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As you drive into the heart of Sister Bay and descend down the hill of highway 42, you get a sense of all the village has to offer. Iconic and picturesque, Sister Bay is a community that has fostered a bustling downtown waterfront and a flourishing food community. The scenic shores and spectacular sunsets have long drawn visitors to the village, but the appeal of the community continues to grow.
Sister Bay is the only place where you can look one direction to see goats on a grassy restaurant roof and look the other way to see a sailboat setting out for a sunset cruise. Whether you are young or young-at-heart, there is something to appeal to all ages; from bowling to beer gardens, it’s a family affair.
There is never a shortage of summer stye at the shops in Sister Bay; On Deck Clothing Company which appears on your left or Ecology Sports further along on your right offer apparel perfect for the season. Or make a pit stop for Christmas in July with holiday decor offerings at Tannenbaum Holiday Shop. The shop first opened in 1978 and is now housed in an old Lutheran church built in 1879.
When the sun is shining there is no shortage of al fresco options to grab brunch, lunch, dinner or simply sip away happy hour. Devour fresh pizza on the patio of the Wild Tomato, cut into a divine steak while sitting rooftop at Chop or find an outdoor seat with a delicious beer at Bier Zot.
Speaking of beer, Al Johnson’s Stabbur offers a wide-open beer garden that recently added a retractable roof for garden goers visiting in rain or shine. Pair your suds with outdoor live music that is often happening on summer evenings up the street at the Garage at Husby’s or Sister Bay Bowl. Or catch the sunset over Little Sister Bay harbor from Fred & Fuzzy’s bar and grill on the water’s edge, serving their famous cherry margaritas.
Special occasions, or just serene sunsets, are worth celebrating. Take the festivities to dinner with dining options to please even the most particular palates. A new favorite is LURE restaurant, located in the former St. Rosalia’s church. The casual fine dining restaurant features fresh caught seafood and handcrafted cocktails. Dine in a romantic booth for two or opt for the garden seating alongside a Koi pond.
For a truly elevated dining experience, make a reservation at The Waterfront in North Sister Bay where it’s said the beautiful sunsets compete with the culinary creations for your full attention. Peruse the extensive wine list or order your favorite martini to enjoy on the patio overlooking Green Bay before sitting down to an ever-changing menu of fresh cuisine.
If you harbor a sweet tooth (or one that arrives on vacation,) you know a meal isn’t officially over until you’ve had your sweet treat. Find a huge variety of sweets and candies at the Door County Confectionery or pick your flavor of ice cream from the wide selection of options at the classic Door County Ice Cream Factory. The most popular flavor features a favorite local ingredient: Door County Cherry. Choose your cone or dish and take it for a walk along the 1,900 feet of public waterfront at Waterfront Park or peek at the gorgeous watercrafts calling the Sister Bay Marina their temporary home.
For an adults-only type of sweet treat, visit the Sugar Shack tiki bar, located behind JJ’s La Puerta bar and restaurant, for a painkiller on ice or frozen margarita.. While you’re there, find out what the local shot named “The Bernie” is made of.
Before you leave town, stop in and stretch your legs with a round of mini golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf. Challenge yourself to 18 holes with water features, caves and footbridges. After the strokes are tallied and winner announced, plan ahead to take your next snack on the road with you from Top Shelf Cafe & Gourmet. Pick up coffee, artisanal cheese, or a sandwich made to order. If you fancy yourself a foodie, you’ll be delighted to find a variety of imported wine and other hard-to-find culinary specialties.
Despite the cooling weather and back-to-school plans come fall, Sister Bay continues to be a prime destination in the off-season. When the leaves change, steer north out of the village and you’ll come upon Seaquist Orchards and market, a cherry and apple orchard with over 1,000 acres. Fill your shopping bags with varieties of fresh picked apples or take home desserts, dressings, jams, jellies or a variety of other tasty Door County treats. Bring the whole family to celebrate the fall harvest at the Seaquist Apple Festival on the first Saturday in October.
The following weekend tends to be peak leaf-peeping time and when Sister Bay hosts the annual autumn celebration Fall Fest. This fun-filled festival has been named the “Granddaddy of all Door County Festivals” and it continues to live up to its name. Main street is sectioned off as crowds in the thousands convene to toast to the end of a successful summer season. Enjoy a Saturday parade, arts and crafts fair, classic auto show and more. Live music is hosted on multiple stages and food and snack vendors line the main street. You’ll spot more than a few elaborate pieces of headwear, which is a Fall Fest tradition dating back to its inaugural year over 70 years ago.
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