By John Hill
The setting sun broke through clouds, making each flake of falling snow glitter like a firefly. That moment of beauty topped off an afternoon on the Bed and Breakfast Christmas Walk, one of many events that bring out the charms of the holiday season in Door County’s Sturgeon Bay.
My wife and I enjoyed the stroll through the city’s historic district. (Others on the tour rode a heated trolley.) In each of the nine B&Bs and inns on the walk, we met convivial people, saw rooms decked out in their holiday best, and warmed up in front of roaring fireplaces with cookies, hot cider, and cocoa.
Sturgeon Bay’s holiday celebrations begin with Christmas by the Bay, a pair of weekend celebrations just before and after the Thanksgiving weekend. The Friday before Thanksgiving kicks-off the holidays with a tree-lighting ceremony and community caroling, followed by a citywide charity bake sale on Saturday. The weekend after the Thanksgiving weekend offers a holiday parade on Saturday, followed by a breakfast buffet with Santa and the B&B Christmas Walk on Sunday.
After the Christmas Walk, we feasted on whitefish dinners at the intimate Inn at Cedar Crossing, then retired to the double Jacuzzi in our room at the White Lace Inn, which has made the list of the Top 10 Romantic Inns a couple of times—and for good reason.
The next morning we breakfasted on egg and cheese croissants and the inn’s homemade granola. Another couple at the table told us about the Winter Wonderland wine-tasting tour they’d taken the day before, riding heated trolleys to Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery near Jacksonport and Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery and Market near Fish Creek. The tour included lunch at the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek and a cozy sleighride at Lautenbach’s.
It sounded like fun, but we had other plans in mind for the day.
We started with unhurried and unhassled shopping along Third Avenue in downtown Sturgeon Bay. My wife found just the right Christmas collectible at Sherry’s Hallmark store. For one of our grandsons, we picked up a balloon game at Dancing Bear Shop. Gracious golden retrievers greeted us at the Door County Dog Store.
From there, we could have chosen from a host of other activities. Other possibilities ranged from a performance of “Winter Tales” at the Third Avenue Playhouse, to the arrival of Santa by boat at the Door County Maritime Museum.
The more adventurous can choose from a variety of horseback rides through the snow-covered woods at Kurtz Corral north of Sturgeon Bay. After the adventure, riders have a chance to warm up with hot cider in front of the fireplace at the corral.
My wife and I have warm memories of our visit to Sturgeon Bay. It’s good to know that the old-fashioned delights of the holiday season still exist in Door County.