Door County: Where Else Can You See Goats on a Restaurant Roof?

Do you love sunrises or sunsets over the water? Maybe you prefer being surrounded by miles and miles of lush forests. Or rolling hills with orchards and corn fields. Door County, WI offers a little bit of everything. The travel guide says that it boasts 300 miles of scenic shoreline, 5 state parks and 19 county parks. There is something here for everyone, that is, unless you prefer the hustle and bustle of a big city.

On this leg of the journey, we were joined by Jeff’s parents, Don and Kay Lubecke as well as his cousin, Johnny and his wife Judy.

One excellent way to decide just what you want to do when you first visit a place is to take a guided tour. Our favorite Tour Guide, Tessa Miller, opted for the Door County Trolley Scenic Tour and we all thought she made an excellent decision.

The trolley took us up through Peninsula State Park where our first stop was an overlook of the Strawberry Islands. Three of the four islands are privately owned and rarely used. The largest, was once owned by a gentleman from Chicago who thought that boys needed some adventure to keep them on the straight and narrow. He bought the island and started a summer adventure camp on the island. He kept it going for 30+ years until it began to fall into disrepair and needed more money and time to rebuild than he had the resources for.

The third island is a bird refuge and uninhabited. The fourth island is often underwater and considered “sunken treasure” thus it is named, Pirate Island. The owner, when asked why he would want to buy an island that isn’t inhabitable, said, “At least I can say I own an island.”

Door County

Door County seems like an odd name. Maybe you are wondering where it came from. It is named after the straight between the tip of Door peninsula and Washington Island. This straight is called Death’s Door. That doesn’t sound good, right? Why call a place Death’s Door? Well, there are two predominate theories. The most common is that it is because of all the shipwrecks that occurred in the straight when ships, trying to save time and money, opted to go through this treacherous strip of water rather than go the slower, safer way around Washington Island.

The more likely case is that there was a deadly battle between the Potawatomi and Winnebago Native American tribes of the area. The Potawatomi tribe, from Washington Island, set out to the main land that was occuppied by the Winnebagos. Because of the treacherous waters in the area, hundreds of warriors lost their lives.

The Winnebago tribe must have done well for themselves since they later created the Winnebago RV business! –>Insert appropriate sarcasm so you don’t take that to be the truth.


Ephraim is a quaint “sea side” town, founded by a community of Moravians. The Moravians were smart. They knew what they didn’t know and were not afraid to ask for help. They brought the Anderson brothers from Norway and granted them certain rights, allowing them access to more commercial trade if they would build a dock in Ephraim. That dock helped to sustain their small village and bring in necessary resources. I think that was brilliant strategic move and allowed the village to survive to this day.
With a population of around 230 residents, Ephraim is, rightfully, proud of their history and culture and they take great lengths to remember it.

The first pastor’s house. It also served as the first school, church, and meeting hall until additional buildings could be built.

The Hardy Gallery has a long tradition of ship captains marking the building with their ship name and the date. Now, anyone can put their name on it, as long as you bring your own paint.

Cana Island Lighthouse

How do you get out to a lighthouse that’s on an island? You walk across the water covered causeway, of course!

Or, you can stay dry and take the tractor across but what fun is that???

Cana Island Lighthouse was built in 1869 and first lit in 1870. It still uses the same lens it has from the first day it was lit, though the way it has been illuminated has changed over the years.

The keeper’s house was occupied by a lighthouse keeper and his family or an assistant until 1945.

The lighthouse is 79 feet from the ground with around 100 steps.
Some afternoon side entertainment included watching the driveway in front of our rig getting paved when the owners of the campground got a hot deal on some unused asphalt and had to act quickly. It beats the occasional ambulance we see taking care of one or other long time residents in the parks we stay in.

Goats on Roofs???

Our family has a long history of goats since Don and Kay met raising and showing goats and Jeff and Tessa were raised around goats for much of their youth. Even if you don’t have a thing for goats, where else in the world can you have a meal at a restaurant with goats on the roof?

The story goes that friends Al Johnson and Wink Larson often exchanged pranks. In a birthday prank one year, Wink put a goat on the sod roof of Al’s restaurant. Al decided it drew attention to his restaurant and trademarked the idea. No other restaurants can have goats on their roofs in the US.

Traveling with Dogs

Traveling with a dog can be a wonderful treat. It’s fun watching them explore new places and having them curled up at your feet near the campfire. However, not all dogs do well in RVs and some generally awesome dogs develop separation anxiety when they are left alone for non-dog friendly excursions.

Now, as we head to Green Bay, WI, we get to decide how to enjoy activities that don’t include a dog…