Monday, October 11, 2010

Door County Autumn Expedition

I have been wanting to visit Door County, Wisconsin, for several years, ever since a photography instructor I had decades ago told me about the place. If you are as "geographically challenged" as I was, it may not instantly come to mind exactly where Door County is located. Maybe that is why the Wisconsin Highway Department puts the outline of the state of Wisconsin on their highway signs (upper left photo). Door County is represented by the tiny "thumb" of the mitten-shaped state, that sticks out into Lake Michigan, on the east side of the county, and the body of water called "Green Bay" on the west side of the county. I had read that the colors were pretty there in the fall and found that was indeed true, as shown by some of the remaining photos in this collage.

There are several ways you can do your exploration of Door County. As for me, I flew out of the new Branson, Missouri, airport via Frontier Airlines into Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There I rented a car---the Nissan "Cube" shown in upper left corner of this collage, which served my purposes just fine. The Rustic Roads system around the county provide great places for bicyclists (middle upper photo), as well as motorcyclists (middle lower photo) to tour the area. There are also numerous hiking trails, waterfront walkways, snowmobile trails, and horseback trails. I even saw a group doing a "Segway" tour (their red van is shown in collage). Since the county is surrounded by water, it is not surprising that kayaking and canoeing are popular, as well as water sports involving power boats and sail boats. The lower left photo shows another way to visit the islands of Door County---passenger and car ferries. In the photo, I am on the ferry that was taking folks across Lake Michigan to Washington Island. I did not take my car across on the ferry. Rather, when I arrived on Washington Island, I took the popular "Cherry Train Tour", that included the highlights of what the island has to offer.

If you are a photographer, there is never a question of "what to do" in Door County. No matter where you point your camera, there is something scenic and interesting to photograph. There are fish boils, Norwegian-style houses with grass growing on their roofs (and goats up there eating the grass!), rocky shorelines, scenic sunsets, working boats, and lots of light houses! Door County has the most lighthouses, in addition to state parks, than any other county in the United States. I had signed up to take the "Fire Boat" cruise at Sturgeon Bay for the Sunday afternoon of October 2. The captain said he had to have eight customers for the boat to go out, and an hour before the start time, I was the only one signed up. As we chatted, waiting to see if anyone else was going to show up, he told me about a place to visit, in case the cruise did not go out. He said just "up the road a piece" was Cave Point County Park. He told me it was a rocky shoreline, with many interesting cave-like formations along the trails beside it. Well, it came time for the cruise to go, and I was still the only one signed up---even though it was an absolutely GORGEOUS day. HOWEVER, it was also an afternoon when their beloved Green Bay Packers football team had a home game, just a few hours south of there. So, I suppose anyone who was mobile, had gone to that game, causing the fire boat cruise to be canceled that afternoon. I teased the Captain of the boat, saying he didn't look too disappointed that he was not going to have to take the boat out, and instead could enjoy the Green Bay game in its entirety (the Packers won, by the way). But, thanks to his tip about visiting Cave Point County Park, the afternoon was not at all wasted. In fact, the time I spent at Cave Point was the highlight of my visit to Door County! That is because, I had such an enjoyable time hiking the trail beside the water, and photographing the numerous scenic locations there. So I am very grateful to that Fire Boat Captain for telling me about Cave Point County Park, and get this---it was completely free! There was no entry or parking fee! Plus it had clean rest rooms and picnic tables and nice parking spaces!

Since I was in Door County, it seemed appropriate to get some photographs of doors of the area, and this photo collage shows some of those doors. The pretty Victorian-style door in the upper left, was taken at the waterfront resort where I spent one night, in Ellison Bay. The greenery-framed door in the lower right leads to the famous Al Johnson Restaurant, where you can see goats grazing on the green grass growing on the roof of the building. That is the place where I had a combination platter I had never ordered before---Swedish pancakes with Lindon berry sauce, plus Swedish meatballs. It was all quite delicious! The name "Door County" also brings to mind the familiar verse in the Bible about doors, Revelation 3:20, that says "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any many hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Making that decision to open the door of my heart to Jesus, was the best decision I ever made. It has led to countless blessings---one of those blessings was being able to visit Door County, Wisconsin! You can learn more about the area at, where you will see that touring their lovely location will provide you MILES OF SMILES! So get out there and open the door! Tricia
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