Dispatch from the Door: Exploring the Door

Most Canadians know just a few things about Wisconsin: that its dairy cows produce copious amounts of milk and cheese, that it’s home to the Green Bay Packers, and that it is the supposed location for the fictional town of Point Place—where Kelso and Hyde and the rest of the gang from That ‘70s Show carried out their antics. Some have heard of Wisconsin Dells, in the central part of the state, commonly referred to as “that town with all the waterslides.” Very few have heard of Door County. And that’s a real shame.

The lovely town of Ephraim. Credit: DoorCounty.com/Door County Visitor Bureau.

Well-known as a prime vacation destination across the Midwest, “The Door” has garnered (U.S.) national attention, as well: Money magazine named it one of their top 10 vacation destinations in all of North America, calling it a “secret paradise.” Occupying the slender peninsula that juts out into the Great Lakes waters which separate Green Bay from Lake Michigan, it has been dubbed the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” and (like the real Cape Cod) its summertime population booms, increasing by a factor of almost ten. A refuge from the four-lane, fast-food world, the peninsula is dotted with charming little towns devoid of any chain restaurants or hotels. Take, for instance, Ephraim (pronounced EEE-frum). Settled in the middle of the nineteenth century by Moravians, a religious group not unlike the Amish, the town has continued some of the church’s traditions. Many of the picture-perfect buildings in town (which include a sweet little schoolhouse and two hilltop chapels, which adorn the town like a crown with their soaring spires) are still painted white, and Ephraim is the only municipality in the state where the sale of alcohol is illegal. (However, if you’re feeling thirsty, you needn’t worry—Fish Creek, an equally charming village—is just five minutes away.)

But there’s more to the Door than just good looks. You’ll find many family-friendly opportunities—outdoorsy, cultural, theatrical, or just plain fun—and I will be profiling these in a series of upcoming entries. Indeed, I plan to open the door on the Door. (And no more door puns. I promise.)

—Tim Johnson, CF’s contributing editor

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