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Yesterday, I hopped in my convertible, Betty Blue, put on some bluegrass tunes, and drove north to spend the afternoon in beautiful Ellison Bay. There's something about driving to the crest of the Ellison Bay hill and seeing the blue waters below that never fails to take my breath away. In addition to being one of the most pristine and gorgeous spots on the Peninsula, Ellison Bay also boasts some arts venues that are not to be missed! First, I stopped in at Turtle Ridge Gallery on Mink River Road. It's a little bit off the beaten track, a couple of miles off Hwy 42, but don't let that stop you. Mary Ellen Sisulak's incredible leather designs and fiber art are truly unique and very chic. Mary Ellen's work is nationally known, and she exhibits her work at art shows across the county, but her studio is the most warm and welcoming place. Little did I know that Turtle Ridge was also one of the stops on the Home and Garden walk, and her gardens were in perfect shape. And did I mention the smell of the shop? There is nothing like the smell of beautiful leather goods--earthy, comforting, and wonderful. The lovely Asta models one of Turtle Ridge's latest designs Next I went up to visit Kathleen Pearson at Door County North, an organization that's promoting businesses at the "Tip of the Thumb" in Door County. And I got this inside scoop: next summer, Door County North plans to bring a bluegrass festival to the Door. I can't think of a better location for bluegrass than Ellison Bay. You heard it first here, folks! I was feeling a little parched, so I decided to stop in at Island Orchard Cider, just off the Hwy 42 on Garrett Bay Road. I met Lou, who guided me through a tasting of four delicious hard ciders (read: alcoholic). They were refreshing and oh so different. I learned that all of their ciders are made with 100% Door County apples and pears. That's a real Door County product! I took home a bottle of pear cider to serve with some wine and cheese. Lou poured samples of four delicious ciders for my thirsty self. Thanks, Lou! Fortified, I headed down the road to Bluff Headlands County Park. This park is one of the best kept secrets in Door County, and its high cliff hike is one of the most spectacular I've found. Instead of hiking up, I braved the steep incline down to the beach where artist Kate Borcherding is creating an art installation - a series of cairns that are truly magnificent. Her friend, filmmaker Burt Guthrie is creating a documentary about the project, but now is your chance to view the work while it lasts! Cairns at Door Bluff Headlands Park. Photo by Sally Slattery After my rocky adventure at the beach, I drove back up the hill and stopped in at Clay Bay Pottery where I chatted with Abigail and met potter Jeanne Aurelius (her husband, David, was busy firing up the kiln). It's such a delightful place to visit- their gardens, which face a magnificent cherry orchard, are peppered with samples of their pottery on picnic tables. The Aureliuses have been making pottery in Ellison Bay since 1976, and their designs are still as fresh and beautiful as ever. Inside the gallery at Clay Bay Pottery. I really didn't want to leave Ellison Bay, but life was calling. I hopped back in Betty Blue, put on another bluegrass album, and sang all the way home. Believe me, after a day in Ellison Bay, you'll be singing too. Don't forget to follow me on Facebook for the very latest insider tips!
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