Door County

  • Classroom in the Clearing

    In a tranquil Door County forest, students gather to reflect and learn.

    In a cedar and pine forest on Lake Michigan, moments of illumination fly around like sparks off a campfire. The best way to capture sunrise on film. Handy techniques for depicting shadow in watercolors. How to harness the power of the inner eye. At the Clearing in Door County, everything becomes clearer.

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  • Arts in Door County

    On this popular Wisconsin peninsula, vacation isn't complete without a dose of culture.

    Once, evening entertainment in Door County consisted of watching the sun set over Green Bay. Then, at the turn of the century, the seven sons of the Eagle Bluff lighthouse keepers formed a band to entertain at various gatherings, arriving with a horse-drawn piano. The arts scene really got going in 1935, when the first theater was founded on the lawn of a Fish Creek motel.

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  • Wisconsin's Icelandic outpost

    On Lake Michigan, a pioneering Icelandic inventor transformed an island.

    In Wisconsin, the American dream came true for a penniless boy from Iceland — and the rest of us made out pretty well, too. The youngster's schooling stopped in second grade as the family moved to farms in Wisconsin and North Dakota, then resumed when the boy — called Chester — joined his married sister in Chicago and, at age 18, entered the fourth grade.

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  • Spring in Door County

    On Wisconsin's Door Peninsula, a vast array of wildflowers rewards those weary of winter.

    Goldthread and gaywings. Bogbean and trailing arbutus. In Wisconsin's Door County, it's enough to make a naturalist hyperventilate. Cherry blossoms and daffodils are the showiest spring flowers on this tourist playground between Lake Michigan and Green Bay. But it's the wildflowers, many of them rare, that provide the most joyous proof that spring has arrived. On sandy ridges, the first flower spotted often is the once-common trailing arbutus, whose waxy white blossoms emerge in April.

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  • Egg Harbor in Door County

    On the famed Wisconsin peninsula, it's the first and perhaps prettiest little village.

    For most tourists, Egg Harbor is the "first" village on the Door Peninsula. After crossing the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, they drive 17 miles past orchards and fields before they get another glimpse of water. Now, visitors see something else first: giant eggs. Artist-decorated eggs line roads and adorn parks to mark a village anniversary — and give tourists something to look at.

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  • Sister Bay in Door County

    Near the top of the peninsula, this town snares tourists with its beautiful beach and marina.

    Sister Bay is all about the water. And Swedish pancakes. And goats.

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  • Baileys Harbor in Door County

    On the Lake Michigan side of Wisconsin's famous peninsula, this town draws nature-lovers.

    Every May, wildflower followers find their way to Baileys Harbor. They walk past two 1870 range lights on a boardwalk lined by endangered dwarf lake iris. On strips of wetland called swales, they look for bogbean and goldthread. In June, they search for 25 species of orchids. The land Ridges Sanctuary occupies almost became a trailer park. Now, it's habitat for more species of plants than any other place in Wisconsin.

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  • 10 splurges in Door County

    If you've been pinching pennies, here are some fun ways to reward yourself.

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  • The door to Door County

    A longtime gateway, Sturgeon Bay also makes a great getaway.

    It would be natural, for a tourist, to arrive in Sturgeon Bay and just keep going. It would also be a mistake. The rest of Door County has all the tourist trappings. But Sturgeon Bay has appeal of its own. "Most people want to go farther up on Door County, for all the shops and such," says Bill Munroe, a volunteer at the Door County Maritime Museum. "But this is a working town. We like it down here. We like it very much."

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  • Where to stay in Door County

    This tourist playground has a dizzying array of resorts, cottages, motels and inns — everything but chains.

    If you think it's expensive to stay in Wisconsin's Door County, you haven't looked very hard. In early June, rates can be almost ludicrously low, cheaper than a Super 8. And even on weekends in July and August, it's not hard to find a decent place for $100 or less if you book in advance. The Door Peninsula's breezy beaches are the place to be when the rest of the region is sweltering. During one early June heat wave, temperatures there were 20 to 40 degrees lower, and lodging rates were low, too — I got three nights for the price of two.

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  • Door County 101

    Want to check out this popular peninsula? Here's everything you need to plan a visit.

    Around the Upper Midwest, Door County is the tourist destination that other tourist destinations envy. Everything a tourist loves, it's got: Lighthouses and sand dunes. Wineries and boutiques.

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  • Fish Creek in Door County

    In this historic resort town, crowds come for the shops and the scenery.

    It's known as Door County's shopping town, and if people think that's too much of a good thing — well, they're in the minority, judging by throngs on the streets. It's also the gateway to the wildly popular Peninsula State Park. This big park is more like a resort, with a beach, boat rentals, playgrounds, tennis court and golf course, plus a theater, lighthouse, bike trails and one of the state's best-known hiking trails.

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  • Outdoors in Door County

    Beaches, bays and forests are keys to this lovely peninsula on Lake Michigan.

    Fish boils, cherry pie, chic shops and a nonstop stream of tourists. Yes, that's Door County, all right. But so is this: Secluded beaches of fine white sand. Estuaries lined with herons. Hiking and bicycle trails winding through sun-dappled cedar forests.

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