I’m compelled to write this blog post as an “in addition to” piece posted a few weeks ago on OnMilwaukee.com entitled “#Adulting our way through Door County” by Andy Tarnoff. Thanks Andy for showing me the ways of Door County for when I officially become an adult. Your article is fantastic, find it here.
I want to write about a few Door County options for those of us who haven’t quite made it yet. Maybe we will join you in the ranks of parenthood, owning homes, paying MORE bills, but until then our paychecks simply don’t allow us to fully #adult. And personally, I’m OK with that.
For a glorious and beautiful summer I worked at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. Perks included living in the park and limitless hiking out of my back door. The not so great part: the job didn’t pay an #adult salary. Above minimum wage but also not quite enough to be rolling in dough while paying the tourist tax on everything in Door County and trying to start on those student loans. As a group of relatively young college students/recent grads, we found ourselves making our own kind of fun.
So here are a few things to check out in Door County if you are not quite yet #adulting or just don’t have a bunch of disposable income.
During the Day:
Hike at the state parks or county parks
Buy an annual state park pass! Or a daily, but really think about that annual and support our parks. It gives you access to all state parks and forest areas, all year – it’s the most economical option. Check out Peninsula, Potawatomi, Whitefish Sand Dunes, or Newport State Parks. The county parks are great too, specifically Cave Point. You could spend the whole weekend outside hiking if you wanted to.
Looking for a specific hiking suggestion? Eagle Trail in Peninsula State Park is my personal favorite, it is rated as difficult but it is so worth it. Don’t bring the actual adults in your life with terrible knees… that’s all. That’s a lie my mom did it. Bring the people with a little bit of grit in your life. The towering rock bluffs are awe-inspiring.
EAT ALL THE ICE CREAM
Ice cream is the best food of all time and cost about the same as a craft beer. Check out Door County Ice Cream Factory, the classic and delicious Wilson’s, or Dairy View Country Store.
Pro tip: If you have a large group and are choosing to get ice cream at Dairy View Country Store buy a half-gallon, ask for 8 spoons. They got pissed at us and charged us 2 dollars for plastic spoons…….. Yup. We each pitched in a $1 and split our half-gallon versus each paying $5 per scoop. Who said millennials weren’t smart with their money?
Also feel free to make a late night ice cream run after a few beers. You have no reason not to, you’re not an adult yet.
This is my birthday night- trying to convince everyone we should get the cornucopia which is enough ice cream for 12 people. We would have got our picture on the wall!
Look at the goats on the roof of Al Johnson’s
Just look at them! You can go in and eat, it’s delicious but a little overpriced but the wait time is high and you don’t even get to hear the goats hoof-ing around up there. I would say spend your time doing other things that don’t cost as much. The coolest part is definitely the goats on the roof which you can see from… outside at the new outdoor beer garden.
Free wine samples all over
Don’t waste money on alcohol during the day. Search out free wine samples, buy a bottle to split around the campfire later. Since you are not an adult yet, buy the cheapest/biggest/highest alcohol content bottle. Don’t be concerned about finding the highest quality wine just yet, it all tastes the same after a few coffee cups full… because who remembers wine glasses camping?
The Red Putter
The Red Putter is a homemade, wonky mini golf course that is perfection. Complete with moving parts (sometimes they are human powered, swinging log I’m looking at you). This mini golf course is the best. Go late when there aren’t tons of families and bring your own adult beverages (alright I guess we are adult enough for that). I’m not exactly sure if this is technically allowed but we heard it from a co-worker and we didn’t get yelled at so choose your own adventure. 18 holes of pure fun especially when you’re in a few beers.
Good and cheap freakin’ wings, good freakin’ people. Booze for days. Wander off the main drags a little and you will be rewarded with cheaper drinks and a solid townie feel.
Spotted in their natural habitat, a bunch of not quite adults at AC Tap.
Door County Brewing Company
This brewing company not only has some really awesome brews, but they also book a great variety of music you aren’t able to see anywhere else on the peninsula. From bluegrass to jazz to latin or Cajun inspired tunes – you can catch it all here. They also recently opened up a new location that is the right amount of rustic and a little tiny bit hipster -there’s a deer head with a flower crown and a food truck. #keepwisconsinbeerd
Have a campfire at your campsite
Pick a campsite, any campsite! They are way cheaper than any hotel you will find. Consider #adulting for a tiny bit and make an advanced reservation. Or don’t and see if you’re lucky but also expect you might have to turn around and head home at the end of the day.
Campfires are the perfect end after a long day spent #notadulting. Crack open that bottle of wine, get a little irresponsibly drunk, hang with friends and talk about how someday you will be an adult. Or don’t. Laugh at how lucky you are you didn’t break anything at the expensive art gallery you accidentally walked into after a few too many free wine samples.
Look up at the sky, you might catch the northern lights. We did. Sit back and drink it all in just like the bottle in your #notadult hand.