Great Food in Door County – The Cookery

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biglink Great Food in Door County   The Cookery

When you travel to lovely little Door County, Wisconsin, you are going to have a lot of choices for places to eat.

Whitefish freshly caught in Lake Michigan along with fried cheese curds are the ubiquitous and delicious local specialties and you will find them everywhere.

But if you want to have a true gourmet dining experience, there is only one place you should add to the top of your list of dining choices.

The Cookery.

Located in the charming coastal town of Fish Creek, one of many delightful villages which dot the Cape Cod-like peninsula of Door County, The Cookery is not only a fabulous gourmet dining experience but the family owned and family run restaurant prides itself on using locally sourced products.

In 1977, Dick and Carol Skare honeymooned in Door County and found quiet and quaint Fish Creek to be one of the friendliest places they had ever visited – so friendly, in fact that when Hazel Elliot, a local shopkeeper, found out they were interested in starting a restaurant, she arranged for them to visit a small restaurant in downtown Fish Creek. Two months later, they opened the door of The Cookery for their first customers. Determined to create a welcoming, casual environment where customers could enjoy American fare with a creative twist all prepared from start to finish in the restaurant kitchen, they have succeeded admirably.

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The Skare family. Photo courtesy of The Cookery.

In 2008, The Cookery became a Travel Green Wisconsin certified business. Travel Green Wisconsin is a voluntary program that reviews, certifies and recognizes tourism businesses and organizations that have made a commitment to reducing their environmental impact.

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Over the years, the restaurant expanded and included lodging and a full line of custom-made jams and sauces. The Skares began a new chapter in their restaurant career when a tragic fire in 2008 caused the restaurant to close its door for the season. Working diligently with the help of their daughter, Courtney who had moved back to Fish Creek with her husband to help with the restaurant, they managed to reopen the restaurant in June, 2009. Expanded to include a second floor with a lovely water view and a wine bar, the Skares were happy to welcome back their youngest daughter Karen to also help with the business, especially in the kitchen and bakery. The wine bar offers a variety of wines, small plates and desserts and even has live music! Their goal is to incorporate fresh ingredients focusing on local products from Door County and to bring delicious, homemade food to their customers.

I am here to tell you that their food is indeed fresh, delicious and homemade. On a recent visit to Door County, we stopped at The Cookery for dinner and agreed that it was definitely the best meal we had during our entire stay.

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Kid Heaven – Blue Harbor Resort

illustration Kid Heaven   Blue Harbor ResortHosted Accommodations



I could write a lot of different stories about the fabulous Blue Harbor Resort.

About the astonishingly beautiful resort itself, about the amazing locale, about the wonderful food and the perfectly beautiful accommodations, about the totally relaxing spa.

But this story is about him. This boy. This wonderful, sweet boy.

Our perfect grandson.

Wes with stuffed animal Kid Heaven   Blue Harbor Resort

Showing off his newly stuffed animal.

The reason for our trip and the one who appreciated this place more than any other. I was along on the trip, as was my daughter, but this place was all about him.

And who can blame him?

This place is amazing.

Take an astonishingly beautiful replica of a New England inn, plunk it down in the most unlikely place on the planet – Sheboygan, Wisconsin – add in a the fact that is it right on the shores of gorgeous Lake Michigan and you have me intrigued. Also add in the fact that the place has a complete indoor, 43,000 square foot water park and well.

How could you not go there with your grandson?

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Photo Friday: Sailboat School in Rhode Island

The first day of our Blount cruise to the Islands of New England, Tom got this photo of some kids in a sailboat school.

Sailboat School in New England Photo Friday: Sailboat School in Rhode Island

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Columbia and Snake Rivers: A Heritage Cruise with Un-Cruise Adventures

Coastal Steamer Columbia and Snake Rivers: A Heritage Cruise with Un Cruise AdventuresI kept reading about this amazing cruise that Un-Cruise Adventures offered on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Oregon. Seemed like every place I turned on social media, someone was writing about or posting photos of this fascinating cruise which cruises for nearly 1,000 miles embarking from and returning to Portland, Oregon on an 88-guest replica coastal steamer. Historians, crew decked out in period costumes, guest experts and living history presentations are all included in addition to the excursions ashore to museums, historic forts, and wineries. All shore excursions with Un-Cruise Adventures are included in the price which is a huge convenience.

It sounded pretty darn wonderful.

So, in October, we head to Portland to board the S.S. Legacy for what we anticipate being a quite, quite fabulous cruise. We are really excited about all the excursions but, since waterfalls are one of Tom’s favorite things, he is particularly excited about visiting and photographing Multnomah Falls. He also finds navigating locks amazing and interesting so he can’t wait for the locks we will transit. Actually, looking over the list gets us more excited about the cruise every time we read it!

  • Visit the stunning Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and towering Multnomah Falls
  • Transit eight locks and tour the Bonneville Dam Visitor Center
  • Ride a speed boat into Hells Canyon and hear the storied past of the Nez Perce
  • Step into early American pioneer history with included tours at Fort Clatsop and Fort Walla Walla
  • Discover Victorian Astoria and the fascinating Columbia River Maritime Museum
  • Tour enchanting Maryhill Museum and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
  • Enjoy a private tour and tasting at a Washington winery
  • Retrace history following the epic journey of the Lewis & Clark Expedition
  • Daily narrative led by guest experts, historians, and onboard Heritage guides
Falls Columbia and Snake Rivers: A Heritage Cruise with Un Cruise Adventures

Multnomah Falls

We have cruised with Un-Cruise Adventures before – our first introduction to the amazing islands of British Columbia was enjoyed on the Safari Quest yacht and I wrote about those adventures in a number of places. We enjoyed every second of that cruise but this one is completely different and we anticipate a completely different experience. The Safari Quest was luxurious and we were pampered daily but the Legacy will be much roomier with a Grand Salon complete with a full bar and dance floor, the Klondike Dining Room with wine bar, Pesky Barnacle Saloon, hot tub, sauna, fitness equipment, yoga classes, and massage suites. In fact, a massage for every passenger is included – that is my idea of the perfect cruise!

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The S.S. Legacy. Photo courtesy of Un-Cruise Adventures.

The Legacy also has a much more extensive choice of staterooms, some of which are pretty darn nice – the Owner’s Suite even has a Jacuzzi tub, wet bar, refrigerator, and media center. And all of the cabins have a flat screen TV/DVD and iPod docking stations.

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You can read about the cruise in more detail here and get some ideas about planning your own cruise in 2015; there are even some special savings for booking advance. You can follow along for updates and photos as we cruise in October on Twitter and I’ll be writing about all our adventures when we return.

If are still unsure about whether this will be a truly amazing adventure, check out this video. Now book the cruise yourself!

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Photo Friday: Dock in Door County, Wisconsin

A beautiful day in Door County and these sea gulls perched in just the right spot for a perfect shot. Tom gets most of our photos but I snapped this one!

Dock in Door County Photo Friday: Dock in Door County, Wisconsin

Dock in Door County, Wisconsin

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A Weekend on the Emerald Coast

stock illustration 18321153 woman traveler A Weekend on the Emerald CoastOne of the most fabulous things in the entire world is traveling by yourself.

One of the most terrifying things in the world is traveling by yourself.

My feelings at this moment are veering towards the former but I’ll let you know.

Tomorrow I will be jetting to the coast. The Emerald Coast. One of my favorite places in the whole world. And could I be any more cool than to say I am jetting to the coast?

I don’t think so.

I was offered this press trip for a girls getaway and I actually hesitated even though it’s going to be completely marvelous in every way because well. We are going to be in Destin again in about a month. So it seems a little silly to head there when I will be there in about a month but how can I pass up an opportunity to visit the beach yet again?


Could you?

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The beach at Destin.

I cannot.

So off I jet.

I was trying to think of the last time I have traveled alone and it was five years ago. Five years ago when I first started travel writing, I was offered a press trip to Cancun. I fairly leaped at the chance to actually begin my travel writing career but I was a little nervous at the fact that I would be traveling alone to a foreign country for the first time in…well. Ever.

It was a great trip. In every single way. Including the fact that I was all by myself and did not have to worry about keeping anyone happy but me. Just me. How awesome is that?

Pretty freakin’ awesome.

So off I head. What are we doing, you ask? Glad you asked.

First let me tell you my favorite things in the world. Eating great food, especially seafood. Having lovely spa treatments. Shopping. Amazing accommodations. Wonderful activities.

Yep. We are doing all of those.

Great food at places like The Black Pearl and Cuvee Bistro the Asiago Skillet all of which are making my mouth water as I type.

A spa treatment at the Emerald Grande which includes a facial and can I just say that I have recently discovered facials and OMG I can’t believe I went all this time without a facial. So, yeah. Excited about that. 

Shopping. You all. I have been shopping in Destin so many times and I can’t believe I did not know that Destin Commons existed. And they have so many stores. Belk? My favorite place in all of the world. Charming Charlie? Best jewelry selection ever. Chico’s? Yep. Fabulous. And that’s only A-C. Just imagine what the rest of the alphabet holds.

Accommodations? Yes, yes, yes. Just found out I will be in a condo called Azure that sounds wonderful.

And all of those completely amazing things pale in comparison to the fact that I will be visiting the Gulfarium and can I just tell you about my history with the Gulfarium? The Gulfarium has been open since 1955. Since 1953 when I was born, we visited the gulf coast pretty much every summer. My grandmother lived in Pensacola, my mom was born in Pensacola, and the gulf was our home away from home and the only place I really remember from my childhood. We moved around a lot as my dad was in the Marine Corps but the smell, the feel, the look of that snow white sand is home to me.

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Why yes, that baby is me. A lot of years ago.

So I have been to the Gulfarium as a child. I have taken my children to the Gulfarium. And a couple of years ago, I took my grandson to the Gulfarium. So I am all about visiting the Gulfarium yet again.


Great food, spa treatments, shopping, amazing accommodations, and wonderful activities. Could I ask for any more?

I didn’t think so.

I’ll be writing about this phenomenal weekend very soon.

Just as soon as I recover from the fabulousness.

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Family Friendly Little Sister Resort in Door County, Wisconsin


cabin illustration 300x189 Family Friendly Little Sister Resort in Door County, WisconsinHosted Accommodations



You would never know the Little Sister Resort is there if not for the sign and your trusty GPS. Tucked away in the woods bordering Little Sister Bay and hidden from the road, this charming little family friendly location was the perfect place for us during a summer visit to Door County, Wisconsin.

After checking in at the office area which doubles as the dining room for the full, hot breakfast that is included with your rate for every member of your family (what a great amenity!), we drove a few yards back to our chalet which was perched on a hill overlooking the water.

driveway to our chalet Family Friendly Little Sister Resort in Door County, Wisconsin

Driveway to our chalet.

Little Sister has dozens of different chalets, cabins, and homes with varying configurations and number of bedrooms, many of which overlook the water.

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One of the cabins on the grounds.

cabin Family Friendly Little Sister Resort in Door County, Wisconsin

And another pretty cabin.

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Photo Friday:Traverse City Old Mission Lighthouse

We loved our visit to Traverse City when we were in Michigan last winter. One of the best things we did was a tour of the area which included the Old Mission Lighthouse. A lighthouse is one of Tom’s very favorite things and he got a great photo of it.

Traverse City Lighthouse Photo Friday:Traverse City Old Mission Lighthouse


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Getaway to the Gervasi Vineyard

vineyard illustration 300x300 Getaway to the Gervasi VineyardYou may think you have taken a wrong turn trying to find the Gervasi Vineyard because it’s hidden away in an unlikely urban neighborhood in Canton, Ohio. But the sprawling 55-acre estate which includes 5 acres of vineyards producing a variety of grapes, two restaurants, an outdoor pavilion for weddings and other events, a cozy shop, an event center, and 24 guest suites housed in some amazing, Tuscan-influenced villas is behind those elaborate gates. The Tuscan influence indicated by the name is felt throughout the property in every little detail.

Gervasi offers very popular culinary classes at The Cucina, in the Villa Grande. With a large, professional, working kitchen and a dining area to enjoy what you prepare, there are classes on the cuisines of a number of countries. Wine appreciation, demystifying wine tasting, wine and food pairings, or looks at wine vintages of Italy or France, are also taught in the tasting room at The Crush House, where you can take a tour of the amazing state-of-the-art winery facilities.

Read the rest of this article on Ky Doc Magazine HERE.

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The Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach

glassblowing illustration 300x238 The Coastal Arts Center of Orange BeachThe glass blower carefully placed the stick with the hot glob of glass perched on the end into the blazing oven and twirled it carefully, carefully trying to get it to just the right size, consistency, and temperature. Those of us watching, including two small blonde little girls, waited quietly to see what would emerge from the oven.

We were all in a small audience seated on wooden benches in the open air Hot Shop of the Coastal Arts Center in Orange Beach where glass blowers not only create amazing works of art but cheerfully demonstrate their amazing abilities to anyone who would like to watch.

I was at the Coastal Arts Center for the morning to check out this interesting place. Located right on Wolf Bay which provides an amazingly scenic venue, the Center is actually located in what was the city’s first hotel. Built in 1923, the hotel featured 11 bedrooms and one half bath upstairs (imagine sharing that bathroom!) while the family that owned the hotel lived downstairs. With no roads in the area, guests accessed the charming hotel via boat on the canal. In the late 1940′s, Canal Road was completed and provided easier access.

The hotel was taken over by the Friends of the Arts nonprofit group and became an Orange Beach city facility in 2013. The city still works with the Friends of the Arts to make the center an interesting place for patrons of the arts. “The Mission of the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach is to enrich the experience of our community and the experience of our visitors through educational and interactive experiences and the exhibition of fine arts. The Center cherishes its place in the rich history of our region while bringing new and innovative ideas in the arts all in a warm and welcoming environment.”

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