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  • On Call, On the Edge: Fighting Fire in the Door

    “When you’re entering atmospheres that are in excess of 1,000 degrees, you’re living life on the edge,” Caleb Whitney says wryly about his job as a firefighter and company officer for the Baileys Harbor Fire Department. Indeed, the firefighters of northern Door County live on many “edges” simultaneously, straddling the lines between fire and water, […]

  • Sherwood Point Lighthouse

    Sherwood Point Lighthouse: The Keeper of the Ship Canal

    Known for its uncharacteristic red brick and for its double distinction of being both the last Door County lighthouse to be automated and the last manned lighthouse on the Great Lakes, Sherwood Point Lighthouse is perched at the end of a serene country road, near Sturgeon Bay’s Idlewild area. The story of Sherwood Point is […]

  • It’s Not Easy Being Green: Zigzagging Toward Sustainability

    By now, you’re probably feeling inundated by all the media buzz highlighting “sustainable this” or “green that.” People talk about how easy it is to become sustainable and how environmentally unfriendly everyone else is, while “to do” lists detail behaviors that will lessen your impact, or “carbon footprint,” on the planet. Even though I’ve written […]

  • Dimmed Lights Brightened: The Long Road to Restoration on Plum and Pilot Islands

    For over a century they served as beacons for ships and fishermen in the treacherous passage through Death’s Door, the foreboding stretch of water between Lake Michigan and Green Bay at the tip of the peninsula that would steal its name, Door County. The lighthouse on Plum Island and the range light on Pilot Island […]

  • Agriculture in Door County

    Agriculture has played an important role in Door County’s economy, environment, culture, and social structure for more than 150 years. Today, the county is home to hundreds of farms – over 90 percent of which are individually or family-owned – as well as agriculture-related businesses providing equipment, services, and other products farmers need to grow, […]

  • Gas Prices Change Habits on Door County’s Water

    “Remember that man who used to come up every summer?” Robbie Leclair asks Christy Sully, both dockmasters in the Sister Bay Marina office on a busy Monday morning.

  • The Cottage: Everything Old is New Again

    Cottage and home rentals, and the traditions that surround them, still abound in Door County. The old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” is true of many things in Door County, but is especially true about the history of cottage and vacation home rentals on the peninsula. Around the end […]

  • Protecting Door County’s Beaches

    In an era of growth pressure, private development has dominated the battle for access and control of Door County’s treasured shoreline over the past two decades. But the county’s public officials have mounted a powerful rebuke in recent years, launching an 11th-hour effort to secure and protect the peninsula’s beaches for generations to come. After […]

  • Ecosystems of Door County

    Article by Roy Lukes Little did I realize while growing up as a boy in Kewaunee, Wisconsin during the 1930s and ‘40s, what incredibly rich biodiversity (biological diversity) existed on the steep, un-eroded lake banks near our home along the shores of Lake Michigan. Native plants and animals also thrived in the marshes and the […]

  • Stories in the Wreckage

    The cold, mercurial waters surrounding the Door Peninsula are literally legendary. Because they began vanquishing ships long before there were local newspapers to report losses or technology with which to plot locations, much of the havoc they’ve wreaked on maritime travel remains the subject of speculation and fable. Door County’s very name derives from an […]

  • The Quest for Quiet Government

    I know so little about Door County government and politics – so little, in fact, that even putting this confession down on paper for someone to read (even if those someones are mostly complete strangers) embarrasses me.

  • Land of Midnight Sun Comes to Light in Door County: Scandinavian traditions in the Door

    Scandinavians staying in Door County have been known to experience a more friendly type of “Stockholm Syndrome” whereby the affected travels thousands of miles to feel as if he never left home. Case-in-point is recent Swedish immigrant Helene Ingsten-Anderson, owner of Flora Special Occasion Flowers in Sister Bay, who sees glimpses of her homeland at […]

  • Speeding Off to “Virtual Work” on the Information Highway

    Every morning Jana Raines of Baileys Harbor finishes her morning coffee and a chat with her husband and leaves for work – in Somerset, New Jersey, 1,047 miles away. It takes only seconds as she sits at her desk, just off the living room, turns on her computer and logs onto the company’s website with […]

  • “Handshake and Trust”: Washington Island and the Cultivation of Island Wheat Beer

    “People love the story of the beer,” Kirby Nelson says simply. “They love the fact that the ingredients are close to home, and that it’s made by a Wisconsin brewery.” For people who are in love with the way Door County “used to be,” it certainly doesn’t get better than Washington Island. The island, located […]

  • Peninsula State Park: A Portrait of What Door County Used to Be

    “Let the State of Wisconsin give to its children this vast playground, where the old, and tired, and worn may grow young in spirit and rested in body, nursed by the purity of Nature’s medicine, and where the young may romp and their bodies grow strong among the wonders of scenic beauty.” – Assemblyman Thomas […]

  • Red Putter Pro Tournament Brings Intensity to Ephraim

    “We’ve got to bring the title back to Sister Bay,” was the refrain running through the crowd at the 5th annual Red Putter Pro Tournament. The contingent of area competitors didn’t seem to care who won, just so long as the trophy came back to Northern Door.

  • Under the Newborn Stars: American Folklore Theatre

    “In our little corner of the woods, those ominous rumblings about the Death of American Musical Theatre are drowned out by the footfalls of 50,000 loyal fans strolling down the path in Fish Creek’s Peninsula State Park each year to laugh and cry with our merry players under the newborn stars.” – Fred Alley, AFT […]

  • Treading Lightly: Can Door County maintain its character while attracting more visitors?

    It’s a dilemma every tourism destination must confront at some point and one Door County is grappling with now. You need to attract visitors to drive your economy, to provide the economic lifeblood that allows you to live in a place you love. But those visitors and the growth that accompanies them are eroding much […]

  • Sturgeon Bay’s 3rd Avenue: Past and Present

    In 1850, Oliver Perry Graham built a log cabin on the east shore of Sturgeon Bay, the wilderness of northeastern Wisconsin. The rugged landscape – dense forests, treacherous waters, rocky fields – was challenging, as well as intimidating. But the early settlers were hearty immigrants who recognized opportunity. Shortly after his arrival, Graham was joined […]

  • Springtime Kayaking: The “Door” to early season paddling

    There’s a mellow May breeze rustling the reeds and wild rice along Reibolts Creek. Yellow water lilies bob gently in the wake of the boat, and the high whistle of a Blue-winged Teal breaks the stillness of the foggy dawn as the sun rises over Moonlight Bay. A morning like this one is not uncommon […]