Ask the locals in Door County about some of their secret places to go, and they will kind of wish you hadn't.
They may prefer to keep places like Dairy View Country Store, Whitefish Dunes State Park, Harbor Fish Market & Grille and Fred and Fuzzy's Waterfront Bar and Grille to themselves.
But this is the Navigator News, after all. So, let's spread the words about some Door County secrets. Dairy View Country Store off the strip
A lot of the secret places to go in Door County are located off the Hwy. 42 strip. So the adventurous may have already discovered Dairy View Country Store by now at 5169 Cty. Rd I, Sturgeon Bay (near Carlsville), www.dairyview.com.
This is a great place to buy homemade ice cream, walk through a corn maze and learn about the dairy industry on a tour.
"A lot of people do not understand the true business of dairy," says Roxanne Schopf, owner. "And everyone probably has rural roots in their family. So, we just bring them back."
Step back in time on a self-guided tour, which includes a stop at the air-conditioned viewing room, overlooking the 24-hour milking parlor. Cows, wearing swanky computerized chips, are milked in a big group.
Opposite the parlor, you can see displays that tell
the story of "calf to cow" with fun facts like "a calf weighs 80 to 100 pounds at birth" and "drinks one gallon of milk at first feeding."
Following a tour, indulge in better pecan or another flavor of ice cream-all made in Dairy View's ice cream processing center. The butter pecan is the house favorite "and still our No.1 seller. We worked on it for a year to get it perfect," Schopf says. Whitefish Dunes State Park and quiet trail
Walk off the ice cream at Whitefish Dunes State Park, a hidden Peninsula treasure, affording 14 miles of hiking trails on Cty. Rd. WD, Sturgeon Bay, www.wiparks.net.
Don't miss the park's diverse yellow trail (this writer's favorite). While on this 4.2 mile trail, you walk through a hardwood forest, cross meadows, smell a pine plantation and go past a creek.
Come on a breezy day, and hear the wind whistle through the pines. Signs along the way explain how park staff is managing the forest.
"This trail is not used often, so if you are looking for solitude, hike it," says Carolyn Rock, park naturalist. Harbor Fish Market and Grille
And if you are looking for fish, you may already know about Harbor Fish Market and Grille, housed in an architecturally interesting 150-year old building at 8080 Hwy. 57, Baileys Harbor, www.harborfishmarket-grille.com. The experienced chef and staff-many have been around since opening day more than 10 years ago-have good connections in the seafood market.
"The world is getting smaller. Fish in the ocean is in our kitchen in 24 hours. We work with fresh producers and look for high quality we are known for," says Carl Berndt, the restaurant's owner.
In addition to original art and the intimate view of Lake Michigan, also look for the traditional New England lobster boil on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings. It's a l.5 to two pound Maine lobster, with baby red potatoes, corn on the cob, New Zealand mussels and steamed clams as well as Maine lobster bisque and Door County cherry bread pudding. Whew!
"A lot of people have fish boils, but we have the lobster boils," adds Berndt. Fred and Fuzzy's hard to find, but worth it
When you are on the west side of the Peninsula, try to find Fred and Fuzzy's Waterfront Bar and Grille, 360 Little Sister Rd., Sister Bay. Good luck. It's near Bay Ridge Golf Course and a part of the Little Sister Resort, www.littlesisterresort.com.
"There are still a lot of people who have not found us. We are still a secret," says Greg "Fuzzy" Sunstrom, co-owner.
Locals like the place for its live music on Tuesday
nights. Vacationers adore it for the friendly staff, kids' menu and casual ambiance. Everyone loves being so close to the water. "You are basically sitting on the water. It's a relaxing place to come," Sunstrom says.