Confession: I am terrible at vacation. TERRIBLE. THE WORST. What's a word that means more than terrible? Whatever word you're thinking of, that is me.
I'm just not that into relaxing. It's overrated. I don't want to relax. It feels like death. Seriously. I am anxious, I am balled-up, I am wound tightly and I am OK with it. Leave me be. I thrive on anxiety, it keeps me motivated and moving and ALIVE. Going somewhere new? HA! That doesn't really bring me down to chill-town. Oh, get on a tour bus with a bunch of people, a bunch of people asking hair-brained questions nonstop where our only bathroom is a closet at the back of the bus? Strangers are the worst and I don't like talking to people I don't know. Hike that mountain in the middle of nowhere? Take a 10 hour flight to Greece? XANAX. XANAX. XANNNNNNNAXXXXXX. CAN I BORROW A XANAX?
Not to mention I don't really understand why anyone would want to go anywhere other than New York City. NYC is where I feel most at home and alive. WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO ONCE YOU GET TO COLORADO, I DON'T SMOKE WEED I AM A GROWN UP. Also? They don't have Broadway in Colorado (OR ANYWHERE ELSE). How are you supposed to enjoy life if you aren't walking distance from the greatest theater in the world? HOW DO YOU LIVE WHEN SEEING A BROADWAY MUSICAL AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT IS NOT AN OPTION? It's dumb and I don't like it.
Well, that's me anyway.
Well, that's me until I realize that NYC is crazy expensive and I'm the worst at saving money. So. If I want to do anything other than live on my couch and stare up at my ceiling I've got to take a deep breath and give New York a rest for a minute. That means this summer we tried something new when thinking about a vacation. I KNOW: SHOCKING. My husband and I did a little brainstorming and listed places close by ... like close enough to involve a reasonable car ride ... less than like 7 hours. That's a lot of places you guys. That's basically everything.
What we landed on is Door County, Wisconsin. I know. I guess that means I either want New York City or Laura Ingalls Wilder -- city. What can I say my dude, I AM COMPLEX. We've been to Door County before, but we went with a group of people and we were on someone else's schedule. We decided to go again and on our own terms and with zero expectations or plans or planning.
Let me tell you what, friends. ALL CAPS BOLD ITALICIZED AND HIGHLIGHTED: Door County is a MF dream. You have got to get yourself there right this instant. Get on the bus, call your mom, borrow a car, hitchhike DO YOUR THANG, but you better get there. It's a delight. A delight you cannot sit around on your ass and miss.
Sit back and relax (or not ... no presh). Here's what you need to know and a couple of our favorite spots to get you inspired. I hope you're taking notes because YOU NEED THIS.
If you're brand new and have no idea what I'm talking about here's the 411 on Door County. Maybe you've heard of it, but maybe not. Door County, Wisconsin is on a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. It's the tip (LOLOLOL ... sorry I'm 5) of the little thumb that pokes out into Lake Michigan on on this map. The county itself starts just below where Sturgeon Bay is on the map and goes all the way to the end of that little strip of land.
For those of you who like FACTS (remember those?) Door County is home to five state parks (they're amazing google that shiz) and 10 lighthouses. YES. LIGHTHOUSES. This place can make your Pete's Dragon dreams come true. EVERY SINGLE INCH of the place is gorgeous and you'll be standing around with your mouth agape the majority of your visit.
Speaking of mouths and eating and food and whatnot?! Fish boils, offered at many Door County restaurants, are a popular meal for tourists. BUT NOT THIS ONE. Fish boil? That sounds like murder and I'm not into eating animals. Not to worry, Door County also has a history of cherry growing that dates back to the 19th century (OMG HISTORIC YOU GUYS). Many of the cherry orchards offer "pick your own cherries", along with more traditional pre-picked containers. Obvi you know me so you know I'm not running around picking cherries like an idiot but people do and you can if you're into that sort of thing. These people are dying for you to eat their cherries and they stuff them in everything. EVERYTHING. Pancakes, waffles, salsa ... EVERYTHING. They're delicious so PUT 'EM IN YOUR MOUTH.
Where to stay...
We like to stay at a cozy little place called the Edge of Town Motel in Sister Bay. It's cute and looks a little like something out of True Blood and WE LOVE IT. They're pet friendly, which is harder to find than you might think. The lady who runs it ... Jonie ... is a GD delight. But there are nine zillion places to stay and you should find one that fits your needs. You can do a B&B situation or Air B&B or whatever. Dial up Dr. Google and figure it out! DC is littered with resorts and hotels and places to stay for a few days or MONTHS at a time.
What to do...
We're super nerds. We love wondering around and looking a little shops and art and food and everything anyone might want to sell us. We discovered this adorable shop called Sister Golden. They have art and trinkets and I'm obsessed and you have to check out their Instagram RIGHT NOW. We bought a print of Frida Kahlo there that we're IN LOVE WITH. And and and and and and and ... we bought it right from the artist. WHAT A FEELING! You have to read about the art and beauty they're making. It's really inspiring. So there's all the art and shopping you can stand, but there are also mini golf courses, parks to explore on your bike, beaches, cliffs to climb, trees to stare at ... YOU'LL BE BUSY DONT WORRY.
Bitches gotta eat...
Yeah. Girl. GRAB A SEAT. There's so much food and it's so good. You can basically go anywhere and eat something and you're gonna be happy. Here are our favorites.
Old Post Office Restaurant ... it's cute AF and they have a delicious patio. Get the cherry pancakes and eat yourself silly and be sure to take an awkward selfie with this dude. Seriously. This place is in Ephraim and it's right across from the bay and you won't even care about food because the view is LIFE CHANGING. The server brought me so much coffee and so regularly that I am still in the middle of a panic attack from all the caffeine five days later. They do not play here.
The Wild Tomato ... this is the best pizza I have ever had full stop. It's thin. It's crispy. It's fresh. It's delicious. I wish I were eating it right now. Just go there. I don't even want to talk about it or I'll start crying because I miss this pizza and wish I could have it in my life everyday. There are two locations. FIGURE IT OUT.
Wilson's ... Wilson's is an ice cream store straight out of Little House on the Prairie. Like ... this might be what happened to Nellie Oleson. I know she's a complicated person that you have very nuanced and layered feelings about, but SHE DID GOOD. There will probably be a line since it's THE VERY BEST ICE CREAM SHOP IN ALL OF DOOR COUNTY (fight me), but just calm yourself and get in there and get your ice cream and then run across the street and park your butt on a park bench and stare at the water or the setting sun or the tourists who are probably acting a fool.
Trixie's ... GASP. I had one of the greatest meals of my life at Trixie's. I'm not kidding. It was so good when I finished I wanted to strip naked and light myself on fire because HOW COULD ANYTHING BE BETTER THAN WHAT I JUST ATE. The food here is serious business. We ate basically everything our little vegetarian hearts could order and it was incredible AND we didn't break the bank. T's is a tiny little thing, but be patient you'll get a spot at their bar or maybe even a table. The servers are the most friendly people ... it's almost like they want you to eat there and hang out. They take such good care of you. Their wine list almost made my little feminist heart EXPLODE ... they work to feature female winemakers and promote a growing female presence in the wine industry. SCREAMS OF JOY. It looks like something out of Stars Hallow and it tastes like HEAVEN. They have a sister restaurant ... if Trixie's doesn't work for you check out Wickman House. WHEW LORD. I'm having flash backs right now please go here. Do it for ME.
Rando things to do ...
Washington Island ... you should totally go to the island. It's just off the tip of Door County. It's a little ferry ride ... like you can take your car over on the ferry I felt so oldsie timesie. You get to see the lake and surrounding area it's really beautiful. AND? The island is quiet and peaceful and THEY HAVE A LAVENDER FARM. I know, WHAT?! The farm sells all things lavender from sprays and plants to macaroons and ice cream. I love lavender and when are you ever going to get to run through a lavender field? You're not going to Provence and neither am I ... SO GET TO THIS ISLAND. I mean ... don't I look relaxed?
The sunset ... I know I KNOW. When we first got to Door County everyone was talking about the sunset and what time it started and oh the sunset this and OOHHHH THE SUNSET THAT. I thought they were nuts. Who cares about sunsets this much?! ...and then I saw the sunset over the water in Sister Bay and we made plans to never miss another one as long as we were there. Hell, it was so beautiful and awe inspiring I might even try to watch the sunset here in Chicago. I might not really see it set, but I can look at the light and the color and take an extra deep breath and be grateful.
So yeah ,,, you gotta get to Door County friends. Wanna talk about your trip? Want some advice? We saw and did everything ... I've got more suggestions. Let me help you. I gotta figure out how to get back there and soon. xoxo