We arrived at Baileys Grove Campground in Baileys Harbor, WI late in the afternoon on Wednesday, July 21st, for a five-night stay. We were greeted by our friends, Beth and Todd Ehlenfeldt, who had arrived on Monday and were parked practically across the street from us. We had also planned to arrive on Monday but, due to truck problems, had had to cancel the first two nights.
After we got set up, we socialized with the Ehlenfeldts and they were kind enough to serve us dinner. We then sat around their campfire until exhaustion from the prior three days’ activities had us heading off to bed.
On Thursday, the Ehlenfeldts showed us around several towns in Door County. Our first stop was in Sister Bay. After walking along the beach and marina, we visited Stabbur at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and enjoyed some refreshments at an outside table. We were able to see the sod roofs on the authentic Swedish log buildings but, unfortunately, the goats that eat the grass on the roofs in the summertime were absent. We then visited a number of shops along Sister Bay’s main street.
Our next stop was Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market in Fish Creek. This establishment had all sorts of cherry products. They even had a setup for competitive cherry pit spitting. The ladies did wine tastings and we bought a bottle of cherry wine. We also stopped at Wood Orchard Market in Egg Harbor and made some more purchases.
We had dinner reservations at Pelletier’s Restaurant & Fish Boil in Fish Creek. We got back to Fish Creek early so we killed time by visiting several shops. The actual fish boil occurred precisely at 5 p.m. but we grabbed a table at 4:30 to watch the preparation. The owner, a third-generation operator of the fish boil, did an excellent job of explaining the process. He began by cooking baby red potatoes and onions, then added Lake Michigan whitefish steaks, and finally added corn on the cob. He regulated the temperature by stacking, and removing, pieces of wood along the edge of the pot. As the fish cooks, a film of oil begins at accumulate on the surface of the water. The culmination of the process came when the owner threw a can of kerosene on the fire, resulting in a huge flame and the boiling off of the film of fish oil. The kettle of food was removed from the flame immediately and was delivered to our table within a minute. The food was delicious, although picking out the bones from the whitefish required a lot of care. As though we hadn’t had enough to eat, the meal ended with a slice of Door County cherry pie.
After dinner, we returned to the campground and sat by the Ehlenfeldt’s campfire until we were driven indoors by mosquitos.
On Friday, we said goodbye to Todd and Beth. We will be joining them at their home in a few days. We then drove to Sturgeon Bay to explore the area. We took the truck in order to further test the effectiveness of the repairs to the DEF system. Fortunately, all continued to work as it should. We visited two lighthouses; the Sturgeon Bay Canal Station Lighthouse and the North Pierhead Lighthouse. Reaching the North Pierhead Light required walking down a long breakwater.
We then drove back into Sturgeon Bay and walked across the Michigan Street Bridge. This bridge provided a beautiful view up Sturgeon Bay to the north. After crossing the bridge, we strolled along the waterfront before returning across the river on the Oregon Street Bridge. This bridge provided views of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, built in the late 1800s.
We then strolled along the shops in downtown Sturgeon Bay and sought shelter from the heat at the Starboard Brewing Company. We tried a couple of their microbrews and shared a plate of local cheeses. Throughout downtown, we saw numerous cherry sculptures that had been decorate uniquely.
On Saturday, we drove to Egg Harbor and Fish Creek and visited some shops and purchased some cheese. We then returned to Baileys Harbor and strolled along the main drag. We stopped at Chive Food Truck for a couple of drinks and an order of fried cheese curds. We sat in Adirondack chairs overlooking the street and the bay and enjoyed watching the world go by. The temperature was in the low 80s but sitting under large shade trees with a breeze coming off the bay made it feel great.
On Sunday, July 25th, we decided to explore the northern end of Door County. However, as we were leaving Baileys Harbor, we discovered that there was a farmers’ market on the town square. We parked and checked out all the stalls, including one with live alpacas.
We then headed north and passed through Sister Bay, Ellison Bay and Gilts Rock. We continued on towards Northport but soon found ourselves in a line of cars waiting for the ferry to Washington Island. We turned around and returned to Gilts Rock, where we visited some gift shops, and then on to the Ellison Bay County Park and its scenic overlook.
As we returned through Sister Bay, we stopped at Al Johnson’s Stabbur again for some liquid refreshments. Once again, the goats were missing from the rooftops.
After stopping for groceries at Piggly Wiggly, we decided to check out the Cana Island Lighthouse. This 85-foot-tall lighthouse was built in 1869 and automated in 1944. The island is accessible by a tram ride across a shallow causeway. Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the day to make the trip to the island, especially with a car full of groceries on an 85-degree day. We had to settle for a view of the lighthouse from across the bay. Our final stop was a brief one at the sand beach on Lake Michigan near Baileys Harbor.