Fall Getaway in Door County's Sturgeon Bay | Midwest Living

Fall Getaway in Door County's Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay provides a memorable start to the lake views, forest drives, art galleries and orchards that have made Door County, Wisconsin, famous.


One of the lighthouses that guard the area.
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Segway tours cover the highlights of Sturgeon Bay.
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Fall foliage near Sturgeon Bay.
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During a trolley ghost tour, Brother James shares tales of souls lost in the bay's cold water.
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Trip guide

What to do

Cave Point County Park Rocky ledges along Lake Michigan offer beautiful photos at the end of short trails. Next door: the sweeping beaches of Whitefish Dunes State Park. (920) 746-9959;

The Chicago Fireboat Cruise the ship canal for perfect photo ops of two lighthouses on Lake Michigan. (920) 495-6454; ridethefireboat.com

Door Peninsula Winery About 15 minutes north of Sturgeon Bay, the massive store, cafe and tasting bar draw weekend crowds. Don’t miss the flavored oils and local sauces. (800) 551-5049; dcwine.com

Haunted Olde Sturgeon Bay Ghost Tour Tales of murder and mystery fill two-hour tours to the cemetery and lakeshore. (920) 868-1100; doorcountytrolley.com

Lautenbach's Orchard Country Winery and Market Take a drive to the Fish Creek area for apple picking, wine tasting and art in a massive barn. (866) 946-3263; orchardcountry.com

Popelka Trenchard Glass The gallery is open daily seasonally, and on many Saturdays, guests come into the furnace area to see glassmaking up close. (920) 743-7287; popelkaglass.com

Potawatomi State Park About 10 minutes from town, hike a bit of the famed Ice Age Trail and enjoy scenic overlooks and rocky shoreline. (920) 746-2890; dnr.wi.gov

Segway the Door Tours The town tour provides a great intro, and gadget geeks and anyone with weary legs love the Segway scooters. (920) 376-0256; glidenew.com

Shopping Shops line downtown Sturgeon Bay’s Third Avenue, including Cornucopia for kitchen items. Don’t miss the shops in colorful old homes up the road on Jefferson Street. Highlights include Bliss for funky home decor.

Sturgeon Bay Harvest Festival, Car Show and Street Art Auction See works by dozens of local artisans downtown (September 19, 2015), plus a classic-car show, live music and the auction of painted sturgeon sculptures from around town. (920) 743-6246; sturgeonbay.net

Third Avenue Playhouse Live shows range from classics to quirky modern plays. Music includes local and national acts. More entertainment awaits 45 minutes north at the Peninsula Players Theatre and the Northern Sky Theater. (920) 743-1760; thirdavenueplayhouse.com

Where to eat

Bluefront Cafe Wraps and sandwiches fill the contemporary-casual lunch menu. Casual dinners are also served. (920) 743-9218; thebluefrontcafe.com

Donny’s Glidden Lodge This old-school supper club’s starring dish is “gliddenized” steaks—served on toast covered with Gorgonzola and topped with sauteed onions and Merlot sauce. Almost as memorable: the stone building on the shore next to Whitefish Dunes State Park. (920) 746-9460; donnysgliddenlodge.com

Scaturo’s Baking Company and Cafe Get your signature Door County fish boil here. The fish is all-you-can-eat, but save room for cherry pie, which is as tasty as the goods you’ll find in the attached bakery. (920) 746-8727; scaturos.com

Where to stay

Bay Shore Inn You’ll find this condo-style resort just 3 miles north of town on the shore of Sturgeon Bay. All of the rooms have water views. (800) 556-4551; bayshoreinn.net

Inn at Cedar Crossing The rooms are a bit dated, but the downtown brick building has an ultrahandy location, and people come from all around for breakfast. (920) 743-4200; innatcedarcrossing.com

Scofield House Bed and Breakfast Get a taste of Sturgeon Bay’s signature Victorian B&Bs here. The white chocolate cherry scones made us forget all others. (920) 743-7727; scofieldhouse.com

For more information: Door County Visitor Bureau (800) 527-3529; doorcounty.com

(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® September/October 2013. Prices, dates and other details are subject to change, so please check specifics before making travel plans.)


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