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Fall color lies a short road trip north to Door County

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Wonderful color lies within a day’s drive from Chicago. Gas rates are trending down. Midwest weather is now mild. And even Indian-Summer warmth cools off at night. So pack a bag and head out for some scenic droplets of gold, blazing reds and brilliant orange.

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First in a series of fall road trips is to Door County, about 3 ½ hours north of Chicago to Wisconsin’s thumb-shaped peninsula.

Easiest, is to take Interstate Highway 94 to Interstate Highway 43 north to Wisconsin Highway 57. When you reach Sturgeon Bay on the Peninsula you can 57 continue on Highway 57 on the Lake Michigan side or take Wisconsin Highway 42 along Green Bay.

Both routes are scenic. The difference is Bay side is dotted with village shops whereas woods and conservancies dot the Lake side, also known as the “quiet side.” But there are lots of Alphabet letter roads that cut across from one side to the other.

The only problem may be obtaining accommodations during October’s high color season. On the quiet side, Bailey’s Harbor Inn to do Lake Michigan forests, 1869 Cana Island Lighthouse, casual restaurants and a cut across to shops and wineries.

On the cute, busy side, Church Hill Inn in Sister Bay is near art galleries, restaurants, shopping and the must do: Seaquist Orchards for fudge, apples and preserves.

However, these places are merely two suggestions because Door County has lots of lodging choices at different price points.

Bring bikes or hiking shoes. There are five state parks to wander including Peninsula State Park which has the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse.

Known as an artists’ haven, Door County’s colors aren’t confined to its woods. Part of the fun of visiting the Peninsula is to gallery hop for paintings, pottery, sculptures and jewelry.

Another bonus is wine. Start at the Door Peninsula Winery in Carlsville or do the Wine Trail.

By the way, no matter which side you bed down, be sure to cut across the Peninsula for its trees, farms and lakes. The Door, as it is popularly called, is full of photos ops.

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