2621)

WHERE TO EAT
With its old-fashioned soda fountain, juicy hamburgers, and specialty sundaes,Wilson’s Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlor has been luring visitors young and old since 1906. (9990 Water St., 920-854-2041)

WHERE TO DOCK
Set on the protected waters of Eagle Harbor, across from the limestone bluffs of Peninsula State Park, Ephraim Yacht Harbor offers transient slips, fuel, and freeWiFi. (10051 Water St., 920-854-4014, www.eyhdc.com)

Sister Bay

The village of Sister Bay is a thriving arts community that proudly keeps alive the traditions of its original German, Norwegian, and Swedish settlers.

WHAT TO DO
For an up-close look at the area’s coastal cliffs, caves, and rivers, rent a kayak from leading outfitter Bay Shore Outdoor Store. Better yet, book a sunset kayaking tour. (2457 S. Bay Shore Dr., 920-854-7598)

WHERE TO EAT
Al Johnson’s is an iconic family-owned Swedish restaurant, known for the goats that graze on the sod roof and Swedish dishes such as meatballs served with rye bread and lingonberries. (10698 N. Bay Shore Dr., 800-241-9914)

WHERE TO DOCK
Sister Bay Marina has 35 transient slips, two commercial slips, and a launch ramp. (10733 N. Bay Shore Dr., 920-854-4457, www.sisterbay.com/Marina.htm)


tags: Destination, Lake Michigan

Go back | Show other stories