Small Town USA on the 4th of July

Fireworks, parades, meeting friends, picnics...Door County is the epitome of "small town" USA when it comes to my favorite holiday:  The Fourth Of July.  Ever since we moved here 24 years ago, we have looked forward to hanging our flag, packing a cooler and lawn chairs and making our way to one of the many parades our county has to offer. Our family tradition has been to get up early and head to Bailey's Harbor; a mere 20 mile drive from Sturgeon Bay.  Going up highway 57, you literally run into Bailey's Harbor!  As you near this village you can sense that everyone is as equally patriotic, as homes are decorated in our nation's colors and families have already gathered for reunions. Don't be surprised when you drive by and arms start waving.  In Door County, everyone is welcome and we are the friendliest folks you'll ever meet!  Every year, we have "our spot" on the parade route.  Conveniently located right next to the Lutheran church where their members are out early selling cinnamon rolls and coffee. As we wait for the parade we watch people go by, usually seeing the same friends year after year. Small town USA.

Every year, however, I am a bit envious of the many motorcycles that drive down the route looking for a spot.  Many are visitors to the county.  Every year I say to Jane, "someday when the kids are older, I want to bring the cycle up".  She just nods and says, "you'll have to wait a long time".  This year was different...our kids were working and this was our chance.  We're bringing the cycle!

Bailey's Harbor parade starts at 10:00. This year we decided to try the Egg Harbor parade that begins at 1:30.  We headed north on 42/57 about noon and realized shortly after leaving that we were behind a long line of cars going to the same place.  Because I know the "back roads" of the county, I decided to turn right onto Hwy 57 by The Mill Supper Club.  Hwy 57 takes you through Institute and Valmy. About a mile north of Valmy you will take County T.  Take a left there, but you know how I feel about turning left off of the highway; especially on a busy weekend.  Just be cautious!  County T runs all the way to Egg Harbor.  As we rolled into Egg Harbor the sight of all the cycles and beauty of the bay was unbelievable!

It was our first Egg Harbor parade, but won't be our last.  The people, music, food, drinks and weather were a perfect combination for enjoying my favorite holiday.

Admittedly, we decided on the  Egg Harbor parade because our son, who works at The Orchards Golf Course, was in the parade. Another draw was a chance to see the Wisconsin Badgers marching band!  But, because this was the best 4th of July in memory, we'll plan another ride up to Egg Harbor next year!


Jane and I both agree that we are so fortunate to live in Door County where summer days seem endless! "How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives." - Annie Dillard