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Community Spotlight: Ellison Bay


For decades the tiny village of Ellison Bay has attracted artists, writers, and dreamers whose influence you’ll witness strolling Main Street today. Quirky public art, galleries where the artist answers the door, and eclectic shops showcasing foreign culture all call Ellison Bay home.

An assemblage of renowned potters call the area home, including Jeanne and David Aurelius at Clay Bay Pottery, a featured stop on the Ellison Bay Art crawl that takes place each spring and fall. That crawl also features the signature work of Mary Ellen Sisulak at Turtle Ridge Gallery on Mink River Road.

A rustic barrel imprinted with the Island Orchard logo at the cidery.

This hamlet is also home to craft cocktails and classic diners, revered storekeepers, old-school supper clubs, and the crisp flavors of Island Orchard Cider. Enjoy a classic fish boil at Rowley’s Bay Resort or The Viking Grill and go home with a story.

But when you’re not shopping or eating, you’ll want to have your camera at the ready. The northern tip of the peninsula retains the unspoiled beauty of the peninsula. Catch the incredible views from Ellison Bluff County Park, high above the Niagara Escarpment, or walk the rocky shore and trails of Door Bluff Headlands.

A sweeping aerial view of the northeastern peninsula shoreline, where Newport State Park and the Mink River Estuary lay.

Hop on your bike for the best stretch of riding in the county on Garrett Bay road between Ellison Bay and Gills Rock, or paddle the waters of the Mink River Estuary, named by Fodor’s as one of the “500 places to see before they disappear” in 2009.

Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned the area’s grand welcome sign, the Grand View Overlook at the top of the Ellison Bay Hill, which may be the most stunning view in the county.

If you’re looking for culture, there’s no place better than the Clearing Folk School. With a quiet location, surrounded by forests, meadows and water, the Clearing is a place for adults interested in nature, arts or humanities can learn and explore.

For more of nature’s wonders, you can spend your day biking, hiking or cross country skiing at Newport State Park. As Wisconsin’s only formally designated wilderness park, you can wander through 30 miles of trails and lose yourself in gorgeous evergreen and hardwood forests, wetlands and, upland meadows. Grab a campsite and see the night sky as never before in the park designated an International Dark Sky Park.

And of course, this area is home to the most famous of Door County photo ops - the curvy road to Northport at the tip of the thumb. Designed by Jens Jensen, the famed landscape architect who founded The Clearing, this one-of-a-kind stretch is gorgeous in any season.

Discover nature, discover yourself, when you discover Ellison Bay.

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