Seriously. It doesn't get much better than this!
I was invited by the Door County Visitor Bureau to spend a few days in Door County, Wisconsin photographing the fall colors.
This was a total dream job for me!
Door County is a peninsula that is about 70 miles long. In that small area - it has 5 state parks, several small towns, an airport, over 30 islands, 11 lighthouses, 300 miles of shoreline and a plethora of wineries, orchards, specialty shops and golf courses!
All year long it is beautiful -- but fall in Door County is what photographers dream about! So many colors! Lovely fall light and weather. It is ideal! Within hours of returning home - I was already researching a family trip there next fall... I want to share this amazing area with them! (Not sure I can wait all the way until next fall though!)
The first morning I was there - I got up early and watched the sunrise over Lake Michigan at the site of the US Coast Guard Light House in Sturgeon Bay.
Afterwards I went to the Jacksonport Farm Market. I was immediately impressed with the industrious residents of Door County. As much as Door County is known for its natural beauty - it is also known as the "home of home-made." Door County is famous for its wines, jams, apple sauces, pies, fudge, ice cream, bakeries, cheese and so much more! At the market, farmers were lined up side by side with artisans and crafters.
You could tell they all had a passion for their craft and a passion for the area. I met a lot of wonderful folks.
I "accidentally" left with an armful of homemade breads: a loaf of chocolate zuchinni, lemon poppyseed, rhubarb and a large loaf of white bread that my husband later said tasted like a donut.
I also bought fresh raspberries to nosh while I explored, homemade applesauce made with three types of apples, jam, homemade wild choke cherry syrup for pancakes, a bag of apples and a bag of freshly made homemade soaps!
There's something so special about buying your food straight from the person who made or grew it. I've been home for a week now and I think about the cute couple that I sold me their Wild Choke Cherry Syrup each time I pour a little of it on our pancakes.
Starting the day with the farmer's market also means you are shaking hands with some of the friendliest locals before you explore the area. It made me feel so welcomed -- and that feeling stayed with me as I spent the day driving through Door County. The locals even gave me a few tips on where to explore!
I spent the next few days driving the Door County Coastal Byway.
The time flew by in the best sort of way -- I stopped at will whenever something grabbed my attention.
I climbed to the top of the Cana Island Lighthouse.
The recently restored lighthouse was built in 1869 and is considered Door County's most iconic lighthouse.
I drove by miles of bucolic farm scenes like this one near Kangaroo Lake.
I did a peaceful 4 mile hike in at Whitefish Dunes State Park & checked out the sand dunes that line the lake Michigan shoreline.
This is the view from "Old Baldy" - the tallest dune in Whitefish Dunes State Park. It rises 93 feet above lake level.
I stopped for rest breaks at cute little coastal towns like Sister Bay, Ephraim and Bailey's Harbor.
I stopped at local attractions like this one - Bailey's Harbor Range Lights at Ridges Nature Center.
I bought a Swedish ski sweater at a restaurant that had goats living on the roof!
I had a glass of wine at a winery and grabbed some sweets snacks at an orchard.
I climbed to the top of this tower in Potawatomi State Park. I had a few moments of doubt on the second-to-the-top platform. It was windy. I was alone in the woods. Then I remembered the saying "Do at least one thing that scares you each day" so I turned up my music on my headphones and charged up the remaining stairs. Albeit I white-knuckled the railing as I took in the view from the top. Mission accomplished!
I also found a little time to sit and rest and read a book.
It was a perfect fall get-away!
I used the largest, most-southern town of Sturgeon Bay as my basecamp. It was great place to relax each night after very active days spent exploring. I stayed at the Stone Harbor Resort and would recommend it. It was within walking distance of the main strip - 3rd Avenue which is the home to many charming shops and great restaurants.
I had a little fun when I noticed one of my skirts matched the Third Avenue Playhouse's facade in Sturgeon Bay!
If you would like to someday go on a great fall get-away (or any time of year really) - you can't go wrong with Door County!
I can't wait to bring my family there!
A big thank-you to Door County for this amazing opportunity!
IF YOU GO:
2.5 hours from Milwaukee
4-5 hours from Chicago
5 hours from Minneapolis
Door County Information: www.DoorCounty.com
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