Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Door County, Sturgeon Bay, Washington Island and Rock Island

Door County, Wisconsin, is the peninsula jutting northeast of Green Bay.  It is named for the strait between Door peninsula and Washington Island.  The waters are treacherous where they flow from Green Bay into Lake Michigan, and the French named this area (wrought with shipwrecks) Porte Des Morts or 'deaths door'.  The peninsula is only about 60 miles long and starts at 20 miles wide, but narrows to only about 1 mile wide at the tip.   Because there are shoreline on both sides of the peninsula and it is relatively close to Green Bay, it has developed over the years as a popular resort area.

I had to enlarge this photo so you could see the goats.  Yeah, the goats are on top of the roof, which is covered with grass.  This is the famous Swedish restaurant, Al Johnson's.

The Algoma lighthouse, actually in Kewaunee County, was built in 1893, rebuilt in 1908 and automated in 1973.  I understand it is for sale if anyone is interested.

Door County is famous for its cherries.  There were cherry trees everywhere.

At the tip of Door County you board a ferry over to Washington Island.

One of the lighthouses on Washington Island.

A replica Stave Church built on Washington Island.  Stave churches were medieval wooden churches common in northwestern Europe, especially Norway.  This is one of only eight in the U.S.

Off of Washington Island you can catch another ferry to Rock Island, now a state park.

The Rock Island Lighthouse, built in 1836.

In 1910, part of the island was purchased by Chester Thordarson.  By 1920, he had built his summer estate.  This is the boat house.

Inside the boat house.  It is the only building still standing and it is open to the public.

On our way home we stopped at Sunset Point.

We went kayaking on Riley's Bay.  There was a small private island at the end of the bay which we traversed.  

We did get our feet wet at Whitefish Dunes State Park, on the Lake Michigan side.  I was expecting large sand dunes, but was disappointed.  The sandy beach was quite small land the dunes were all grass covered.  In fact, if someone hadn't told me they were sand dunes, I never would have guessed.  It seems to be THE place for people to come out and spend the day.

Just down the road from the state park was a county park.  No sand dunes, but instead, limestone cliffs.  It seems to be a popular place for cliff jumping into Lake Michigan.

The city of Sturgeon Bay reflects its name with painted sturgeons scattered around town.

I guess this is supposed to be a flying sturgeon.
The only thing I didn't get to do while I was there, was experience a Door County fish boil.  Most restaurants only prepare them on specific days and our timing just didn't fit.  I guess I now have a reason to go back someday.