I was born and raised in the Midwest, but I never really viewed it as a place to visit, let alone vacation. Growing up in a small Indiana town provided enough cornfields and cows for a lifetime, so when I left for New York and then Los Angeles, I never went back. Give me exotic beaches or gothic buildings and street names I can't pronounce, and I'm happy.
Cut to 2020, a global pandemic and the disruption of life as we know it. This is the longest stretch of time that I've been grounded, literally. Large-scale travel has become a risky business, but the humble road trip—well, this old friend has made a strong comeback. If you open your eyes and hearts to the treasures that are right in your backyard, I think you'll find that delightful surprises await you.
On a recent visit to Door County, I couldn't believe all the goodies that were packed into a compact stretch of peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan, off the northern coast of Wisconsin. I could write many pages about all the fantastic things I experienced in just two days, and I will in a future piece; but for now, I'm going to focus on the seemingly little things that to me, make all the difference.
First up: COFFEE. I could be in the most paradise-y of paradise locations and still cannot start the day without a good cup of coffee. I know "good" is relative, but trust me, if it's just bog-standard brown liquid, it won't do. Bearded Heart Coffee in Bailey's Harbor has it all: the coffee (their miel latte is delish), an avocado toast that is among the best I've ever had, a lemon lavender scone that was so good I had to have it two days in a row, and a lovely setting to enjoy it all in.