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  • Winter on Washington Island

    Join me, if you will, on a winter’s day on Washington Island. It happens to be a Tuesday morning in mid-January. It is early, barely daylight, and the town’s plow just made its first pass on Main Road. Snow wasn’t heavy last night, only three or four inches, but the island plows will clear the […]

  • Looking for the Shush

    When the cool winds start to blow and thick sweaters are donned following a season in storage, some Door County dwellers start planning their journey south. But other local residents turn their heads to the wind with growing enthusiasm for the winter months ahead. Their names are Buddy, Mushka, Spirit, Juno and Magic, to name […]

  • A Legend of Winter: Greg “Fuzzy” Sunstrom

    There’s a common assumption that life in Door County grinds to a halt between the months of November and March. People that have never spent an entire winter in the county, much less visited in the “off-season,” tend to let their brains follow the easy path to this conclusion, believing that there simply can’t be […]

  • Kites Over the Bay

    After the holidays wind down and spring begins to feel like it will never come around, Fish Creek will have a much-needed break from the winter doldrums. For two days over the Winter Fest weekend in February, spectators will be treated to a skyline full of spectacular color, artistry and drama, also known as Kites […]

  • Winter’s Harvest: Pure maple syrup

    A steaming hot stack of pancakes drizzled with pure maple syrup is one of the best breakfasts to enjoy on a cold Door County winter’s morning. Locally produced at a variety of “Sugar Bushes,” the proper name for a maple syrup farm, Pure Door County Maple Syrup is one of the unique treats found on […]

  • The White Sand Beach: Door County Ice Fishing

    Bring up ice fishing to just about anybody and the last image to come to mind would be guys in t-shirts tossing around footballs, clubbing golf balls, or the notion of any comparison to summer days going to the beach. But that’s exactly what one group of Sister Bay friends calls what to most is […]

  • Door County’s Old Ski Hills: Warm Memories of Cold Winter Fun

    Many Door County locals experience a wave of nostalgia every time they drive past Little Sweden on Highway 42 between Egg Harbor and Fish Creek. A quick glance in the direction of those rolling hills brings back fond memories of a crackling fireplace, knit caps, seeing your breath in the cold air, lace-up boots and […]

  • Guarding the Door: The Peninsula’s United States Coast Guard

    Mariners through the centuries have faced the reality of Lake Michigan’s relentlessly changing moods. Violent storms, raging windswept waves, fog, shoals and reefs have ushered ships and their crews to their ice-water graves off the shores of Door County. Those conditions are no less imminent today as they were then; yet, through it all there […]

  • “Boot” Hockey: Broomball is Northern Door County’s Unlikely Winter Pastime

    It started with the hope of getting enough people together to form two teams for pickup games, maybe 30 guys, to play a little “boot” hockey, a game they weren’t even sure how to play. They just wanted to play something, anything, for exercise and activity to get through the Wisconsin winter. They had this […]

  • Horse Sense: Riding In Winter

    Admittedly, I’m not a “horse person.” That’s not to say I have anything against horses, as in, “I’m not really a dog person…” The truth of the matter is, I just haven’t spent any significant time in the company of horses. Sure, I’ve scratched a few horses on the neck, and I’ve offered up an […]

  • Ice Harvesting in Door County’s Early Years

    For nearly a century, private homes and businesses in Door County relied on ice harvested from Green Bay or Lake Michigan for refrigeration purposes.

  • Birkie

    Inspired by the Challenge: Training for the Birkie

    It is Monday, January 23rd, and I am breaking a sweat in the 30-degree air. I am trying to cross-country ski over hilly terrain, but the result might be more accurately described as chasing my cousin Helen through the woods with boards attached to my feet. My mission: to prepare for the American Birkebeiner. That […]

  • Laying Up the Winter Fleet: Bringing Great Lakes Freighters to Port

    “The iron boats go as the mariners all know, with the gales of November remembered.”  – Gordon Lightfoot, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald The predawn morning is met with a blanket of fog that hangs heavy over the thickening ice of Sturgeon Bay’s outer harbor. Harsh, cold winds pile snow into ripples and drifts across […]

  • Frostbite Sailing

    The fall wears on toward winter, and the signs of the changing season are everywhere. As the days get even shorter, the geese as well as the summertime crowds have mostly moved south. The marinas and harbors are emptier after each weekend. As the temperatures fall and the waters of Green Bay darken, sailors might […]

  • The Golf Course Transformed: Hill 17 in Peninsula State Park

    Hill 17 on the Peninsula State Park course offers golfers a gorgeous treetop view to tee off from. As one drives into the park from the Ephraim entrance, the golf course presents itself immediately to the right, but to the left there’s nothing but a forest of trees. Shortly thereafter, driving to the golf course […]

  • Connecting Two Worlds: The Washington Island Ferry Line

    The distance from Northport pier, on the northern tip of the Door peninsula, to Washington Island’s Detroit Harbor is just a few miles, but in so many ways the two may as well be worlds apart. Between the shores run the foreboding waters of Death’s Door, which earned its moniker in the days when sailing […]

  • Snowshoeing the Door

    Snowshoeing provides the means for truly discovering those places on both our cognitive and paper maps. For those who love being outdoors and for those who aren’t sure, snowshoeing affords the freedom from groomed ski and snowmobile trails and is a great way to stay in shape through the winter months. Romantic images of explorers […]

  • Kevin Barta

    Iceboating: Pure Speed

    The scene is late December. Whistling winds breathe freezing temperatures upon the Door County winter landscape yet not a flake of snow has fallen. On a bed of ice from an inland lake a distant thunder may be heard from an oddly shaped craft traveling at a remarkably high speed. To be on the ice […]

  • A Jacksonport Tradition: The Polar Bear Swim

    Winter in Door County brings to mind cross-country skiing, sledding, ice skating and…swimming in Lake Michigan? Usually swimming in the lake is reserved for the summer months, but an exception is made on New Year’s Day as hundreds of people start their year off with a swim in Lake Michigan. If you are up to […]

  • Gliding Through Door County Winters

    Being a year round resident in Door County, I’m often asked by visitors how I survive the winter. My answer is the same that a Norwegian or Swedish person may have given over 5,000 years ago: I ski. In Norway and Sweden cross-country skis were an essential survival tool used for hunting in deep snow. […]