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The Door is open for last minute getaways

Fine Line Designs Gallery has a range of prices such as these charming glass vases for less than $50.
Fine Line Designs Gallery has a range of prices such as these charming glass vases for less than $50.
Jodie Jacobs

Drop the bags, lather on sun screen and relax by the water – that is Green Bay on one side or Lake Michigan on the other side.

Sun says goodbye to a perfect day as it sets over Peninsula State Park and the harbor in Ephraim
Jodie Jacobs

You’re at the Door County Peninsula, a thumb sticking out from the city of Green Bay, WI that separates rough Lake Michigan waves from the calmer waters of Green Bay and is lined with beaches and water-sport filled harbors.

The beginning of Door County is about 3 ½ hours north of Chicago. Add in another 1 ½ hours to drive to the fun shops, charming harbors and lots of lodging in the vacation towns that dot the middle of the peninsula.

BTW, Door accommodations fill fast by people who make a reservation when they leave the previous year. However, no matter how much of a last minute you decide to drive up to The Door, as the peninsula is known, you are likely to find a place to stay because people also cancel at the last minute. Call places listed on the county’s visitor website or call the visitor bureau for help.

Recently, a last minute decision to get away to the Door resulted in a two-night stay in a just-canceled large room with a good view of the bay. The place had shown no vacancy earlier in the day.

The Door’s inns and lodges have brochures and friendly desk people with suggestions on what to do and where to go. But here are five things to put on your list for a special Door visit.

Drive, hike or bike Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. It has a beach, a historic lighthouse and great views of the islands off shore.

Visit Edgewood Orchard Gallery, Fish Creek, and Fine Line Designs Gallery, Ephraim, to drool over really good glass pieces, sculptures and paintings that would look great at home. Both galleries are places you will want to return to and recommend to friends.

Drive to the north end of Sister Bay to sample jams or veggie dips and buy yummy fudge at Seaquist Orchards Farm Market.

Think about where to go for dinner. Several of the Door’s popular towns have restaurants within walking distance. Make a reservation if upscale or throw on shirt over the bathing suit if casual. The Door is about good eating. Enjoy breakfast or lunch at Chef’s Hat or Second Story in Ephraim, take an ice cream break at Wilson’s in Ephraim and splurge on dinner at Mission Grill in Sister Bay.

Watch the sun set over the bay. It’s a perfect end to a relaxing day. If your accommodations aren’t on the water, bike, hike or drive to a harbor or public beach.

For more information visit Door County Visitor Bureau or stop in there at 1015 Green Bay Road, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 and call 800-527-3529.