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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 kiddos 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.
In Southern Door, the Gina Guth’s Flour Pot baking school specializes in the deserts and Belgian treats like delicious Belgian Pies that are popular in the Southern Door area, home to the largest Belgian American settlement in the United States.
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 Choice Orchards in Sturgeon Bay or 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 made it to the peninsula at Door County Brewing Co. Music Hall in Baileys Harbor. The McMahon family opened their new taproom in July after quickly outgrowing their original location just up the street. Try small-batch Belgian specialties or enjoy their popular farmhouse ales and porters. The brewery includes odes to the area’s agricultural roots and feels like it was built in an old barn. Plus, it hosts great bands every weekend, features a sprawling beer garden and fire pit out back, and has an array of board and yard games to enjoy.
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 chain coffee shops here, but instead more than two 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. Start with this list of local cheesemakers, and take some home with you!
Start your evening right by trying one of these eight uniquely Door County beer and cocktail experiences. Then, 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. Pick from a list of Door County’s classic supper clubs here>>
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