Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Category: Road Trip (Page 2 of 7)

Eating and Drinking in Door County

Sunset over Fish Creek Marina

Fish Creek from the Peninsula State Park

When planning our time in Door County, I found lighthouses, parks and outdoor recreation, restaurants, and lots of wineries. If you’ve read this blog before you should be familiar with our love of food and wine tourism. When we travel, we love to eat the local food and try the small local winery, even if they aren’t always great.

One thing that was interesting the learn is that most of the wineries in Door County use grapes from California or other parts of the country. Some of them are starting to grow their own grapes, but the production is not where they can make wine exclusively from estate-grown grapes.

Roof Grazing Goats

Goat grazing on the roof at Al Johnson’s Swedish restaurant in Sister Bay.

We enjoyed most of the wines we tried in Door County and came home with more bottles when we expected to.  Door Peninsula Winery was one of our favorites. They are the biggest wine producer in all of Wisconsin producing inexpensive, quality wines. The Door County Distillery is also on-site, producing spirits you can’t find anywhere else. Von Stiehl Winery was another one of our favorites. The oldest operating winery in Wisconsin, Von Stiehl was the last winery we visited in Wisconsin and the quality of the wines really outshined all the others.

After scouring TripAdvisor for where to eat in Door County, I settled on Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant (left). It’s not often you encounter Swedish Food outside of the IKEA cafe so I was excited to give it a try. One thing that surprised me when we got to the restaurant was the goats grazing on the grass roof. That was unlike anything I had ever seen before for sure. When we got home, we discovered you can watch the goats from the comfort of your home from Al Johnson’s goat cam. The goats are not on the roof in winter, so be sure to bookmark that page and check it out in May when they come back for the season.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Door County WI Pinterest

 

Cana Island Lighthouse

Tractor Driving over Water

When planning our trip to Door County, I kept hearing that we HAD to check out Cana Island Lighthouse. The Cana Island Lighthouse is the most iconic lighthouse in the area and is a popular tourist attraction even during Social Distancing in 2020.

The name Cana Island Lighthouse implies that it is not on the mainland. You can’t drive to it and you don’t take a boat to it. Instead, you leave your car at a parking lot in Bailey’s Harbor and ride a haywagon pulled by a tractor over the water to the island. Obviously, this practice was started before the Great Lakes water levels were as high as they are today. Our driver told us the deepest spot she droves us through was three feet deep this summer. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never ridden a wagon over water before so I thought this was super cool.

You can also walk/wade out to the lighthouse. If we had more time in Door County and proper footwear, we probably would’ve done that. As we were leaving, we watched a family wade across the water to the visitor’s center with the children splashing the way.

Cana Island Lighthouse

Being 2020, we were not able to go inside the lighthouse and maybe that is why the lighthouse was not as impressive as everything I had read in advance said it would be. Maybe I’ve been to too many Great Lakes lighthouses. But, that was my first time riding a tractor across Lake Michigan and that was super fun!

If I was in Door County again, I would definitely visit Cana Island again. I will have to go back when the lighthouse is open for climbing. I have heard that the view from the top is unbeatable. Maybe we will be brave and walk across the water. If the water levels keep rising, they are going to have to trade that tractor in for a boat.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Great Lakes Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Cana Island Pinterest Graphic

Peninsula State Park

Boat on Green Bay Sunset

Sunset from Peninsula State Park

Door County, Wisconsin has been on my list of places to visit since I first discovered it when I was in college. I quickly realized that from Michigan, its not the easiest place to get to and it got pushed to the back burner. But, this summer when we were planning to visit the far western end of the U.P., it finally made sense to visit Wisconsin’s peninsula in Lake Michigan.

The Door Peninsula is the easternmost part of Wisconsin and separates Green Bay from Lake Michigan. This is a very popular vacation destination for people from the Chicago area as well as other parts of Wisconsin. This area is home to several lighthouses, several historic sights, and plenty of freshwater for water sports.

When planning to camp in Door County, there are five state parks to choose from:  Newport State Park, Peninsula State Park, Potawatomi State Park, Whitefish Dunes State Park, and Rock Island State Park. Rock Island State Park was closed this year due to high water levels. We were late to the game planning this trip and there was one spot open at Peninsula State Park so that made the decision pretty easy.

Sunset over Green Bay

Peninsula State Park, located north of Fish Creek, is the most popular park in the Wisconsin State Park system. This is a huge park with over 460 campsites, a golf course, beach, lighthouse, and miles of trails to explore. This is a popular sunset viewing location. I loved watched the go down each night over Green Bay. I felt like the two nights we had to explore here where nowhere near enough.

The rustic campsites in the Tennison Bay campground were some of the nicest we have seen. The sites were wooded and very private and for the most part it was a quiet and calm campground. Even though 2020 was a big camping summer and the campground was full, it felt like we were the only people there.

The way the Wisconsin State Park service handled COVID left something to be desired. A few days before we arrived we received an email saying the bathrooms may or may not be open; showers may or may not be available. And the kicker, we had to buy an annual state park pass even though we were only going to be there two days (day passes are not sold this year). We were already several days into our trip at this point and considered completely changing our plans because of this. We are tent campers, we need bathrooms and I have no interest in carrying around a portable toilet. Luckily, when we got to the park, the bathrooms were open and clean, but there was not a single ranger to be found. So, I’m really glad I bought that annual pass that no one even looked at.

Overall, I would return to Peninsula State Park. There is still a lot of that park left to be explored. I just wish they I didn’t have to buy an expensive, out of state, annual park pass that I used for two days.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out our Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Peninsula State Park Pinterest Graphic

Bond Falls

Bond Falls

Bond Falls is one of the most popular and iconic waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula. Located East of Paulding, the falls, located on the middle branch of the Ontonogan River, are definitely off the beaten path, but people still flock to see them. At 50 feet high and over one hundred feet wide, this is one of the largest waterfalls in Michigan. Many Yoopers consider Bond Falls better than the mighty Tahquamenon. The water level is controlled by a dam, so the volume of water is pretty consistent throughout the year.

With wooden boardwalks around the falls, this waterfall is one of the most accessible I’ve been to. While Agate Falls involved a strenuous hike, the trails around Bond Falls are only half a mile long. Additional trails go off the boardwalk if you are looking for a more rugged experience.

Bond Falls is one of those places that I have wanted to visit since I first saw a picture of it and it did not disappoint. It is in the perfect spot going from Porcupine Mountains to Wisconsin. We visited pretty early in the morning, so we pretty much had the place to themselves, which at an outdoor site in 2020, that is pretty special.

With the high water levels of the great lakes, the water level at Bond Falls is high too. Some of the boardwalks were wet and others were beginning to be under water. Now, if you plan to visit at a warm time, just make sure to wear shoes you wouldn’t mind getting wet. If you are going to visit when it is cold, keep an eye on the trail and watch out for ice.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, visit my Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Bond Falls Pinterest Graphic

Agate Falls

Railroad Bridge over Agate FallsWhen our time at the Porcupine Mountains was ended, we packed up camp and made our way to Wisconsin. On the way, we planned to stop at two Michigan waterfalls, one more well known than the other. Agate Falls is located in a small roadside park near Bruce Crossing in the Western Upper Peninsula.

Agate Falls is a lesser-known Michigan waterfall. Before stopping there, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a picture of this waterfall. From Porcupine Mountains, it is less than an hour’s drive to Agate Falls. Being that we left camp pretty early, we were the only car in the parking lot when we arrived. It is a short, easy walk from the parking area to the viewing platform at the crest of the waterfall.

The top of the waterfall is typically not the best vantage point to get a photo from but at this waterfall, that is where the path ends. If you have time and are up for an adventure, you can scramble down a hill to get to ther base of the falls where you can get the above shot with the abandoned railroad bridge in it. Just remember, it’s much easier to walk down than it is to climb back up.

Apparently, there is also a way to get onto the abandoned railroad bridge to see the falls from up above. Don’t worry it is now a snowmobile trail so it is safe to be up there. I wonder what the falls look like from that vantage point?

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about our Great Lakes – Great Summer road trip, check out the trip report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Agate Falls Pinterest Graphic

 

Hiking Porcupine Mountains: Summit Peak

View from Summit Peak

The view from the Summit Peak observation tower

The observation tower atop Summit Peak is the highest point in Michigan at close to 2,000 feet above sea level. The hike is less than a mile round trip but with a 223 ft elevation gain, the half a mile hike to the tower is nothing to sneeze at. The hike to the tower is uphill the whole way, and let me tell you, my legs felt it. Luckily, there is a bench at the top to rest before climbing the stairs to the observation tower.

From the top of the tower, you can see the many hills of the Porkies as well as the crystal clear Lake Superior waters. On a clear day, you can see Isle Royale and the Apostle Islands from up there. It really is a beautiful place to stop and take in the magestic beauty that is the Upper Peninsula.

Once you make it to the top of the tower, the hard part is over. You can breathe easy as you hike almost a half-mile back to the parking lot, waving to the out of breath hikers you pass. While one of the shortest hikes in the park, Summit Peak is not for the faint of heart. We passed a few people contemplating whether or not they would be able to make it to the top.

As I mentioned in a previous Porcupine Mountains post, if you are not an avid hiker, you are going to want to train for your trip to The Porkies. The Lake of the Clouds Overlook and the Preque Isle trails are fairly easy, but some pretty intense hiking is required to see the rest of the park. Almost all of the trails in Porcupine Mountains are rated either moderate or difficult, according to All Trails. A backcountry hiking trip is really the best way to fully see the park, but of course, backpacking is not for the faint of heart.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about our summer road trip, check out my Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Summit Peak Pinterest Graphic

Presque Isle Waterfalls

Manhabezo Falls

Located 25 miles from the Union Bay area, the Presque Isle area of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is like a whole different park. This section of the park is home to three waterfalls: Manabezho Falls, Manido Falls,  and Nawadaha Falls. A moderate hike of about two and a quarter miles will take you to these three falls.

These picturesque falls are all on the Presque Isle River and the water flows from up in the Porcupine Mountains and it wears down the rocky bedrock as it travels into Lake Superior. As in the case of what is known as “the potholes”, the swirling water has cut half circles out of the rock and is really interesting to watch from above on the rope bridge.

Manido Falls

My one complaint about the area is that with all the foliage, the various falls can be difficult to see from the observation areas. You can’t even really see Nawadaha Falls on the parking lot side of the river. There are signs all over telling you to stay on the path and if they really want people to do that, they should trim the trees that block the views from the platforms (see the large leaf in the above photo of Manido Falls). If people see the falls from the viewing areas, they are much less likely to go off the path and do something unsafe to get that photo.

When you get to the Presque Isle section of the park, there are a few different parking areas so you don’t have to hike the full 2.3 miles to see these waterfalls. There are three different parking areas and the one closest to the ranger station allows for ADA accessible viewing of Nawadaha falls. The rest of the falls do require some stair climbing to get to view. This is one of the most accessible parts of the Porcupine Mountains because you don’t have to climb any mountains to see these waterfalls!

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out our Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Canyon Falls

Canyon Falls, located near L’Anse is known as “The Grand Canyon of Michigan”. Unlike Laughing Whitefish Falls, we made it to Canyon Falls back in 2016. Driving between Munising and Marquette, Canyon Falls Roadside Park is a great place to get out and stretch your legs. The trail to the falls is pretty flat and easy to walk. Because of how the water cuts through the rock, it can be tricky to photograph the falls. Chris had to sit on the edge of the rock to get this shot. Personally, I stayed a safer distance from the rushing water.

Canyon Falls is a pretty well-known cliff jumping location. At the falls, you can follow an unofficial trail to a deep spot in the river where daredevils and college students alike are known to plunge 30 feet off the side of the cliff. While taking photos of the falls, we heard several parents trying to talk to their teenagers out of jumping. If you are brave enough to take the plunge, more information can be found on The Outbound.

This was one of the spots where we noticed just how many more people were in the Upper Peninsula this summer. When we visited the falls four years ago there were only a few people around. This summer, even though we were visiting on a Monday, the parking lot was packed and families filled the trails. Don’t get me wrong, there was still plenty of space to enjoy nature and social distance; I just have a feeling that the Upper Peninsula is no longer a secret.

Thanks for stopping by! You can read more of about our U.P. adventure in the Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip

Lake Michigan on Fire at Sunset

I am back from another epic road trip around the great lakes. Due to COVID-19, we had a difficult time planning our summer vacation. I believe this was our 5th or 6th different vacation plan. From canceled flights to mandatory quarantines, it is not easy to plan a trip in 2020. Because of this, we ended up staying close to home.

Here’s a look at our itinerary and the trip report to come:

Day 1: Straits State Park – exploring St. Ignace, Manistique, Kitch-iti-Kipi

Day 2: Fayette State Park – exploring the historic townsite

Day 3: Heading west – Laughing Whitefish Falls, Canyon Falls, Lake of the Clouds

Day 4: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Adventure Mine, Presque Isle Waterfalls

Day 5: Porcupine Mountains – paddling Lake Superior, Union Bay Campground

Day 6: Heading south – Agate Falls, Bond Falls

Day 7: Door County – Peninsula State Park, Cana Island Lighthouse, Wine Tasting

Day 8: Back to Michigan – Bailey’s Harbor Lighthouse, SS Badger

Day 9: Ludington State Park & White River Light Station

As with our other big road trips, this was a very busy trip, but it was good to get out into nature after so long being stuck at home. We were not the only people to have this idea, though. Everyone near the Porcupine Mountains area told us that it was much busier than the typical summer. The campgrounds we stayed at were packed pretty much every night we were out. If you are heading into nature this summer, just be aware that you are not the only people doing this. Prepare to be around people and be sure to take the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Ithaca in the Winter

After our morning exploring Watkins Glen, we headed for Ithaca. We didn’t venture to Ithaca on our last trip to the Finger Lakes so this was something new for us. Our first stop in Ithaca was Ithaca Falls (top). This huge cascade was at the side of the road, across from an elementary school. We parked at the school and walked across the road to get a better look. We were able to get pretty close to the falls and being that it was winter, there weren’t very many other people around. I imagine this is a hot spot in the summer.

After admiring the falls, we decided to head to Cornell. There’s not a ton on the campus that we found that was opened to the public, but we did stop at the botanical gardens. Not much is blooming at the end of December. The visitor’s center (left) was even closed, but it was nice to get out and walk around. There was a “winter garden” which was basically a bunch of conifer trees. I can only imagine the gardens bursting with color in the spring and summer. I really wanted to see the arboretum, but it is closed in the winter.

From the Botanical Garden, we headed to the Cornell Ornithology Lab. This was a little way from the campus, but I guess it is a well-known place for birders and scientists. Once again, the Visitor Center closed between Christmas and New Years, but the hiking paths were open. We took a walk on this boardwalk through a swamp. We had to stop where the boardwalk ended because it was too muddy to continue. It was a beautiful day, though and it was nice to be outdoors listening to the birds. I am in no way a bird person, but I could enjoy spending some time on the trails and trying my hand at photographing birds.

All in all, it is always nice to explore new places, but not much was open during our visit to Ithaca. I would definitely enjoy returning when it is warmer, with proper footwear. From Ithaca, we headed back to Corning for our glass making appointments at the Corning Museum of Glass. Be sure to come back next week to hear about that!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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