Plan Your Autumn Door County Wisconsin Adventure

We headed out to Door County Wisconsin last weekend in a search of the elusive autumn colors! Door County is the thumb in the upper North Eastern part of Wisconsin that juts out into Lake Michigan. It is the charming “New England” of the upper Midwest. Let us help you plan your autumn Door County Wisconsin Adventure.

USA Today ranked Door County the #1 Travel Destination for Fall Colors. I hope we find that to be true.

Will you come out and join us for the adventure? Come and follow along, we will let you know what we find! And then we will help you plan your trip!

Accommodations

Our Room at the Eagle Harbor Inn, Ephraim, WI was delightful. We were able to stay in the exquisite Serena Room.

Eagle Harbor Inn, Ephraim Door County WI
Eagle Harbor Inn, Ephraim Door County WI

Take a look at a video of the room below.

Breakfasts here were reminiscent of our time in France and Italy.

Must See Attractions

Cave Point County Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park

As wonderful as our accommodations were, we needed to get up very early to attempt to catch sunrise at Cave Point County Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park. There wasn’t much for a sunrise due to all the clouds but the weather was perfect for making the waves crash upon the rocks.

Cave Point County Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park
Cave Point County Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park

After our sunrise hike we needed to find some breakfast. We found just what the doctor ordered at Heirloom Café and Provisions in Baileys Harbor. Check the review below.

Cana Island Lighthouse

Cana Island Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin
Cana Island Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin

Then on a to Cana Island Lighthouse where it’s actually on a bit of an island. It’s normally a peninsula but the water is so high you have to ride a tractor across the foot or so of water to get to the island.

Climbing the Spiral Staircase  Cana Island Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin
Climbing the Spiral Staircase Cana Island Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin
View From  Cana Island Lighthouse  Door County Wisconsin
View From Cana Island Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin

We showed up early and were able to take the trip across the peninsula, but as the winds picked up, they ended up closing this after we came off because the waves were just too high.

Manager and Tractor Driver Cana Island Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin
Manager and Tractor Driver Cana Island Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin

We were incredibly fortunate for this adventure.

Curvy Road Gills Rock

Then on to the crazy curvy road near Gills Rock near the north point of the peninsula. I must say this was mine most important destination of this entire trip. As a crazy photographer this is what I was dreaming about.

I was somewhat disappointed in the autumn colors, they were only at 15 to 20%, but that means you have a great opportunity to show up over the next couple of weeks and get full peak fabulous autumn colors.

Crazy Curvy Road Gills Rock Door County Wisconsin Plan Your Autumn Door County Wisconsin Adventure
Crazy Curvy Road Gills Rock Door County Wisconsin Plan Your Autumn Door County Wisconsin Adventure

Yes I was that crazy photographer standing in the middle of the road attempting to get the shot. I think I got it.

We did manage to find some wonderful autumn colors throughout the peninsula but there’s plenty of time to capture great autumn colors in the weeks to come.

Anderson Warehouse Graffiti Wall

Be sure not to miss the iconic Anderson Warehouse Graffiti wall in
Ephraim. An old dockside warehouse has been covered with decades of graffiti by people arriving on boats.

Anderson Warehouse Graffiti Wall Ephraim Door County Wisconsin
Anderson Warehouse Graffiti Wall Ephraim Door County Wisconsin

This warehouse has now been turned into an art gallery.

Leroy’s Water Street Coffee

Mid afternoon and it’s time for coffee. We found Leroy’s Water Street Coffee that was celebrating 26 years in business, Crazy!!

Leroy's Water Street Coffee Ephraim Door County WI
Leroy’s Water Street Coffee Ephraim Door County WI

 

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

I was most excited to see Eagle Bluff Lighthouse because of it’s classic beautiful look and it’s history.

 Eagle Bluff Lighthouse  Door County Wisconsin
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin

After the conclusion of the Civil War, the Lighthouse Board sent a committee to the western Great Lakes in 1865 to examine the navigational needs of the area. One of the resulting recommendations was a lighthouse on Eagle Bluff that would help commercial ships pass through Strawberry Channel, situated on the eastern side of Green Bay between the Strawberry Islands and Door County Peninsula.

Lighthouse Friends
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin

The Eagle Bluff Light, also known as Eagle Bluff lighthouse, or simply Eagle Bluff, is a lighthouse located near Ephraim in Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin. Construction was authorized in 1866, but the lighthouse was not actually built until 1868 at a cost of $12,000. It was automated in 1926. Restoration work began on the Eagle Bluff Light in 1960 and were completed in 1963, upon completion the Lighthouse was opened for tours. The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

Wiki
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Door Country Wisconsin
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin

Peninsula State Park

Then on to Peninsula State Park to attempt to capture more autumn colors.

 Peninsula State Park Door County Wisconsin
Peninsula State Park Door County Wisconsin

Peninsula State Park is the third largest state park in Wisconsin, and is visited by an estimated one million visitors annually. – Wiki

Edgewood Orchard Galleries

Edgewood Orchard Galleries Door County Wisconsin
Edgewood Orchard Galleries Door County Wisconsin

We actually found Edgewood Orchard Galleries by accident as we were driving by. The artwork, viewable from the road is so stunning we knew we needed to go.

Edgewood Orchard Galleries Door County Wisconsin
Edgewood Orchard Galleries Door County Wisconsin

Edgewood Orchard Galleries is one of the Midwest’s most respected art galleries, known since 1969 for its exhibitions exploring ideas in a wide range of media. Paintings, sculpture, glass, clay, wood and jewelry are all represented. Open daily from May through November, the gallery presents monthly changing feature shows, along with its general exhibits of work by over 150 artists. Although many of these artists are of national reputation, the atmosphere is welcoming and creative, with a genuine love of art and people felt throughout.

Edgewood Orchard Galleries
Edgewood Orchard Galleries Door County Wisconsin
Edgewood Orchard Galleries Door County Wisconsin

What I loved most is the dazzling array of art styles displayed at the gallery and that fact that it has both outside and inside exhibition.

Edgewood Orchard Galleries Door County Wisconsin
Edgewood Orchard Galleries Door County Wisconsin

Great work Edgewood!

Stone’s Throw Winery

With 9 or so wineries in Door County, how in the world do you pick one? One might say try them all. While that would be fun we had to be a little judicious with our time. So we choose the one closest to us and had a decent google rating.

Stone's Throw Winery Door County Wisconsin
Stone’s Throw Winery Door County Wisconsin

Russell Turco and Stone’s Throw Winery have had the honor of being featured by Wine Spectator, The Food Network, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Wisconsin Foodie, Crain’s Chicago Business, Crain’s Milwaukee Business, and Insight on Business Magazine.

Stone’s Throw
Stone's Throw Winery Door County Wisconsin
Stone’s Throw Winery Door County Wisconsin

While it is true, northern wineries that use local grapes have greatly improved the qualities of their wines in the last ten years, We still very full bodied red wines made from the grape of California. Luckily for us, that is exactly what Stone’s Throw Winery specializes in.

Stone's Throw Winery Door County Wisconsin
Stone’s Throw Winery Door County Wisconsin

We purchase two flights of 6 varieties of reds, somehow we got to taste 8 varieties. We are certainly not going to complain.

Stone's Throw Winery Door County Wisconsin
Stone’s Throw Winery Door County Wisconsin

We left we 3 bottles of blow your mind amazing wines.

 

Sturgeon Bay Maritime Museum Door County Wisconsin
Sturgeon Bay Maritime Museum Door County Wisconsin

Sturgeon Bay Maritime Museum was the biggest surprise of the entire trip. We care to Sturgeon Bay thinking we have some time, we “should” go to the Maritime Museum. We left thinking, wow that place was amazing, thank god we had time to see it thoroughly. Seriously!!

Sturgeon Bay Maritime Museum Door County Wisconsin
Sturgeon Bay Maritime Museum Door County Wisconsin

For five decades, the Door County Maritime Museum has educated and entertained the public while working to preserve our rich maritime heritage. Now the museum is taking a major leap forward by expanding our Sturgeon Bay facility with a spectacular 10-story Maritime Lighthouse Tower along the working waterfront of Sturgeon Bay.

Sturgeon Bay Maritime Museum
Sturgeon Bay Maritime Museum Door County Wisconsin
Sturgeon Bay Maritime Museum Door County Wisconsin

Seriously, do yourself a favor and plan some time to stop here!

Sturgeon Bay Maritime Museum Door County Wisconsin
Sturgeon Bay Maritime Museum Door County Wisconsin

Sherwood Point Lighthouse

Sherwood Point Lighthouse is interesting for both it’s style and it’s history.

 Sherwood Point Lighthouse  Door County Wisconsin
Sherwood Point Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin

The Building of the Sherwood Point Lighthouse in 1883 was intimately connected to the construction of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. Before the completion of the canal Sturgeon Bay was an important warm weather port, though it was relatively minor because it has a short season than Jacksonport and Baileys Harbor on Lake Michigan. Many years that found Green Bay locked in winter’s icy grip, Lake Michigan waters were almost free of ice. After years of controversy, as it became apparent that the canal would be built and Sturgeon Bay would expand as a port, maritime interests began demanding additional aids to navigation in anticipation of greatly increased traffic in Sturgeon Bay.

Door County Maritime Museum

Door County for Foodies

As empty nesters, experiencing Door County was very different experience than when we vacationed with our children. Finding interesting restaurants, wineries and art galleries were higher on our list this time around.

Trixie’s

Upon arriving at our weekend home base in Ephraim, we sought out a restaurant with great reviews and locally sourced food. Trixie’s, in Ephraim, fit the bill.

Fine Food  Trixie's  Door County Wisconsin
Fine Food Trixie’s Door County Wisconsin

We selected an item off the menu, Grilled Trout, and one of their daily specials, Lamb Ragu over homemade pasta. Both entrées were very unique, had wonderful flavors and were excellent.

Heirloom Café and Provisions

Comfortable Neighborhood Cafe  Heirloom Café and Provisions
Comfortable Neighborhood Cafe Heirloom Café and Provisions

On Saturday morning, after a hike at Cove Point County Park, we drove thru Baileys Harbor, looking for a much needed cup of coffee, and discovered a great breakfast place at Heirloom Café and Provisions. As we walked in the door, we discovered a comfortable neighborhood café with a group of folks enjoying food, coffee and each other’s company.

Comfortable Neighborhood Cafe  Heirloom Café and Provisions
Breakfast Special Heirloom Café and Provisions

I ordered the daily special, a Breakfast Bowl, with kimchi fried rice, carrot, chard, scallion, gochujang sauce, fried egg and bacon. The flavors were awesome and hit the spot. We also had a fresh, flaky cinnamon pastry,

Comfortable Neighborhood Cafe  Heirloom Café and Provisions
Sausage and Egg Heirloom Café and Provisions

Wayne had a hearty breakfast egg and sausage sandwich and the much needed perfectly brewed bottomless cup of coffee. A wonderful way to start the day!

Yes a Fish Boil

A local Door County tradition, the Fish Boil, was on the agenda for Friday evening. After asking around, we heard one of the best in the area was at The Old Post Office Restaurant, in Ephraim. Serving multiple settings daily, every day of the week, the Boil Master, Jeremy “Torch” Klaubauf entertains his “audience” with the history of fish boils, techniques for the best boils and tends to the bonfire to produce the boil over technique. The results were an awesome, fresh meal of whitefish steaks, red potatoes and onions, all topped with butter as desired. The wonderful waitstaff expertly and quickly de-boned fish for all and serve us homemade cherry pie to finish the evening off just right.

You can see a video that includes the Fish Boil below.

God Said Let There Be Italian Food!

Italian food is one of our favorite food options (see article from Italy), so we decided that Saturday evening was perfect evening for Italian and we didn’t need to look too far. Pasta Vino, in Sister Bay, was highly rated and did not disappoint.

Delicious Italian Dinner Options at Pasta Vino Door County Wisconsin
Delicious Italian Dinner Options at Pasta Vino Door County Wisconsin

It was a cold dark evening, but upon arrival at 8:00pm at the restaurant the atmosphere was festive, the aroma was fabulous, and our moods were immediately lifted. A glass of red wine, freshly made bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a super Caesar Salad was a great start to the evening.

Delicious Italian Dinner Options at Pasta Vino Door County Wisconsin
Delicious Italian Dinner Options at Pasta Vino Door County Wisconsin

Selecting the house specialties of Beef and Veal Tortellacci and Scallops Limoncello were excellent choices and we savored both dishes.

Delicious Italian Dinner Options at Pasta Vino Door County Wisconsin
Delicious Italian Dinner Options at Pasta Vino Door County Wisconsin

We ended the evening sharing a dish of pistachio gelato, reminding us of the evenings we spent in Italy.

Door County has much to offer for entertainment, natural beauty, galleries and museums, but the food scene certainly does rank up there with a great reason to visit Door County.

Conclusion

We had a wonderfully terrific time in Door County. It is amazing that it is so close to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul yet we have not been there for something like 25 years.

Being the autumn colors have been delayed because of the large amount of rain this year, you have plenty of opportunity to capture amazing autumn colors yet this year and I would highly recommend that you do.

#Sponsored by Door County Visitors Bureau. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

THESE IMAGES AND MUCH MORE ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

Buy Yosemite National Park Prints ~ Best Locations to Photograph Yosemite National Park

Find the complete online gallery here: Wayne Moran Fine Art Photography

 HOW TO TAKE GREAT PICTURES

If you are looking to improve your photography skills, check out our video series “How to Take Great Pictures“.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER!!

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletters to keep up on all the latest and greats news, learn new skills and receive special discount codes.

Subscribe Here!! 

Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website
moran.wayne@gmail.com

Privacy Preference Center