I knew there’d be plenty to love in Door County, Wisconsin. Green Bay views, parks with miles of bicycle trails, crisp white buildings reflecting Scandinavian roots, some of the world’s best cherries (Montmorency) and apples (Honey Crisp, Cortland, Gala …). But I was just as impressed with the unexpected: the hospitality extended to this vegan eater.
Most restaurants offered many vegetarian dishes, and those without vegan options on the menu had chefs happy to prepare solely plant-based fare.
For example, young chef Benito at Village Café in Egg Harbor created a fantastic local cherry and vegetable fajita. Wilson’s Restaurant in Ephraim serves a delicious veggie wrap, crunchy with finely shredded cabbage. Order the home-brewed draft root beer—it’s made from a 1906 recipe!
And Julie’s Park Cafe, an affordable casual-elegant restaurant at the entrance to must-visit Peninsula State Park, has abundant vegetarian dishes, many vegan, such as portobello mushroom stir-fry, veggie ravioli, cherry salad (sans cheese), sweet potato fries, and homemade granola.
Village Green Lodge raised the bar for hospitality—and vegan dishes. Proprietors Steve and Sue Sherman are awaiting green lodging certification for their B&B just steps from the water. The rooms feature Jacuzzis, plush towels, and pretty quilts … but guests are spirited from their comfy quarters to the bright communal room for Sue’s delicious breakfasts. The buffet included such vegan-friendly choices as homemade steel-cut oatmeal, fresh fruit compote, and sunflower bread.
But when Sue, a cookbook author, learned I was vegan, she whipped up what I call “the Best Hash Browns in the World” (finely sliced zucchini is part of her secret) and a heavenly thick pancake that stoked my tablemates’ envy. The lodge’s adults-only policy makes it perfect for those seeking R&R or romance. Most of the guests were repeat lodgers. One mature couple told me the annual visit was a gift from their son.
Pleasures in thumb-shaped Door County include beachside nature centers such as Whitefish Dunes (where I was glad to see wolf preservation posters) and Hands On Art Studio, where you use professional equipment to make beautiful glassware and jewelry.
A short ferry ride across the choppy waters nicknamed “Death’s Door” is super-quiet Washington Island. Seafarers have luxuriated at its convivial Washington Hotel for 100 years. In a nearby field, flax and wheat are grown for the hotel’s signature wood-fired brick-oven crusty breads and for Island Wheat craft beer. A short bike ride away is Stavkirke, a dragonhead-embellished church built in medieval Norwegian style using ship-like construction. Amazing architecture!
For Door County visitor info, call 1-800-52-RELAX or visit http://www.doorcounty.com.
Finally, here is a little bonus for you, my dear readers: that vegan pie recipe, courtesy of Orchard Country Winery & Market. Hope you enjoy!
Door County Cherry Pie
For the filling:
2 1/2 cup unsweetened, pitted tart cherries, fresh or frozen (thawed), preferably Montmorency
2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca or cornstarch
For the crust:
2 cups flour
2 sticks margarine
1/4 cup cold water
Makes one 9-inch double-crust pie
Be a compassionate traveler—from weekend getaways to dream vacations.