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Saturday, July 30, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Door County, Cape Cod of the Midwest

I just returned from a wonderful week’s vacation in Door County, Wisconsin, often referred to as the ‘Cape Cod of the Midwest.’ I wonder how many of you have ever been there. If not, I can tell you it’s one of the prettiest spots on earth. For those of you unfamiliar with Door County, it’s about forty-five minutes north of Green Bay and named after a dangerous water passage that had wrecked many ships at the tip of the peninsula called “Porte des morts” by French explorers or “Death’s Door.” It’s a picturesque haven for artists and boaters, with clusters of quaint waterfront bed and breakfasts, art galleries, fine restaurants and unique craft shops, nestled on the shores of beautiful Green Bay. There are so many cute gift stores men often complain they ‘overdose on estrogen’ having to visit them all!
Picture vendors selling apples and tasty Door County cherries—a specialty—and signs advertising fish boils, quilt shows, and antique sales. Imagine concerts in the parks overlooking the bay featuring local entertainers. Visit the amazing bookstores and maritime museums packed with dozens of fascinating tales of shipwrecks, ghost ships and my favorite—lost treasure.

One of the best things about Door County is that you can move from town to town at will. Each charming little town—Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Sister Bay, Ephraim, Ellison Bay, and Gill’s Rock—is barely ten minutes apart, so you don’t have to stay in one place, since there are so many fun things to do. But these are the musts: “Wilson’s Ice Cream Parlor” in Ephraim, a tradition in Door County since 1906; the “City Farmer” store in Ephraim, for beautiful furniture and home accessories; “JJ’s LaPuerta” (the Port) in Sister Bay for the best whitefish and fried lake perch in town, my favorite; and “Pelletier’s” Restaurant in Fish Creek for a great fish boil (whitefish, boiled potatoes and onions, bread and a big piece of homemade cherry pie for dessert, using Door County cherries, of course).

And you can imagine such a beautiful place like this makes a perfect environment for a romantic story. Each of the places named would make a great setting for your characters to live, love, and laugh in. In one of my previous books, “The Time of the 11,” soon to be available on, I set one portion of the book in Door County, but I plan to set a future book completely in this beautiful place.

What's your favorite summer vacation hide-out?

Alison Chambers
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Mara said...

Thanks for your blog!
marajbrandon AT earthlink DOT net

Mountain Laurel said...

I work in a tourist area in the North Carolina Mountains all summer. I often thought that this would be a good setting for a story, you know the where the hero is hiding out with his love to protect her from danger in the back-wooded mountains...

In the Fall when I am finally off work, my hubby and I go to one of the isles off of the Carolina's, and all kind of romantic ideas pop into my head then for neat story-lines involving hidden treasure and Ocean adventure.

Vanessa A. Johnson said...

Sounds very romantic. I did Boston this summer. Didn't have a car so I was sort of stranded between Wakefield and downtown Boston. Had a nice leisurely time, but would have loved to get to see Cape Cod n other nearby cities/states. I did get a chance to try some clam chowder for the first time.

Robin said...

There's a park nearby with a pond and gazebo. I love it there!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I live in Chicago so I will have to take a trip up north to see it for myself. My favorite summer spot was Oahu but I don't think I will be going back there as soon as I would like.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

Na said...

Cape Cod sounds like a great place to visit. I like that it is near water and has quite a shipping history. In stories I really enjoy reading about towns like Cape Cod, which is rich with history and is charming. I try to visit places that reflect those I read about. My favourite summer vacation hide-out is right at home where all the beautiful parks are.