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My girlfriend Gina and I recently went to Door County for a belated Valentine’s Day celebration. It was our first time going out of town together and I think we were both wondering what it would it be like – and whether we would still like each other by the time Sunday rolled around. (Spoiler alert: we did!)
Over the course of the weekend, we stayed at a suite one night and an inn the second and third nights. We did some shopping, tasted some wines, enjoyed a few really great meals, and treated ourselves to a day at the spa. And that’s not all, so please, read on to find out how we spent our weekend “out and about” in Door County.
Cold night, warm hearts
When we arrived in Fish Creek, it was minus eleven degrees, cold even for mid-February. It was about 9 p.m. on a Thursday night and we had just enough time to thaw out with a burger and a beverage at the local tavern before they closed their grill for the night. Sitting at the bar, we chatted with Jim and Vonnie, who were in town from Austin, Texas. We talked about the freezing cold, our favorite things about the county and eventually, our families – in a way that sort of made it feel like we were family.
Warm from the conversation, the burger and possibly, the bourbon, Gina and I headed to our home-away-from-home for the first night. The in-room whirlpool was calling our names, but we waited until the morning to enjoy it and our relaxed, let’s-not-rush-into-anything Friday.
While there are several great bars and pubs throughout Door County, we chose to go to Husby’s Food & Spirits because I had secretly been craving their Thai chili hot wings, which by the way, go great with a pint of amber ale. Or if you’re more into a lighter fare, Gina had the Door County Cherry Chicken Salad, which was also delicious.
We did some shopping and then headed to our appointment at the Spa at Sacred Grounds. The only word I can think of to describe our 90-minute couple’s massage is “connectedness.” Our massage therapists Debbie and Becky were great and at one point, the four of us had an amazing and short conversation about love, the afterlife and butterflies. Oh and birds, like the one that was perched outside the treatment room window as the snow started to fall.
Snow – the perfect metaphor
As we were leaving the spa, the snowflakes turned into a fluffy and pristine snow shower. It felt like the perfect metaphor for the rejuvenation of a spa day. And more than that, the snow set the pace for our evening at the inn, where we stayed both Friday and Saturday nights. While we waited for our massage comas to wear off, we enjoyed some five-year cheddar, a local cider and some crackers in the room.
Later, we walked to the local tavern, through the still-falling snow and under the beautiful night sky. It was a short distance, but it created a perfectly romantic moment, as we walked arm and arm down the main street of Fish Creek.
Wine with new friends
Saturday brought wine tasting at Stone’s Throw Winery in Bailey’s Harbor. We had hoped to get to all of the fabulous Door County wineries but time gets away from you when sipping wine. We started with the wine and chocolate pairings, which began with a Riesling and a Limoncello espresso truffle and progressed to a port with a dark chocolate cherry truffle. It was every bit as decadent as it sounds.
While tasting, we met two couples, also enjoying a tasting near by. Their names escape me, but their welcoming energy and smiles would be hard to forget. One couple lived in the county, while the other lives in Milwaukee like us. Later, we laughed that they had been following us, when we ran into them at the Coyote Roadhouse, also in Bailey’s Harbor, for lunch.
The food and atmosphere at Coyote Roadhouse (or just “the Coyote,” as the locals call it) are always so great, not to mention it’s the only restaurant with a view of Kangaroo Lake. At one point, the gentleman sitting next to us asked if we’d like to stay for the Yahtzee tournament the next day and sadly we had to decline because we were heading back to Milwaukee on Sunday. We did, however, make a mental note to stay until Monday next time.
The last supper – and the best breakfast ever
Saturday evening, we had dinner at the Whistling Swan and it was everything our friends had described. All the tables had a view of the fireplace, the service was friendly and attentive, and the menu items were downright drool-worthy, forcing us to choose between locally caught fish and the prime rib. Or maybe the grilled pork chop with roasted root vegetables, which ended up being one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. The sauteed Brussels sprouts as a starter were also a great idea. This meal made me so excited for a return trip to try all of the other fine dining restaurants throughout the county.
On Sunday morning, the sun was shining so bright we almost believed that the temperature was above zero. It definitely was not. But it didn’t matter because we had just one thing left on our itinerary: breakfast at the White Gull Inn. We couldn’t wait to sit down to what’s been voted the ‘Best Breakfast in America’ by Good Morning America. From the fresh blueberry coffeecake to the eggs Benedict, hash browns and pancakes, it was a perfect way to start the day – and end the weekend – before heading back to the city. The welcoming and friendly vibe we received from everyone made our winter getaway to Door County truly special.
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