Last Friday, Eric and I could hardly contain ourselves before heading up to Door County for the weekend. For those of you unfamiliar, Door County is an extremely popular vacation spot in Wisconsin; a totally gorgeous area filled with quaint little towns, plenty of wineries, fish boils and boating on Lake Michigan. If you look at a map of Wisconsin, Door County is the "thumb" of the "mitten."
We took off around noon and drove straight north, along Lake Michigan. And when I say "along Lake Michigan" I mean "Oh hey here I am sitting in the car and, oh look, Lake Michigan is like 20 feet from my seat belt buckle."
We had plenty of time to kill and it was a gorgeous day, so we stopped off in a few little towns for pictures and pretty views.
An adorable bay in Kewaunee.
At one point, right after we crossed the Door County line, Eric turned off the road to check out a little country park.
We parked the car and walked down to the shore.
But we weren't the only ones there! A couple celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary had the same idea as us. They asked us to snap a photo of them, and then they offered to take a picture of us. They seemed so happy to be on their little anniversary getaway.
After enjoying the view for a bit, we hopped in the car and continued north.
Upon seeing the still bay waters in Fish Creek, we had to stop and get some more photos. The clouds' reflection on the water was spectacular.
The entire drive up was filled with "Oooohs" and "Ahhhhs." Door County is an incredibly gorgeous area, especially in fall.
When we got to Sister Bay, where we were staying with Eric's sister, brother in law and niece and nephew, we had a late dinner at a local diner, came back and had some wine and watched the Brewers clinch the National League Central Division Championship. We were ecstatic - the first division championship for the Brewers since 1982! After some celebrating, we hit the sack fairly early - after all, we had a lot of fun activities to tackle outside all day the next day.
The rain was coming down the moment we woke up. Unfortunately, we had big plans to bike in Peninsula State Park all morning - the gravel bike trails weren't going to make a safe ride for us, especially with the kiddos riding along. Disappointed, we were sure things would clear up after a breakfast at the Sister Bay Cafe. Two scrumptious waffles and a mug of coffee later, the rains were still coming down.
So what do you do when it's raining in Door County? Well, we all hopped into our respective cars and took a drive, taking in soggy, but pretty sights. Finally, we stopped at Orchard Country Winery, where they were doing their best to keep "Harvest Fest" alive, despite the dreary conditions.
Harvest Fest had plenty of autumn-inspired food, drinks and games for kids. While Eric's niece and nephew enjoyed their Spiderman and kitty balloon animals, Eric took over on pumpkin bowling. While he bowled well, he also broke both pumpkins he hurled down the hay-bale-lined lane. We all decided it would be better to leave the bowling to the kids.
We didn't last long at the festival, thanks to the cold and rain. However, seeing as how we just happened to be at a winery, we figured one little wine tasting wouldn't be such a horrible idea.
We each chose six wines to taste - most of them were a little too fruity for our tastes, but the two winners were Cherry Blossom and the Nathan John.
These grapes just happened to be the ones used for Nathan John wine. It was Eric's favorite by far.
After we'd finished our tasting, we got in our cars and drove around a bit more. By that point, the kids had been up for hours and it was time for a nap. Eric and I slept in a bit later than the rest of the group, so we had something else in mind...
Hey, when there are about eight wineries offering free tastings all within 15 minutes of one another, you've got to take advantage.
At the Harbor Ridge winery, we chose four different wines to taste. My favorite was definitely their Knockin' Heads Red - in fact, I ended up buying a bottle of it to bring home!
Next, we headed over to Door Peninsula Winery, which was by far the biggest and most crowded winery we stopped at. It had a huge gift shop and a ton of samples of dip, salsas, olive oil, cheese and sauces. I'm still thinking about a sample of spicy barbecue sauce I tried there. I'm kicking myself for not buying a bottle! This girl likes her barbecue.
At Door Peninsula Winery, you're unlimited on the number of wines you can taste. By this point, I was getting a little wined out - I was also feeling slightly buzzed, so I thought I'd stop myself after three different wines. I'm not sure which I liked most out of the three wines I tried there, but I did enjoy the Hallowine for its festive name and the fact it was served warm - it tasted like fall in a glass!
After all that wine tasting, we developed a pretty good hunger. We both had a hankering for burgers, so I attempted to Google "Door County's Best Burgers" on my iPhone. Unfortunately, service was spotty. We drove through Fish Creek once again and I noticed an unassuming, dive-bar-looking establishment on a corner. Usually, the more divey-looking a bar, the better their burgers are.
While not exactly a diver bat, the Bayside Tavern definitely did not disappoint. I ordered a mushroom-swiss burger and Eric had a bacon cheeseburger and we were both impressed by their quality. And not being frequent wine drinkers, we needed something a little more our taste to wash it all down.
We sat and watched a little college football, then drove back to meet up with the rest of the gang. The rain was still coming down, and with my belly full of burgers, beer and wine, I ended up crashing back at the motel for a while.
I woke up with Eric telling me the skies had parted! There was blue sky peeking through out there! We threw on our shoes and loaded the kids up in their stroller and took advantage of the few fleeting moments of sunshine we'd seen all weekend.
Unfortunately, the sun waited until about 4:30 to actually appear. We walked around by the lake for a bit, looked at all the impressive boats and yachts in the marina, and headed home just before sunset to partake in a delicious home-cooked spaghetti and meatballs dinner. Sadly, the hearty meal was originally meant to replenish us after a day of biking outside; while I needed no replenishing at that point, it was still tasty.
The night ended with Eric, his sister Kimber and I popping out for a couple drinks at a corner bar for a bit, but then getting tired and catching the beginning of "SNL" when we got home. Rainy weekends really wipe you out, folks.
While I was bummed about the rainy weather, we were still able to take in a little of Door County's popular spots. I would have loved to be able to enjoy the outdoors a bit more, but you can't control the weather and it was still nice to get away for a weekend. Plus, I mean, free wine galore! You can't really complain about that.
Have you been to Door County? What's your favorite place to go or thing to do there? We really wanted to see the goats on the roof at Al Johnson's Swedish restaurant, but I think the rain scared them away - they were nowhere to be seen. :(