Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Photo: Destination Sturgeon Bay

The summer is coming to an end. At least the dog days—the hot, humid, uncomfortable parts of July and August—are. Days are definitely getting shorter. Cooler air is creeping into the forecast. You’re even starting to grab extra layers after sunset. So where are you spending the precious last days of the season?

The end of the summer is reserved for your favorite spot. It should be a place to which you return over and over again. It’s probably along the water. While it needs to have plenty of activities to keep you outside as long as possible. It sounds like you have the Door Peninsula on your mind.

The Door Peninsula juts into Lake Michigan on the northeast coast of Wisconsin. It’s home to more than 300 miles of shoreline, dozens of protected landscapes, and 10 historic lighthouses. Sturgeon Bay is the heart of the peninsula. The city was first known as the Shipbuilding Capital of the Midwest for its shipyards, fishing fleet, and shipping canal that was built to easily connect Green Bay to the lake. As it developed into one of the Upper Midwest’s favorite vacation destinations, featuring art colonies and second homes, it became the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Now beaches and boats, bike paths and hiking trails, cherry orchards and wineries make return trips a priority.

Photo: Chanticleer Guesthouse, Inc.

A big chain hotel, which attracts large families, just won’t do in a place so quaint and charming. This is an area with a lot of bed and breakfasts. The best ones are hidden outside Sturgeon Bay. The Chanticleer Guest House certainly fits the bill. The working sheep farm sits on 30 acres northeast of the city. Orchards, landscaped gardens, and a pond cover the rest of the land. Its Dutch-style farmhouse and big red barn were built in 1915. They were converted into eight rooms and suites. Four cottages and cabins were added, as well. You’ll find gas fireplaces and whirlpool tubs in all of them.

It’s hard to choose between the rustic Meadows Suite and the romantic Tamarack Cabin. The suite, which takes up the entire third floor of the barn, was the original hay loft. Its vaulted ceiling is 16 feet high, and its trapezoid-shaped windows are perfect for stargazing. The cabin has hand-hewn oak beams and a porch swing that faces the pond. You ultimately choose the latter since you can picture yourself sipping coffee on the deck in the morning. Your caffeine fix, along with breakfast and juice, arrives in a picnic basket on your doorstep. You might not get the early start you were planning.

In addition to the peaceful pond, a heated pool, a sauna, loaner bikes, and empty trails will try to persuade you to stay close to the secluded property. It’s tempting. Very tempting. Just don’t forget the point of your trip. You were determined to enjoy the last little bit of the summer. Beaches, kayaks, and ice cream shops take precedence for a just a little while longer.

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