Door County Getaway: Fish Creek
By Donna Marie Pocius
Special to DoorCountyNavigator.com
Fish Creek just seems to have it all going on in Door County: natural attractions, shopping with convenient hours, abundant art galleries and lots of places to stay and eat.
And this is a good time to plan a getaway. The 23rd annual Fish Creek Winter Festival takes place Feb 5 to 7, and there's lots of buzz about this year's line up of events.
"The festival is the biggest thing going on in the winter in northern Door. It is very popular with visitors and locals, and it comes around in mid-winter and makes for a nice break. You have not only the festival activities, but all the winter sports, too," says Digger DeGroot of the Fish Creek Information Center.
Read on for festival schedule as well as things you can do year-round in this charming Door County locale.
What's to do? Fish Creek Winter Festival games, food and music will be featured under a big tent at Clark Park on the waterfront. But you'll want to venture around town, too. On Friday, Feb. 5, check out beautiful sculptures being carved from blocks of ice at Fish Creek businesses. And head over to Hands On Art Studio for Rock 'n Roll Art on Friday night.
The full day of festival activities on Saturday, Feb. 6, kicks off with a parade at 10:30 a.m. Look for Gibby, the winter festival mascot. Then, enjoy lunch at the Peninsula School of Art from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Soup Benefit Buffet helps Feed My People and the school's outreach program.
Other fair fare: brats, chili, beer, wine and soda are served under the tent. And there will be chili cook-off there from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Best chili maker wins $250.
Also enjoy a winter wine festival at Orchard Country Winery, kites over the bay and free trolley rides connecting Festival activities. Also, on Feb. 6, Peninsula State Park hosts its annual candlelight ski from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Meanwhile, the Door Community Auditorium presents the Door County Idol show from 7 to 9 p.m., and Alexander's Restaurant has a rock 'n roll snow dance beginning at 9 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 7, is a good day for winners of the games to redeem their prize coupons at Fish Creek stores and other businesses. Games under the tent include minnow races, ice bowling, toilet toss, bike toss, crazy golf, snowshoe dancing, kids treasure hunt and raffles.
At other times of the year, people may enjoy real golfing, hiking, biking and camping in Peninsula State Park. The 3,700-acre park, adorned with woods, cobblestone beaches and wetlands celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009. American Folklore Theatre performs on a stage in the park. See a performance here one summer night, and take in a show at the Peninsula Players Theatre another night.
What to buy in Fish Creek: Like many Door County towns, Fish Creek is home to unique art galleries and talented artists working in various media. In town is T&R Pottery showing functional and decorative pottery. A great place to get an overview of what's available is the Door County Art League, located in the Top of the Hill Shops. Just outside town are places that are destinations to themselves: Interfibers Design Gallery with fiber art and jewelry by Wendy Carpenter; Ekholm Gallery with large-scale oil paintings by Judi Ekholm; and Edgewood Orchard Galleries, which represents national artists.
Bath, Body and Soul Essentials is open all year in Founders Square. It smells wonderful in this store, offering skin care, bath products, home accents and clothing. Nearby is the iconic Hide Side Corner Store (selling leather handbags, clothing, furnishings and more). Curt's Oilerie is a unique place, giving visitors a chance to sample flavored olive oils before the staff bottles them for each customer.
Historical highlights: Fish Creek was established in 1857. The Township of Gibraltar-consisting of villages of Fish Creek, Juddville and Maple Grove--was established one year later in 1858. The early settlers were farmers, lumbermen and fishermen. A fun way to experience local history is to take a tour (check hours) of the Noble House, corner of Main St. and Hwy. 42. The house is named for Alexander Noble, the town chairman, postmaster and blacksmith. The 1875 house is furnished with Victorian furnishings and accents.
Time to eat: Gibraltar Grill has indoor and outdoor seating and a menu that appeals to vacationing families on the go-salads, wraps, pizzas in a variety of sizes, sandwiches and kids' choices as well as dinner entrees. C&C Supper Club (now under new ownership and called "Cooper's Corner"), is another great place to go in Fish Creek. And don't forget restaurants housed inside charming Fish Creek inns are open to the public: The White Gull Inn & Restaurant (open year-round) and the Whistling Swan Inn & Restaurant (get a seat on the famed veranda for the view of downtown Fish Creek).
Places to stay: Speaking of inns, Fish Creek has a wide variety of places to stay from B&Bs like Whistling Swan, White Gull and Thorp House Inn & Cottages to resorts such as AppleCreek and Parkwood Lodge and budget-friendly places like Fish Creek Motel & Cottages. Of course, the place to check these places and others out, by way of independent and fun-to-read reviews, is www.DoorCountyNavigator.com.
To learn more: Fish Creek Information Center, 4097 Hwy. 42, Fish Creek, online at fishcreekinfo.com or call 800-577-1880 or 920-868-2316.