Door County Fall part 2

It’s already been a busy fall.  Lots of reservations coming in for September and October.  September weather is usually pretty mild so keep that in mind you are thinking about a visit! But before we get too far this happened in June at Egg Harbor Lodge!

Our daughter Emilie got married to Pat Nash.  The wedding was beautiful but we couldn’t have pulled it off without Carrie Baldwin and Door County Event Planners and Thyme Cuisine and Catering.  It was all fabulous!

I went with friends Nancy and Stephen to the Skaliwagon food truck in Sturgeon Bay last week.  Skaliwag’s is an upscale restaurant in a dive bar in Algoma.  It is hugely popular and the food is amazing.  The Skaliwagon is a off shoot of that. It has been in Sturgeon Bay for a few weeks so we thought we would check it out.  We weren’t disappointed.  Stephen and I had a Lobster Roll and Nancy had a Cuban.  Super delish.

Here we are with the owner, Chef Chris.  He is a character…

Our daughter Nellie is expecting a baby in the middle of October! It’s been a journey for she and Eric but we couldn’t be more excited.

These three are all in school now… summer is over.  We sneaked in the Egg Harbor Lodge pool. Don’t tell!
















Their big brother is a Junior in High School!

There was a photo shoot here from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.  More on that later when I know more…


That’s it for now kids…


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Fall in love with Door County…

fall lodge frontFall… everyone’s favorite time of year… at least it’s my favorite.  September is usually a pretty mild month with fluctuating temps.  In Door County, it’s always wise to bring a jacket or sweatshirt. During the week is a perfect time to travel to Door County.  It’s typically less busy than the weekends particularly in September. We are starting to take out the impatiens and petunias and will replace them with fall flowers and eventually pumpkins, straw bales and mums…

Here is what happening festival wise in Door County… (printed with permission from the Peninsula Pulse)

Ephraim Vintage Festival Hill Climb and Concours’ D’elegance

Sept. 9 – 10, 2017
This challenging course winds its way through the picturesque village streets and traverses the steep Niagara Escarpment on Saturday. Sunday will find the vehicles lined up along the beautiful Eagle Harbor for judging and viewing by the public.


Shopf’s Dairy View Country Market’s Corn Fest. Photo by Katie Sikora.

Shopf’s Dairy View Corn Fest  

Sept. 9 2017
Bring the family to check out a 20-acre Corn Maze, children’s games, bakery items, food, raffle, silent auction, plus corn and pie eating contests. Proceeds benefit Sunshine House.

Sturgeon Bay Harvest Fest

Sept. 16, 2017
Usher in the spirit of autumn with a bountiful day on Third Avenue. Features include a classic car show, craft show, food booths, in-store specials, children’s activities, and live entertainment. Preview unique street art and attend the live auction at 5:30pm.

Egg Harbor Ale Fest

Sept. 16, 2017
A beer lover’s escape in Egg Harbor! Enjoy unlimited sampling of more than 40 brewers and 120 different craft beers, live music, with free trolley shuttle service.

Baileys Harbor Autumnfest

Sept. 23, 2017
Baileys Harbor celebrates the fall with live music, food and drinks, arts and crafts, a Classic Auto and Motorcycle Show, plus the Hey Hey 5k Run at Door County Brewing Co. on Saturday morning. Check out the farm market on Sunday from 9am-1pm.

Jesse Kelstrom from Meadow Lane Farms shows off the pumkins grown on his farm at the Baileys Harbor Harvest Fest. Photo by Len Villano.

Jesse Kelstrom from Meadow Lane Farms shows off the pumpkins grown on his farm at the Baileys Harbor Harvest Fest. Photo by Len Villano.

Fall Harvest Fest

Sept. 23, 2017
Orchard Country Winery and Market, Fish Creek
A great combo with Inside Outside Sales! Enjoy complimentary wine and specialty food tasting, pick-your-own apples, free guided tours, wagon rides,live music, kid’s activities, and more! The fun also includes: Apple Donut Eating Contest and Apple Pie Eating Contest. Free admission.

Egg Harbor Pumpkin Patch Festival

Oct. 7-8, 2017
Carnival rides, arts and crafts vendors, silent auction, live music, scarecrow and pumpkin displays, food, refreshments and more.

Modern Day Drifters. are a fan favorite at Pumpkin Patch festival each October in Egg Harbor. Photo by Len Villano.

Modern Day Drifters are a fan favorite at Pumpkin Patch festival each October in Egg Harbor. Photo by Len Villano.

Fall Fun Fest and Cider Pressing Party  

Oct. 7 – 8, 2017
Bring your own apples or buy a bucket to press into a gallon of cider. Live entertainment, wagon rides, dip your own caramel apples on the spot, brats, chili, hot and cold fresh pressed cider. Kids old fashioned games on Saturday at 1pm. Hosted by the Washington Island Farm Museum.

Townline Art Fair

Oct. 7 – 8, 2017
Enjoy the display and sale of visual arts and fine crafts featuring over 80 professional juried artists from across the Midwest at Fine Line Designs Gallery in Ephraim.

Seaquist Orchards Apple Festival

Oct. 7, 2017
Apple launching, pumpkin painting, indoor and outdoor mazes, make your own caramel apples, live band, brats, soup and fun at the home of Door County’s largest orchards.

Autumn Lighthouse Festival

Oct. 7-8, 2017
The Door County Maritime Museum is offering a couple of its most popular tours Columbus Day weekend.

Sister Bay Fall Festival

Oct. 13 – 15, 2017
Sister Bay’s annual end-of-season bash features live music all over the village, a huge arts and crafts fair, games and activities for kids, amazing street food and beverages, and new this year – a 50/50 raffle!

Thousands fill the streets at Sister Bay's Fall Festival celebration in October. Photo by Len Villano.

Thousands fill the streets at Sister Bay’s Fall Festival celebration in October. Photo by Len Villano.

Jack O’Lantern Days

Oct. 27 – 29, 2017
Both visitors and locals look forward to Fish Creek’s annual Jack O’Lantern Days every year. Enjoy family mask-making, live owls, a costume contest and parade, and trick-or-treating.


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Shipwrecked fire…

It was sad day last Sunday, August 20, the iconic Shipwrecked Brew Pub caught on fire.  I was on my way to work at a little after 11 a.m. and I could see the smoke and hear sirens from my house.  I was detoured by Main Street Market but could see a lot of smoke in the village.  Cambria, who works with me at the front desk is on the village board so she knew what was happening and was in fact, gathering barriers to help get the the roads closed. Everyone from Shipwrecked escaped safely…

I took this photo at 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday.  All the fire departments from Door and Kewaunee Counties were called out for mutual aide.  Medical personnel came from Brown County (Green Bay). Dozens of firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion and 10 were taken to the hospital by ambulance.  All in all, there were no injuries.  A main concern were the surrounding buildings and the wind.   The firefighters were taking water directly from the bay.  The crews did an amazing job. The Red Cross was passing out water and Main Street Market was making sandwiches for the crews. Shipwrecked is hoping to rebuild but that remains to be seen.  Mark and I met there in 1977.  It’s a shame and sad for Egg Harbor. A huge shout out to all the people for helping out.  We have an amazing community.

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It’s cherry time in Door County!

Yes, kids it’s cherry picking time all over Door County.  Whether you pick your own or buy them from a market, they are everywhere.  Schartner’s Farm Market just south of Egg Harbor offers both sweet and and Montmorency tart cherries which Door County is known for. If you go to Schartner’s, make sure you look for our grandchildren Jaden, Adison, Brody and Sophie!

Their older brother Jaden is 16 and he takes care of the pick your own cherries. Happy summer!


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Door County Wedding Whisperers…

The second of our two daughters got married June 24.  This is the second wedding Carrie Baldwin has worked her magic on.  They are second to none… I will post pictures when we get them!


Emilie and Pat 06.24.17


Reprinted with permission from Edible Door magazine.


Directing chaos into a day of beauty, love and fun is Carrie Baldwin Smith’s specialty. As the wedding planner in Door County and owner of Door County Event Planners, Baldwin Smith not only helps couples plan and celebrate their union, she provides a service that brings a significant source of income to Door County.

“My job as a planner is to prevent (unexpected) things from happening, and to plan for everything,” Baldwin Smith said.

She has no set-in-stone job description. On any given wedding day, Baldwin Smith can be found pushing extra hairpins into bridesmaids’ hair, busing plates off dinner reception tables, assuag- ing commitment fears of anxious wedding couples, running interference among family members or sweeping rainwater off the floor of a ceremony venue.

She’s part marching band director, part psychologist, part general contractor … and she loves it.

Baldwin Smith moved to Door County after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a degree in hospitality and tour- ism management and a focus in event planning. She worked for a few Door County businesses and helped plan a friend’s wedding before realizing there was a niche-need for wedding planners in Door County.

“I wanted a fast-paced job, not something that would have me sit- ting behind a desk,” she said. “I went around to a number of the busi- nesses in the county and told them about my business idea. I knew the locals would support me if I treated the local businesses well. I don’t keep kickbacks from businesses. If I do get discounts, I pass those savings onto my clients.”

In an average year, Door County Event Planners plan and execute 45 to 60 weddings. Baldwin Smith’s lifetime total is now more than 700 weddings.


When meeting with clients to plan their event, Baldwin Smith and her wedding-planning partner of five years, Chandra Johnson, tell their clients that they are welcome to bring in vendors from anywhere, but they gently remind the brides that there are florists, chefs, and stylists, among others, based in Door County.

“I like to think that Door County weddings are a reasonable cost and fairly priced,” Baldwin Smith said. “Door County Event Planners doesn’t include the extra charges that you find for events in a city. For flowers, are you going to pay more in shipping them up here? Sure. There are limited options to what a bride can find in Door County. But there are also really quality options in Door County, such as some amazing bakers, chefs, photographers and musicians.”

As she’s grown her business, Baldwin Smith has worked tirelessly to cultivate loyal and quality vendors, who in turn do their best to ensure Baldwin Smith keeps them on her ‘Favorites’ list.

“The vendors we work with regularly take extra steps to please our wedding clients,” Johnson said. “Our clients are amazed at the quality of services available in Door County. Local vendors know the spaces here; Door County photographers know where and when to get the best natural light. If a florist runs into an issue at a venue, they know the owners, the space and how to work with both. Or that local florist can quickly connect with someone they know to fix something. “

People come to Door County to have their wedding because they

want to be surrounded by nature, they want Door County to be part of the wedding, Baldwin Smith said of her typical client.

Photo 1: Chandra Johnson, Carrie Baldwin Smith and Amy McCarthy of Door County Event Planning. Jason Mann Photography
Photo 2: Door County has plenty of ideal wedding locations. Here the Bride and groom make a grand entrance at Gordon Lodge near Baileys Harbor. -Photo by Tammy Lutze.

One such prime location is Gordon Lodge, flanked by North Bay and Lake Michigan, Baileys Harbor with facilities to handle up to 300 guests. “Carrie and her staff are the best to work with!  Because she has over 18 years of experience  she has so many great connections for our brides and grooms and her weddings run so flawless,” said Amy Gorham, catering and events manager at the lodge. “When Carrie has a wedding here you know every single last planning detail is covered. Her weddings all tend to have special unique aspects to them …. like having the Wisconsin Marching Band and Bucky the Badger show up for cocktail hour!”

“The less cement, the better,” Baldwin Smith. “However, outdoor weddings and barn weddings are really only for people who know and understand that they cannot control the weather. I always have a back- up plan … If the bride wants an outside ceremony, I have a back-up location that’s indoors.”


Baldwin Smith marks 19 years in the Door County wedding plan- ning business in 2017. During those years, trends in weddings have changed, and so has the level of involvement with the wedding party. “When I started, brides would show up with their dress, guestbook, place cards and table numbers, and that was it,” Baldwin Smith said. “Now they’re showing up with trailers full of Pinterest projects with the goal of their wedding being featured in a magazine.”

Many brides want to create a wedding that is “Pinterest-worthy.” The hours brides are spending being crafty makes decorating fun, Baldwin Smith said. Guests really notice personalized touches.

“Something like homemade  jam as a wedding favor is noticed and appreciated by guests way more than something like a beer koozie,” said Baldwin Smith.

Expressions of creative freedom are priority No. 1 in the weddings Baldwin Smith and Johnson are planning for the next few years. Barns, tents and outdoor spaces provide brides with an empty slate to create their own space, their own vision for their special day. From a wedding planner perspective, the creativity is wonderful, but the logistics of an unconventional event space provide some challenges.

“There’s a lot more to planning a barn or field wedding than a tra- ditional resort-based event,” Baldwin Smith explained. “The caterers not only have to bring plates and chairs, but also a prep tent, teaspoons and measuring cups, the grill for cooking and often jugs of water for filling guest glasses.”


Oh, the tales of bridezillas Baldwin Smith could tell! But as a profes- sional, she doesn’t share those stories for print. The second most memorable stories have to do with weather, and in Door County there’s plenty of the unexpected from Mother Nature.

“One autumn, there was a three-day power outage in northern Door County,” Baldwin Smith said. “We had a wedding planned at Horseshoe Bay Country Club, and needed to move it … across the peninsula, to Mr. G’s Banquet Hall in Jacksonport. The community really came together for that one. We had all the food in a truck and everything was set up at Horseshoe Bay in case the power miraculously returned. The bride had no idea we would be moving the reception until she was dropped off at Mr. G’s after photos were complete.”

All this while Carrie was 9 months pregnant with her fi rst daughter.

“Carrie is one of the hardest working women I know in Door County,” Johnson said. “She is every day. She has thick skin, too. We could write a book about the things brides, vendors and staff do and say! It’s in both of our hearts for everybody to fall in love with Door County while they’re here.

“One of the most rewarding things I love about my wedding planning job,” Johnson continued, “is what it does for Door County. Weddings bring so much business to the peninsula. The average wedding we plan costs $25,000. Most hotels have a two-night minimum for wedding reservation blocks. Many of those guests stay longer, make a vacation out of it. They want to go to a fi sh boil when they get in on Friday night, not necessarily a rehearsal dinner. They will go to brunch on Sunday, check out the lighthouses or wineries and shop for stuff to take home.”

Networking resources together in lightning speed is one of Baldwin Smith’s strengths and is part of what has made her so successful in Door County.

“One of my grooms couldn’t tie his bow tie,” Baldwin Smith said. “And that’s not one of my talents. I knew that one of my past grooms was on the driving range at Horseshoe Bay Golf Club. So the groom and I jumped into the golf cart and zoomed up to the driving range and got his tie tied.”

Baldwin Smith may just be a wedding whisperer.

“I’ve been told I’m like Cesar Milan for weddings,” she said. “I go in and create good environments for brides to experience their special day.”


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