Door County Getaway:
By Donna Marie Pocius
Special to DoorCountyNavigator.com
After making the trip to Door County, go just a tad further and stay on Washington Island. Ferry transportation from the Peninsula (at Northport Terminal) to the Island makes it easy to add Washington Island to an itinerary or make it a primary destination. You can take your bike or car with you on the ferry, too.
What's to do? Outdoor recreational activities-including kayaking, swimming, charter fishing--abound on the Island. It's especially comfortable to bike here, as the roads are not so busy with traffic. And it's easy to find your way around and take in key Island sites.
Or tour the Island on the Cherry Train. Ride in an open-windowed trolley car making three stops during a 15-mile, 90-minute narrated tour.
One of the most popular stops is the Double K-W Ostrich Farm. A family runs this farm, and they have ostriches, ostrich eggs for painting and carving and ostrich sticks-which are kind of like beef sticks but more heart healthy, according to the locals.
The train travels north to Washington Harbor and Schoolhouse Beach, one of five places in the world decorated by white limestone rock. This is a beautiful beach, where people love to discover polished stones created by nature at the development of the ice age. They are as smooth as eggs and feel like silk in your hands.
Schoolhouse Beach is a spot for picnics, too. Other beaches and parks include Percy Johnson County Park, Jackson Harbor Ridges, Red Barn Park/Gislason Public Beach, Sand Dunes Beach and Rock Island State Park (access is at Jackson Harbor).
Or go golfing at Deer Run Golf Course and Resort. There's a challenging nine hole regulation course offering up demanding greens, elevated tees and much more. Also find an 18 hole miniature golf area. Washington Island also promotes a Heritage Nature Trail near the Welcome Center and stable and trail rides at Field Wood Farm.
Don't miss a visit to the Art and Nature Center, located in an old schoolhouse. Here, local artists display their work in the art gallery. A Nature Center portion has exhibits that the entire family may enjoy. There are also a variety of shops on Washington Island.
What to buy: Fiber art is popular purchase on Washington Island. Head to Sievers on Jackson Harbor Rd. Crafts handmade by teachers and students from the Sievers School of Fiber Arts are available here as well as yarns, books and supplies for fiber artists. Other shops feature Scandinavian art, books, clothing and sportswear, sporting goods, home décor and more.
Also popular is the annual Scandinavian Festival in August. Coinciding with this festival is the Uniques and Antiques sale, where handcrafted furnishings, fiber art and more are sold.
Historical highlights: Washington Island is rich in history. Jean Nicolet, an early explorer, came to the area in 1635 followed by traders and missionaries. Washington Island was named after the schooner Geo. Washington in the summer of 1816; it was sailing from Mackinaw to Green Bay with a contingent of soldiers who were establishing a fort there, according to the Washington Island Chamber of Commerce. The islands were home to Potawatomi Indians prior to 1850. Early settlers were fishermen. Still others--from Norway, Sweden and Denmark--brought farming, logging and other occupations and ways of life. Eventually, Washington Island became a place where many visitors escaped urban stress or established a summer home.
Explore Island heritage by visiting Stavkirke in spring and fall. The Norwegian-style church was constructed by Island craftsmen. Also check out the Farm Museum, which gives an idea of Island life on farms during the 1880s, and the Jacobsen Museum. Still another place to visit is the Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum, which, of course, focuses on the Island's maritime trade.
Where to eat: There are many places to dine, enjoy coffee or drinks. Learn more about these and others at www.DoorCountyNavigator.com and www.DoorCountyDining.com: Fiddler's Green, Findlay's Holiday Inn Restaurant, Washington Hotel Restaurant, KK Fiske Restaurant, Nelsen's Hall Bitters Pub and Sailor's Pub.
Where to stay: Choose from places ranging from the historic Washington Hotel to the convenient Findlay's Holiday Inn. Find out more about these accommodations and more at www.DoorCountyNavigator.com: Dor-Cros Inn, Townliner Motel, Viking Village Motel, Cedar Lodge and Sunset Resort of Washington Island. There are B&Bs on the island as well!
To learn more: Check out locations of businesses, hours and more details at www.WashingtonIsland.com or call 920-847-2179.