Ellison Bay is an intriguing place to visit, as it is characterized by many galleries featuring work by fine craftsmen and artists. You will most likely meet them and perhaps even see them working.
There are also shops and businesses with unique offerings and activities. And Ellison Bay is home to the spectacular Newport State Park, as well as The Clearing, a historic and popular folk school.
And there is also a nice balance of things to do here-not so little (you will be busy!) and not so much. It seems just right.
Fall and winter is a great time to make your getaway to Ellison Bay. Here are some Ellison Bay highlights.
What's to do? Plan a visit Oct 23 and 24 for the annual Ellison Bay Fall Art Crawl. The artists will demonstrate their work and serve homemade bread and cookies. The event gives you an opportunity to not only see art-but interesting historical buildings that have been transformed to galleries and homes. For example, Ellison Bay Pottery is housed in a former apple barn at 12156 Garrett Bay Rd. Here John Dietrich and his wife, Diane McNeil show their work including functional stoneware art and decorative vases. Nearby is Cousin's Walk, 11940 Lakeview Rd, a gallery housed in a circa 1880s log cabin. Marcy Farber, the owner and artist, paints on found objects and more. Linden Gallery is an alluring gallery housed in a former church. Brian and Jeanee Linden acquire Asian art and antiques in China and other areas beyond for sale in their gallery at Hwy. 42 and Mink River Rd. Meanwhile, Clay Bay Gallery, 11650 Hwy. 42, shows work by artists Jeanne and David Aurelius including hand-thrown pottery and tiles. Gills Rock Stoneware is housed in a 100-year-old former hotel and saloon at 12020 Lakeview Rd.; look for bold palettes and creative shapes as well as things you can use everyday.
Continue the crawl with a visit to Turtle Ridge Gallery, 11736 Mink River Rd., where Mary Ellen Sisulak shows her eye-catching designs in leather and fiber, inspired by nature. Newport House Gallery, 12044 Hwy. 42, has folk art and antiques. And don't miss the Savory Spoon Cooking School, 12042 Hwy. 42; Chef Janice Thomas and her husband Mike Thomas transformed an old schoolhouse into a fab kitchen with space enough for cooking teams to create and eat. Also, take a tour of the lovely grounds at The Clearing folk school, 12171 Garrett Bay Rd. It celebrated a 75th anniversary this year. Check out the winter classes and opportunity to learn something new and creative.
Ellison Bay artists are also hosting a holiday open house Nov. 26 and 27.
And don't forget that Ellison Bay is also home to Newport State Park, open year-round and featuring trails that offer lake as well as lovely meadow views. This is a great place to hear yourself think and get a good workout to boot. Newport has 38.3 miles of trails-all open for hiking. About 16.8 miles of them are also open to off-road bicycles. And in the winter, 26.3 miles of trails are available for cross-country skiing. The park also has 16 backpack campsites.
What to buy: Art is a great value in Ellison Bay. Pottery galleries abound (see the above galleries on the art crawl), and you can also discover work by fine painters including Robert Bentley, who creates a wide range of art from landscapes to people and fun chefs.
Where to eat: There are many dining choices including Chef Andy's Hillside Inn, T. Ashwells (upscale), Northport Pier and the Viking Grill (fish boils, but closed until the spring due to a fire). The Brew Coffee Shop opened in May in Ellison Bay. It's owned by Linden and Wendi Ray, who also own the restaurant next door to Brew called Mink River Basin. The coffee shop is housed in a building that was a machine shop in 1890, and it's creatively decorated with paintings and pottery by Ellison Bay and Gills Rock artists. Also new in Ellison Bay is the Rowleys Pub. It has an outdoor deck overlooking Rowleys Bay and is on the grounds of the Rowleys Bay Resort (formerly the Wagon Trail).
Historical highlights: Ellison Bay was founded in 1866 by Johan Berndt Eliason, who came to the U.S. from Denmark. Learn more about Ellison Bay history during the annual Olde Ellison Bay Days (the last weekend of June each year), when the town sponsors a host of activities including an antique car show, soap box derby, arts and crafts fair, music and entertainment and a parade and more.
Where to stay: Choose from resorts such as the
Norland Resort, Ellison Bay Cottages and Cedar Grove Resort to inns including the Parkside Inn and Cole's Rowleys Bay Cabins. Of course, the best place to read about lodging and other Ellison Bay attractions is online at www.DoorCountyNavigator.com .