Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Door County, Wisconsin

Door County is that long peninsula on the eastern side of Wisconsin that jets up from Green Bay into the beautiful blue waters of Lake Michigan. It is also the place you hear a lot about and is highly recommended for a visit. Dotted along the coast of the peninsula are numerous pretty little towns that exude their own character and charm. We stayed in the northern part of the peninsula in a little town called Ellison Bay.

Our days were busy driving along winding roads dropping into village harbors and exploring the beauty of Wisconsin. Luck had it we arrived on a weekend when the nearby town of Sister Bay was having their annual Marina Fest. The harbor filled with boats, food vendors fired up their grills and fryers, music graced the outdoor amphitheater, and the downtown population swelled to carrying capacity. It was a good ole’ small town family event with bounce houses, the library’s annual book sale, kids building toy boats, a pancake breakfast, and more.

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One of the most famous places in Sister Bay is Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and Boutique. We didn’t go there to eat their famous Swedish pancakes and meatballs instead we wanted to see their unique attraction which are goats on the grass roof.  Every day, the goats are transported from their 40-acre farm to the restaurant where they spend their day grazing on the grass roof and entertaining tourists. Goats on the roof actually started as a joke when one of Johnson’s friends brought him a goat named Oscar and someone decided to put it on the roof. The goat was so popular with pedestrians they decided to add a few more and the roof filled with goat antics. In 1996, Johnson registered the “Goats on the Roof” trademark so that other restaurants in the United States can not have goats on their roofs. The goats are so popular there is even a goat cam so you can watch them from far away.

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Just a few miles from the RV park in Ellison Bay we found Island Orchard Cider House which was beckoning us for a tasting. This family-owned and run cidery marries Bob and Yannique Purman's interest in French cider with their love of Door County. Travels to northern France exposed the Purmans to the dry complex refreshing ciders which take on champagne characteristics that have been made in France since the middle ages. This type of cider did not exist in the United States and the Purmans wanted to introduce this French-style cider to the American palate melding it with their Door County-grown apples. So they introduced a litmus of cultivars from France, England and America to see what would thrive in the area's climate and rocky limestone. What you have now are a variety of delicious ciders that are infused with apple, pear, and cherry that offer a great partnership to a wide range of foods. The tasting room experience is more than just a few samples, it is an interesting lesson in the company's past and development.

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Right down the street was the best farm stand located in the most unique and intriguing building. For days we speculated as to what the old building's original purpose was and came up with some pretty wild ideas. None of which were right. The historic building was constructed as lodging for migrant workers who helped this agriculturally rich area thrive. We talked to the owner who mentioned that even today housing for workers is in short supply making it hard to find and keep good help. Today the inside is a farm stand and store selling locally made products. We suggested she add RV hook-ups and hire seasonal work campers. It looked like a lovely place to work if you ask us.

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We found Door County very charming and it provided all of the things we like in an area…small towns, blue water, and big trees.  There are numerous state parks and nature preserves that allowed us to get a good hike in most every day and appease Spirit.  This is certainly an area we would return to someday. 
  
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7 comments:

  1. So glad you enjoyed Door County. We currently live in WI and camp there at least once a year. Next year we will begin our full time rv life there as we make our way south to FL to establish residency. We have really enjoyed your blogs! My husband is a chef and will be looking to continue cooking as we look for work camping gigs along our journeys. Hope to see you out on the road! Rick & Julie

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    1. Congrats on your decision to fulltime. We hope you like it as much as we do. Door County was everything people said it would be and more. So wish we could have spent the fall there, must be beautiful that time of year.

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  2. We are planning a similar trip to the one you've been on so I'm learning a lot from your travels.

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    1. We loved the area and would have stayed much longer if a broken toilet hadn't forced us along.

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  4. hi ladies. it is paula and david. we were just looking over your blog. wondering if you are going back to topsail and if so when. I think I recall you going back in December. We are planning on being down January 1. Hope to see you then. Safe travels.

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    1. Hi Guys! We will be at Topsail Dec 1st thru March and look forward to seeing you again and having another great winter.

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