I don't mean to scare anybody with the title. It's just that we spent a week in Door County, Wisconsin. The county is named after the treacherous passage around the northern tip of the peninsula called Porte de Morts.
|Overlooking Green Bay|
The name refers back to a deadly raid in the 1600s by a group of Native Americans against a rival tribe. But later the name proved providential for Europeans since the passage became the site of scores of deadly shipwrecks suffered by French explorers and others who dared make the turn around the northern tip of the peninsula into the safety of Green Bay.
|Fish Creek has a fairly large marina|
We were there as part of our trip to see my daughter and granddaughter, who live in Madison, and who were able to join us for a week of vacation. We were also attracted to the area because it's been called the Cape Cod of the Midwest. We love Cape Cod. So we figured we would love Door County.
|We asked: this boat came up the Hudson River and across the Erie Canal|
There are some similarities. Cape Cod is a peninsula east of Boston. Door County is a peninsula east of Green Bay. Both have modest populations in the winter, but are flooded with vacationers in the summer. A lot of people own second homes. We know a few New Yorkers who have vacation homes on Cape Cod, along with people from Connecticut and the Boston area.
|Street in Fish Creek|
Cape Cod also has its share of retirees, including some friends who live in Falmouth. B and I even considered retiring to Cape Cod. But we finally decided that the winters are to long . . . which is what we hear about Door County as well.
|A child's eye view of Lake Michigan|
Similarly, people from Milwaukee and Madison and other places around Wisconsin have vacation homes in Door County. But we were told the big crowds -- and big money -- come from Chicago, about a four-hour drive away.
|An aid to sailors in Bailey's Harbor|
We stayed at a lodge in Bailey's Harbor on Lake Michigan, considered the "quiet side" of the peninsula. The more touristy side borders Green Bay where the water is warmer. There are more beaches on the bay. There's more shopping and things to do with the kids. And apparently the fishing is better. I don't fish. So I can't confirm that piece of advice.
|Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay ... that's real grass on the roof|
We found several nice restaurants in Sister Bay, Fish Creek and Egg Harbor, all with outdoor seating. We went to the beach, took a bike ride through Peninsula State Park, spent some time shopping for presents and souvenirs. But with a grandchild around (as many of you no doubt know) we spent most of our time on the playground running after a toddler.
|Remember, we're in America's dairyland|
We drew the line at changing diapers. That's a parent's job, not a grandparent's responsibility. Don't you think?
|A cove in Bailey's Harbor|
We're back home now. But we're planning a trip to the Massachusetts Cape Cod later in September -- to visit friends, eat lobsta and clam chowda, and maybe even go for a swim. The Cape can still be warm in September.