Door County

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in Door County, Wisconsin for an exploration of diverse attractions including 11 historic lighthouses (including a few that a definitely haunted), ferryboat rides to Washington Island, and bayside family-owned resorts. Distinctive culinary offerings include fresh-caught fish, and locally produced cheese and cherry culinary dishes. 

This show was originally broadcast July 16, 2019 and is reposted as a “best-of-the-best” podcast in celebration of Journeys of Discovery’s 30th anniversary producing on-air and digital media podcasts featured on KCBX and NPR One.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with 87 year-old Dale Seaquist who’s great grandfather emigrated from Sweden to Door County, Wisconsin 150 years ago. Patriarch, Anders Seaquist was among the first settlers in the county to plant apple and cherry trees in the 1890s. Neighboring farmers quickly followed suit. Before long the legend of the farmers’ tangy, tart cherries became the rage nationwide and the Door County peninsula was dubbed Cherryland USA. According to Dale Seaquist, at the height of production, between the 1920s and 1960s, approximately 730 Door County peninsula growers annually shipped more than 50 million pounds of tart cherries.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Jon Jarosh, Director of Communications at Destination Door County. Jarosh explains how Door County, Wisconsin has cultivated a motivated COVID-aware tourism sector that goes to great lengths to ensure safe social-distancing, wearing masks and promoting safe outdoor dining and activity venues.

Door County has been a favored vacation destination for families across the Midwest for more than a century. Popular outdoor activities include hiking, biking, boating, and family forays at u-pick cherry orchards. Outdoor experiences continue in the midst of winter with snow shoeing, cross country skiing and ice fishing on Sturgeon Bay.

Thomas Wilmer

Reporting from Door County, Wisconsin, correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Meredith Coulson-Kanter, innkeeper at the historic White Gull Inn, which has been catering to guests in Fish Creek since 1896. Next up is a visit with Martine and Edgar Anderson, owners of Fragrant Isle, the Midwest’s largest lavender farm located on Washington Island.

Thomas Wilmer

Carol and Christian Ash share tales of their Kick Ash coffee house in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin. In the midst of COVID-19 their business, in addition to serving killer coffee and gluten-free pastries, has become a community gathering spot via their remote workplace with high-speed Internet. Come along and join the conversation as correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Carol and Christian Ash.

Thomas Wilmer

Karen Berndt, owner of Harbor Fish Market & Grille in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin talks about the reasons why the historic business is thriving in the midst of COVID-19. A combination of ample outdoor dining  and a dedicated staff, attentive to proper social/health protocol are essential aspects of their success in maintaining a viable business.

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in Door County, Wisconsin for an exploration of diverse attractions including historic lighthouses, ferryboats and bayside family-owned resorts. Distinctive culinary offerings include fresh-caught fish, and locally produced cheese and cherry culinary dishes.

Road to the tip of the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin
Thomas Wilmer

It’s just a two and a half hour drive from Green Bay, Wisconsin to the tip of the Door Peninsula where the family owned Washington Island Ferry awaits to take you on a five mile, thirty minute boat ride to another world. 

Electric Vehicle charging station in Door County, Wisconsin
Door County CVB

Jack Moneypenny, President of the Door County Visitors Bureau came up with a brilliant but simple plan that stimulates tourism while simultaneously minimizing the carbon footprint. Join Moneypenny as he shares his electric charging station vision that now serves as a model showcase for the future of ecologically sustainable regional tourism.      

Allin Walker & Margaret Lockwood in their Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin gallery
Thomas Wilmer

Join Margaret Lockwood and her husband Allin Walker who have been involved in the Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin art scene for more than 25 years. Their new gallery in the heart of town also serves as the home to a local theater group in addition to showcasing paintings, ceramics, mobiles, jewelry and more.  

Engine room telegraphs at Door County Maritime Museum
Jason Lopez

Boat building has been a part of Sturgeon Bay’s fabric since the 1830s. During the first and second World Wars, hundreds of Naval and support vessels, including the legendary PT Boat were built here. In addition to boat building and repair, Sturgeon Bay is also a safe harbor during the midst of winter for the 1,000 foot-long lake freighters. The Door County Maritime Museum chronicles and showcases the region’s nautical history. In addition to engaging displays and artifacts, the museum also maintains the fully restored 100 year-old MV John Purvis tugboat.

Join Adam Gronke the Maritime Museum’s Curator.

Al Johnson's Swedish Restuarant waitresses (1974)
Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant

Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant has been a family affair for more than 65 years. Scandinavian faire, from Swedish pancakes, to limpa bread, lingnonberries, and meatballs are house specialties. The structure is classic Old-World Norwegian design. Pre-built in Norway, the timbers were numbered, dismantled and shipped to Sister Bay on the Door Peninsula back in 1973. 

Vicki Wilson teaches Coffee 1-A in her Coffee College at Door County Coffee and Tea Company
Thomas Wilmer

A visit with Vicki Wilson, founder of Wisconsin’s Door County Coffee and Tea Company. Ms. Wilson’s business, in addition to serving more than 100 distinctive freshly roasted coffees in her café, also does a thriving internet business across America, along with private label distribution to businesses such as Bed, Bath & Beyond.

preparing to head out ice fishing on Sturgeon Bay
Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with JJ Malvitz, the owner of JJ’s Guide Service for an exploration of the culture of Sturgeon Bay ice fishing on Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wisconsin.