Fall has descended on Sturgeon Bay! A week ago, we were gladly dipping our toes in the chilly Lake Michigan water, cooling off from the 90-degree days in blissfully oppressive sunshine. Today, for a trip to town, pants and fleece jackets were in order, and I found myself wishing I had a pair of gloves.
I was prepared for colder weather up north, but frankly, this is just ridiculous. Fifty-degree days and winds steady at 15-20 mph, for at least two days now. And with the wind from the west, the waves build as they head east to Door County and max out at five- to seven-footers. That’s pretty much a sailing death sentence for Claire, as she gets seasick in fours, and likely for me, too. So, we’ve had plenty of time getting to know the ins and outs of this port.
Luckily, Sturgeon Bay is a gem, with plenty to keep us busy: Toy stores and book stores that keep Claire entertained for hours, friendly neighborhood coffee shops and bakeries to satisfy my caffeine addiction (I’ll admit it – coffee shops are my security blanket). And Sturgeon Bay is a bustling maritime community: Aaron and I have both enjoyed window shopping at Palmer Johnson Yachts and ogling the barges and freighters lined up for fixes at Bay Shipbuilding.
We’ve also been fortunate to be spending the extra days at a marina that has a gorgeous clubhouse, where I can fix our dinners in a full kitchen and we can cuddle up on the couches and catch some cable before heading back to Clarity.
The weather is supposed to break a bit tomorrow, with the waves dissipating and the temperatures slowly creeping their way back up throughout the week. The plan is to finally cast lines tomorrow morning, after four (GASP!) nights here, and head to Egg Harbor. Fingers crossed that a fish boil is in our future!
Calm seas on our sail from Kewaunee to Sturgeon Bay
Aaron made a delicious breakfast with blood sausage from Port Washington.
We found some wind!
The captain checks our position
Stickers at sea
Coming up on the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, the path that connects Lake Michigan with Green Bay.
Cruising up the canal
Claire was enthralled as they raised the Bayview Bridge so Clarity could pass underneath on the way to the marina.
No, dad. Even though you safely got us to Sturgeon Bay, I will not share my sandwich with you…
Roughing it at CenterPointe Marina. That’s the clubhouse; beyond is the pool, hot tub and outdoor fireplace.
The lovely salesperson at Blue Ivy on 3rd Avenue let Claire try on all of the shoes in the store.
Dancing Bear Toys in downtown Sturgeon Bay. We spent at least a few hours in here, but Claire would have happily spent more.
Making friends with Jean-Louise, the kitty that lives at Dancing Bear.
Historic 3rd Avenue
Lola’s Bakery and Restaurant, just down the street from the marina. A great place for homemade elephant ears!
Towers at Lola’s
Madison Avenue, another cute historic shopping district across the river from downtown.
The tug John Purves, available for tours at the Door County Maritime Museum. Interestingly, Claire is not tall enough to tour it (at least 48 inches).
Fro-Yo cheers at Frozen Spoon
While the parents taste wine, the kiddo will play 🙂
My little sailor girl. She’s getting so old!
Sturgeon Bay Bridge
Our batteries recharged in this sleepy community, a welcome reprieve from our last port. We honestly knew nothing about this town, other than that it was a stop on the way north, and were pleasantly surprised by its charm, with a picturesque lighthouse, scenic downtown, rural trails and friendly residents.
While Aaron took advantage of the Wi-Fi in Amy’s Coffee Shop to get some hours on the clock, Claire and I went adventuring. We toured the WWII tugboat permanently docked along the river, just off of Main Street. We made fast friends digging holes at the beach and went on a scenic marshland walk. And we managed to find some delicious local custard – with sprinkles, of course.
We spent two full days in town – a half-day too long, in my opinion, since it is quite small – but Aaron’s work schedule and the five-to-seven-foot waves out on the lake after Tuesday night’s storms and the cold front that followed pushed back our departure. The extra time allowed me to make a grocery run and knock out some laundry – the less glamorous but necessary elements to these cruises.
Friday morning, with the sun blazing and brisk temps in the 50s, we bundled up, brewed a French press and cast lines for Sturgeon Bay, the southernmost city in Door County. For the past year, as we’ve visualized this cruise, that’s been the goal – but schedules can change, weather may not cooperate, the boat could have issues. Regardless of planning trips like this, where you wind up is never a given. I’m proud that we’ve already made it this far.
Coming in to Kewaunee, about an hour before a big storm rolled in.
Downtown, along the riverfront
This little sleepyhead was tuckered out! We found her this way the first morning in town.
For our two days in town, we became staples at Amy’s Coffee House, the only java shop in town and one of the only places with reliable Wi-Fi. Their stash of games and toys kept Claire happy for at least an hour!
A little lakefront peninsula on the north side of the river, across from downtown, showcased some epic properties with private professionally landscaped slips. Aaron, I’ll take this one.
Touring the tugboat Ludington, which towed ammunition barges across the English Channel during WWII’s D-Day invasion. The boat now permanently resides in town.
The three-level engine room
“Excuse me, captain. I have a very important joke to tell you…”
Their galley is bigger than my galley.
This short but scenic walk was just down the street from the marina
“Come on, Mom, hurry up!”
The observation deck at the end of the marshland walk
Story lantern before bedtime
Claire approved of Kewaunee Custard
Home sweet home at Salmon Harbor Marina