Door County, WI: 5 Ways to Have A Cherry Good Time

With summer right around the corner, have you decided where you will go? If you are looking to beat the heat in a spot with plenty of outdoor activities, you should check out the under the radar spot, Door County, WI. Many in the surrounding areas refer to Door County as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Known for their cherry production, they seem to find their way into many a dish. Here are five spots to get in on all the cherry action in Door County.

1. Renard’s Cheese Shop

What’s a visit to Wisconsin without some cheese, right? Renard’s is a third generation family cheese shop. Led by Chris Renard, he is one of 60 master cheesemakers in the United States. Their signature cheese, a white cheddar cherry is a unique and delightful flavor. Did I mention cheese curds are highly addictive and abundant at almost every meal you’ll have in Door County?

renards cheese2. Cherry French Toast at The White Gull Inn

Ever heard of a little show called Good Morning America? They voted The Cherry French Toast at the Old Gulf Inn the best breakfast in America. Having tried it myself, their Cherry French Toast doesn’t disappoint. Made with fresh, Wisconsin cream cheese, you’ll want to have some bacon or sausage to balance out the sweetness. The beautiful space is also a real Inn, so you can stay here as well.

white gult inn french toast

3. Orchard County Winery

Orchard County Winery uses 3.5 million cherries annually. Who knew cherries could produce such fantastic wines? There is a current trend of rosé. If you like rosé wine, the wines produced at Orchard County Winery are a delicious alternative, as it isn’t as sweet as you might expect.

Trivia: They had German POWs work here when Orchard County was just farmland.

4. Seaquist Orchards

Suppliers of cherries to all the surrounding businesses, Seaquist Orchards are available to tour as well. How do they pluck all those cherries? Instead of hand picking, they use a machine that shakes the cherries off the trees using an upside down umbrellas like feature. There’s more. Seaquist Orchards has a bakery on site too. Besides dips, spreads, jams and jellies (there are plenty of samples everywhere), the cherry pies are something to behold. They produce 1200 pies per week with 3 lbs cherries in each pie!

upickcherries5. Island Orchard Ciders

Island Orchard Ciders, relatively new in comparison to the other restaurants and wineries in the area, opened in 2011. Cider is made from both apples and cherries. Cider is much more than a weak alternative to beer. It pairs well with seafood, pork and spicy Asian foods. The founders also recommend it for brunch. Hops used in the ciders are grown locally.

Tip: The proper way to drink cider is from a ceramic container.

cider

Besides the abundance of lovely cherries, there’s more to Door County, WI that makes it a super summer getaway. There are many unspoiled vistas in Door County. If you are looking to beat the summer heat, Door County is a good choice as it is relatively cool in the summer and there are plenty of outdoor activities perfect for families or individuals.

Do you love to support local businesses? When is the last time you went anywhere in the US without seeing a chain store, restaurant or hotel? In Door County, you won’t find a single chain at all. Hotels and restaurants are independently owned by families that live in Door County.

Get ready to loosen your belt as you imbibe and indulge in all the cherry fun in Door County, Wisconsin!

~ Malika Bowling is the author of  Food Lovers’ Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101 and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog. She has been a contributing writer to USA Today and Urbanspoon. Malika holds the title of President of the Association of Food Bloggers. Follow her on twitter @ATLEatsNTweets and on Instagram @malika_bowling.

Culture, Community and Culinary Finds in Ann Arbor

International travel is wonderful, and can truly change your life. It can get pricey, not to mention the long travel time to your destination. This can certainly be difficult with children. Before you head on over to an exotic locale, you might be surprised to know of the unlikely destinations right here in the USA that have an exotic flair, like Ann Arbor, MI.

Michigan

Yes, that’s right, Ann Arbor. Though known for the University of Michigan, the city boasts much more than you’ll find in your average college town. The city is hopping in the summer time with lots of sidewalk cafes and fun outdoor activities.

Make time to visit the Peony Garden and botanical gardens for some vibrant blooms. When the peonies are in full bloom (peak time is June) the gardens are blanketed in a sea of pinks, purples, and reds.

Peony Garden

Stroll along the downtown shops and discover many of their offbeat stores with items you won’t find elsewhere like specialty gift and craft store, Rock, Paper, Scissors. Or peruse bookstores like Aunt Agatha’s, Kaleidoscope or Literati for rare books and collectibles. Make sure to visit Cherry Republic, for about 100 different ways you can use cherries. Salsas, chocolate covered, bbq sauce and more!

Cherry republic

Of course, you can’t visit Ann Arbor without a trip to the University of Michigan. Everyone wants to visit the Big House, aka, University of Michigan Stadium, the largest stadium in the US with a capacity of greater than 100,000. But the lesser-known Baird Carillon is of particular interest, especially for anyone with a general music interest. Carillons, a group of bells, which have at least two full octaves, date back to the 15th century. Sit at the keyboard and play your heart out.

All around Ann Arbor, you’ll see the locavore movement (support of locally produced foods) is strong. Not only do restaurants tout where their foods have come from locally, but there is a popular farmer’s market where you can expect to find all sorts of goodies just wandering around.

Ayse’s Cafe – There are many ethnicities in Ann Arbor, but perhaps the most prominent one is the Turkish. You’ll enjoy Ayse’s Café with items like the beet salad and some of the best stuffed grape leaves (Dolmas) you’ve ever had.

Slurping Turtle – Aptly named since it is customary to slurp noodles in Japan, the Slurping Turtle is casual, street food. Created by James Beard Award winning chef, Takashi Yagahashi, this modern, yet laid back restaurant features small plates like mini Hamachi tuna tacos in a taro root shells, duck fat fried chicken, steamed pork belly buns. Larger dishes like noodle bowls warm the soul on any day of the year. Desserts like green tea cream puffs and raspberry-wasabi macaroons are a nod to chef’s French culinary training.

ST ramen

Aventura – Switch it up a bit and move to Spanish tapas. Order the Alcachofas fritas (fried artichoke hearts) as well as the patatas bravas (fried potatoes) topped with fried egg. Don’t miss out on their specialty – Gazpacho made with grapes, jalapeños, pistachios and honeydew.

Aventura Patatas BravasTeahuas – Tea snob? Stop by Teahaus for some of the best quality teas available. Proprietor, Lisa McDonald is a certified Tea Sommelier from Germany. That’s correct. In Germany, you must have your sommelier certification to sell teas. It is a lengthy four-year process. And let me tell you, this lady knows her teas. Choose from oolong to lavender black tea.

Zingerman’s Deli – A visit to Ann Arbor isn’t complete without a visit to Zingerman’s Deli, a staple in the Ann Arbor community. The nationally known organization, made famous by the movie The Five Year Engagement, ships it’s Reuben sandwich kits nationally to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and The Office’s Mindy Kaling.

For decades, Zingerman’s has been selling deli sandwiches, unique meats, cheeses, bagels and condiments including sauerkraut from a local business named The Brinery (run by the exuberant David Klingenberger – a fanatic of brining). Ever had prosecco soaked cheese or Mousse Basquais made of duck fat and liver with port wine? Go visit Zingerman’s and see what the fuss is all about.

Many of Ann Arbor’s talented chefs move to food towns like Chicago or New York for training, but something seems to bring them back to their roots. “Ann Arbor feeds my soul,” a resident spouted off to me without any prodding on my part. After just four short days there I could see why –  a sense of community support, vibrant restaurant scene and diversity all add up to a winning summer destination.

Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau.

~ Malika Bowling is the author of  Food Lovers’ Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101 and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog. She has been a contributing writer to USA Today and Urbanspoon. Malika holds the title of President of the Association of Food Bloggers. Follow her on twitter @ATLEatsNTweets and on Instagram @malika_bowling.