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How to Celebrate the Holiday Season


The holiday season may look and feel a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice quality family time, top-tier food and drink, or good old-fashioned Christmas cheer.

One way to adapt to these changing times and the need to physically distance from others is to take a quiet winter getaway to Door County with your family or a small group of friends. Simply find a cozy corner to sleep like a house or cottage or other rental property, make sure it has an in-unit kitchen or nearby restaurant, and let the good times flow.

Here are five ways to embrace the holiday season and create new traditions while spending time on the peninsula and Washington Island this season.

1. Cook Dinner at a Cozy Rental…

Thanks to the region’s countless houses, cottages, resorts, log cabins/houses, and other rental lodgings, it’s easy to find somewhere to stay that offers a kitchen. Some of these cooking areas will be more robust or modern than others, but many offer full setups where you can make modest but deeply satisfying home-cooked meals.

Bonus points if you cook with ingredients picked up at a local farm, market, or specialty shop. 

2. ...Or Leave the Cooking to Someone Else

Even in winter, many of our dedicated restaurant, bar, catering company, and food-stop owners keep their doors open to visitors, which means if you’re not interested in cooking during your trip, you can still get hearty and delicious meals made with local ingredients but without doing the work. You can find a list of restaurants open in winter here and a list of local catering companies here, but be sure to do your research and confirm when and in what capacity the businesses are open.

Several area restaurants also offer Thanksgiving dinner, either in takeout or in-person dining form. Keep an eye out on for a list of eateries offering Thanksgiving or other holiday dinners in the coming weeks.

Inside a beautifully decorated restaurant at Christmastime

3. Enjoy Wintery Scenery

If you’re coming up here for a holiday-season trip, don’t forget to plan out at least a few outdoor activities. Taking things outdoors will not only encourage social distancing (not to mention good airflow) but can provide your group with amazing memories of gearing up in cozy coats and layers, heading deep into the woods or along the lake, and embracing cold-weather activities—even if it’s snowy or bitter cold.

If you’re up here on an especially clear night, you might even be able to see the Northern Lights or at least a spectacular display of stars. The great thing about Door County is that even when it snows or ices over, the scenery is still magnificent—some would even argue it’s more beautiful in this state. Snow or no, be ready to have trails, woods, and other outdoor spaces mostly to yourselves.

4. Find Peace, Quiet, & Relaxation

After a particularly hectic year, combined with the rush and excitement of the holiday season, spending a quiet, long weekend right before or after Christmas or around the New Year could be a great way to close out 2020 or kick off 2021 with a fresh start.

Come alone, come with your best friend, bring your significant other, or let the kids tag along—no matter who you like to relax with, you can find a sense of rejuvenation in a Door County winter.

Consider heading to the trails for hiking or snowshoeing, bringing a stack of books and buying a nice bottle of local wine to enjoy in front of a fireplace, or finding a salon or spa where you can enjoy some proper relaxation like massages, skin treatments, and yoga classes.

Two women relax in robes with mugs of tea in front a fireplace at spa

5. Bring in the New Year in Style

After spending the tail-end of the year buying gifts, cooking group meals, expressing gratitude, and doing things for others, the end of the year or beginning of the new one is a great time to treat yourself, too.

Rent a room at a high-end hotel, resort, cabin, B&B, or other top-notch lodging and don’t be afraid to splurge on whatever fuels you—whether great food and drink, spectacular scenery and views, or world-class shopping.

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