Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort

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

Family Time

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.

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.

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.

Additional Resources:

Beaches and Picnics

Beach Picnic

The Door County peninsula is carpeted with state parks, nature preserves, and over 300 miles of coastline that create unlimited opportunities for beach picnics. There are public beaches along both the lake side and bay side. After a day of sightseeing, my family needs a relaxing break at the beach!  We pack a cooler of sodas and make some sandwiches in our suite.  Add some delicious goodies from Koepsel’s Farm Market, and we are off to explore the nearby parks.

Toft Point Nature Preserve is an easy walk or bike ride from our room, as it shares the peninsula with Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort. This is also an incredible place to watch the sunrise. Flat, rocky coast line with lush woods on one side and stunning water views on the other. Really nice and secluded place for a picnic, picture taking, bird watching, and just enjoying nature.  The view of Cana Island from here is not to be missed! Become a Friend of Toft Point!

Whitefish Dunes

Whitefish Dunes State Park is home to “the largest and most significant Great Lakes dunescape in Wiscosin.” Come enjoy the vast white sand beach, tall native grasses, and blue water with crashing waves. Check trail conditions, events, learn more about the park and how you can volunteer by visiting the Friends of Whitefish Dunes.

From Hwy 57, follow County WD (Clarks Lake Road) east to the Greeting Center at the entrance of the Park. Whitefish Dunes is open year-round, generally from 6 AM to 8 PM. Changing stalls and bathrooms are family friendly. You will need a Wisconsin State Vehicle Admission sticker to park.

Nicolet Bay Beach in Peninsula State Park is another favorite of ours. We really like to mountain bike the trails here. The beach has volleyball nets (bring a ball!), picnic areas, a playground and a convenient camp store. The park is open year-round, and in the Summer there is also a snack bar and recreational rental concession.  Plenty of tables to have picnic and enjoy some people watching. On the way by, stop at the park’s White Cedar Nature Center for fun, free activities and events. Help support this wonderful park.

Nicolet BeachPeninsula State Park’s main entrance is off of Hwy 42 in Fish Creek. The park is open year-round, generally from 6 AM to 11 PM. The bathrooms and available services are particularly family friendly here. You will need a Wisconsin State Vehicle Admission sticker to park.

Visit our front desk and let us help you to plan your ideal beach picnic!





The Skyway Drive-In Theatre

What is Summer without a trip to the drive-in?  Revisit your childhood memories and make some new ones. Introduce the kids to entertainment before the DVD! Since 1950, The Skyway Drive-In Theatre has been showing feature films under the stars.  The drive-in is located on Hwy 42, just outside of Peninsula State Park between Fish Creek and Ephraim. They are generally open on weekends in May, September, and October, and nightly from June through Labor Day.  Check the Schedule.

The Skyway is a terrific outing for all ages. There is one screen and you may choose radio sound or traditional window speakers. Pets are allowed, but must remain on a leash. Please, be considerate of other viewers. Visit the concession area for all the traditional snacks. Lay out a blanket and enjoy the summer evening. You are free to bring in snacks, but grilling is not allowed. Finally, let the kids work off their sugar rush at the playground and get settled in for the show!