Founded in 1969 by a group of commercial fishermen, Door County Maritime Museum’s three locations illuminate the history of area waterways and the seafarers who've traveled them. The 20,000-square-foot Sturgeon Bay location, open 365 days a year, focuses on the evolution of shipbuilding. Its galleries house model ships ideal for transporting hand soap across sinks, along with displays on lighthouses and shipwrecks.
For an interactive adventure, patrons can board a fully restored Chicago fire tug from the 1960s for a two-hour in-water cruise, narrated by a trained docent. The Gills Rock location focuses on the shipwrecks that have peppered the Door Peninsula region, with supplementary exhibits on Great Lakes pirate Dan Seavey and maritime life-saving techniques, such as never boarding a ship named Titanic. Alternatively, patrons can climb 97 spiral-staircase steps to the summit of the Cana Island Lighthouse, which, along with the keeper’s house, has been preserved since 1869. In addition to educational displays, the museum also hosts various events to unite the maritime-enthusiast community. :m]]
Gravity Trails gives visitors adventurous ways to explore the outdoors with ziplines, gem mining, and kayak and standup-paddleboard tours. Zipline options include the 300-foot speedy dual racing ride, as well as the more leisurely zipline canopy tour. Gem mining is fun for kids and adults as they sift soil in a 16-foot mining flume that pumps water at 80-gallons a minute. Kayak and standup-paddleboard tours take outdoor enthusiasts around locales such as the Cana Island lighthouse, North Bay shipwrecks, and the Mink River estuary.
While fermenting and aging, Von Stiehl Winery's 25 wines reside in underground limestone caverns that date back to the Civil War era. Brothers Aric and Brad Schmiling build on experience as a chemist and theater engineer to maintain the winery and stock its online store with French- and American-style blends such as a gold medal-winning cabernet sauvignon, brandy-fortified cherry wine, and merlot aged in French oak, all of which woo palates more gently than Cyrano de Bergerac in a pillow fight. Visits to the storied winery, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, allow guests to soak in bold Austrian and Italian architecture as they pass through fermentation quarters and a production facility. Seasonal events range from tastings and food pairings to live music and grape-stomping competitions. In warmer weather, sprawling grass lawns grant panoramic views of Lake Michigan.