Door County, the Cape Cod of the Midwest: A Great Place to Set a Romance Novel

One Lucky Commenter will Receive an E-book Copy of “The Montezuma Secret”!

By Alison Chambers

I just returned from a wonderful week’s vacation in Door County, Wisconsin, often referred to as the ‘Cape Cod of the Midwest.’  I wonder how many of you have ever been there.  If not, I can tell you it’s one of the prettiest spots on earth.  For those of you unfamiliar with Door County, it’s about forty-five minutes north of Green Bay and named after a dangerous water passage that had wrecked many ships at the tip of the peninsula called “Porte des morts” by French explorers or “Death’s Door.”

It’s a picturesque haven for artists and boaters, with clusters of quaint waterfront bed and breakfasts, art galleries, fine restaurants and unique craft shops, nestled on the shores of beautiful Green Bay.  There are so many cute gift stores men often complain they ‘overdose on estrogen’ having to visit them all!  Picture vendors selling apples and tasty Door County cherries—a specialty—and signs advertising fish boils, quilt shows, and antique sales.  Imagine concerts in the parks overlooking the bay featuring local entertainers.  Visit the amazing bookstores and maritime museums packed with dozens of fascinating tales of shipwrecks, ghost ships and my favorite—lost treasure.

We stayed at the Shoreline Resort, which is located at the ‘top of the thumb’ or the uppermost tip of the peninsula.  It has a beautiful view with a great in-house restaurant and it’s adjacent to the passenger ferry that leaves for Washington Island over twenty times a day.  Sometimes the ride over to the island is a little rocky, so if you have a queasy stomach like me, be prepared.  It’s also much cooler, since you are so far north.  The thirty-five square mile island is home to only 700 residents.  It has its own newspaper and its own airport.  There’s also a great restaurant on the island, the “Ship’s Wheel.”  Schoolhouse Beach is beautiful, but don’t take any of the rocks or you’ll be adding to the erosion problem.  But the biggest draw is riding the cherry train and visiting the Ostrich farm at the Double KW Ranch!  There’s a car ferry that leaves from Northport on the other side of Door County, which is also a lot of fun to ride, whether you’re in a car or not.  It’s a bigger boat, so it’s a much smoother trip.

One of the best things about Door County is that you can move from town to town at will.  Each charming little town—Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Sister Bay, Ephraim, Ellison Bay, and Gill’s Rock—is barely ten minutes apart, so you don’t have to stay in one place, since there are so many fun things to do.  But these are the musts:  “Wilson’s Ice Cream Parlor” in Ephraim, a tradition in Door County since 1906; the “City Farmer” store in Ephraim, for beautiful furniture and home accessories; “JJ’s LaPuerta” (the Port) in Sister Bay for the best whitefish and fried lake perch in town, my favorite; and “Pelletier’s” Restaurant in Fish Creek for a great fish boil (whitefish, boiled potatoes and onions, bread and a big piece of homemade cherry pie for dessert, using Door County cherries, of course).

While there are several towns on the Lake Michigan side of Door County—Jacksonport and Bailey’s Harbor—I think the Green Bay side is a lot prettier, with gorgeous watercolor sunsets painters only dream of, cool, calm waters and smooth, sandy beaches.  Dotted with dozens of sailboats, the horizon also boasts gorgeous views of several unusually-shaped islands, including “Horseshoe Island,” and craggy limestone bluffs.  But the Lake Michigan side does have the Cana Island lighthouse, a great one to visit.  Lighthouses have fascinated me for years and I have always wanted to stay in one. (something about the uniqueness of the circular rooms, I guess.)  They’re great for stories too!  There are also five state parks in Door County—Peninsula State Park is a favorite one to drive through.

And you can imagine such a beautiful place like this makes a perfect environment for a romantic story. Each of the places named would make a great setting for your characters to live, love, and laugh in.  In one of my previous books, “The Time of the 11,” soon to be available on, I set one portion of the book in Door County, but I plan to set a future book completely in this beautiful place.  And you can bet there’s some lost treasure involved!  Hope you can visit sometime and that you enjoy yourself as much as I did!  Let me know about your favorite vacation spot and why and if you’ve ever been to Door County!  Thanks!

P.S., went to Lake Geneva, WI, two weeks ago, another beautiful place, forty-five minutes south of Milwaukee.  Amazing how so many great spots are close by, especially if they’re on the water!

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Don’t miss The Montezuma Secret!

Hunky Trey Zacco, gritty survivalist and host of the Miami-based Holiday Channel’s hit “Wildman” series and glitz and glamour girl, Erica Kingsley, host of the channel’s “Lap of Luxury” show, are thrown together in the steamy jungles of Belize as a publicity stunt. Erica’s father, Arthur Kingsley, the owner of the Holiday Channel, has proposed the angle, not only to boost ratings, but also as a way to toughen up his spoiled daughter. And Kingsley wants them to search for Montezuma’s lost gold, presumably moved to Belize from the Guatemalan jungle. Zacco cannot hide his resentment at having to share the spotlight with the flighty fashionista Erica, and he locks horns with her every step of the way even as both try to ignore the strong physical attraction growing between them. But when Arthur Kingsley’s plane crashes in the jungle on his way to film the opening of the show, Trey and Erica launch a desperate search to find him. And when, one by one, members of the camera crew are killed and the equipment sabotaged, Trey and Erica find themselves stranded in the middle of the jungle where no rescue crew can reach them.

SUMMER SALE:  Only $.99
in e-book format for your Kindle, PC, MAC, iPhone, Blackberry, iPad, & Android
FIVE STARS: “Excellent writing! Enjoyable hero and heroine! Great romance! Fast pace! I read it straight through! Author thorough in research! I lived the experience!”–A reader on
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The Secret Sentinel

Three lost keys to untold riches. Three cryptic rhymes. A secret society’s deadly plot.When museum curator Savannah Rutledge steals her father’s treasure map to impress her boss, Winston Gale, and his handsome son Eric, she unleashes a Pandora’s box of horror. Her father is killed and she is framed for murder. To atone for her father’s death, she sets off on a cross-country chase for the treasure that ends with a dangerous showdown in the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix. To get there she and a sexy stranger, Antonio Desada, follow a perplexing trail of clues that lead them to the keys that will unlock the mystery. Constantly moving, they must elude the police and the vicious Gales, hot on their trail once they realize they’re missing a critical part of the map. Seductive and mysterious, Desada also provides the keys to a treasure of another kind. Will Savannah find the treasure—and love–before it’s too late?

FIVE STARS AND A TOP PICK FROM NIGHT OWL REVIEWS–”I loved the characters and the perfect blend of romance and suspense.  Ms Chambers takes us on a wild journey…the background story is wonderful…This is easily a book I would enjoy sitting down and reading again.  I for one hope that Ms. Chambers decides to make a series from this tale.  The Secret Sentinel is a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.  Look out Nora Roberts…there’s a new author on the horizon.”

Available from

A daring prison escape in Mexico. An explosion in the Hague. Tourists disappearing in Scotland and the Sahara. Reporters murdered or reported missing. Seemingly unrelated incidents. Or parts of an ingenious terrorist plot?  Everything is timed to happen at eleven, Eleven men. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day
of November, 2011.
It is ‘The Time of the Eleven.’

Coming Soon on

One Comment

  1. Laura Long

    Hey there,
    First i need to tell you that it is very hard reading this information on a green background you may want to change it.
    Door county is such a beautiful place! the summers & the fall when the leaves change! I will be showing my husband for the first time Door county and i would like to know where is a great place to stay but not too spendy. please contact me at
    Laura Long
    Windsor Wi 53598

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