Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort

Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort     8151 Ridges Road Baileys Harbor, Door County WI    Reservations: 800-927-2492

Author: Alan Shivak

Wisconsin Highway 42 to Baileys Harbor

It’s true that the fastest way to Baileys Harbor is Highway 57 but we take Highway 42. It’s only a four mile difference but it takes us around two hours longer this way, but it’s time well spent. By the time we get to the Baileys Harbor we are all in vacation mode.

Our first stop on 42 is the Door County Coffee & Tea Company located in Carlsville. It takes about 3.5 hours to get here from home in the northern Chicago suburbs and Door County coffee is the official start of our vacation. I will order a 16 oz. dark roast drip, a 12 oz. skinny vanilla latte, a fruit smoothie, and an oversize chocolate cupcake while my wife and son pick out a half pound of beans for the week. They have at least 20 local named blends to choose from. The Light House, Inn Keepers, and Harvest Blend generally make it home with us.

Egg Harbor Fun Park Go Carts

Outside Egg Harbor Fun Park

After about 10 minutes, and a good shot of caffeine, we are back on 42 driving north towards Fish Creek. After about 6 miles we pull into the Egg Harbor Fun Park for a quick Go-Cart race. I purchase a couple punch passes good for a variety of activities. Today we will use a punch for one go kart race. We will come back during the week for paintball, video gaming and maybe some min-golf.

After about 20 minutes we are back on 42 but just for a mile this time. On the left I see the familiar “Knockin Heads Red” statues at the entrance of the Harbor Ridge Winery. This will be a quick stop, just need to grab a bottle of one of our favorite wines, Carmen’s Last Dance, for the room. We will back later in the week for a wine tasting and some shopping. Their retail store has a variety of fun/comical wine themed gifts.

After about 15 minutes we are back on 42 and in minutes we are driving through downtown Egg Harbor. We are not going to stop now because we will back this way several more times this week. Egg Harbor is our favorite shopping, dining and tasting destination in Door County.

Our last stop before Baileys Harbor is just past Highway E on the right side of the road. You cannot miss Wood Orchard Market, it has a giant apple in front with a peddle cart track around it. We will stop at Wood Orchard every day over the next week for fresh corn, eggs, cherry bratwurst and so much, much more. Today we get three ears of corn, cherry juice, green eggs and some cheese curds. After about 20 minutes of shopping and sampling various local dips and mustard’s we are back on 42 heading north, but only for about half a mile this time. We take right on Highway EE and drive 8 miles east towards Baileys Harbor.

Highway EE is a wonderful Door County road that calmly curves and dips through orchards, farms, cow pastures, and grave yards between Egg Harbor and Baileys Harbor. Going east, EE ends at Baileys Harbor Town Hall, where there is a farmers market on Saturdays through the first weeks of October.

Quick family meeting in the car. Do we take a left on 57 and head to the resort and check in? Or do we take a right and make a stop at the Custards Last Stan for bakery and a Door County Cherry Sundae.

Jacksonport – Door County Farmers Market at Lakeside Park

We pull off the side of Route 57, just South of Lakeside Park in Jacksonport, WI. It’s about 10:00am on Tuesday, and the Farmers Market is hoping. We say good morning to people we pass, my wife comments on a cherry pie that a happy looking couple was carrying. As we head into the park we see a good ten to fifteen vendors selling bread, cheese, candles, and all sorts of fruits, vegetables and some unusually big onions.

Big Dog Farms at Jacksonport Farmers Market

Big Dog Farms at Jacksonport Farmers Market

I am like a kid at a candy store at farmers markets. I get on my toes and take a look around, seeing the different tables I want to visit. My son is all about the handmade candy, sausage sticks and cheese samples. I stop at several stands and get mixed lettuce, beets, tomatoes, and sixteen inch red and yellow onions. At the end of the marketing we see our friend Randy from Big Dog Farms. We buy our honey, garlic and fingerling potatoes from Randy. There is something magical about his potatoes on the grill.

After chatting for about five minutes we take a last walk around the market. My wife chats with the some girls at the bakery table. We learned that we need to get to the market first thing in order to get one of their cherry pies. Apparently the couple we passed on the way out purchased the last one (maybe that is why they looked so happy). Instead we bought a baguette, which looked amazing, and then headed back to the car. I am already thinking about the roasted beet and goat cheese salad we will be having for dinner with fingerling potatoes and corn on the cob.

Birch Creek Players

Birch Creek students perform at the farmers market

The Big Band and Swing music coming from the Jacksonport shelter was being performed by some of the summer students from the Birch Creek Music Performance Center. You would never guess that these were teenage students if you didn’t see them. The band was complete saxophone, trumpet, trombone, electric guitar, keyboards and drum. These guys a worth a visit to the farmers market even if you not shopping for local produce and Door County candles, soaps and sundries.

The Jacksonport farmers market is held at Lakeside Park on Route 57 about, 10 miles south of Baileys Harbor. The farmers market is open on Tuesdays between 9am and 1pm, from mid-May through late October. Lakeside Park has access to a small beach on Lake Michigan, there are a couple picnic tables and a playground. We sometime picnic here on the way back from Whitefish Dunes.

Search for the Best Cherry Pie

Cherries are synonymous with Door County. As you travel up and down and across the Door Peninsula you will be hard pressed not to pass a cherry tree orchard. In late July and early August cherries are ripe and ready to be harvested. Cherry tree branches are dotted red with ripe fruit and even look a little like Christmas tree’s decorated with bright, little ruby red ornaments.

Falcon Orchard

Falcon Orchard Cherry Trees

In August of 2014, my family and I stopped in for lunch at the Cornerstone Pub in Baileys Harbor and started talking to our server. We learned that working at the Cornerstone was his part time job and he was a local farmer, and his wife was a dairy farmer. As we talked he shared a few stories about the different produce he was growing, he leaned in a little closer as to tell us a secret, there was a wonderful baker in the area that made the best cherry pies and the pub had one fresh baked pie left, did we want it? We bought the pie, stopped and got some vanilla ice cream, and brought the pie and the ice cream back to the condo for later. The pie was wonderful and we enjoyed a piece after sunset for the next three days.

Fast forward to 2015, this is where it gets interesting. We decided to head to the Falcon Orchard on Route 42 between Sisters Bay and Ellison Bay to go cherry picking. In 2014 we picked about 10 pounds of cherries, for about eight dollars, but we were later in the season this year and the picking was done. We decided to head north about a quarter mile on 42 to Seaquist Orchard. After playing in the rope maze, we went inside to the baking department and started reminiscing about the cherry pie we bought at the Cornerstone pub the year before. We decided not to buy a pie at Seaquist, but to head back to the pub and see if we could get a cherry pie there.

Cornerstone Pub, Baileys Harbor

Cornerstone Pub, Baileys Harbor

When got to the Cornerstone we learned that the baker had moved on and started her own business and that she was actually on the Food Network show Chopped. Unfortunately, no one could remember her name or the business she opened, just that she was chopped from the show and her business was closed. I asked the waitress if she could recommend another place to get a pie. She suggested Sweetie Pies in Fish Creek, but by the time we got there they were closed. Someone we bumped into in the Settlement Courtyard shopping area there said they remembered the Grandmas’ Swedish Bakery in the Rowleys Bay Resort made a good pie, so we jumped back in the car and were off to the other side of the Peninsula to Rowleys Bay.

We got there in about 20 minutes and found the resort and the bakery, unfortunately they had not made pies in several years. They still have incredible cinnamon rolls and coffee cake, which are very popular. We walked around the resort for a bit and decided to drive back to Seaquist to see if they were still open. They were, we picked up a fresh cherry pie and headed back Baileys Harbor. It was good cherry pie and now we had a great story to share. All said and done we traveled 60 miles to find the perfect Door County cherry pie.

Since then we have purchased several pies including one from Woods Market, Sweetie Pies, The Cherry Pit, and Grandma Tommy’s. All of them good but our first pie from the Cornerstone Pub will always remain our perfect cherry pie.

Sunsets over Baileys Harbor

Sailboat at Sunset

Sailboat at Sunset

One of the Advantages of staying at Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort is catching the wonderful Sunset over Baileys Harbor without having to cross any roads or carrying anything to sit on. All you have to do is walk out to the harbor and grab one of the many accessible chairs or picnic tables. If you have a bay side room it’s even easier, open the sliding glass door and step out onto your patio or deck.

We generally visit it August and that means the sunsets about 7:00 pm, give or take a couple minutes depending on the time you visit. On the nights we don’t go out for dinner we grab one of the resort gas grills around 5:30 pm and eat bout 6:30 pm, giving us enough time to pop some corn (Koepsel’s Farm Market, located on Highway 57, has a good locally grown selection of popping corn if you did not bring any), grab a glass of wine or hot chocolate and head out to the harbor and grab some Adirondack chairs. It’s really relaxing to watch the seagulls and dragon flies hover around and listen to the waves lap on the rocks.

Since Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort is on the Lake side of the peninsula you are not going to see the sun set into Green Bay. Instead it sets into the wooded town of Baileys Harbor giving off a unique show of light as it sinks into the trees. After the sun sets we hangout for another 10-20 minutes before heading back to the room. We like to watch the sky turn to dark blue and then to purple and finally to black. If you sit quietly long enough there is a chance you will see a bat or two chasing the last dragon flies of the evening.

Sunset over Baileys Harbor

Sunset over Baileys Harbor

After sunset we head back to the room and throw in a movie and watch the first half before hitting pause and head back out to the harbor to do some star gazing. When the moon is new you will see a great number of stars. The Big and Little Dipper are clear in the night sky as well as Orion and Cassiopeia, constellations that are bit more challenging to see from the Chicago lit sky where we live.

The Perseids meteor shower is in August and is one of the years best meteor showers, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Other summer meteor showers include Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower in May and the Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower in July.

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Sunrise from Toft Point State Natural Area

It’s about 6:00 am in early August and from our condo balcony I can see the sky is turning from black to purple and the stars are beginning to fade. I shake my wife and my son and say “come on, it’s time to go if we are going to make the sunrise.” Reluctantly they get up and throw on some jeans and sweatshirts. I grab some granola bars and head to the lobby for a couple cups of coffee to go.

Toft Point State Natural Area

Cana Island from Toft Point State Natural Area

We jump into the car and head to the end of ridges road and then take a left on the gravel road and follow it to the end where there is a loop and pull off and park on the west side of the road. There is a small trail head here were we hike through a short overgrown area that open up into a patio of large rocks, shrubs and flowers. From here Moonlight Bay and the Cana Island Lighthouse start to become visible in the early morning light.

There are some nice flat rock on the shore and we unroll a couple towels set out the granola bars and find a place to set the coffee where it won’t spill. It’s now 6:20 am am and the purple sky is changing to blue and the last stars begin to fade away. In the distance I can see a charter fishing boat motoring out to catch their limit of Salmon and an occasional flock of birds flying Southwest.

Sunrise from Toft Point State Natural Area

Sunrise from Toft Point State Natural Area

Then it happens, the Lake Michigan waves begin to burn red/white as the rising sun glows through the breaking waves before it rises above the horizon. My wife, son and I sit quietly watching as the top of the sun  begins to climb above water line. Waves are breaking on the rock beach every couple seconds and the seagulls can be heard in the distance and in about 90 seconds the sun is up shining radiantly.

Before heading back to the condo we explore a couple rock formations, trying not to get wet. After about 20 minutes we gather our belongings and head back to the path that leads us to our car. We will return here later in the week for a longer hike along the rocks but we will ride our bikes next time. We only take the car when we want to make the sunrise. Biking Ridges Road offers several opportunities to pull off to the side and go for hike and explore the rocky water front around Toft Point and Baileys Harbor.. Check out the some history on the area and 2-3 mile hike that you can do from Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort.

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