As a child growing up in Wisconsin, I remember feeling cheated by holiday carols. They idealized the season and gave me very high expectations for the weather on Christmas morning. The glistening snowy lane in “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” and the equally glistening tree tops in “White Christmas” set me up to await the white powdery stuff each and every December 24. And alas, some Christmas mornings I was disappointed when my Green Bay childhood home was not blanketed in white, prompting a sorrowful rendition of “Let it Snow.”
I’ve found this lack of a white Christmas to be true at times, even in Door County. Despite uncooperative weather, the Ridges Sanctuary celebrates the natural wonders of the season and can help build a festive mood just in time for the holidays. The Ridges is Baileys Harbor’s land preserve that protects over 1600 acres in Door County. Their Natural Christmas celebration will make you swear you hear sleigh bells ring and smell chestnuts roasting—because you do!
The afternoon of the second Saturday in December, the Ridges embraces all things festive. Get your holiday craft on, and make your own decorations, including an all-natural wreath, from Mother Nature’s supplies. Guides will be present for a narrated walk in a winter wonderland of ridges and swales—the unique topography of the Ridges. Get a feel for the long winter as a lighthouse keeper on the tour of the range lights, a century-and-a-half-year-old lighthouse still in operation. Then, visit Kaye cabin, a picturesque log structure reminiscent of the Baileys Harbor of yesteryear. Warm up inside with hot cider and cookies, and sing holiday songs. Enjoy chestnuts and marshmallows roasted over an open fire. When the event ends, stroll down the gently-lighted Hidden Brook Boardwalk through the quiet conifer forest.
Distance from Blacksmith Inn: Walkable in 1 minute (.1 miles north on Hwy 57)
Pre-registration required: No
Cost: Free to attend; $20 to make a wreath
The Ridges is keeping things festive throughout the holiday season. Check their calendar for other events. A National Audubon Society-sponsored Christmas Bird Count is a way to get involved with the sanctuary even from the comfort of the indoors. During Christmas week, the Ridges lines their boardwalk with luminaries for romantic walks in a winter wonderland—snow or no snow! Choose one of their natural craft-making workshops to create unique and practical art, including bird feeders.
Though the weather outside may be frightful, a room inside at the Blacksmith Inn is truly delightful. Check our availability for your natural holiday adventure just steps from the Ridges Sanctuary.