A Romantic Winter Escape to Northern Door County

Ice shove on Lake Michigan

Ice shove on Lake Michigan

As winter’s icy grasp slowly creeps in, you and your significant other may feel daunted by the seemingly-endless grind of the season. It seems we wake up, go to work and come home in the dark. We rarely go outside. It may be tempting to flee the state to warmer climates, but a romantic mini-break here in Door County can cure the winter blues.

First up is to reserve a room at the Blacksmith Inn in Baileys Harbor. The Inn’s picturesque location on the shore of Lake Michigan makes it a romantic destination in itself. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, its two buildings have been expertly restored to look even better than their former glory. Inside, each room has a cozy fireplace and whirlpool tub. All of the uniquely and simply decorated rooms boast a beautiful view of the lake or surrounding pine forest. Enjoy a delicious breakfast of house-made granola and muffins and Wisconsin dairy products or take your repast to your room for a private morning nosh.

After a leisurely morning meal, explore the shops of Sister Bay or Fish Creek. Catch a warm-up lunch of delicious soup at Czarnuska Soup Bar in Ephraim. Spend the afternoon exploring viticultural delights at a few of the wineries on the county’s bay side. At Harbor Ridge Winery just north of Egg Harbor, try delicious fruit wines, then purchase your favorite glass and head to their cheese shop next door. There, a seasoned, or at least well-informed seasonal, monger will hand out bites of different cheeses, explaining their origins, until you find the one you have to have.

From Harbor Ridge, drive six miles north on Highway 42 to find Lautenbach’s Orchard Country winery and market. On a snowy day, relax and snuggle up to your honey on a sleigh ride. Take in the view of Lautenbach’s glittering orchards and vineyards. After your ride, warm up with spiced wine and cider.

After a late-afternoon snack of homemade Door County cherry cookies or popcorn and perhaps a snooze back at the Inn, dinner is in order. Northern Door County has plenty of dimly-lit spots for an intimate dinner, and it can be tough to choose. Within walking distance of the Blacksmith Inn is Chives, a cozy spot with an in-house sommelier. Further north in Ellison Bay is Wickman House, where you’ll easily spend the whole evening relaxing over craft cocktails and locally-sourced fare. In Sister Bay, Waterfront offers a slightly more formal feel and features fresh, delicious seafood. Ephraim’s new spot and “little sister” of the Wickman House, Trixie’s is a tiny place with big taste. The Whistling Swan in Fish Creek is in the ground floor of an Inn and features upscale casual dining and a rustic atmosphere. No matter which you choose, each restaurant is sure to delight your taste buds.

Remember you’re still on a weekend-long date, and there is plenty to do after dark. For an outdoor adventure, check the Friends of Whitefish Dunes State Park or Peninsula State Park pages for a scheduled candlelight ski or hike. These whimsical walks or glides through the forest tend to be just the right length to help you sleep well without chilling you to the bone.

If an indoor activity is more your speed, Door County Brewing Company offers live music most weekend nights. Usually free to attend, the bluegrass, folk or rockabilly tunes start around 7 and end by 9. The vibe is convivial and toe-tapping and dancing are encouraged. The brewery is just steps from the Blacksmith Inn, so you’ll get to walk home hand-in-hand.

For more ideas on how to have an unforgettable winter getaway, check the Blacksmith Inn’s suggested itineraries page. Specials are available in the winter months, so be sure to check the Inn’s offers while ensuring availability.