By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer
I lived in Milwaukee during my grade school years. Each summer, my outdoorsy father would pack up our Vista Cruiser station wagon with tents, a Coleman stove, cots, coolers and our bikes for a camping trip to Door County, Wisconsin. I have fond memories of swimming in Nicolet Bay (the beach at Peninsula State Park), jumping off a pontoon boat in Sister Bay harbor to swim in the cool Lake Michigan water and watching the goats eat on the roof of Al Johnson’s restaurant. So a few weeks ago, when my partner and I decided to get away for a few days, we headed to Door County to get some R&R, scout for locations for future retreats and seminars, and enjoy some of the last few days of summer.
For the uninitiated, Door County is the area of Wisconsin some call the Thumb. If you look at Wisconsin like a giant hand, the right-hand side has a “thumb” sticking out of it. Along the top of the “thumb” is a lovely area and country called Door County. It has a number of small towns along the lake and it’s been the quieter Wisconsin/Chicago tourist destination compared to the Dells.
Summit House (one of 7 houses) at Eagle Harbor Inn. Image by Sue Shekut
On of the reason I like to go to Door County is that, for this part of the country, there are a lot of outdoor activities you can do within a few miles of your hotel. We stayed in Eagle Harbor Inn in Ephraim and we were so pleased with our suite, we almost did not want to leave our rooms. Eagle Harbor Inn has a small indoor pool and a room with workout equipment. (It’s such a nice place we could see how it would be a great winter get away for snow showing, cross country skiing and sitting by a roaring (gas) fire. This s a great place for a retreat, workshop or even a corporate event since the Inn had about 7 Victorian style houses split into condo-like Suites. We had a one bedroom and it was absolutely cozy, inviting, quiet, and lovely. (The Innkeeper said some people some to Eagle Harbor Inn to enjoy the peace and quiet and to write books or work on software projects.)
Boats in Ephraim Bay. Image by Sue Shekut.
A mere 3 blocks away is South Shore Pier which rents pontoon boats, speed boats and wave runners by the day and half day. We rented a pontoon boat and tooled around the designated bay, boating from Ephraim to Fish Creek to Sisters Bay. Sitting in a boat may give you some time to synthesize vitamin D, but not much fitness, so we dropped anchor around Horseshoe Island, out of the way of speedboat traffic) and swam in the cool refreshing water. Since the boat requires deep water, jumping off the side of the boat means there is no bottom underneath your feet so you get a quite a swim. The water is cool, not freezing, but it’s not bath water either so it really wakes you up. As along as we kept swimming though, it didn’t feel cold at all.
View from the boat on Lake Michigan in Door County. Image by Sue Shekut.
Peninsula State Park is a mere 5 minute bike ride from Eagle Harbor Inn. There are a number of trails throughout the park which is situated on, you guessed it, a peninsula jutting out of the “thumb” of Door County. On our second day in Door County, we hoped on our bikes took a left out of our hotel and in about 5 minutes (And a BIG hill), we were at the entrance of Peninsula State Park. After getting a map from the golf course info center, we found miles of interior mountain bikes trails and we rode about 17 miles along the crisscrossing trails, through patches of mosquito ridden woods where we saw no other bikers or hikers. In one section of our ride, we joined the other bikers along the main bike path (gravel) that peeks out into the lake. Wooden benches waited for resting bikers and hikers along rocky beach near the bike path.
After a long days hike, we were fortunate (and also because I planned ahead!) to have a two person hot tub in our room at the Inn. Soaking after a long day of biking and hiking was a wonderful way to end our day.
Hot tub, fireplace and a bed. A great way to rest and relax. Image by Sue Shekut
Our final day in Door County, we decided to act like proper tourists so we did a round of Put putt golf at the Pirates Cove and then eat lunch at All Johnson’s. If you haven’t gone to Door County, I hope you have a taste of some of the things you can do to enjoy the area and getaway from the big city to nature, peace and quiet and some interesting Door County sights.
Pirate's Cove Mini-Golf. Image by Sue Shekut
Map of Penisula State Park Bike routes. iamge by Sue Shekut
Beach at Nicolet Bay. Image by Sue Shekut
Bikes at Nicolet Bay. Image by Sue Shekut
Volly ball at Niceolet Bay. Image by Sue Shekut
Sequeway Tour of the park for seniors. Image by Sue Shekut
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