Christmas season is here and the holiday of the year is approaching all over the world, as well as Door County Peninsula. The Peninsula is not just a geographical location of interest selling merchandise for seasonal tourists and local folks living here full-time. It is a place where people produce, grow and create products that helps make the economy revolve.
In a time when it is getting harder to find merchandise Made in the USA – and seeing merchandise from China flooding our markets – commodities, produce, and material comes from our local farmers and small businesses on the Peninsula.
Here at the Peninsula we boast about items made and produced by talented and productive folks in Door County.
There are even folks here with dog sled teams, training and competing all winter and summer with special sleds with wheels.
The poor economical climate that has swept America, as well as other places in the world, it has been felt heavily in Door County and is one of the areas with the highest rate of unemployment in the state of Wisconsin. In addition, there are too many empty commercial buildings for sale or lease, alarming the residents; as well as many summer homes have been put up for sale by those who no longer can afford two homes.
Door County peninsula is famous for its beautiful scenery, its commercial and sport fishing, as well as its several harbors where one can find huge Great Lake ships that have traveled all around the Great Lakes, some venturing out into the Atlantic Ocean as world-class freighters. There are sport-fishing boats, as well as commercial fishing boats that supply the many restaurants and inns that dot the Peninsula, as well as recreational sailing craft that can be seen all summer gliding across Lake Michigan or moored at the several harbors on the peninsula.
Several park systems dot the Peninsula offering a chance to get in tune with nature.
The shipyard in Sturgeon Bay located in the man-made canal that shortens trips of ships that had to circumvent the peninsula in order to reach the east or west coastline before the canal was constructed in the county seat of Door County – Sturgeon Bay.
In Sturgeon Bay, world-class yachts are made for customers who wish to take advantage of the strengthened aluminum yachts that are custom fitted and made for those who can afford them – reaching out to customers around the globe.
Yonker’s is a well-known department store; two stores actually, a traditional family-owned and run business – featuring clothing in one store and the other furniture and other home products of quality name brands. There are two more stores operated and owned by the Yonker family: Jim and Candy Yonker have sewn moccasins and custom-made boots for 24 years, one located at Fish Creek at Founder’s Square and the other in Baileys Harbor.
At the most northern point of the Door Peninsula, Gills Rock, one can ride a ferry across the Door Strait, called Devil’s Door because of the many shipwrecks at the bottom of the lake dating as far back as the dawn of the Great Lake watercraft age because of the unpredictable weather and the reefs. Bea’s Ho-Made Products located on Wisconsin Highway 42, Gills Rock, makes chopped cherry jam, canned bread and butter pickles, as well as pickled baby beets made from fresh garden veggies.
The fishing industry has a big impact upon our economy, as previously mentioned, as well as the farming industry – ecology is taken seriously and all efforts are made to keep Door Peninsula as beautiful as possible.
The number-one seller of home-made products, especially during the Christmas holiday season, are dark chocolate dried cherries, as well as frozen bags of Door orchard cherries for baking and making jams and jellies.
Vendors like Door Peninsula Winery who sell Door County Mustard, along with their award-winning fruit wines. Wineries dot the peninsula with a good variety of standard and specialty wines, most who offer a shipping service so you can have it sent directly from the winery.
The Peninsula was settled, as in other places in Wisconsin, by Scandinavian and Germanic peoples in the 19th century, but the first folks from Europe who settled and lived among the Native American tribes here, was the French. They were trappers and traders who raised families by marrying tribal women, thus why many Native Americans today have a French surname. Thus, you will find cultural foods here made in family traditions dating to the first settlers like in the Ragna’s Potato Mix or the Swedish Pancake Mix – flavors from history.
For those who purchase holiday gifts (or other times of the year) for their 4-legged family members, there are specialty shops in Sturgeon Bay and one in Carlsville, at the border of Egg Harbor township called Pet Expression.
Pet Expression’s products include dog clothing, material and products with a picture of your favorite dog breed, and healthy dog snacks, some made locally at the Stove Dog Baker in Sturgeon Bay.
Door Peninsula is also a haven for artists and culture, ranging from painters and metal sculptors to music and the theatrical arts. Local writers have published and sold their books here for decades. Some of these books can be found at places like the Door County Maritime Museum gift shop.
Certificates and tickets may be purchased at the various shops to attend the various music concerts held throughout the year and theatrical productions from Shakespeare plays to local stand-up comedians. CD albums are also produced and sold here by local musicians.
December is the big shopping month – a good place to shop for holiday gift-giving.
Have a taste for excellent coffee and home-made snacks, soups and sandwiches? Visit the Door County Coffee and Tea Shop in Carlsville, next door to Pet Expressions. Specialty coffees are roasted and brewed right at the location and now features a quick drive-thru for those on the go. Also available are products like premium coffee and espresso machines, as well as other related products.
From the Peninsula: Wishing all a Merry Christmas and a most Happy and profitable New Year!