Door County: Spectacular Gardens & Supper Clubs

Door County Master Gardeners
Welcome to our latest “Visiting Midwest Gardens” feature as Flower Chick spends a week in Wisconsin’s beautiful Door County. This peninsula between Lake Michigan and Green Bay is home to spectacular natural vistas and sparkles all year around, but as we’ll discover, especially in the summer …

We’ll take you day by day to experience this Wisconsin Zone 5 destination, and introduce you to some Badger State favorites. Coming from west suburban Chicago, our first stop is Beloit, just over the Illinois-Wisconsin border, about 15 miles north of Rockford.

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Arriving near dinner time, let’s get right into the Wisconsin state of mind. That can only mean one thing … a traditional supper club! Beloit has some of the best supper clubs in the state, including our favorite, the nearly 100 year old Butterfly Club

So what exactly is a supper club? Well, it’s not actually a club requiring a membership. Supper clubs are restaurants open to the general public, but they differ from traditional restaurants in that supper clubs are seen more as entire evening destinations. Typically, when arriving at a Wisconsin supper club, you’ll head to the bar for a cocktail, usually a Brandy Old Fashioned …

Butterfly Supper Club Beloit WI

Enjoying A Brandy Old Fashioned And A Spotted Cow at The Butterfly Club

At the Butterfly Club, the bar (shown above) is one of the venue’s prime attractions. Lively yet genteel, there’s typically live entertainment (piano music, jazz combo, etc.) after the prime dining hours. At a supper club, the standard procedure is a cocktail at the bar, dinner, then an after dinner drink, typically a boozy ice cream concoction. All in all, a perfect evening!

The Butterfly Club, situated on a county road just east of Beloit, has been around since 1924. They, like most supper clubs, specialize in great steaks, fresh fish, a Friday fish fry, and other slightly upscale comfort food. Flower Chick has several Beloit favorites we visit time and time again, and the Butterfly Club is at the very top of the list …

The Butterfly Club Filet Mignon

Flower Chick’s Favorite Dinner Entree At The Butterfly Club 

Our visit coincided with a Friday, so the Butterfly Club’s fish fry took center stage.  Flower Chick is a long time fan of the 6 ounce filet mignon here, a bargain for $25 served with three jumbo shrimp.  Paired with a traditional Brandy Old Fashioned, it’s Wisconsin bliss!

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Day One: Sheboygan’s Bookworm Gardens & Heading To Door County

Day One of our Door County adventure begins with an early start for the two hour drive to Sheboygan, home of the Bookworm Gardens. Situated on Lake Michigan’s western shore, Sheboygan is a hard working friendly city about an hour north of Milwaukee.

Sheboygan’s Bookworm Gardens

We’ll be spending more time in Sheboygan at the back end of our trip, but for now a visit to Bookworm Gardens is in order. You’ll find Bookworm Gardens on the city’s west side, not far from I-43 …

Bookworm Gardens Sheboygan WI

The Cheery Entrance To The Bookworm Gardens In Sheboygan

This charming place is best described as a botanic garden based on your favorite children’s books. Bookworm is vibrant, playful, and clever … a must see with or without children.  Flower Chick loves gardens and books so this treasure was an absolute delight!

The 7 acre property with 2 acre garden based on children’s literature offers educational programming as well as free, unstructured play in a beautiful environment for the young (and young at heart).  Bookworm is open from early May to the end of October. Free parking is available adjacent to the Gardens and next to the UW Sheboygan buildings.

There’s no admission charge, but they suggest a $5 donation per person and collection boxes are peppered throughout this magical spot.  Bring a picnic as there are no concessions on the property, but there is a great picnic area right by the Magic Schoolbus display …

Bookworm Gardens Sheboygan

Bookworm Garden Is An Oasis To Wake Up Your Inner Child!

Bookworm features over 75 different gardens, each inspired by a children’s book. It offers nature-based field trips, summer camps, weekend events and classes and workshops for learners of all ages. Bookworm Gardens is truly a place where books come alive!

Bookworm Gardens Sheboygan

Walk Slowly Through The Gardens So You Don’t Miss All The Details

What an imaginative, whimsical and special place! Scenes of so many beloved books and even the books themselves.  Flower Chick was impressed that laminated copies of the books were housed in waterproof “treehouses” throughout the gardens to borrow during your visit. Sit on a bench in the shade and revisit a classic children’s tome.

Bookworm Gardens Sheboygan

One Of The Many Bookstands Dotted Among The Floral Displays

“Three Little Pigs”, “Winnie the Pooh”, “Diary of a Wombat”, “The Secret Garden”, “Wind in the Willows”, “Stuart Little”, “Horton Hatches The Egg”, “Frankie: The Walk and Roll Dog”, “Make Way For Ducklings”, and “One Leaf Rides The Wind” are examples of some of the many featured gardens …

Bookworm Gardens Sheboygan

Follow The Well-Marked Paths To Navigate The Book-Themed Gardens

In a world of uncertainty, the Gardens have become a place of joy. They’ve proven that even the smallest seed of an idea can grow into something amazing.  Bookworm Gardens opened in 2010 and shows it can not only be a place where books come to life, but where outdoor learning and nature exploration can thrive.

Bookworm Gardens Sheboygan

The Imaginative And Scenic “Hello Lighthouse” Featured Book Garden

Bookworm Gardens is beautifully maintained and easily walkable (mostly wheelchair and stroller accessible too) on paths made of hardened rubberized mulch.

Bookworm Gardens Sheboygan

Pretty Japanese Style Garden At Bookworm Gardens

The above photo depicts the Japanese inspired garden based on the book “Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes”. Lovely and peaceful!  I learned that paper cranes symbolize honor, good fortune, loyalty, and longevity. The Japanese believed that anyone with the patience and commitment to fold 1,000 origami cranes would be given good fortune and granted a wish.

Bookworm Gardens

The Lively “Pinkalicious” Garden – Barbie Would Approve!

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Manitowoc Favorites

Heading toward Door County, a half hour north of Sheboygan is another Wisconsin coastal city, Manitowoc. It’s here from the Manitowoc lakefront you can take the lake car ferry S.S. Badger across Lake Michigan to Ludington, Michigan. It’s a lot of fun and everyone should ride the Badger at least once, but there’s other attractions in Manitowoc too …

Hartman's Bakery Manitowoc

Try The Delicious Lemon Bars, Cupcakes And Kolaches!

Our first stop is the historic Hartman’s Bakery to pick up tomorrow’s breakfast. A traditional, old fashioned local bakery, Hartman’s has been in business for seven decades. Stop in for their scrumptious kolaczki, cupcakes, sugar cookies, or the house specialty, their seven layer bars …

A few blocks south near the corner of 9th and Buffalo is Flower Chick’s favorite Manitowoc shopping destination, Susan’s Second Style. As the name implies, Susan’s is a women’s consignment shop offering stylish fashions at dime on the dollar prices.

Susan's Second Style Manitowoc

Stop By Susan’s And Check Out The Designer Clothing Bargains

Susan’s Second Style features upscale brands such as Loft, Cabi, White House Black Market, Boden, Michael Kors, Ann Taylor, Tory Burch, Cole Haan, Coach, Express, Calvin Klein, and many more!

All the clothes are clean and attractively displayed. Flower Chick found a cute dress, two tops, and a pair of brand new jeans … all on sale for seasonal clearance.

Bumping into the lunch hour, it’s time for a stop at Shooter Malone’s, a Manitowoc favorite for a cold beer and a lake perch sandwich. We stop here every time in town!

Shooter Malone's Manitowoc

Great Food At Great Prices At Shooter Malone’s In Manitowoc

Located a half block south of Susan’s Second Style, this friendly pub offers Wisconsin beer on tap and casual sandwich fare, including locally sourced lake perch sandwiches.  We popped in on a Saturday and the breakfast dishes looked very appetizing too.

This location has a strong tie to Manitowoc local history.  There has been a tavern at the southwest corner of 9th and Buffalo for almost 150 years … since the mid 1870’s.  There have been a few ownership and name changes along the way, and since 2008 the business has been known as Shooter Malone’s.   We’ve stopped in 4-5 times coming through Manitowoc and we always enjoy a good meal here …

Before heading on our way, a little more Manitowoc shopping is in order. Four blocks south of the river is Washington Street, home to the city’s largest women’s resale / consignment destination, On 2nd Thought

On Second Thought Manitowoc

On Second Thought Features Brand Name Clothing At Excellent Prices

On Second Thought is a women’s consignment boutique that prides itself on offering name brand and boutique items at a fraction of the retail price. Lots of goodies await you!

Why shop consignment?  Put together an entire outfit’s worth of designer labels for just a fraction of what one piece would cost at full price. This trip I purchased a purse, jacket and earrings. Score! 🙂

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West of the Lake Gardens – Manitowoc

Just two minutes outside Manitowoc on Highway 42 toward Two Rivers is the spectacular West of the Lake Gardens, so named due to their location on Lake Michigan’s shoreline. These gardens are part of the footprint of the former estate of John and Ruth West, who were noted philanthropists in the Manitowoc area.

West of the Lake Gardens Manitowoc

The gardens were initially planted in the mid 1930’s and have changed and adapted over the past 90 years. Comprising six acres directly overlooking Lake Michigan, these gardens are one of the Manitowoc area’s primary visitor attractions and for good reason … they are stunning!

West of the Lake Gardens Manitowoc

Lively, Colorful Floral Plots Surround You At West Of The Lake Gardens

The enchanting gardens and well-manicured lawn (above) line the parking lot so I knew immediately that this was going to be an amazing place. Jaw-dropping flower displays everywhere you look … all blooming profusely and very nicely tended when we visited in mid-August.

This gorgeous property consists of ten individual and distinct gardens including a rose garden, succulents in containers, 80,000 annuals, a water garden and more.

West of the Lake Gardens Manitowoc

Spectacular Gardens Abound At West of the Lake In A Photogenic Setting

Salvia, marigolds, zinnias, roses, asters, ageratum, alyssum, begonias, black-eyed susan, bee balm, lilies, coleus, vincas are just some of the stars of the show here … a dazzling parade of color!

West of the Lake Gardens Manitowoc

Beautiful Gardens All Abuzz With Pollinators In August

This succulent container caught my eye on our visit. It demonstrates how you can creatively incorporate these fascinating and popular plants into your garden.  They are waterwise and offer lots of variety and interest.

West of the Lake Gardens

Clever Use Of Succulents In A Striking Container Arrangement

Open to the public daily (free of charge) during the warmer months, West of the Lake Gardens continues to delight generations of area residents … the grounds and gardens are beautifully kept and with the lake in the background makes this a truly magical place!

West of the Lake Gardens

Breathtaking Displays and Views At West of the Lake Gardens In Manitowoc

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Historic Two Rivers …

Just five minutes from Manitowoc and West of the Lake Gardens is the small Lake Michigan port city of Two Rivers, population ~ 12,000. Entering town on Highway 42, you’ll encounter a few notable local businesses:

First is Schroeder’s Department Store, a true old fashioned department store that has been here for well over 130 years. Among its many departments, you’ll find fashions for both men and women, a gift selection featuring locally made products like Rowley Bay Honey, home decor, and footwear. They even have a coffee shop, UPS Center, used bookstore, and a toy store!

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Schroeder's Department Store

Schroeder’s Is A Classic Department Store Downtown Two Rivers WI

Schroeder’s is the type of destination store where you’ll happily spend an hour or so.  Down the block and across the street is Two Rivers local independent bookstore, Paper Crane Bookstore.

This attractive bookstore was beckoning to Flower Chick … who can’t pass up a local bookshop. Naturally, I went straight for the mystery section and found two great finds set in Door County.

Paper Crane Bookstore Two Rivers WI

Nice Selection Of Books At Paper Crane In Two Rivers

And of course, it wouldn’t be a visit to a Great Lakes shoreline city without a stop for smoked fish. In Two Rivers, you’ll find one of the best around in the Susie Q Fish Company, located off the east bank of the East Twin River.  Don’t miss their smoked whitefish chunks and Susie Q’s smoked whitefish dip, perfect with crackers and a bottle of wine at happy hour …

Susie-Q Fish Market

On the way out of Two Rivers on the way to Door County, you’ll pass a new arboretum, the Van der Brohe Arboretum. Recently established on the site of a former golf course, this arboretum is on Flower Chick’s radar for a summer 2024 visit …

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A Stop in Algoma …

About a 35 minute drive up Highway 42 from Two Rivers toward Door County is the charming lakeside town of Algoma. This historic town, population ~ 3200, is well known for excellent sport fishing and a welcoming small town feel.

Flower Chick lingered an hour to sample the brews at Ahnapee Brewery, and women’s consignment shopping and more at 2nd Hand Rose.  Steps away on Steele Street just east of Highway 42 is Algoma’s independent bookstore, Yardstick Books …

Ahnapee Brewing Algoma

Located off the corner of 2nd and Clark Street as you enter downtown Algoma, Ahnapee Brewery pays homage to the original name of Algoma. This light and airy taproom showcases the brewery’s craft beer offerings like their well known chocolate milk stout “Two Stall” and a tasty India Pale Ale “Papa IPA”. The taproom is a few blocks south of the original Ahnapee Brewery location from the 1800’s, now home to Wisconsin’s popular winery, Von Stiehl …

In town, shopping is the name of the game in Algoma. A stately historic building at the corner of Steele Street and Highway 42 is home to 2nd Hand Rose, where bargains await. Flower Chick unearthed several good buys including a pair of brand name shorts and a cute designer top.  There are also fabulous finds in home or holiday decor, jewelry, and artwork with new items added daily.

Second Hand Rose Algoma

Loads Of Good Finds At 2nd Hand Rose In Algoma

Flower Chick also popped in at Yardstick Books on Steele Street to check out their selection of books and other gift items.  This cheery shop is an independent bookstore which also carries gifts, puzzles and cards.  Their Facebook page notes they frequently host author signings.

I picked up a few more books by local authors and added to my Wisconsin mystery series collection.  Patricia Skalka is the author of the award-winning Dave Cubiak – Door County Mysteries. Currently there are six books in the series.  So far I have 3 of the 6 …

Yardstick Books Algoma

Yardstick Books in Algoma – A Friendly Store With Books & More

With a promise to come back to Algoma to spend more time, we headed north on Highway 42. The Door County line is just a few miles north of Algoma …

On To Egg Harbor and Door County

It’s tough to leave picturesque Algoma, but with Door County beckoning, we headed north 45 minutes to Egg Harbor, our home base for the week.

Harbor View Park Egg Harbor

The Picture Perfect Harbor View Park In Egg Harbor

On the way, you’ll pass through Door County’s largest community, Sturgeon Bay (see Day 5 below) before reaching the small rural community of Carlsville at the intersection of Highway 42 and Carlsville Road. Here you’ll find two of our favorite Door County stops, Door Peninsula Winery and adjacent Door County Distillery …

A Winery and a Distillery …

You’ll find the Door Peninsula Winery and Door Country Distillery just off the corner of Carlsville Road and Highway 42.  You can’t miss it … the bustling parking lot tells the story.  Of course, if you like to taste before you buy, there are tasting rooms for both the winery and distillery (for the distillery it’s more of a bar serving cocktails featuring their spirits).

Door County Distillery's Famous Cherry Brandy

Door County Distillery’s Famous Cherry Brandy

Door Peninsula’s wines are made from Door County grown fruit and grapes, always a preference for Flower Chick as she likes to focus on the local.  We chose the Harvest Peach, Cherry Berry Twist and Chaos Red wines. We also liked the Cherry Brandy and Apple Brandy from the distillery, both will be perfect to concoct Old Fashioneds at home.  Pick up a bottle of their house made bitters to make your cocktails just like you’ll get at Wisconsin’s supper clubs …

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Florian II Supper Club – Baileys Harbor

After settling in at the peaceful Egg Harbor Lodge, a shoreline supper club called to us.  Across the peninsula in Baileys Harbor, the Florian II Supper Club beckoned …

Egg Harbor Lodge

Situated in the heart of town looking out at the bay, the Florian II is one of Door County’s best known supper clubs.  The original Florian opened in 1956 and reopened in 1973 after a devastating 1971 fire (hence the “Florian II” name) …

The Florian II welcomes you to come in, slow down, relax and enjoy.  They’re open from Wednesday to Saturday and there’s no reservations.  Just put your name on the list and spend some time at the large circular shaped bar.  Enjoy the live music by talented Jamie Lynn Jazz on Fridays and Saturdays.  It’s a sizeable place, so don’t worry, you won’t wait long …

Florian II Supper Club

Owned and operated by the Kwaterski family. Florian II’s menu features Wisconsin supper club staples like back ribs, roast duck, steaks, chops, whitefish, shrimp, and lake perch.  Cherry pie for dessert tops things off, along with a traditional ice cream drink like a Brandy Alexander or Grasshopper …

Florian II View

The Delightful View From Our Table At The Florian II Supper Club

The only thing better than a Saturday night meal at the Florian II is the sunset over Egg Harbor, as seen from the balcony of our room at the Egg Harbor Lodge:

Egg Harbor Sunset

The Mesmerizing Sunset Observed From Our Balcony At The Egg Harbor Lodge

Day Two: Orchards, The Clearing & Door County One of a Kinds

Door County is blessed with miles of shoreline, from Lake Michigan on the east to Green Bay (the body of water, not the city) on the west. While a week allows you time to get to most areas of the county, Flower Chick and her tour guide husband found it helpful to focus on specific areas each day to avoid zig zagging across the peninsula …

Flower Chick started the day off with a brisk 20 minute walk to the picture perfect Egg Harbor waterfront …

Egg Harbor Marina Sign

The Photogenic Egg Harbor Marina & Famous Sign

Today’s agenda keeps us on the western (bay) side of Door county, from Egg Harbor north to Fish Creek, Ephraim, Sister Bay, and finally Ellison Bay. Along the way, there are several farm market orchards and great places to eat, have a cocktail, or simply enjoy the natural wonders of this special area …

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Door County Orchards & Farm Stands

Today, Door County is a visitor destination, but look a little closer. This peninsula is really farm country, aided by a temperate climate moderated by the two adjacent bodies of water. Every few miles, you’ll encounter a roadside farm stand, some of which have become year around destinations …

In between Egg Harbor and Fish Creek on Highway 42, here are a few to visit …

Wood Orchard Market

Situated on Highway 42 just north of Egg Harbor, Wood Orchard Market is the retail outlet for Wood Orchard, a Door County fruit farm established in 1955. To this day, the farm grows and offers the finest this area has to offer, including Door County cherries, strawberries, raspberries, apples, and more …

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Wood Orchard Market Door County

Try The Chopped Cherry Jam and Cherry Salsa!

Here at the market, you’ll find freshly baked treats daily, like donuts, pies, breads, cookies, and pastries.  Also a wonderful selection of jams, salsas and mustards.  It’s a full shopping experience here – home decor items, women’s clothing, treats for your pets, and specialty foods. Be sure to try the fudge … it’s made here and it’s fantastic!

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Door County Fruit Wines at Lautenbach’s

A few miles north on 42 toward Fish Creek brings you to Lautenbach’s. This place is the bomb! Plan to spend at least 1/2 hour here, and even that won’t do it justice.

Lautenbach Orchard Door County

The Delightful Lautenbach Winery, Cider Mill and Country Market

This family farm business also dates back to 1955. Visit here and you’ll encounter a wide range of freshly baked goods, jams, preserves, pickled products, salsa, spreads, and well, you get the idea. Not to be missed are Lautenbach’s wines and ciders – they’re fruit wines and the fruit is grown right here. Fruit wines pair well with anything … especially a patio or balcony for happy hour! Flower Chick stocked up while she was here at Lautenbach’s …

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Lautenbachs Wine Selection Door County

Choose From A Large Selection of Fruit Wines At Lautenbach’s

Five minutes past Lautenbach’s, you’ll arrive at Door County’s most popular town, Fish Creek. Located mid peninsula on the bay side, Fish Creek is teeming with natural beauty, a stunning beach, and plenty of places to shop and imbibe.

Fish Creek Duck Greeter

Our Friendly Duck Greeter At The Fish Creek Marina

We’ll be spending more time in Fish Creek on Day Three and Day Four (see below), but this morning was a “let’s get reacquainted” visit on our way up to Ellison Bay and The Clearing. We walked around the charming town and eye-balled places we want to hit later including a resale shop, clothing store, specialty shops, bookstore, bar & grill and more …

Fish Creek Floral Display

Attractive Floral Displays Abound Downtown Fish Creek

One of Door County’s Oldest Taverns – Husby’s

Door County is home to quite a few locally owned establishments that have stood the test of time. Not many are as revered as Husby’s Food & Spirits, a restaurant / bar in the heart of Sister Bay. Conveniently located just north of the junction of Routes 42 and 57, Husby’s has been a go to choice for residents and visitors alike from all over the county since they opened in 1928 …

Flower Chick popped in for an early Sunday lunch on the way to Ellison Bay and The Clearing. Sunday morning translated to “Bloody Mary” and those served at Husby’s are among the best we’ve had! Paired with a Spotted Cow beer chaser, it set Sunday off on the right foot …

Husby's

Husby’s Is An Iconic Door County Watering Hole 

We enjoyed a delicious lake perch sandwich basket and a tasty bowl of homemade broccoli cheese soup.  You can sit inside in the bar area, or outside at their lively patio dubbed “The Garage at Husby’s”.

Just steps north of Husby’s in Sister Bay is the beckoning Door County Creamery, which specializes in goat cheese. The husband and wife team owners tend to over 60 goats on their farm. Jesse became a licensed cheesemaker and Rachael a soap & gelato master.

We purchased some goat cheese, cherry blossom soap, and a bottle of local wine at their appealing store. They also sell gift items, honey, and cheese accompaniments such as crackers and bread.

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Door County Creamery

Door County Creamery’s Slogan: Love. Local. Cheese.

The Clearing & The Legacy of Jens Jensen

Jens Jensen, born in Denmark in 1860, was one of the most accomplished landscape architects of the 20th Century. He began a lengthy career with Chicago’s Park District in the 1880’s, imparting his vision of use of native plants to create natural landscapes. His impact continues to be felt in many of Chicago’s prominent parks to this day …

The Clearing Jens Jensen

Jensen discovered the beauty of rural Door County in the early 1900’s, and in 1919 purchased a large tract of land outside of Ellison Bay, the former site of a farm. When he retired from public life in 1935, Jensen established a retreat school on the site, known as The Clearing, for budding landscape architects from around the globe. He imparted his knowledge to eager students and continued his efforts until his passing at age 91 in 1951.

The Clearing Jens Jensen

Pathway At The Clearing Folk School Leading To The Studios & Residences

After Jensen’s passing, The Clearing ultimately transitioned to a folk school style retreat, offering classes and seminars in the humanities, advanced crafts, and natural sciences. This expansive property is available to tour on summer weekends via docent led hikes, which take you through the retreat and the surrounding landscape.

Jens Jensen The Clearing Folk School

Students Hike Toward The Green Bay Shoreline At This Peaceful Oasis

This “school of the soil” is nestled within 128 acres of Door County forests and meadows and overlooks the dramatic Green Bay shoreline. It was built as a place where ordinary people could, as the name implies, “clear one’s mind” by reconnecting with nature and with one another.

The Clearing Folk School

Unspoiled Nature Views At The Soothing Clearing Folk School

On our narrated hike we enjoyed hearing about the history of this special place and getting outside for some fresh air and exercise.  We celebrated the local flora and fauna and came across a council ring.  A Jens Jensen signature touch – a group sitting on stones would be gathered in a continuous circle, there would be no head of the table, no hierarchy, but a simple affirmation that all members of the community are important to it.

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The Clearing Folk School Labyrinth

The Labyrinth At The Clearing – A Perfect Place For Quiet Reflection

The Clearing offers year-long educational opportunities in three programs: the Summer Program, the Workshop Program and the Winter Program. All programs offer a wide range of classes, including painting, writing, quilting, birding, wood carving, poetry, rustic furniture making, photography, poetry, fine wood-working, music, weaving, philosophy, stained glass, metal work, nature study and paper arts.

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The Cherry Hut & Edgewood Orchard Galleries

After leaving The Clearing and Ellison Bay mid Sunday afternoon, a few places we missed on the way up beckoned …

First is The Cherry Hut, located on Highway 42 about a mile or so south of Lautenbach’s. As the name implies, The Cherry Hut is a showcase for Door County cherries, but that’s just part of it. There’s a market on site offering all sorts of locally made specialties, along with food and the local tasting room for Sturgeon Bay’s Bridge Up Brewing

Bridge Up Brewing Door County

Bridge Up Brewing & The Cherry Hut Beckoned

After the two hour hike at The Clearing, a cold beer was just the ticket. We opted for the clean, crisp, easy drinking Knee High Cream Ale. We were also impressed by Bridge Up’s Roofed Goat Red, a tasty red ale named in honor of Al Johnson’s Restaurant in Sister Bay (see Day Three just below) …

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Just south of The Cherry Hut on Peninsula Players Road is the invigorating Edgewood Orchard Galleries, a perfect stop for all kinds of art: jewelry, paintings, sculptures, drawings, furniture, clay works, mixed media and more innovative selections.  It came highly recommended by a good friend of mine who gifted me a pair of earrings from here made up of watch parts.

Edgewood Orchard Gallery Door County

Don’t Miss The Sculpture Garden At Edgewood Orchard Gallery!

Let’s Get Shipwrecked …

After a refreshing dip in the pool at the Egg Harbor Lodge, lo and behold, it’s happy hour! And there’s no shortage of places in Egg Harbor to take advantage …

One Barrel Brewing Egg Harbor

We Stopped For A Refreshing Beer and Live Music At One Barrel Brewing

Stop and check out One Barrel Brewing, brewers of “Up North Lager”, a Wisconsin favorite. The taproom offers an expansive beer garden with live music on weekends.

Next door is the Hatch Distilling Company, an attractive place producing spirits made exclusively with Door County ingredients. We love wineries and distilleries that use locally grown products in their wares! A bottle of Hatch’s Apple Brandy called our name, distilled with Honeycrisp apples grown just down the way …

Dinner brought us to the popular Shipwrecked Brew Pub, an Egg Harbor favorite we’d been to on a visit years ago. They’ve been around since 1997 as Door County’s first brewpub. Shipwrecked is equally known for their comfort food menu items as well as their tasty brews.

Shipwrecked Egg Harbor

Enjoy Tasty Food & Beverages At Shipwrecked Brewpub in Egg Harbor

Shipwrecked is housed in a rebuilt 19th-century inn and offers house & seasonal beers. We quaffed a summer wheat beer, a porter,  and a rum punch.  For dinner we selected a cheeseburger and a fish sandwich. Delicious!

Day Three: The Ridges Sanctuary & A Door County Fish Boil

Day Three of our Door County excursion is a bit of a catch all … from a nature conservatory to an historic ice cream parlor to goats on the roof to a traditional Door County fish boil. Ready? Let’s go!

Heading east from Egg Harbor on County E (or County EE, either works) takes you over to the sunrise side of the peninsula and the harbor town of Baileys Harbor. This is a walking town … stroll down the main drag, Highway 57, and pop in at the shops, restaurants, and bars. Baileys Harbor is home to the legendary Florian II Supper Club (see Day One above) and a bevvy of other can’t miss places.

For starters, take Ridge Road east and circle the bay until you reach Baileys Harbor Fish Company, purveyor of fresh and smoked fish along with smoked fish delicacies …

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Bailey’s Harbor Fish Company

As one of the largest purveyors of fresh fish in Door County, this welcoming retail outlet is located on the east side of the harbor. The fresh catch is unloaded from their fleet of fishing boats and processed here on site. As you might imagine, it’s a great place to get yourself a piece of smoked fish (we loved the whitefish) …

Bailey's Harbor Fishery

The Ridges Nature Sanctuary

Next stop is a peaceful nature hike in the Ridges Sanctuary. The Ridges Sanctuary is a 1,600-acre nature preserve and land trust in Baileys Harbor. It is listed as a National Natural Landmark, Important Bird Area and Wisconsin State Natural Area. It was founded in 1937 and was the first land trust in the state of Wisconsin.

The Ridges Sanctuary

The Sanctuary is named for its distinctive topography – a series of 30 ridges and swales formed by the movement of Lake Michigan over the past 1,400 years. This ridge-swale complex provides a wide range of environmental conditions, from open beach to densely shaded conifer forest.

The Ridges Sanctuary

Hike The Ridges Sanctuary On A Convenient Boardwalk System

Nearly 500 different species of plants, including 25 species of native orchids, populate these varied habitats which are also home to over 60 species of breeding birds and 12 threatened or endangered species, including the federally endangered Hine’s Emerald dragonfly.

The Ridges Sanctuary

Engage All Of Your Senses On A Nature Walk At The Ridges

Today, the mission of The Ridges is to promote positive environmental behaviors through impactful educational experiences, land management and protection, and ecological research.  If you are anywhere near Bailey’s Harbor, don’t miss this natural gem.

The Ridges Sanctuary Lighthouse

One Of The Baileys Harbor Range Lights Built In 1869

Day Tripping: Kayak Wisconsin Door County: Bluffs, Beaches, Lighthouses, and Shipwrecks #ad

Blue Ox Bar

This popular local establishment in the heart of Baileys Harbor is directly across the street from the Florian II Supper Club. There’s a lot of history at the Blue Ox – the bar dates back to 1975 under current ownership but the building goes back much further, to 1887.

The Blue Ox

At various times over the past 135 years, this building was home to a butcher shop, a private home, and a bar. It’s a must stop just to see the decor! Scattered about the place are authentic mementos of rural Door County life over several generations.

If you’re a fan of locally brewed beer, the Blue Ox is your kind of place. On tap you’ll find nine local brews, including the wonderful Polka King Porter from Door County Brewing and Up North Lager from One Barrel Brewing. You won’t go wrong with the lake perch sandwich either … Flower Chick ordered one to go.

The Blue Ox Door County

Some Of The Eclectic Memorabilia Adorning The Interior of The Blue Ox

Wilson’s Ice Cream – Downtown Ephraim

Much of the fun of a Door County vacation is experiencing the many towns dotting the shorelines. After traversing cross peninsula from Baileys Harbor, a 15 minute drive brings you to picturesque Ephraim (pronounced “EE-frem”).

Here in the heart of town is a Door County staple, Wilson’s Ice Cream Parlor. This has been a popular stop in these parts since 1904. Fresh air, great ice cream treats, and casual fresh lunch options are the main attractions, along with the people watching.

Wilson's Restaurant and Ice Cream Ephraim

Wilson’s offers a lunch whitefish basket, which includes a hefty piece of whitefish, coleslaw, and crispy fries. Families flock here primarily for ice cream treats, but don’t be deterred by the crowds. The energetic staff at Wilson’s are really pro’s … they keep things moving and you’ll never have to wait long.

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Al Johnson’s Sister Bay – The “Goats on the Roof” Place

If you only have time to visit one Door County mainstay, a good choice is Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in the heart of Sister Bay …

You’ve probably heard of Al Johnson’s … it’s the place with goats on the roof (really!). Al Johnson’s was founded in the 1950’s as a Swedish influenced family restaurant and since then, it has expanded into a full fledged Door County destination.

Live Goats On The Roof At Al Johnson's

Can’t Get To Door County? Watch The Al’s Live Goat Cam!

Since 1973, goats graze atop the restaurant’s sod covered roof, brought up by an elevator lift each morning seasonally. It’s quite a sight! You can even follow the goat’s daily activities via Al Johnson’s goat cam at their website …

Over the years, the restaurant complex has added a store, known as a Butik, which carries traditional Scandinavian clothing, gifts, and specialty foods. A more recent addition is the Stabbur, or outdoor beer garden, which is a perfect place to enjoy the comings and goings around Sister Bay …

Al Johnson's Stabbur

The Lively Stabbur – Outdoor Beer Garden At Al Johnson’s

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Fish Creek – A Door County Fish Boil

Describing a Door County fish boil isn’t simply talking about a dinner … it’s documenting an experience!

There are a few places on the peninsula to experience a fish boil, but none better than the iconic Pelletier’s, operating seasonally since 1960 in the heart of Fish Creek.  A “bucket list” type of destination, Pelletier’s hosts three fish boils daily at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7 p.m. …

Pelletier's Fish Creek

What Is A Fish Boil? The Details Explained …

Describing the fish boil experience is a study in adjectives.  Fun?  Without question.  A spectacle?  From start to finish, absolutely.  Educational?  Yup, that too!

At Pelletier’s, you begin the fish boil experience by checking in at the front desk, where you’ll indicate your choice of beverage before being escorted to the courtyard where everything happens.  Fish boils are popular with all ages, so it’s necessary to call in advance a few hours early to reserve your time slot …

Pelletier's Fish Boil

Pelletier’s Fish Boil Prep Before The Food Is Added

Once seated in the courtyard, you’ll sit back and watch the entire fish boil process from start to finish.  The whole thing takes about an hour and change …

The focal point is a very large cast iron black pot, tended to by a “Master Boiler” who puts it all together.  The pot is filled with water and salt with a roaring fire underneath, slowly warming the water and pot …

At the proper time, ingredients are added to the pot, one by one.  Most fish boils feature locally sourced whitefish, small potatoes, sweet onions, and corn on the cob.  After about 45 minutes, the pot comes to a boil (called the boil over), which is typically met with applause and appreciative “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” by attendees …

Pelletier's Fish Boil Over

Boil Over! Dinner At Pelletier’s Is About To Be Served

Once the pot boils over, the food is individually plated and it’s time to eat.  Dinner concludes with a slice of Door County cherry pie, served plain or ala mode …

While you’re eating, the subsequent fish boil process begins, so if you missed anything, you’ll get to see all the steps.

From start to finish, the entire experience lasts roughly about an hour and a quarter.  If there’s one Door County meal not to be missed, it’s the fish boil at Pelletier’s!

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Day Four: Washington Island & Fish Creek

This was the only rainy day of the trip, but Flower Chick wasn’t deterred!

A 30 minute drive from Egg Harbor north on Route 42 takes you to the top of the peninsula and Gills Rock, a small unincorporated community which is the home of the Washington Island Ferry …

Sunflowers Washington Island

A Joyous Patch Of Sunflowers On Washington Island

The Washington Island Ferry

Unless you’ve got a private plane or your own boat, the Washington Island Ferry is the only way to get to Washington Island. The docks are in northernmost Door County, in Gills Rock at the terminus of Highway 42.

The ferry operates year around and will transport your vehicle round trip so you can enjoy the island at your leisure. Rates are reasonable … for two passengers and our Chevy Equinox it was $58 round trip. Of course, you don’t have to bring your vehicle … there’s a tour train that goes around the island, or you can rent bikes or mopeds. But if you want to cover a lot of ground in a short time, take your vehicle across to the island …

Washington Island Ferry

The Washington Island Ferry Departing The Northport Pier

The Washington Island Ferry is a pleasant 30 minute trip to the island. You’ll be crossing the famous “Death’s Door” passage, so named because many shipwrecks occurred in these waters before modern navigational methods came into practice. Departures are frequent both ways so you’ll never have to wait long to get to the island or back to the mainland …

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Washington Island – Nature Abounds

With an eye toward exploring the natural side of Washington Island, Flower Chick’s agenda for the day included the Little Lake Nature Preserve, Schoolhouse Beach with its famous smooth rocks, and the Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm …

From the harbor, it’s about a ten minute drive to the top of Washington Island, where you’ll find the Little Lake Nature Preserve. The wet weather caused us to skip the Preserve this visit, but do make time for it if you’re on the island on a dry day.

Little Lake is a small lake on the island that’s only a few yards from the shores of Green Bay to the west. There’s a rustic trail (about 1.25 miles each way from the trail head to the west side of Little Lake). The lake itself has a “Walden Pond” type of look and vibe … we hope to make it back on our next visit!

Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island

This popular, scenic lakeside destination beckons with clear blue water and an unique beach of smooth limestone rocks … no sand here.  It’s a little over 6 miles north from the ferry dock to this cool beach. Schoolhouse Beach is one of only five beaches in the world like it and is a part of the Niagara Escarpment.

Schoolhouse Beach Washington Island

It’s located in a protected harbor area and the island’s original shipping port. Excellent swimming in a marked area with a diving raft (see above).  A favorite area for picnics and photographs on Washington Island!

The beach got its name from a wooden schoolhouse that used to stand there. Many visitors make rock cairns, but please do not take any of the treasured rocks. You can be fined if you do.

Making Cairns (Balancing Rocks On Each Other) Is An Art Form – Put This In Your Garden  #ad

Schoolhouse Beach Rocks

The Smooth To The Touch Rocks Making Up Schoolhouse Beach

Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm

Next stop was Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm just a short 5 minute drive southeast of Schoolhouse Beach on Airport Road.  We waited until it stopped raining to see the lavender fields and adjacent gift shop and cafe.

Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm Washington Island

The Gift Shop & Visitors Center & Cafe At Fragrant Isle

The peak viewing is June & July, but thankfully there were some rows of lavender still blooming in Mid-August.  The scent is heavenly!

Inside the gift shop is everything imaginable made from lavender, including the expected handcreams and soaps, to candy, ice cream, pastries, plus wine and spirits.

Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm

The Lavender Fields At Fragrant Isle Bloom In Three Different Shades

You can take a tour and learn first-hand from lavender experts how the business cultivates, harvests, processes and steam-distills fresh lavender during harvest-time. View the distilling of therapeutic grade lavender essential oil for its many healthy uses.

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Mann’s Mercantile and Lunch on the Island …

The appropriately named Main Road on Washington Island is truly the “main drag.”  You can access it near the ferry dock and take the road all the way to the Little Lake Nature Preserve.  On the way, you’ll pass through the small main commercial area of the island, where you’ll find a handful of shops, bars, and restaurants.

On the east side of Main Road are two places we sought out and you should too.  They’re Mann’s Mercantile (to the south) and Mann’s Food Store to the north near Town Line Road.

Washington Island Honey Mann's Mercantile

We Purchased This Tasty Honey At Mann’s

Mann’s Mercantile is the island’s hardware store and a place to pick up Washington Island souvenirs.  The front half of the store is all souvenirs: clothing, postcards, magnets, puzzles, home decor. The back of the store is for the locals and is a true hardware store.  We picked up two t-shirts, some local island honey, and a bar of natural soap also made on the island.

Mann’s Grocery is just that … the island’s primary grocery store (since 1903) stocking cuts of fresh meat, daily essentials, and a well known deli section offering specialties like Mann’s homemade potato salad …

The potato salad is great, so be sure to pick up a pound and store it in your cooler for later.  You did remember to pack your cooler in the back of your vehicle, yes??

KK Fiske Washington Island

Howdy Partner! The Rustic Decor Inside KK Fiske

Just across the street from Mann’s Mercantile is one of Washington Island’s best known restaurants, KK Fiske Restaurant.  They’re known for their fish specials, especially their occasional catch of “lawyers”, a fish whose official name is “burbot”.  Alas, lawyers were not on the menu today, but we did enjoy a cold Spotted Cow and a couple fresh lake perch baskets with cole slaw and fries …

Returning to the peninsula, we stopped at Charlie’s Smokehouse in Gills Rock on the way to Fish Creek.  Charlie’s, a popular stop here for many decades, is known for their fresh and smoked fish.  We scored a pint of their smoked whitefish dip and enjoyed it later on our Egg Harbor Lodge balcony.

Pretend You’re In Door County With This Tasty Smoked Whitefish Pate …#ad

Charlie's Smokehouse Gill's Rock

On the way back toward Sister Bay on Highway 42, you’ll encounter Seaquist Orchards Farm Market, a family owned farm emphasizing cherry and apple products.  Today the farm consists of approximately 1,000 acres of tart cherries and over 50 acres of apples and sweet cherries. In an average year the farm can produce about 6 million pounds of cherries!

Seaquist Orchards Door County

The Welcoming Entrance To Seaquist Orchards Farm Market

Naturally we bought several tart cherry products including jams, cocktail cherries, and tart cherry juice. The latter is touted to strenthen the immune system, help you sleep, and promote brain health among other healthy benefits.

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Exploring Fish Creek

Next up Fish Creek and a little shopping!  Seven Sisters Resale Boutique enticed Flower Chick to stop in (okay twist my arm lol). This attractive store resells both brand-new and pre-owned women’s apparel and accessories. They carry a wide selection of popular brands and premium designers in sizes XS to 3XL.

Found a like new Cabi jacket at a bargain price and brand new J. Crew earrings. This is why I love resale shops!

Seven Sisters Resale Boutique Fish Creek

Seven Sisters Resale Boutique Is Charming Inside & Out

The Peninsula Bookman has been operating for over 20 years. They recently closed their Sister Bay location, but the Fish Creek store is still going strong. A book lovers delight with a large inventory of both new and used books.

Flower Chick purchased a used mystery novel by Louise Penny (love her Inspector Gamache series) and added to my Door County Mystery Series by Patricia Skalka.  The owner is very knowledgable about books and gives you a nice bookmark with your purchase.

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Door County Books

Door County Mystery Series Carried At The Peninsula Bookman

After strolling around town and taking in the sights, it was time to stop for a refreshing drink on this warm afternoon.  The venerable Bayside Tavern beckoned to us. Established in 1975 downtown Fish Creek, this pleasant watering hole is known for their comfort food menu of burgers, fish sandwiches, pizza, and “Cincinnati style” chili.

Bayside Tavern Fish Creek

Bayside Tavern – A Comfortable Place To Eat & Drink

Bayside attracts the locals and tourists with the casual atmosphere, good food & service, and sports on tv. We stopped several times on our trip.  They also have a good-looking patio out back.

Back to shopping, our next stop was the historic Fish Creek Market. The market continues the tradition of a family-run general store, spanning more than 125 years of continuous operation in the same location. We enjoyed strolling up and down the aisles and purchased some local cheese, whitefish dip, and canned Brandy Old Fashioned Cocktails.

The Perfect Accompaniment To A Brandy Old-Fashioned …  #ad

Fish Creek Market

Being in a cheesy frame of mind, on our way back to Egg Harbor on Hwy 42 we stopped in at the Door Artisan Cheese Company. This is a production facility, outlet store and event venue. You can even tour the cave where they age their cheese! We picked up some Cave Point Swiss – a creamy baby Swiss with a smooth texture and almost nutty flavor.

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Door Artisan Cheese Company

Great Selection Of Specialty Cheeses At Door Artisan Cheese Company

Day Five: Summer Time In Sturgeon Bay

Day Five of this Door County adventure takes us south from Egg Harbor to the county’s largest town, Sturgeon Bay. Long known as a ship building town, Sturgeon Bay is still instrumental in the ship building industry but also serves as the unofficial welcome entry into the heart of Door County …

Sturgeon Bay

Flower Chick Posing With Her New Fishy Friend In Sturgeon Bay

Before reaching Sturgeon Bay on Highway 42, you’ll see Shartner’s Farm Market on the left hand side as you’re heading south. We couldn’t resist their selection of fresh vegetables and fruits. Besides the excellent produce, they also make their own maple syrup.  Additionally, they stock a nice mix of local wines.  One stop shop for a picnic!

Schartner's Farm Market

The Garden Door: Door County Master Gardeners Showcase

The Garden Door opened in 2005 at the University of Wisconsin Peninsular Agricultural Research Station which is a few miles north of Sturgeon Bay on Highway 42.  The garden is designed and maintained by members of the Door County Master Gardeners Association. The goal of the garden is to demonstrate how various plants can be used in Wisconsin home gardens.

The Garden Door - Door County Master Gardeners Display Garden

A Very Picturesque Place To Gather Ideas For Your Garden

They pack a lot of plant eye candy into this space! The various garden plots (totalling 20) include a Pollinator Garden, Pond Garden, Herb Garden, Rock Garden, Faerie Garden, Cactus Garden, Dwarf Conifer Garden, Rose Garden, Shade Garden, Memorial Garden and more interesting garden design areas.

Garden Door Door County Demonstration Garden

The Annuals & Perennials Were Blooming Profusely In August!

Among the stars of the show were zinnias, liatris, allium, asters, phlox, rudbeckia, lobelia, coneflowers, milkweed, clematis, campanula, and globe thistle.

Garden Door Memorial Garden Door County

The Memorial Tunnel At The Garden Door Display Garden

This beautiful public garden is free. It’s open from dawn until dusk every day. Wander around and enjoy the tranquility and garner ideas for your home garden.  Please consider making a donation in one of the donation boxes to help the Master Gardeners maintain these gardens!

Door County Master Gardeners Garden Door

Colorful & Creative Use Of Container Gardens At The Garden Door

The roses were happily blooming on my visit. Among the species planted were “Therese Bugnet”, “The Fairy”, “Purple Pavement”, “Oklahoma”, “Pink Home Run”, “Carefree Celebration”, and “Kashmir”.

The Garden Door Door County

The Lovely Pond Area At The Garden Door

Enjoy this short (2 minute) video tour of the Garden Door:

Marchant’s Meats was next on our radar.  Located at 51 Green Bay Road in Sturgeon Bay, Marchant’s carries fresh meats, smoked meats, homemade pizzas, take ‘n bakes, fresh bakery, fresh and smoked fish, and a large grocery selection. We picked up a few pounds of their famous bratwurst, Trippe sausage, and deli salads to take with …

Marchant's Meats Sturgeon Bay

Marchant’s Meats & Sausage In Sturgeon Bay

We stopped into Scaturo’s Baking Co. & Cafe at 19 Green Bay Road and boy was it buzzing.  Lots of folks enjoying a late breakfast / early lunch. The aromas coming from both the bakery and dining room were divine!

Our purchases included some fresh loaves of bread, pecan rolls and cookies. Everything looked glorious … hard to choose.  If you’re in southern Door County / Sturgeon Bay, this is a great place to pop in for breakfast …

What Goes Great With Fresh Bakery?  Naturally, Door County Coffee!  #ad

Scaturos Sturgeon Bay

Fabulous Baked Goods And More At Scaturo’s

The Bridge Walk – Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay touts itself as a walkable city and it’s definitely truth in advertising. This small Door County city is perfect to explore on foot, especially the downtown area on both the east and west waterfronts …

The best way to get across the waterway are the dual bridges just a couple blocks apart. Both bridges (the Michigan Street Bridge and the Oregon Street Bridge) are easily walkable and the “loop” around the two of them clocks in at 1.25 miles … a nice walk!

Sturgeon Bay Bridge Walk

Take A Bridge Walk In Sturgeon Bay And Savor The View

The “Bridge Walk” is one of Sturgeon Bay’s top attractions, and it’s easy to see why. The view from both bridges is spectacular!

Graham Park is at the foot of the Oregon Street bridge. Graham Park’s new look includes an amphitheater with seating, flower gardens, concrete ping pong tables, cornhole/bag toss games and chess and checkers tables where people can play for free.

Graham Park Sturgeon Bay

The Confluence Sculpture In Graham Park

The centerpiece of the park is “Confluence,” Door County’s only sculptural water feature on a peninsula with a long history of industry and recreation related to the waters surrounding it.

Flower Chick enjoyed seeing the “Bass Around The Bay” street art project. 27 bass sculptures are dotted around the downtown area this summer and supported by local businesses.  Very inventive works of fishy art!  The below sculpture is located in Graham Park and sponsored by the Nightingale Supper Club.

Bass Around The Bay

Waterfront Mary’s – Lunch on the Bay

Walking into Waterfront Mary’s Bar & Grill, the first thing you’ll notice is the appropriateness of the name. Located at Sturgeon Bay’s Beach Harbor Resort, the restaurant is just feet from the bay, making for exquisite lunch or dinner views. The resort is about 10 minutes north of downtown Sturgeon Bay, right near the entrance to expansive Potawatomi State Park …

Waterfront Mary's Sturgeon Bay

Take Pleasure In The View & Good Food At Waterfront Mary’s

Waterfront Mary’s offers fish boils (at dinner time) a few times a week and a fun bar that gets lively during happy hour.  We opted for outside seating on a gorgeous August day and enjoyed our meal of lake perch and a cheeseburger …

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Downtown Sturgeon Bay – Third Avenue

The heart of Sturgeon Bay’s downtown is the 3rd Avenue shopping district. Roughly a five block stretch from Oregon Street on the south to Jefferson Street on the north, many independent welcoming shops are located here. Park your car and walk so you don’t miss anything …

Flower Chick did a good job (as always) popping into many of the shops and even made time for a respite in one of Sturgeon Bay’s time honored bar & grills, The Red Room. Let’s start there, at the corner of Oregon and 3rd …

The Red Room is a locally owned Sturgeon Bay bar & grill that’s been a 3rd Avenue favorite since 1949. You get a sense of the history and community as soon as you walk in. A long bar with regulars in their favorite spots, tables for lunch and dinner, and a friendly welcoming vibe.

The Red Room Sturgeon Bay

The Long Historic Bar At The Red Room

Known for its great burgers and cold drinks, The Red Room is a place everyone in Sturgeon Bay knows. Popular all year around, it’s the place where locals meet to start an evening or end it. There’s nothing like a good local bar & grill, and in Sturgeon Bay, there’s nothing quite like The Red Room. Come casual and enjoy!

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Clario Farmstead Pasta & Wine is located at 19 N. 3rd Avenue, a block and a half north of The Red Room on the other side of the street. As the name suggests, the specialty here is an array of fresh pastas made by owners Claire and Mario Micheli, hence the “Clario” name.

Clario Farmstead Pasta

In addition to fresh pastas to go, Clario’s features a wide selection of local products like cheese, artisan snacks, tapenade, sauces, and pesto. If you haven’t tried fresh pasta before, buy some here at Clario’s. It’s frozen and all it takes to prepare is two minutes in boiling water. There’s also a very well curated selection of wines to pair up with your pasta. A great shop in the heart of Sturgeon Bay!

Door County Candy is directly across the street from Clario at 12 N. 3rd. This picturesque shop is filled with tempting treats like salt water taffy, chocolates, ice cream, fudge, popcorn, and more.  Pick something up here as a “thank you” gift for the kind soul who waters your plants while you’re on vacation …

Door County Candy Sturgeon Bay

Delectable Candy Options Await At Door County Candy

Reclaimed & Co. Jewelry is located a door north of Door County Candy. This jewelry designer handcrafts jewelry from reclaimed and surplus items. Most of their jewelry is repurposed from items found at local Door County beaches, thrift shops, and even alleyways and car washes!

Reclaimed Jewelry Sturgeon Bay

Discover Unique Jewelry Finds At Reclaimed

The end result of their efforts are beautiful stylish one of a kind earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and more.  Flower Chick bought two pairs of earrings crafted from recycled buttons!  And if you can’t make it to Sturgeon Bay and Door County, shop the Reclaimed & Co. collections online at their website …

Novel Bay Booksellers is just up the block at 44 N. 3rd Avenue.  As the name implies, Novel Bay is Sturgeon Bay’s local independent bookstore. Of course, Flower Chick picked up another well-recommended mystery book set in Door County.

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A Death In Door County Book

Logan Creek Soap opened its doors in 1999, their mission is to create soaps as natural as possible without synthetic chemicals or harsh preservatives. Nice selection of soaps and fragrances. We left with two floral scents: lilac and peony … and two manly scents of bay rum and sea breeze for Flower Chick’s tour guide / hubby.

Logan Creek Soaps Sturgeon Bay

This Store Smells Amazing! Nice Collection Of Handmade Soaps

On Deck Clothing Outlet Store Now in their 36th year of business, On Deck Clothing sure knows what they are doing.  Attractive, well-made clothing and accessories adorn their three stores in Fish Creek, Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Jefferson. We checked out the latter location and found some good buys in their outlet store.

On Deck Outlet Store Sturgeon Bay

Quality Brand Name Merchandise For Less At On Deck Outlet Store

A Sturgeon Bay Supper Club: Nightingale

Sturgeon Bay is blessed with two long running traditional supper clubs.  Both are located north of the downtown core, so basically toward the heart of Door County.  They’re the Nightingale, serving since 1913, and The Mill, open since 1930.  You’ll love both!

Nightingale Supper Club

The Popular Bar At The Nightingale Supper Club

This visit we opted for the Nightingale, whose center bar area is the focal point of the supper club experience.  Settle in for a brandy old fashioned or local beer before heading to your table …

We have great respect for a place that’s still popular after 100+ years.  The Nightingale’s menu features house cut steaks, daily made soups, fresh fish, chops, and more.  Be sure to order an ice cream style drink for dessert!  This was a wonderful relaxing dinner with great service to boot … we can’t wait to come back!

Day Six: Green Bay Botanical Garden & Wisconsin Made Specialties

Day Six of our journey takes us south from Door County to the beautiful Green Bay Botanical Garden, then further south to Sheboygan for some Wisconsin specialties. Finally, we stop in Walworth County on our way back to Beloit …

Renard’s Cheese

Just outside of Sturgeon Bay on the way to Green Bay is Door County’s largest creamery / cheese manufacturer, Renard’s Cheese.  It’s located just off Highway 57 on County DK.

Renards Cheese

Get Your Cheese Fix and More Goodies At Renard’s

Here at Renard’s you can pick up all the varieties of cheese you want to remember your Door County adventure.  The selection here, including other Wisconsin cheese, is impressive!  There’s all sorts of additional locally made specialty foods available too, including fudge, wine, cherry themed treats, and a lot more …

Pick up the type of cheese you like best here at Renard’s, and be sure to sample a few new varieties too …

Looking For A Gift Everyone Likes? Wisconsin Cheese Is The Ticket!  #ad

A Stop in Brussels WI …

This small town with a Belgian influence is just a stone’s throw north of Highway 57 on the way to Green Bay.  It’s home to Marchant’s Foods where the Marchant’s brand of fresh meats and sausages are processed …

Stop here for travel essentials and of course Marchant’s fresh or frozen sausages to go.  Their specialty is a Belgian style Trippe Sausage (pronounced “Trip”) which is similar to a bratwurst with a slightly different flavor profile.  We also chatted up the friendly Marchant’s deli manager, who creates all the wonderful deli salads available here, like dips, chicken salad, ham salad, pasta salad, and the like …

Marchant’s has been a part of the local scene here in Brussels since 1947 and it’s still family owned and operated.  Don’t miss stocking your cooler here for an authentic taste of northern Wisconsin …

Ideal For Game Day Or A Tailgate Party … WI Brats  #ad

Green Bay Botanical Garden

Twenty or so minutes further on Highway 57 brings you to the city of Green Bay, home of the beautiful Green Bay Botanical Garden

Green Bay Botanical Garden

Welcome To The Delightful Green Bay Botanical Garden

Green Bay Botanical Garden’s 47 acres of display gardens and natural areas capture the beauty of northeast Wisconsin’s four distinct and wonderful seasons. You will enjoy amazing beauty and adventure as you discover outstanding architecture that sets the stage for an all-star performance by plants specifically chosen for their ability to thrive in the upper Midwest.

Green Bay Botanical Garden

Beautiful Late Summer Perennial Blooms – Simply Stunning!

The new Bell Children’s Garden features a 2.5 acre creative garden experience offering a variety of outdoor areas, awe-inspiring structures, and an overall nature-based story.  Children (and adults) can discover delight and wonder while learning
about their local Wisconsin environment and instill a lifetime connection to the natural world …

Green Bay Botanical Childre's Garden

The Playful & Educational Bell’s Children’s Garden New This Year

One of the oldest developed areas, the Kress Oval Garden, is designed as a contemporary rose garden. Mostly featuring an array of perennials with a smattering of accent roses, this garden is further encompassed with a living wall of arborvitae trees.  Visit George as he serenades Marguerite with his violin and rub Marguerite’s earlobe while making a wish!

Green Bay Botanical Garden

The Lovely Kress Oval Garden – Touch Her Ear And Make A Wish!

Easily one of the fan-favorite areas, the Cottage Garden, modeled after historical English gardens across the pond, features a cacophony of brightly colored perennials mixed with tastefully placed annuals.

Green Bay Botanical Garden

Picture Perfect Cottage Garden Chock Full Of Pollinators

A collection of hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, and shrub roses mesmerizes the eyes. They can be best seen during their peak flushes during parts of June, July, and August.

Green Bay Rose Garden

Happy Roses Flowering With Gusto In Green Bay In August

The Arendt Conifer Garden is packed to the brim with dazzling dwarf conifers. They range in all shapes, sizes, and colors that conifers can offer. This collection can be seen year-round while various low-growing perennials and bulbs intermingle among them for a striking display.

Conifers at Green Bay Botanical Garden

A Splendid Mix Of  Small Scale Conifers At The Arendt Conifer Garden

If you are in the vicinity of Green Bay, WI … do not pass up the visually appealing Green Bay Botanical Garden!  You’ll encounter a breathtaking and thriving landscape full of plants, flowers, and beautiful structures.

Sheboygan For Wisconsin Specialties …

Heading out of Green Bay, take Interstate 43 south past Manitowoc back into Sheboygan.  We’ve got a half day of sourcing Wisconsin specialties ahead, so let’s discover more of Sheboygan …

Exiting I-43 at Highway 32 brings you to the north end of Sheboygan, where you’ll find two community mainstays, Wig Wam Socks and Miesfeld’s Meats.

Wig Wam Socks:  Since 1905, Wigwam socks have always been made in the USA. These comfortable, quality socks are worn by athletes, Olympians, hikers, hunters, men, women and kids. Their manufacturing facility in Sheboygan is state of the art and getting more “green” all of the time.  Stop in their outlet store to get some great deals on these truly classic socks!

Wig Wam Socks

Wonderful Variety Of Socks At The WigWam Outlet Store

Miesfeld’s Triangle Market: Ask any local Sheboyganite where to buy a great bratwurst and chances are you’ll be directed to Miesfeld’s Triangle Market, a destination here for over 80 years. Miesfeld’s is located just down Highway 32 (toward town) from Wig Wam Socks and though it’s best known for fresh meat and sausages, you’ll find all sorts of Wisconsin specialties here …

Miesfelds Meats

Since 1941, Miesfeld’s Meat Market Is The Source For Quality Fine Meats

Miesfeld’s, in fact, is where you can pick up what’s considered authentic Sheboygan bratwurst, which is kind of a big deal since Sheboygan is known as “The Bratwurst Capital of the World“. It’s available here in close to two dozen flavor varieties, so there’s a brat here to suit any palate!

Miesfeld’s has expanded several times over the years, and now their store is the size of a large warehouse store like Costco, Sam’s Club, etc. Plan to spend at least 1/2 hour exploring all the aisles and the bountiful selections. We especially liked the fresh deli counter with delicious fresh pasta salads, chicken salad, and all sorts of party dips …

We also liked their large selection of Wisconsin made wines and beers, including those from Sheboygan’s primary local brewery, 3 Sheeps …

Sheboygan’s Famous Hard Rolls

There’s no better way to enjoy a Sheboygan brat than on an authentic Sheboygan Hard Roll. The term “hard roll” is kind of a misnomer, because they’re actually light, tender, and kind of puffy. Per a few in the know locals, here are the three top places to get Sheboygan Hard Rolls …

Johnston’s Bakery – Established in 1950, Johnston’s Bakery Inc. is a family-owned bakery and frozen dough manufacturing company with two facilities in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. We purchased some of their tasty hard rolls and some happy face cookies on our visit to this attractive bakery.

Johnston's Bakery

Wonderful Selection Of Baked Goods At Johnston’s Bakery

Johnston’s is one of three locally beloved bakeries in Sheboygan. All three are famous for their Sheboygan Rolls, and as you might imagine, locals have their favorite bakeries to buy them. We decided to visit all three to sample them all!

City Bakery – Located at 1102 Michigan Ave this bakery came highly recommended to us. City Bakery has been part of the Sheboygan community since 1939. This is a traditional old fashioned bakery featuring Sheboygan Rolls, coffee cakes, freshy baked bread, pastries, pretzel buns, and a whole lot more. We couldn’t pass up their rolls and a loaf of sourdough bread.

Sheboygan is sure lucky to have all these great hometown bakeries!

City Bakery Sheboygan

West Side Bakery: Our third Sheboygan bakery visit is the West Side Bakery, located south of downtown on Indiana Avenue, two minutes from Schwarz Fish …

West Side Bakery has almost a cult like following in Sheboygan for their Sheboygan Rolls and freshly baked breads. On our stop, we enjoyed seeing locals and couples streaming in to get their fix! The bakery has been here since 1965 and is a beloved favorite in the city …

West Side Bakery Sheboygan

Sheboygan Shopping

Nikki’s Nex-2-New resale shop was next on Flower Chick’s radar. Nikki’s is a spacious, well-organized store on 8th street in Sheboygan.  With over 10,000 sq.ft. of sales floor, they carry sizes for the entire family; Infant-Children’s, Juniors, Young Men’s, Misses, Women’s Plus, Petites, Sporting, Men’s, Shoes, Purses & Jewelry.  Flower Chick found a cute designer sweater, casual fall top, and name brand yoga pants (new with tags). 🙂

Nikkis Resale

Nikki’s Nex 2 New Resale Has A Lot Of Deals

Schwarz Fish Market: Schwarz Fish Company is a Sheboygan institution, family owned since 1912. Their retail market is located on the south end of downtown, just across from the new Sheboygan Visitor Center. Stop in for smoked fish, dips, and if you’re here at lunch time, one of their freshly made fish sandwiches. Flower Chick’s hubby recommends the lake perch!

Schwarz Fish Market

Stop Here For Some Great Fish Sandwiches

Walworth County Favorites

Leaving Sheboygan and heading for Beloit, it’s a one hour drive to Milwaukee and then southwest on Interstate 43 through Walworth County and the Lake Geneva area  …

This area is a longtime favorite of Flower Chick and husband, so we took the opportunity to visit some long time special places …

Explore The Rich History Of Lake Geneva WI – Through Vintage Postcards  #ad

Wilson Farm Meats:  This butcher shop / meat market in Elkhorn (just off I-43) is best known for their fresh pork products. Every time we’re in the Lake Geneva area, we stop here to pick up some of their pork tenderloins. They’re fork tender and excellent when cut up and added to a stir fry …

Wilson Farm Meats

Pearce’s Farm Stand – Just south of Elkhorn on Highway 67 is Williams Bay, a friendly community on the north shore of Geneva Lake. Five minutes west of downtown on Highway 67 is the expansive Pearce’s Farm Stand, a fixture in this area for generations.

Pearce's Farmstand

It’s Always A Pleasure To Shop For Fresh Produce & Baked Goods At Pearce’s

A working family farm, all the wares displayed here at the farm stand are grown here on the farm or prepared in Pearce’s on site kitchen. Open seasonally, Pearce’s is busy all day long with residents in the know. Stop here once and you’ll be drawn back again and again …

Myrt’s Ice Cream Shoppe:  Sharon, Wisconsin is a small community in southwest Walworth County, tucked along the Illinois – Wisconsin border. One of the most popular businesses in Sharon is Myrt’s Ice Cream Shoppe in the heart of the small downtown.

Myrts Ice Cream Sharon WI

A true local ice cream parlor, the offerings include soft serve, sundaes, scoops of ice cream, and other tempting treats. We love stopping here any time we’re in the area, it’s about 10 minutes west of Fontana and Walworth, just south of Highway 67 …

Ice Cream Tastes Better In These Classic Dishes … See Them Here  #ad

The Butterfly Club, Part Deux …

Well, we made it all the way back from Door County to Beloit, where our Wisconsin adventure began a week ago. And what better place to enjoy a Wisconsin supper club dinner than our favorite Beloit destination, The Butterfly Club!

The Butterfly Club Beloit

The Always Lively Bar At The Butterfly Club Beloit

You know the supper club drill … come on in, check in at the hostess stand, and head over to the bar for an Old Fashioned or a Spotted Cow on draught. When it’s time, head to your table for one of The Butterfly Club’s delicious dinners … a filet with shrimp, char grilled pork chops, or pan fried walleye you just can’t duplicate at home.

Don’t neglect some of Beloit’s other excellent eateries, but if you want to hunker down at someplace special, The Butterfly Club is ready and waiting for you …

The Supper Club Book: A Celebration of a Midwest Tradition  #ad

Day Seven: Rockford, Jonamac Apple Orchard, & DeKalb

The final day of this journey takes us back into Illinois … a great opportunity to visit a few favorites before heading home to the western suburbs of Chicago.

But before we leave Wisconsin, there’s one “must stop” in downtown Beloit.  Locals and visitors love this place – Bushel & Peck’s, a specialty foods outlet also serving lunch plates to go or to enjoy in their casual windowfront seating area.

Here’s a photo of just some of the specialties you’ll find at Bushel & Peck’s:

Bushel & Peck's Beloit

Picked Up Our Favorite Hot Sauces, Beets and Pesto This Trip – Yum!

It’s no wonder Flower Chick stops here every time in Beloit!

Bushel & Peck’s grows the vegetables for their jarred specialties (like their beets) at a farm in Monroe, further west of Beloit.  Many of their cheese selections also come from the Monroe area, which is located in Green  County, WI – the most prolific cheese producing area in the state …

Over the border into the Land of Lincoln, Flower Chick paid a visit to one of her Rockford area favorites, MeMe’s Upscale Consignment

Memes Upscale Consignment

MeMe’s Upscale Consignment Boutique Located In Roscoe, IL

MeMe’s is one of my all-time favorite upscale consignment shops!  I’ve been shopping here for years and for good reason. They have a great selection of casual to business attire, active wear, outerwear, handbags, footwear, jewelry, and formal wear for any special occasion.  They recently expanded = more great finds!  This visit I picked up a pair of Toms espadrilles new with tags, brand new White House Black Market jeans, and a Free People cute shirt.  It’s always a pleasure to shop at MeMe’s!

From MeMe’s, it’s ten minutes down Highway 251 into the heart of Rockford …

Did You Know? Rockford is known as “The City of Gardens” for its many public gardens.

Mrs. Fisher’s & Pinnon’s

Just west of Route 2 a few minutes from downtown, you’ll find two of Rockford’s most enduring local businesses. First is the wonderful Mrs. Fisher’s Potato Chips, who have been a part of the community here for over 90 years. This location on Fulton Avenue is not only the production area, but also Mrs. Fisher’s on site store.

Mrs. Fishers Potato Chips Rockford

Our Favorite Is Their Dark Chips – Superb!

Here, you can avail yourself of all the Mrs. Fisher’s flavors, as well as their caramel corn and other snacks. We love their dark potato chips … they’re made from a special strain of russet potatoes and cook up darker. They’ve got a “well done” look and flavor and we’ve been enjoying them for years …

If you’re lucky, Lauren (who is personality plus) will take your order at their front counter.  Lauren, also affectionately known as “The Potato Chip Lady” has worked here for years.  Ask her about her cute brown and white dog, “Cannoli” …

Pinnon's Foods Rockford

 Stock Up On Meat, Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Prepared Meals & More At Pinnon’s

Down the street a few blocks is Pinnon’s Market. Open since the early 1950’s, Pinnon’s features fresh meat, prepared meals, on site bakery, deli salads, and local specialties. Bring a cooler … you’ll want to stock up!

Among Flower Chick’s Pinnon’s favorites are the wonderful soft ginger cookies with butter cream frosting. They’re one of Pinnon’s many freshly baked (on site) treats. Their loaves of bread are ultra fresh and fantastic!

Jonamac Apple Orchard & Winery

This popular apple orchard and on site winery has been a destination for almost 40 years. Jonamac Orchard is located in Malta, a small farming community six miles west of DeKalb on Route 38. The orchard and winery are open several months a year and weekends are exceptionally popular. Their season more or less coincides with apple growing season, so roughly late August through Thanksgiving.

Jonamac's Gift Shop

Jonamac’s Apple Orchard And Gift Shop Malta IL

While the primary attraction for most visitors is pick-your-own-apples, Flower Chick loves their apple cider, apple cider donuts, and fruit wines.  We especially like “Nosy Neighbor”, a light, bright wine blending Traminette grapes and apples.  Also, the Red Barn Blush, a semi sweet wine blending apple wine and a touch of cranberry …

Apple Time: Recipes From The Orchard – What To Do With All Those Apples?  #ad

DeKalb Favorites

Flower Chick and her tour guide hubby have a long history in DeKalb, IL (he’s a Northern Illinois University grad). DeKalb, about 60 miles west of Chicago, is an historic town of about 40,000. As railroads reached the area from Chicago, the town grew and eventually a state university was founded here (NIU). Still a farming community, DeKalb is also a business and technology hub due to its prime location and ease of transportation …

Some long running local businesses and restaurants are here in DeKalb. We’ve patronized them for decades and we’re pleased to introduce them to you:

Rosita’s Mexican Food can be found a few blocks east of downtown DeKalb on Route 38.  This vibrant colorful spot serves some of the best Mexican food in northern Illinois since 1972.  Flower Chick’s hubby has patronized Rosita’s since 1978!

Rositas's Dekalb

Try The Excellent Enchiladas At Rosita’s In DeKalb!

When you visit, two must have items are Rosita’s enchiladas, grilled to perfection and not swimming in sauce like so many places do.  We’re partial to the chicken enchiladas and also the cheese & onion, but really anything you get here is top notch.  Be sure to liven things up with Rosita’s mildly hot sauce, and don’t forget their house made chips!

All Things DeKalb Right Here … Click To View  #ad

Pizza Villa is DeKalb’s best known family friendly pizza place, in business here on Lincoln Highway (Route 38) since 1956.  Generations of NIU students and DeKalb locals swear by Pizza Villa’s thin crust pies … and they turn out a really good meatball sandwich too!

Pizza Villa DeKalb

Delicious Thin Crust At Pizza Villa DeKalb

If you spend any time in DeKalb, chances are you’ll see one of Pizza Villa’s fleet of delivery vehicles delivering the goods to people in the know …

Summary: Door County Gardens and More

We’d experienced Door County several times in the past, but just for day trips or short visits. This excursion was the first extended visit to this one of a kind area. And now we can relate to visitors who return year after year. Door County and the communities within offer a special charm that draws you back again and again …

You’ll especially enjoy the scenic landscapes that present themselves everywhere you turn. Whether it’s the bay side towns of Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, or Sister Bay, or the “quiet side” of Door County on the Lake Michigan side, you’re sure to be enchanted with the natural beauty.

Fish Creek Flowers

Charming Garden Plot In Downtown Fish Creek

The Door County area is Zone 5 at its finest. The moderating effect of surrounding waters allow a bevvy of horticulture to thrive here, from rich farmland to beautiful gardens. And if you like to shop and enjoy a good meal, you’ve certainly come to the right place! We hope we’ve given you a little flavor of what this special locale has to offer. If you’re a long time Door County visitor, we hope we found some of your favorite places. Let us know what you thought by commenting below …

Green Bay Botanical Garden

Lots To See At The Striking Green Bay Botanical Garden

What a spectacular trip! Thanks for coming along …

Be sure to check out other “Visiting Midwest Gardens” destinations … a few are linked below.

Happy gardening and happy travels …

Laura, aka Flower Chick

Plan Your Trip To Beautiful Door County Peninsula Now … Handy Helpers Here  #ad

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