Off The Beaten Path

Have you ever gotten on your cycle without a plan?  Those are my favorite rides and if you visit a place like Door County, you can do that everyday for weeks and never take the same "ride".  One of my favorite rides begins in quaint Bailey's Harbor; a village about 20 miles north of Sturgeon Bay on highway 57.  Highway 57,  "closer to heaven", leads travelers up the lake side of the county and if you are looking for a ride that is "off the beaten path" this may be for you! Bailey's Harbor was discovered in October of 1848 by a steamer captain during a violent storm.  Captain Justice Bailey, seeking refuge from the ferocious storm, found sanctuary in the sheltered harbor that now bears his name. 250px-BaileysHarborChristinaNilssonShipwreck thCAY4JNTD Bailey's Harbor is a quiet, beautiful village that offers great restaurants, inns, views, shops and establishments that are welcoming after a day of riding!  One of our favorites is The Cornerstone Pub (www.baileysharborcornerstonepub.com).  The pub reminds me of the television show Cheers because of its' friendly, welcoming atmosphere.  Not to mention the fact that a colleague from Sturgeon Bay High School and good friend, Rob Schartner, who is one of the best bartenders around works there!   Cornerstone is located as the name states, on the corner of Hwy 57 and County F. building For those of you who are lucky enough to visit the county on the 4th of July, you will want to experience the best parade around!  My family has been going to the Bailey's Harbor 4th of July parade for 20 years.  We go early, sit by the Lutheran Church on the parade route (Hwy 57), enjoy the cinnamon rolls and coffee that is sold by the church group, and people watch!  The parade begins at 10:00, but go early to get your seat; it is a sight to see!  The epitome of "small town"!  We love it! DSCN5548 After you have a chance to sit by the water, visit a few shops, grab a bite to eat and regroup, you will want to take advantage of The Ridges Sanctuary. Located on Ridges Road in Bailey's Harbor (stay on Hwy 57 to get there), the Sanctuary is open to the public year-round.  It is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the county at its' finest!  It is peaceful and tranquil and appreciated by many visitors.  The Sanctuary features native wildflowers along its' five miles of rustic trails and bridges.  There is a small nature center and store that is open seven days a week, May through October, Monday through Saturday, 9-4.  It is open Sunday 12-4.  The Ridges Sanctuary is Wisconsin's first Land Trust and was founded in 1937. wooden-bridge-225x300 Ridges-landscape-water-915x350 To finish our ride we'll take a right onto County Q just north of Baileys Harbor for a scenic ride around Moonlight Bay.  A little further north lies Cana Island Lighthouse nestled in Spike Horn Bay.  Travel back in time and explore the lighthouse that has been standing watch on the shore of Lake Michigan for more than 140 years.  The lighthouse is open for tours 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. May 1st thru the last Sunday in October. cana32 cana44 As always, a favorite quote... "Don't compromise yourself. You're all you got."  -Janis Joplin