Brigid Downey

August 30, 2019

Bailey’s Harbor and the Cana Island Lighthouse | Door County 2019: Part 1

Hi Dreamers!

Door County, WI comprises mostly of the peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan.

So if you follow me on social media then you saw that at the beginning of August Josie and I went on our first romantic vacation together! We went to Door County, WI for three days and two nights. Door County is pretty much the gorgeous vacation spot for Wisconsinites. There’s a lot of camping and hiking and outdoorsy stuff. But there’s also wineries and beaches on Lake Michigan and it’s wicked romantic and an honest adventure!

We stayed in Bailey’s Harbor, a small town on the western side of the peninsula and we drove up from Madison. We packed a bunch of camp stuff and a cooler and stayed in the Bailey’s Sunset Motel and Cottages. The motel was an adorable little set up that reminded me of camping on the lake as a kid in New Hampshire.

It took us about 3 hours to get to Bailey’s Harbor so we just made a road trip out of it. We packed a cooler in the back and made an awesome playlist and just drove. We got to Bailey’s Harbor in time for a late lunch and it was so warm out. We hit the cornerstone pub for some really good food and then walked around downtown.

I really wanted to see lighthouses while we were in Door County so we picked up a guide map and tied to find one the old fashion way– by getting lost! We drove along the coast of Lake Michigan and laughed as we tried to figure out the roads we had to take to reach the Cana Island Lighthouse. We stood on the shore and looked out over the channel to the small island the lighthouse sits on.

To get to the island is an interesting adventure in itself because you ride a tractor to get there! The tractor drives on a raised part of the land in the lake, but you’re basically riding in 2 feet of water and it comes up to splash you!

Once on the island, you have the choice to climb the 97 steps of the lighthouse. I have always wanted to climb a lighthouse, but never got the chance to when I lived on the coast. So we decided to climb the 97 steps. There are 2 landings and we reached the first landing and I panicked. I have a paralyzing fear of heights and had no idea how I was going to get to the top of this dang lighthouse.

We stepped to the side and Josie got me to calm down. I gave myself a little pep talk and looked up. I have always wanted to climb a lighthouse since I was a little kid looking at a lighthouse in Maine and I wasn’t going to let my anxiety stop me from seeing this goal through.

I climbed all 97 steps.

I made it to the top.

And it was so worth it.

I never thought that I would learn such an important lesson on an adventure vacation, but I learned how to shut up my anxiety. It was a huge challenge for my mental health and for myself and it was so worth it. Whenever I doubt myself I’m going to remember the view from that lighthouse.

Have you faced a huge fear lately? How did it go?

P.S. I will be doing weekly posts about Door County for a few weeks so if you’re interested you can sign up below to get email updates about what I post!

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2 Comments on “Bailey’s Harbor and the Cana Island Lighthouse | Door County 2019: Part 1

[…] Josie and I took our first romantic getaway at the beginning of August to Door County, WI. After our trek to the lighthouse, we went back and chilled at our hotel (I took a long nap) before heading out to the Skyway Drive-In […]


[…] got a travel post for you today about the ghost trolly tour we went on in Door County back in August! Because it’s Halloween month I thought it would be really appropriate (and also we did so […]


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