There’s no better time to taste the flavors of Door County than fall. If you love experiencing a vacation destination through the flavors of its markets, restaurants, and local producers, this guide will provide a roadmap to a weekend of discover on the peninsula and Washington Island.
If you arrive early on Friday, keep your eye out for the many roadside stands that pop up in droves come fall. From small gardens to sprawling orchards, Door County is home to scores of local fruit and vegetable producers bringing in the fall harvest. You’ll find farmers markets throughout the peninsula, as well as orchard markets with a wide range of local specialties, canned goods, fresh produce, and homemade products unique to Door County.
If you have kids in tow, a stop by Wilson's Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlor in Ephraim is a must. Here you can enjoy an old-fashioned root beer float, burgers and, of course, ice cream.
There’s no better way to celebrate food than to learn new skills you can take home to your own kitchen. Janice and Michael Thomas offer a wide array of classes at Savory Spoon Cooking School in Ellison Bay. The school is housed in a charming 1877 schoolhouse.
Love donuts? Then you could go on a hunt for cider donuts, a special cake donut that gets its flavor from cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple cider used in the batter, plus a heathy dose of cinnamon sugar. You’ll find them at Wood Orchard Market just north of Egg Harbor, at White Cottage Red Door in Juddville, Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery and Market in Fish Creek, and at Seaquist Orchards in Sister Bay.
Fall is harvest season, so why not lend a hand? Head into the orchard at Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery in Fish Creek to pick your own apples. Find a new favorite from the wide variety now grown in Door County. Fill your bucket and have plenty for apple pies, apple sauce, or just to eat as you go.
The craft beer scene has definitely made it to the peninsula. With a variety of beer styles to choose from, taprooms to taste in, and outdoor beer gardens to enjoy, you will stay plenty busy exploring local all the local breweries. Many use locally sourced products to create their delicious beer, and no matter what kind of beer lover you are—light pilsner, funky sours, hoppy IPAs—you are sure to find it here in Door County. And don't worry, you can purchase most of your favorites to bring back home with you.
Once you’ve had your fill of beer, visit one of the county’s nationally acclaimed fine dining restaurants specializing in using locally sourced fish, beef, and produce to bring the freshest flavors to your table.
If you’re a coffee connoisseur, Door County is your kind of place. You won’t find many chain coffee shops here, but instead almost a dozen independently owned local coffee shops with a flavor and character each their own. Sip on a fresh brew, nosh on pastries or breakfast sandwiches, and soak in the local conversation.
You’re in Wisconsin, so it would almost be a crime if you didn’t get a taste of locally made cheese in the dairy state. Door County has no shortage of great cheesemakers. Whether you love goat, cheddar, swiss, chevre, or just prefer your cheese battered and fried, you’ll never have to drive far to find a place to satisfy your craving. Stop in Renard's Cheese & Deli or Wisconsin Cheese Masters and take some home with you!
For a final meal before packing up for the weekend, a Door County Supper Club should definitely be on your list. Sip on an old fashioned, pick off a relish tray or bread basket, and enjoy whitefish fresh off the boat or a plate loaded with fried fish.