The Hip Heart of a Healing Peninsula

Surrounded by water, Door County, Wisconsin, has the power to heal a wounded soul. I'm convinced of it.

Miles of shoreline, craggy cliffs, sandy beaches, cherry and apple orchards, gentle farmland, weathered barns and hundreds of white clapboard buildings: That's the foundation of the Door County peninsula. The mini golf courses, condo resorts, motels and chi chi shops and restaurants tell only half the story.

I remember when Door County was quaint, in a good way. It was just about this time of year, when the leaves were flashing brilliant against the blue sky that Vivi, my first college roommate, and I took a day trip to Door County, two naive coeds looking for country and authenticity.

We set out in jeans and lace-up boots, in peasant top and work shirt, in her little tan car, stopping at a farm stand for apples. We cruised into Sturgeon Bay and kept going, looking for the real Door County. We stopped at a church in tiny Egg Harbor, then somnolent in the autumn sun, now bustling with traffic. Stella Maris, Star of the Sea, was the name of the church and it still is today. What drew us was the sound of an organ. The organist talked to us when we entered the church; she was practicing for Sunday, she told us.

We continued north, stopping to browse through red barns filled with antiques, and finding a sunny spot on the beach at Fish Creek to eat our apples.

Fish Creek! For me it has always been the hip heart of the Peninsula, where people from my home town moored their boats on weekends, and where some of my high-school friends found work as waiters and waitresses and dishwashers in the summertime. I'd always wanted to stay there, but when my husband and I began vacationing here two decades ago, we looked for resorts off the beaten track, with whirlpools and spas and water views.

Now, marking a passage in our lives, we have come home to Fish Creek, to a cozy, sunny room in the heart of the quaint old Founder's Square neighborhood. Enjoy the photos!


Chef Dad said…
Straight out of Norman Rockwell.
Penny said…
I have always wanted to visit Door County. David was close this summer on a motorcycle trip. One day.
Yes, Chef Dad, walking around Ephraim and Fish Creek, you get that feeling. In fact, walking around Fish Creek feels like walking around a movie set. At night, the lamp posts glow, and the shops remain open until about 7 p.m. People walk around and there is always a festive feeling. It's somewhat contrived, certainly, but it's enjoyable.

Penny, you would enjoy exploring. Go to a fish boil, buy apples, have a piece of cherry pie. "A kingdom so delicious" is right on target.

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