Washington Island (Through Death’s Door)

Washington Island We chose to take the car ferry to the island so we could get around easier and explore at our own pace.   Bright sunny skies increased our anticipation as we drove onto the ferry. Light winds and a calm lake seemed to calm our spirits as we prepared to pass through “death’s door”. […]

Wash1-11

Washington Island
We chose to take the car ferry to the
island so we could get around easier and explore at our own pace. 
 Bright sunny skies increased our anticipation as we drove onto the
ferry. Light winds and a calm lake seemed to calm our spirits as we
prepared to pass through “death’s door”.  ( Door county is named after the strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island. The dangerous passage, which is now scattered with shipwrecks, was known to early French explorers and local Native Americans. Because of the natural hazards of the strait, where the waters of Green Bay meet the open body of Lake Michigan, they gave it the French appellation Porte des Morts, which in English means “Death’s Door.”)

 (http://www.washingtonisland.com/visitors-guide/island-history-culture/

We picked out Rock Island, Detroit Island, a light house, and
numerous points of interest on our way. At the halfway point, (where
we met the returning ferry) our destination seemed to be a large
island, covered with trees, a couple of marinas, and a few beach
clearings scattered about.
Within minutes of docking, we were
off the ferry and onto a nicely paved street approaching town. We
took the loop through town, noting several interesting restaurants,
shops and galleries, real estate offices, and other services.
We decided to explore the island
before choosing a lunch stop. We started off on a large loop around
the island, stopping first at a beautiful old chapel, Stavkirke
(Stave Church) that is a replica of one in Borgund, Norway. We also
walked the beautiful wooded prayer path next to the chapel.
The drive then took us through open
country-side through several lavender farms. Though not in bloom at
this time of year, the grounds of the Island Dairy and Lavender Farm
present a fascinating walk through the process of Lavender farming on
the island. There are lots of fragrant Lavender products for sale as
well.
Our drive continued around the island
passing through pristine forests, along Gislason beach, 
past Sand
Dunes Park where Jo made friends with some bikers, and Jackson Harbor
with it’s Maritime Museum. We climbed the steps to the base of the
Mountain Park Lookout Tower, only to find that trees had grown higher
than the tower on all but one small section. With over 160
stairsteps each way, we got our exercise in at least.
We explored School House Beach with
its incredibly smooth stones. The round smooth flat stones were
actually easier to walk on than sand beaches. 
 The water was clear
and you could see the bottom for a good ways out. Even on a cool
(mid 60’s) day people were wading and enjoying the water.
Needing a break and some lunch, we
made our way back to the downtown area, zig-zaging across the island. 
Seeing a sign for “Kringles” we stopped at the Danish
Mill restaurant for a sandwich and, a shared Kringle. Delicious
!…. and we took home a big section of our almond kringle.

Then after exploring a little more of
the downtown area, we resumed our drive around and across this
beautiful island. Driving through more forests, along more developed
shorelines, passing through more farms, some with livestock, others
with crops planted. (They say the peas take on an unusual taste from
the soil, are prized by canners and buyers, and are highly sought
after for their flavor).

Jo found several beautiful old barns
to photograph. We also drove through several large orchards of
cherries and apples.

After boarding the last ferry for the
day, we enjoyed a late afternoon ride back through Death’s Door and
home. We both thoroughly enjoyed our day on Washington Island. It
is a must see if you are in this beautiful area of Wisconsin.                                                  
                                                 

You may also like

Sign In

Reset Your Password