Go See Do Photography

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

Tag: Door County

Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Recap

fiery sky sunset

Fiery sunset over Ludington State Park

It is the end of December and I finally reached the end of this trip report from a trip I took almost six months ago. It works out, though because normally at the end of the year, I recap the year and look forward to my travel plans in the future year. First off, I haven’t gotten to all the little camping trips we took after this one so that post would ruin the surprise of what’s to come. And at this point, who knows what 2021 will look like? This is not really a time for a lot of advanced travel planning. I have some ideas and some dreams. Stay tuned to find out where we actually end up!

Anyway, this trip was definitely one of the most last-minute road trips we have ever taken and where we went was largely based on where we could get in. We made it to some bucket list destinations and some of them lived up to what I had imagined them to be and some of them fell a little flat. Let’s recap:

Fayette State Park: underrated Michigan state park with a cool historic (ghost) town to explore. Most years it’s pretty easy to get a site at the campground.

Porcupine Mountains: giant state park that has both mountains and water. If you are not an avid hiker, it’s best to do some serious training to be able to fully appreciate this park.

Door County, Wisconsin: Beautiful Lake Michigan peninsula with a lot of nature and lighthouses to explore. For a Michigander, Old Mission and Leelanau are more impressive and more accessible.

S.S. Badger: Bucket list experience. Pack your patience, especially if you bring a car.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by next week as I begin recapping our Labor Day Weekend at Tahquamenon Falls. To read more about this 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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Ludington State Park Pinterest Graphic

Looking Back on Door County

Rock in Water at Sunset

During our time in Door County, we kept comparing it to our favorite Northern Michigan destinations like Traverse City and Leelanau. Both Leelanau and Door County are peninsulas jutting into Northern Lake Michigan. They both are dotted with parks and lighthouses. Both are popular summer destinations with a winery scene.

Door County has the wineries and the food but one thing it is missing is the accessibility of the water that surrounds it. A few of the towns on the Door Peninsula have a downtown on the water but it just didn’t feel the same as on Leelanau. We drove to Northport, on the tip of the peninsula, and all that was there was a line of cars waiting for the ferry to Washington Island. Northport at the tip of Leelanau is home to Leelanau State park with a lighthouse, campground, and hiking trails.

Maybe my love of Northern Michigan is clouding this judgment, but I just don’t think Door County lives up to what I was hoping it would be. It is a beautiful place and I would definitely like to go back when things are back to normal and take the ferry to Rock Island, but its not a place that I feel like I have to rush back to. If you are in Wisconsin or the Chicago area, it is a beautiful place to visit. Is it worth it for someone from southeast Michigan to make the trek around Lake Michigan to see it? I’d say save the milage and go to Leelanau instead.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about our summer road 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 Pinterest Graphic

Wordless Wednesday: Bailey’s Harbor Lighthouse

Bailey's Harbor Lighthouse

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

 

Wordless Wednesday: Cana Island Waves

Lake Michigan from Cana Island

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

Wordless Wednesday: Green Bay Sunset

Peninsula State Park Sunset

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

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