Monday, August 27, 2012

Bailey's Harbor, Wisconsin (August 23-29, 2012)

Door County, Wisconsin is a popular vacation spot for those living in Wisconsin and Illinois. We chose this destination for the serenity more than anything else. We wanted to be close to the water, but not on it and we wanted a rural environment. We were told there was not much to see or do here, but, obviously, those who told us that prefer cities and amusement parks. After traveling, almost, non-stop for weeks we just wanted to settle in for a while and we chose the right place to do that.

The first few days we stayed close to the RV park only venturing out locally. We did a lot of needed cleaning in and out of the trailer and did some major playing with the furkids. As the weekend approached the whole area became very congested with traffic and the RV park filled to maximum. Lots of weekenders with lots of children. It turned out to be a very noisy weekend.

One of the things Door County is know for is their fish boils. This is quite the event and there are several well known restaurants that provide these each weekend, as well as social/fund raising events at fire stations, churches, schools, etc. We wanted to experience one of these, but to our dismay, there were not any scheduled for this weekend except at the restaurants. The few local restaurants that did provided this fare, however, were all booked up for the weekend. Dang. Guess we'll have to try one on our own when we get settled.

Sunday afternoon saw a calm and quiet come over the RV park as the weekenders headed back to their stationary homes. There were a few hanger-ons that were staying for the remainder of the week for this would be their last chance at an extended stay here since school was starting in the next week. The traffic on the roads went to almost none, too, so we decided to make the best of the next few days.

Monday we all packed up and headed out early to take a road trip around the northern end of the peninsula. I had hoped we would be able to get close to the water so we took all the back roads that paralleled the shoreline. This did not work out so well because most of the land was private and there were homes on, almost, every bit of the shore. There were a few historic  places where we could stop, but for the most part it was all residential.

Out first stop was Bailey Harbor's range light. The story behind this navigational lighting system was interesting. It seemed, however they were falling into disrepair. We did find out later there was an effort going on to restore them to their original condition and make them functional again.

(Click on the image to see it full screen and in High Definition)

Bailey's Harbor Front Range Light

Traveling farther down the road we came upon a fishing company named Hickey Brothers Fisheries. It seemed to be a fairly large family owned company operating next to their home. By the looks of it they fish by trap netting and gill netting. We found out later they are very well known in the area and provide a lot of their fish to the local fish boils.

Hickey Brothers Fisheries

Hickey Brothers Fisheries

Hickey Brothers Fisheries Trap Net Floats

From this point we continued around the peninsula as close to the shore as possible, but due to private land it was next to impossible to see it. Reminds me of a lot of the shore lines on the lakes and oceans back east.

We eventually came upon the small village of Gills Rock. It looked like a fishing village and our observations turned out to be correct. The first thing we saw coming into the village was the Door County Maritime Museum. We stopped to see if they were open, but unfortunately their hours were only on the weekends so we just walked around and took some pictures.

One of their outside exhibits was the "Skipper". It was the first steel-hulled boat to fish out of Gills Rock.  Click on the picture to see its full history.

The Skipper

While walking around the museum grounds we noticed, across a field, an old building called Charlie's Smokehouse. We hopped back into the truck and drove over to find it was a store that sold smoked fish caught from the lake as well as other imported fishes. They smoke it on the premises. We bought two whole smoked whitefish and a container of their spread that Joyce had fallen in love with last week in Two Rivers. What a feast we will have.

Leaving town we came upon a motel with a lighthouse out front. How appropriate. The lighthouse is actually a guest suite. Click on the picture for more information.

Harbor Light Inn, Gills Rock, WI

Continuing on down the coast we went through several other resort/fishing villages: Sister Bay, Fish Creek, and Egg Harbor. With this we decided it was time to return to the RV park so we cut across the peninsula and found we were back there in just under 15 minutes. That was quick.

During our tour we noticed there were several vineyards that offered wine tastings. Having gotten hooked on wine tastings in Sonoma, CA, we decided to try a few of the vineyards. On Tuesday the two of us headed back over to the west coast of the peninsula and stopped at three of the wineries to do some tasting and restock our wine cabinet. It was a fun morning, but it was time to head back to the park and get ready to move out the next morning.

We,thoroughly, enjoyed our stay here. We re-charged our internal batteries, did some maintenance and housekeeping, and explored the peninsula. Would not mind if we returned here someday.

Door Peninsula Winery

Wonder if these work?
Our first purchase.

Orchard Country Winery

Our second purchase.

Our third and final purchase.

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