By Wes Bolyard
This is a teaser to pique your interest in visiting Door County, Wisconsin. Due to the lateness of the year and the weather on my initial visit in late October, I was only able to see part of all the offerings this great peninsula has to offer. Stay tuned next year for the follow up article to learn more about ALL the golf that is available.
Door Peninsula lies in eastern Wisconsin between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. It is a little over 70 miles long and over 20 miles wide tapering narrower north-eastward. I would recommend flying into Milwaukee and then driving a little over two hours to Door County to start your adventure.
A summer visit allows ample opportunity to play golf while a fall visit reduces the daylight for golf, but the foliage colors will be stunning. Another bonus of a fall visit is the opportunity to pick an assortment of apples and cherries from a multitude of orchards. Door County is well known for their various cherry pastries and other cherry delights, so your sweet tooth can be satisfied.
Speaking of orchards, The Orchards at Egg Harbor (a public golf course) has several fairways lined with numerous apple and cherry trees. The course allows golfers to pick the different fruits (cherries in late June/early July and apples in the fall). When I first arrived at this golf course, I noticed to the south a fairway that really caught my attention. It was framed with trees and was downhill. I didn’t know what hole it was till later in the round. Sitting on 200 scenic acres, the course winds its way through mature hardwoods, orchards, rolling fairways, meadows and a 5-acre lake. I found out that my attention-grabbing hole is number 17, a downhill par 3 stretching from the back tee to 195 yards, but more in the playable range of 155 yards. The downhill view is part of the large lake. The course offers 4 sets of tees, thus allowing all players of different skill levels to enjoy their round of golf. Playing here is fun and very enjoyable and their rate to play is very reasonable. www.orchardsateggharbor.com
A golf course in Bailey’s Harbor, Maxwelton Braes Golf Course, is celebrating its 93rd anniversary. It opened in 1929 and has a long-standing tradition in Door County’s history. The 6,041-yard, par 70, championship golf course, features a variety of interesting green contours, green surrounds, green side bunkers, wide fairways, a few short par 4s & par 5s, along with some longer, challenging holes to test all skill levels. I liked that some of the tree-lined fairways dictate using a fade and some a draw, bringing into play a fun challenge. www.golfmaxweltonbraes.com
Peninsula Start Park Golf Course is a course I did not get to play but was able to take a tour. Next year it is celebrating its 100th anniversary of entertaining golfers. With great views of Green Bay and Eagle Harbor, this golf course will keep you interested all the way through 18 holes. This course winds through impressive forests of oak, beech, pine and maple trees. Two outstanding holes are number 8 (ONLY 69 yards off the edge of a cliff, through a shoot of trees and about a 100-foot drop) and number 17, which is about 180 yards with a 300-foot drop (which becomes a sledding hill in the winter). The front nine is relatively open but the back nine is carved out of the natural forest. www.peninsulagolf.org
Centrally located to all Door County attractions, Parkwood Lodge in Fish Creek offers a wide variety of activities for its guests to do on site. You can enjoy the heated indoor pool, whirlpool and back porch sunning area. https://www.parkwoodlodge.com
I was fortunate to be able to dine at a variety of restaurants:
Renards, who offer over 125 different cheeses, are known for their unique treat, “cherry cheddar,” and their famous cheese curds. www.renardscheese.com
The Cherry Hut has it all – market, beer garden and taproom. All things cherry, unique gifts, and local artisan products are offered in the market. The taproom features brews and cider, and an all-day menu. doorcountycherryhut.com
DCBC Eats is a new casual food venture next door to the Door County Brewing Co. taproom. They feature classics such as BBQ pork and smokehouse sausage. www.doorcountybrewingco.com
Sister Bay Bowl And Supper Club – Bet you haven’t had this opportunity often… a nice meal and bowling. One of the county’s favorite supper clubs is known for old-fashioned cocktails, cheese curds, broasted chicken, fried lake perch and more. www.sisterbaybowl.com
Macready Artisan Bread Co. serves lunch in Egg Harbor at this family owned and operated shop that specializes in house-made breads that are fresh, fresh, fresh for your sandwich. Do not leave without getting a Cherry Crisp! macreadys.com
Skaliwags focuses on upscale cuisine with a Southern influence. The menu changes daily to authenticate the use of freshest ingredients in-season. www.skaliwags.com
To stay entertained, besides playing golf, here are some interesting options:
Opening in 1955, Lautenbach’s Orchard Country now makes their own wines, ciders and cherry products from their 100 acres of blossoming orchards and vineyards. www.orchardcountry.com
Burnt Bluff Stone and Glass is a newly opened studio featuring glassblowing and rock art. Classes are offered to create your own custom glass pieces or watch a demonstration of the glassblowing process. www.burntbluff.com
The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor is Wisconsin’s oldest nonprofit nature preserve. They offer a naturalist-lead walk in the woods in this designated State Natural Area, an Audubon Important Bird Area and National Natural Landmark featuring native wildflowers. www.ridgessanctuary.org
To reach the 89-foot-tall Cana Island Lighthouse on the shore of Lake Michigan (that has been standing for more than 140 years), you must cross a causeway. The highlight is climbing the 97 steps of the tower’s spiral staircase to reach the gallery deck which offers a sweeping view of Lake Michigan and the Door County peninsula. www.dcmm.org/cana-island-lighthouse
At Whitefish Dunes State Park, you can hike “Old Baldy”, the highest sand dune in Wisconsin. Get a brief introduction and tour which is home to eight significant Native American villages from 100 BC to the late 1800s. dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/parks/whitefish
You will be awed at the picturesque limestone sea caves at Cave Point County Park, a result of Lake Michigan’s relentless pounding against the limestone bluffs. Photographs here will make your Kodak moment! www.co.door.wi.gov/554/Cave-Point-County-Park
Peninsula State Park Established in 1909, this 3,776-acre treasure overlooking Green Bay has rocky bluffs that ascend more than 150 feet and is considered Wisconsin’s most complete park. Completed in May 2021, the redesigned Eagle Tower structure is Wisconsin’s first accessible observation tower. Climb the 95 stairs or use the 850-foot ramp to see some of the area’s most stunning views. dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/parks/peninsula
For complete information about Door County visit: www.doorcounty.com