A fiesta of fall foliage

Nothing ushers in autumn like the flaming red and yellow colors Mother Nature paints during October.

September 25, 2011 04:50
3 minute read.

Landscape. (photo credit: Courtesy)

DOOR COUNTY, Wisconsin – Nothing ushers in autumn like the flaming red and yellow colors Mother Nature paints during October. But why just settle for an ordinary foliage getaway? Combine it with the fruits of the fall harvest, a scenic coastline and culinary adventure and you’ve got fall foliage in Door County, Wisconsin.

Located just 64 km. northeast of Green Bay, Wisconsin, the 112-km. long peninsula of Door County is situated perfectly between the waters of Green Bay (to the west) and Lake Michigan (to the east) giving visitors a variety of experiences on two distinctive coasts, and in charming towns in between. Known as “The Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Door County features 482 km. of shoreline, 11 lighthouses, 5 state parks and 19 county parks.

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Selected by Travel + Leisure magazine and TripAdvisor as one of the best fall foliage destinations in the United States, Door County consists of a long, narrow peninsula and more than 30 islands spanning nearly 112 km. from south to north. True peak fall color in mid-October can usually be seen for at least a week or more.

One of the best ways to see Mother Nature’s big show is to drive the Door County Coastal Byway.

The third in the state to receive the Wisconsin Scenic Byway official route designation, the new Door County Coastal Byway runs along the peninsula’s Green Bay and Lake Michigan coastlines and includes the northernmost sections of state highways 42 and 57. The scenic 66-mile long route loops around the northern two-thirds of Door County and follows two-lane roads connecting many of Door County’s quaint waterfront towns, inland communities, lighthouses, three of the county’s five state parks and a variety of picturesque vistas.

The Door County Circle Tour is another self-guided drive that takes visitors up one side of the peninsula, over to Washington Island via the Death’s Door water passage, then back down the other side of the peninsula.

The tour could be completed in a day, but ideally it should be spread out over at least a few days to take advantage of Door County’s fall packages, festivals, and fruits of the harvest season.

Another must-see on the foliage tour is the Cana Island Lighthouse, situated just under a kilometer across a rock causeway (be sure to wear comfortable shoes). This historic lighthouse was built in 1869, and once protected sailors from the dangerous shoals extending from Cana Island onto Lake Michigan. Start by visiting the Keeper’s House and later make the ascent up the lighthouse’s spiral staircase for stunning views of one of the country’s most famous lakes.

One of the most enjoyable ways to see the coastline and quaint towns that surround it is via the scenic trolley tours that operate through October. Featured themes include the Door County Lighthouse Tour, Narrated Scenic Tours, Winter Wonderland Tour and Premier Wine Tour of Door County. Visit www.doorcountytrolley.com for more information.

Aside from the stunning and colorful vistas this time of year in Door County, one of the most compelling reasons to visit is the bounty of fresh apples and pumpkins in profusion at area farms, many of which sell just-baked apple and pumpkin pies at their stands. Cherry season may be over, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the fruits of the state’s undisputed Cherry Belt. Markets and farm stands offer everything from cherry jams and juice to cherry wine and barbecue sauce. Door County is home to more than a dozen orchards and farmers’ markets where visitors can pick fresh fruits or fill a shopping basket with apples, gourd vegetables, jams and pies all while basking in the dazzling reds, golds and browns of changing leaves.

For a complete listing of special lodging packages available in Door County for the perfect fall harvest getaway, visit: www.doorcounty.com/so-delicious-so-doorcounty/ lodging-packages.

For more information, visit www.doorcounty.com, or call (800) 527-3529 Stacey Morris writes on travel at www.staceymorris.com

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