A Little Door County

September 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

After leaving Fond du Lac, we were ready for a more scenic RV Park, and we found one near Brussels Wisconsin in Door County.  From there we explored up and down both sides of Door Peninsula to take in the sights of Green Bay and Lake Michigan in between rains.  Didn't get to do as much as we should have, but it was a great visit, and we could easily see why this area is a favorite tourist destination in the summer.  We can only imagine the harsh winters though and fully understand why many of the businesses in this area are closed in the off season.  

Here's our visit through the eye's of a drive by historian.  Hover over the photos for more information and history of Door County. Click on any photo to go to the gallery. 

Baileys Harbor - Blue Ox - BackBaileys Harbor - Blue Ox - BackThe Blue OX was in a very photogenic building, and it should be, as it is over 125 years old. Still serving up what many say are the best burgers in Door County, this historic bar is a wood lovers delight.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Baileys Harbor - Blue Ox - SideBaileys Harbor - Blue Ox - SideIn 1848, Captain Justic Bailey discovered a great place for cordwood after taking shelter from a storm. Two years later, Bailey's Harbor was shipping 2,500 cords of wood annually. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Baileys Harbor - Door County Lake LivingBaileys Harbor - Door County Lake LivingA scene found near Baileys Harbor exudes the Lake Life. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Baileys Harbor - Plank WalkBaileys Harbor - Plank WalkJust outside of Baileys Harbor. In 1848, Captain Justic Bailey discovered a great place for cordwood after taking shelter from a storm. Two years later, Bailey's Harbor was shipping 2,500 cords of wood annually. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Baileys Harbor, WI - Kopsels Farm Market PumpkinBaileys Harbor, WI - Kopsels Farm Market PumpkinTaking Cinderella to the ball? We found this giant pumpkin at Kopsels Farm Market, established in 1958. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Brussels - Old Business BuildingBrussels - Old Business BuildingAn old building in the small town of Brussels, Wisconsin. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Brussels, WI - Barn Near BrusselsBrussels, WI - Barn Near BrusselsBrussels, established in 1858 by Belgian Immigrants and descendants, is still heavily influenced by the culture. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, this area of Wisconsin is the largest Belgian-American settlement in the U.S., with Walloons (French Speaking Belgians) immigrating here in the 1850's. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Brussels, WI - Barn Near BrusselsBrussels, WI - Barn Near BrusselsMany of the original wooden structures of southern Door Peninsula were destroyed in the Peshtigo Fire Storm of 1871 (same day as the Chicago Fire). The Peshtigo Firestorm is still the deadliest on record, killing up to 2,500 people and destroying 1.2 Million Acres. That's twice the size of Rhode Island. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Brussels, WI - Old StationBrussels, WI - Old StationAn old service station in Brussels, Wisconsin. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Cave Point County ParkCave Point County ParkDoor County is named after the strait between Door Peninsula and Washington Island. This passage is dangerous, with many scattered shipwrecks. The French called this area where Green Bay opens to Lake Michigan "Porte des Morts Passage", meaning "Death's Door". Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Cave Point County Park - 2Cave Point County Park - 2Don't overlook Cave Point County Park. This park provides some great views of the waters of Lake Michigan, that have created underwater caves and limestone cliffs. It's right next to Whitefish Dunes State park and we could see how you might miss it. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Cave Point County Park - 3Cave Point County Park - 3Door County is the largest county in Wisconsin by total area. It covers 2,370 square miles, only 482 of which are land. Door County has 298 miles of shoreline. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Cave Point County Park - 4Cave Point County Park - 4Great views along a somewhat dangerous looking path along the cliffs at Cave Point County Park. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Cave Point County Park - 5Cave Point County Park - 5Door county is home to five of Wisconsin's State Parks, Newport, Peninsula State Park, Potawatomi, Whitefish Dunes and Rock Island State Park.

Being from the Lake of the Ozarks, we were impressed by the clear blue waters at Cave Point County Park.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Door County - Fixin To RainDoor County - Fixin To RainRain clouds move into the Wisconsin Peninsula in Door County.

People have inhabited this peninsula for 11,000 years, with artifacts at Nicolet Bay beach dated to about 400 BC. During the 1800's the Potawatomi tribe also occupied the area that would become Door County and its islands. Under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, these Natives were removed.
Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Egg Harbor, WI - Horseshoe Bay Farms near Egg HarborEgg Harbor, WI - Horseshoe Bay Farms near Egg HarborEstablished in 1917, Horseshoe Bay Farms is the largest in tact historic farm complex in Wisconsin. Originally a major Holstein breeder and orchard farming operation, today the current owners are in the planning stages to "determine the preservation and repurposing vision for the property".

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Egg Harbor, WI - Horseshoe Bay Farms-2Egg Harbor, WI - Horseshoe Bay Farms-2Roads had improved so much in the peninsula by 1920 that visitors were told they would only need three spare tires to make it to northern Door County.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Egg Harbor, WI - SeagullEgg Harbor, WI - SeagullWhile there are several stories about how Egg Harbor got its name, the most liked was printed in the Door County Advocate in 1862. The story goes that in 1825 a number of Mackinac boats stopped here for the night after leaving Green Bay to deliver furs to the trading post on Mackinac Island. While rowing ashore, there was a race to see who would reach it first and the men began to throw eggs at each other. The next morning there were so many egg shells scattered about they christened it Egg Harbor.

A seagull poses in the rain at Egg Harbor.
Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Egg Harbor, WI - SignEgg Harbor, WI - SignEuropeans first settled Door County in the 18th and 19th Centuries, with lumber and tourism being top economic drivers, along with fisherman and farmers. Increase and Mary Claflin were the first European's to settle here in the Little Sturgeon Bay area in the 1840's.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Ephraim - Green BayEphraim - Green BayA view of Green Bay from Ephraim.

Ephraim was established by the Reverand Andrew Iverson and his followers from Green Bay. In the winter of 1853 they walked on the ice to Eagle Harbor to the home of Ole Larson on Horseshoe Island. From there they crossed the ice again to the opposite shore and established Ephraim.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Ephraim, WI - Wilsons RestaurantEphraim, WI - Wilsons RestaurantWe hear the burgers are great here, but they were closed on our way through. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Fish Creek - BuildingFish Creek - BuildingKnown as the "Cap Code of the Midwest", Door County's population of 28,000 explodes to around 250,000 during the summer months, with most businesses geared toward tourism.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Fish Creek - Colorful BuildingFish Creek - Colorful BuildingFish Creek also serves as the main entrance to Peninsula Point State Park. Unfortunately we didn't have a chance to go in, but there you will find the fully restored Eagle Bluff Lighthouse.

A colorful building catches the camera as we pass through.
Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Fish Creek, WI - DuckFish Creek, WI - DuckProving that tourists aren't the only ones who like Fish Creek, a duck enjoys a splash at a local beach.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Fish Creek, WI - Ducks-BoatsFish Creek, WI - Ducks-BoatsPhoto by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Fish Creek, WI - Harbor-FlagFish Creek, WI - Harbor-FlagIn 1855, Entrepreneur Asa Thorp built the dock at Fish Creek, providing the only place between Fort Howard (Green Bay) and Rock Island for ships to refuel on cordwood.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Fish Creek - PierFish Creek - PierFish Creek was the site of a German POW camp during the summer of 1945. A Pier at Fish Creek. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Fish Creek - PotteryFish Creek - PotteryFish Creek is heavily into the arts, and you'll find many artisians here, along with the Peninsula School of the Arts.

They make pottery here.
Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Forestville, WI - Barn & Farm ImplementsForestville, WI - Barn & Farm ImplementsBarn and farm implements near Forestville, Wisconsin. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Forestville - BankForestville - BankEstablished in 1858, the town of Maplewood eventually became Forestville. Located in southern Door County, this large farming community of 1,100 still provides the peace and quite of days past.
Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Gardner, WI - House Behind Old School Near GardnerGardner, WI - House Behind Old School Near GardnerUsed for teachers living quarters maybe? This house sits directly behind the old school we found near Gardner. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Gardner, WI - Old Schoo lNear Gardner-4Gardner, WI - Old Schoo lNear Gardner-4Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Gardner, WI - Old School Near GardnerGardner, WI - Old School Near GardnerThis old school near Gardner (Little Sturgeon Bay) caught our camera of course, since, just like barns, Kathy has an obsession with them. But we couldn't find out anything about it on-line. Made for some fun pics though.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Gardner, WI - Old School Near Gardner-2Gardner, WI - Old School Near Gardner-2Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Gardner, WI - Old School Near Gardner-5Gardner, WI - Old School Near Gardner-5Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Sister Bay, WI - Al Johnson's Grass RoofSister Bay, WI - Al Johnson's Grass RoofWouldn't want to be the one to have to mow that roof! Actually, it's taken care of by...wait for it...Goats. Yep, Al Johnson's authentic Swedish family owned restaurant even has a goat cam. The restaurant was established almost 60 years ago, with Al passing away just this past June. Many tourists still refer to it as that place with the goats on the roof.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Sister Bay, WI - Outdoor MuseumSister Bay, WI - Outdoor MuseumPhoto by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Sister Bay, WI - Outdoor Museum-2Sister Bay, WI - Outdoor Museum-2Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Sister Bay, WI - Outdoor Museum-3Sister Bay, WI - Outdoor Museum-3Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Sturgeon Bay, WI - City Park Propeller & StaffSturgeon Bay, WI - City Park Propeller & StaffCity park outside of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The completion of the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal in 1881 made the northern half of the peninsula an island.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Sturgeon Bay - Lake Michigan Near Sturgeon BaySturgeon Bay - Lake Michigan Near Sturgeon BayDoor Peninsula was first under the United States as part of the Northwest Territory. Later it would be considered part of Indian Territory, Illinois Territory, Michigan Territory and Wisconsin Territory. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Sturgeon Bay - Leathem Smith QuarrySturgeon Bay - Leathem Smith QuarryLimestone outcroppings of the Niagara Escarpment sit large on the Green Bay side of the Door Peninsula. Near Sturegon Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Sturgeon Bay, WI - Maritime MuseumSturgeon Bay, WI - Maritime MuseumToday Door County's rich history and heritage can be explored through several museum's, 12 lighthouses, historic sites and more. You'll experience Belgian culture in the south and Scandinavian culture in the north. Be sure to partake in a fish boil while your here. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Sturgeon Bay, WI -Big BoatSturgeon Bay, WI -Big BoatThey build boats here at Sturgeon Bay... big boats.
Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

While we were in Door County we stayed at Quiet Woods South RV Resort near Brussels.  Fantastic place with all the amenities, including a heated pool, great general store and much more.  

Next Blog we finally make it out of Wisconsin to Michigan, but remain on a Peninsula.  We'll show you Little Bay de Noc, a cool place for Monarch butterflies and more. 


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