Thursday, November 17, 2011


Island Northport Visitor Center staff at Ellison Bay
Bluff County Park.  L to R - Maggie Swanson, Patty Cornell,
Doc Westring, Mary Andersen, Janet Hanlin,
Ann Rose and Marge Frank.

Door Peninsula, Wisconsin -

Staff from the Northport Visitor Information Center, representing both the Ferry Line and the Island Chamber, spent several hours on the Door Peninsula Wednesday learning more about area businesses and tourism opportunities.

Persons who hold a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) rating are members of a program designed to provide excellent customer information.  They are encouraged to expand their local knowledge of businesses and attractions to better serve tourism customers.  Points toward ongoing certification may be accumulated in several ways, including reading articles about area activities and events.

Personal visits are also encouraged.  With this goal in mind, eight of us drove to several peninsula parks:  Liberty Grove Death's Door Town Park; Garett Bay Town Park;  Ellison Bay Bluff County Park; Murphy Park in Horseshoe Bay;  and the Egg Harbor Village Marina.  Along the way, a number of well-known area businesses and non-profit  locations were pointed out. (Birch Creek Music School and Peninsula Players among them.)

At two destinations tours had been arranged ahead of time.

One of the tours was at The Clearing, a folk school situated along wooded shore bluff property near Ellison Bay, founded in 1935 by Danish landscape architect Jens Jensen.  We received information about the school's mission, class offerings, and the type of experience a student or a day visitor might anticipate.  The second tour was of the Door County Coffee and Tea production facility, where prior to lunch in the retail store, we observed coffee beans, imported from all over the world, as they were roasted, blended and packaged for retail and wholesale markets.

The apparent community contribution these two very different entities exhibited created positive impressions with our group's members.

Steps to the Clearing lodge, where students
 may find relaxation, entertaining themselves
in a non-internet environment,
and enjoy meals as a group.
Quite typically, islanders traveling to the mainland are guided by a very specific list of stops for supplies and services, with a limited amount of time for "nonessential" sightseeing stops.  Seldom does the opportunity present itself to include off-the-highway stops.  But, that was Wednesday's goal, and for most members of our group, these stops were first-time encounters ... despite being near our back Door, so to speak.

Warm beans recently dropped from one of two roasters
add to the already pervasive coffee aroma at Door County
Coffee and Tea, Carlsville.
The first year of operation for Northport Visitor Center ended on the last day of October. It will reopen prior to Memorial Weekend of 2012.  Although exact numbers of visitors were impossible to record, we estimate thousands of people were aided with information answers to their questions.
 -  Dick Purinton

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