Dispatch from the Door: Meals and Much More

A few delicious creations lined up for the wood-fired oven at The Washington Hotel. Credit: DoorCounty.com/ Door County Visitor Bureau

One of the greatest things about taking a vacation is the pleasure sitting down to a good meal that you didn’t have to cook yourself. In Door County, you’ve got lots of options—some of them fairly unexpected. For example, Mojo Rosa’s Cantina and Pub in Egg Harbor offers authentic Mexican dishes, including Oaxacan specialties, while nearby Villaggios features truly delicious Italian fare, and both maintain a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. For something more traditional, head to Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor in Ephraim, a ‘50s-style eatery (one which was actually around in the 1950s—and the 1900s, for that matter), which features excellent flame-broiled burgers and home-brewed draft root beer. Or try Not Licked Yet which, despite its vaguely creepy sign, offers excellent frozen custard and a fun little playground.

And while it will require a half-hour ferry ride across Death’s Door, the passage that links Green Bay with Lake Michigan (traditionally, and more elegantly known as Porte des Morts), a trip to the Washington Hotel on Washington Island is definitely worth it. The island, home to just 750 residents, is an interesting, quirky place which, among other things, boasts an ostrich farm and exotic zoo, a replica Norwegian Stave Church, a lookout tower, a smooth, rounded limestone beach (Schoolhouse Beach), and 100-miles of paved roads (great for biking)—all of which can be explored on the Cherry Train. At the Washington Hotel, a landmark inn for more than a century, you can enjoy fresh, organic fare, the vast majority of which comes from right there on the island. Kids especially will enjoy making their own pizza and (with adult supervision) sliding it into a stone, wood-fired oven that the baker built with her own two hands.
And while the hotel itself is not ideal for families—each room features only one bed, and washrooms are down the hall. But you may want to consider a cabin. Timber Ridge Log Cabin, for example, has plenty of room to spread out, with two bedrooms (with two beds each), two baths, a full kitchen and satellite TV. And back on the mainland, look into Gustave’s Getaway, located near Bailey’s Harbor, a historic 1887 log cabin that once housed a family of ten, now renovated to include a glassy, three-sided fireplace and a porch with four comfortable Muskoka chairs (plus a fire pit with benches and a BBQ outside).

—Tim Johnson, CF’s contributing editor

Timber Ridge Log Cabin on Washington Island. Credit: DoorCounty.com/Door County Visitor Bureau.

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