A youthful offering in one of the Midwest’s most popular destinations
Door County, a 70-mile-long peninsula less than an hour from Green Bay, Wis., is pure Instagram fodder. Loaded with orchards, wineries, cute soda shops, family-owned cheeseries, centenarian lighthouses, rocky coastlines and wilderness trails with golden hues, the whole place comes pre-loaded with an Americana filter.
And though Door County has long been a favorite getaway for Wisconsinites (and those from the Chicago-land area), it’s been a staggeringly long time since there’s been a new place to stay. The Dörr, which opened in 2021, was the first new offering in nearly 20 years.
This Nordic-inspired hotel, just steps from the marina in Sisters Bay, a 3.5-square-mile village on the western side of the peninsula, brings a decidedly more youthful vibe to the region. Case in point: They have multiple wines on tap and cornhole set up in the yard near the firepit.
In the heart of all the action
At its thickest, Door County is only 18 miles wide. But it is also 70 miles long, boasts more than 300 miles of wiggly shoreline and claims 11 villages. Chances are, you’ll find something you’re into (provided what you’re into is charming antique stores, historical places, woodland areas and restaurants where cheese dominates the menu). While the hotel is in Sister Bay, toward the top of the peninsula, it’s near all the action. Here are some notable things to do not too far away.
- Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant: We wouldn’t blame you if the reason you came here was just to see the goats that graze on the sod roof. But you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go in and get the Swedish flapjacks. The uber-thin pancakes are topped with powdered sugar, maple syrup and lingonberries (the restaurant is allegedly the largest consumer of that particular fruit in the state).
- Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market: Located on 100 areas of orchards (predominantly apples and cherries), this multi-generational farm is a fun place to while away a few hours. After you’ve picked your basket of goodies, make sure to sample some of the fruit wine, take a spin through the massive gift shop (do yourself a favor and get the apple cider donuts) and participate in the “pit spit,” wherein you try to hawk the stoney innards of a cherry as far as possible in a mouth-shot-put-type setting. The current men’s record is 48′ 1″, and the women’s is 44′ 3″.
- Visit Peninsula State Park: Established in 1909, this 3,776-acre park overlooking Green Bay (the waterway, not the city synonymous with the Packers) is one of the prettiest parks in Wisconsin. The area is best seen from Eagle Tower, the Dairy State’s first accessible observation tower. You can either climb the 95 steps to the top or use the 850-foot ramp to get to the top. Afterward, noodle along one of the myriad trails or tour the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, which has helped sailors find their way in Lake Michigan since 1868.
- The Ridges Sanctuary: Not only is The Ridges Sanctuary Wisconsin’s oldest nonprofit nature preserve, but it’s also a designated State Natural Area, an Audubon Important Bird Area and a National Natural Landmark. That’s all to say: There are pretty wildflowers, rustic trails and forest animals to be seen in this wooded area.
- Cave Point County Park: It’s about 20 miles away, but you can get your ‘gram shots in at these picturesque limestone sea caves.
- Sonny’s Italian Kitchen and Pizzeria: Found on the waterfront, this pizza joint specializes in Chicago-style pies. Be sure to also check out Bridge-Up Brewing next door. This is close to 45 minutes away by car.
Hygge and then some
There’s a concept in Scandinavian living called hygge. Simply put, it’s about finding comfort or pleasure in simple, soothing things, like candles, relaxing music or sipping a cup of tea (or a really nice glass of rosé) under a cozy blanket. Generally, it’s meant to help combat the long, dark, cold winters found at northern latitudes, but at Dörr, it’s a year-round state of being. It doesn’t matter which of the 47 rooms you score, expect neutral colors, minimalist decor and homey touches.
- The Dörr Suite: The largest and swankiest of their suites, this room features a private balcony, sitting area (with a sleeper sofa), a high-definition TV, a Keurig coffee maker, a Bluetooth speaker, a fireplace, Wi-Fi, private-label toiletries and a Kohler shower (trust us, that means something in Wisconsin).
- King Suite and Classic King Room: Much like the Dörr Suite, but a touch smaller (the latter also doesn’t have a sitting area or fireplace).
- Double Queen: If you guessed that this room would have two queen-sized beds, you should probably buy a lottery ticket. This option has the same amenities as the Dörr Suite (minus the sitting room and fireplace).
Minimalism, but in a good way
Arguably Dörr Hotel’s best amenities are its chic, Scandinavian design and favorable location — you can see the beach from many of the rooms. While the hotel does try to focus on minimalism, it doesn’t mean they’re scrimping or cutting corners. It means they’re providing just the right amount to make you feel at home and encourage you to explore the area.
Grab and go breakfast: Break your fast with muffins, energy bars, fruit, Icelandic yogurt, juice and coffee in the hotel lobby.
Onsite bar: If there were a litmus test for where hotels rank purely based on their check-in process, those that offer a welcome drink would be at the top. The Dörr doesn’t offer a welcome drink, but rather a token for a complimentary beverage that can be used whenever, which, as far as we’re concerned, is even better (especially if you happen to get there early in the day). Patrons can enjoy their beer or wine at the bartop, near the lobby fireplace or in their rooms.
Gear closet: Bocce balls, bean bags and bike helmets, oh my! Dörr guests have full access to the library of outdoor accoutrements, ranging from snowshoes to picnic baskets, all of which are provided free of charge.
Fitness center: There’s not a fitness center within the hotel, but the Dörr has a deal with the nearby Sister Bay Athletic Club, where there’s all your standard gym equipment, as well as an onsite pool.