Hotel at a Glance: The Lodge at Leathem Smith
Set on the shores of picturesque Sturgeon Bay and only a few miles from Lake Michigan, the Lodge at Leathem Smith was the area’s first country club and yacht club. Built in the late 1920s, it changed hands multiple times before finally being purchased and renovated by professional fisherman and chef Paul Meleen and his wife, Holly. They turned the lodge into the comfortable, upscale vacation resort it is today. While you’re here, you’ll be close to golfing and fishing opportunities and the quaint town of Sturgeon Bay.
- Dock your boat at the 48-slip Madelyn Marina.
- Spacious accommodations: Rooms feature semiprivate patios or decks and flat-screen TVs; suites have whirlpool tubs, kitchenettes, and fireplaces.
- Complimentary continental breakfast—including a made-to-order omelet bar—served every morning
- Kona Bay Fish House serves blackened ahi tuna, flatbread pizzas, and other eats.
- Notable award: 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
Door County, Wisconsin: Outdoor Recreation and Quaint Towns on the Northwestern Shores of Lake Michigan
It starts with a roaring bonfire set under a kettle of salted water, potatoes, and whitefish fresh from Lake Michigan. Then, when the moment’s right, kerosene gets tossed onto the fire, exciting the flame and sending the fish oil at the top of the pot boiling over. “Radio City has the Rockettes; Door County has fish boils,” the Chicago Tribune writes of these cook-offs. Visitors come for the spectacle as much as the buttery fish. But it’s not the only draw to this part of northeast Wisconsin. Set on a peninsula between Lake Michigan and Green Bay, the county also has plenty of waterfront. Some call Door County the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” It’s an apt nickname considering the rocky coves, harbors, and lighthouses that make up the nearly 300-mile shoreline here.
With such easy access to the water, it’s no wonder that boating and fishing are popular activities in Door County. But there’s also plenty to do on land, as the area is also home to a number of state parks. Peninsula State Park fronts 8 miles of rocky coastline near the town of Fish Creek. You can kayak around the limestone bluffs here or hike miles of paths that weave through wetlands, forests, and open meadows. In the winter months, heavy snowfall transforms the park’s landscape into a haven for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. If you’re looking for a beach, Whitefish Dunes State Park has miles and miles of fragile sand dunes, some of which are among the highest on Lake Michigan.
Door County is lined with charming small towns with everything from art galleries to theater venues and historic churches. The town of Ephraim is a good place to go for antiquing. While you’re here, you can also learn more about the town’s Scandinavian roots on a historical walking tour, which departs from the Anderson Barn History Center and includes stops at some of the Ephraim Village Museums.