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Door County: Lighthouses, Lake Views, Orchards & Artists

Program No. 12334RJ
Explore idyllic Door County, where you’ll discover centuries-old orchards, historic lighthouses, alluring lake views, and artists who capture the beauty of this unique peninsula.

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At a Glance

Discover Wisconsin’s famed Door County, a peninsula home to five state parks, 10 lighthouses and 300 miles of scenic Lake Michigan shoreline. Savor fresh lake breezes and be inspired by the steep bluffs and sandy beaches on either side of the peninsula. Learn about Door County history, art, geology and culture from local experts like an award-winning taxidermist, a watercolor artist, a lighthouse docent, naturalists and orchard owners. Visit state parks and fascinating museums that showcase the area’s rich maritime roots and unique history, and enjoy an authentic Door County fish boil with a resident storyteller.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to one mile, rocky terrain on field trips; climbing stairs.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Go inside and learn about the keepers of the beautifully restored Eagle Bluff Lighthouse.
  • Enjoy a Washington Island lavender farm.
  • Uncover the unique climate and geologic history of the peninsula by examining the Niagara Escarpment with a local naturalist.

General Notes

An airport transfer is available at an added cost.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
Profile Image
Ed Fenendael
A native of Wisconsin, Ed began his art career over 30 years ago. He works in several media, but his main focus is watercolor and watercolor/ink. Ed's paintings can be found in Washington D.C., at Atelier Galerie in Giverny, France; at Morning Mist Studio (his private gallery) in Door County, in numerous corporate and private collections throughout the world; and the Miller Art Museum's permanent collection. He has studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, the University of Wisconsin and graduated from Marquette University. He teaches watercolor and offers workshops in the United States and abroad.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Ed Fenendael
Ed Fenendael View biography
A native of Wisconsin, Ed began his art career over 30 years ago. He works in several media, but his main focus is watercolor and watercolor/ink. Ed's paintings can be found in Washington D.C., at Atelier Galerie in Giverny, France; at Morning Mist Studio (his private gallery) in Door County, in numerous corporate and private collections throughout the world; and the Miller Art Museum's permanent collection. He has studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, the University of Wisconsin and graduated from Marquette University. He teaches watercolor and offers workshops in the United States and abroad.
Profile Image of Len Villano
Len Villano View biography
Photographer Len Villano built his first darkroom in his parent's bathroom at the age of seven (much to the chagrin of his three sisters). And while he’s trained as an architect and is an environmentally-conscious musician, photography is still the primary method Len uses to interact with the world around him. When he’s not waiting for the perfect light, Len serves as the photography director for the Peninsula Pulse.
Profile Image of Katie Krouse
Katie Krouse View biography
Katie Krouse currently serves as executive director of The Ridges Sanctuary, sharing her passions for conservation by leading the organization to protect and preserve the unique ecosystems found within. With a background in aquatic sciences and evolutionary biology, Katie has translated her interests into programming, conservation, and engagement through programs such as the Festival of Nature and land restoration activities. The Ridges Sanctuary, near Baileys Harbor, is considered one of the most ecologically diverse sites in the region by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Profile Image of Mike Orthober
Mike Orthober View biography
Mike Orthober became interested in wildlife at a young age. By the time he was in high school, area hunters were calling on his skills. He won “Best in the World of Fish” at the World Taxidermy Championships and has since judged national and state competitions. Mike created the Wildlife Exhibit at the Door County Historical Museum, using not just his taxidermy skills, but also painting the background and creating and constructing the habitat. Mike was inducted into the Taxidermy Hall of Fame in 2019.
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While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Egg Harbor, WI
Landmark Resort

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and pick up your welcome packet containing your name tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check-in.

Dinner: In our reserved section of the Carrington, the hotel’s restaurant, we will have a delicious dinner plus coffee, tea (hot/iced), soda, water. Other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Unless specified otherwise, transportation will be provided primarily by motorcoach, which will require going up/down a few steps when getting on/off. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest of the day ahead.

Watercolor Artist and Orchard
Egg Harbor, WI
Landmark Resort

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile; approx. ½ hour on grass and paved road.

Breakfast: In our reserved section of the Carrington, the hotel’s restaurant, we will enjoy a breakfast offering rotating choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, hot cereals, pastries, yogurt, and fruit, plus coffee (regular/decaf), tea, juices, water.

Morning: By now most of us will have noticed how incredibly beautiful Door Country is, and we will have an opportunity to learn more about the amazing artwork by a local watercolor artist. Our artist will share his love of watercolors with us as he explains his process and gives a quick demonstration; then it will be our turn to give it a try. Don't think, just do! You'll be surprised with the results and you'll have a great memento to take home.

Lunch: In the hotel restaurant, we will have a special plated meal exclusively for Road Scholar with a sandwich, salad, fresh fruit and dessert, plus coffee (regular/decaf), iced tea, milk, soda, water.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will ride to Seaquist Orchards to see the family operation typical of orchards in Door County. At one of the area’s largest cherry and apple orchards, we will ride the bus through the test orchard and learn more about the fruit industry. At the end of the tour, we will stop at the farm market and explore its local products.

Dinner: We will experience a Door County fish boil at a local restaurant.

Evening: We’ll have another artist share his photography work with us, Door County style.

Local Geology and Lighthouse
Egg Harbor, WI
Landmark Resort

Activity note: Walking for approx. ½ hour; park trails. Steps up into coach.

Breakfast: Hotel restaurant

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local naturalist to learn about the formation of the Niagara Escarpment and the unique geologic features of the peninsula. The Niagara Escarpment is most famous as the cliff over which the Niagara River flows, creating Niagara Falls, but runs from near Rochester, NY to northwest of Chicago. Then after boarding the motorcoach, we will set out for another field trip to northern Door County with our naturalist to see the Niagara Escarpment in person. The peninsula is on a tilt so there are steep bluffs on the Green Bay side and sandy beaches on the Lake Michigan side. We’ll take a quick walk through the park on a trail to look for seasonal wildflowers before boarding the coach for our next stop.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Fish Creek, we will have a plated meal with a choice of sandwich, side and slice of pie, plus choice of soft drink, iced tea, coffee, milk or water.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll ride to Peninsula State Park for a docent-led visit to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse where we’ll visit the living quarters of the lighthouse keepers and their families and hear stories of shipwrecks and the life “keeping the light.” This beautifully restored lighthouse sits atop a bluff above the Bay of Green Bay. We’ll then return to the resort at the end of our field trip.

Dinner: Hotel restaurant

Evening: At leisure.

Ferry Crossing to Washington Is., Lavender Farm, Local Life
Egg Harbor, WI
Landmark Resort

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles total throughout the day; combination of paved walkways, woodchip paths, lawn, uneven ground. Ferry crossing takes about 1/2 hour each way. Driving for short distances at a time aboard coach. Steps up into coach.

Breakfast: Hotel restaurant

Morning: We’ll board our motorcoach for a trip north to where the main part of the peninsula ends, at Northport Ferry Dock. We will board the Washington Island Ferry for a 30-minute crossing to the island to explore the island, its history and culture. Washington Island sits about 7 miles north off the tip of the Door County Peninsula. A long time home to native peoples due to the abundant fish and fresh water, the island was settled by Icelandic and other Scandinavian immigrants in the late 1800s. Today there are about 800 residents who live year-round on the island and well as thousands who visit. Everything must be transported over by ferry including food, furniture and even livestock. You never know what you'll see while waiting for the ferry. Our first stop is at the replica medieval Norwegian stave church (Stavkirke) built to honor the Scandinavian heritage of the islanders. Take some time to view the charming weathered exterior and dragons overlooking the roofs and then go inside to see the remarkable stave construction. Our next stop is just down the road at the lavender farm. Depending on the time of year, we may see plants newly planted, the beautiful purple haze of plants in bloom, or plants being harvested for oil to be used in a multitude of products. It is a lovely place to visit at any time of the year, and we will learn more about cultivating lavender, the dream of the owners to create the farm, and be able to walk among the plants and sample a variety of products created from the oil.

Lunch: Lunch at a local island restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our island exploration with a stop at Schoolhouse Beach. This rocky shore of super smooth rocks is a popular place for residents and visitors alike. You might try skipping a rock over the water, but please don't take the rocks - they are protected by law. After our day-long field trip, we’ll head back to the ferry for another 30-minute crossing to the mainland. Back on the main peninsula, we will stop at Sister Bay for some independent exploration. Known for its beautiful beach, art galleries, fantastic restaurants, and stunning sunsets, Sister Bay will give you a feel for the livelier side of Door County.

Dinner: Restaurant in Sister Bay

Evening: Exploration time in Sister Bay

Historical & Maritime Museums, Local Entertainment
Egg Harbor, WI
Landmark Resort

Activity note: Walking in and around museums; about 2 hours of standing and walking. Steps up into coach.

Breakfast: Hotel restaurant

Morning: On the way to our first museum in Sturgeon Bay, we will stop at Cave Point County Park. Cave Point, with its iconic shoreline, is the most photographed location in Door County. Located along Sturgeon Bay’s busy waterfront, the Door County Maritime Museum showcases the area’s rich maritime roots. Hard-working fishermen, brave ship captains, skilled craftsmen, bold inventors and solitary lighthouse keepers are just some of the personalities you’ll discover in the galleries of the museum. A museum staff member will lead us around the museum and its exhibits.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Sturgeon Bay, located along the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, we will have a soup and salad buffet with lemonade, iced tea or water included; other beverages available for purchase. If we’re lucky we’ll see the Michigan Street steel bridge open for a sailboat to pass through.

Afternoon: Before visiting another museum, we will be joined by an award-winning taxidermist to learn about the art of taxidermy. See examples of fish, mammals, and birds. Don’t shy away from this surprise hit presentation! Our next stop will bring us to the Door County Historical Museum, voted “Best Small Museum in the Midwest” by the Chicago Tribune. Educational displays portray Door County’s unique history including early settlers, orchards, industries, and more. The Pioneer Fire Station showcases three beautifully restored fire trucks including a rare 1920 Oldsmobile. The spectacular "Seasons of Life" wildlife diorama by a nationally renowned taxidermist features over 100 native species. We will also meet the taxidermist at the museum and learn how the exhibit was created, from the bird and animal mounts to the painted mural with realistic rocks and leaves. The amount of detail is truly amazing.

Dinner: Hotel restaurant. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: Some local musicians will join us at the resort for some casual entertainment to close out our final evening together. Afterwards, be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

Program Concludes
Egg Harbor, WI

Activity note: Check-out is by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel restaurant buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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