In anticipation of the Tall Ships Festival in Green Bay, we actually made advanced reservations at Sturgeon Bay. The tall ships left Chicago and will be mustering outside the entrance of Sturgeon Bay on August 3. Our plan is to see them enter the harbor and dock in Sturgeon bay on their way to Green Bay.
The crossing from Menominee MI to Door County is 20 miles. Our cruising speed is 7.5 knots so it will be an easy 2.5 hour run. We enjoyed a comfortable ride; and saw one laker on the crossing. Also a few fish boats as we got closer to the harbor entrance. As we entered the harbor, we met a sailboat that looked familiar. We greeted the folks that we met on the dock at Menominee heading back on their sailboat. Small world.
Our destination is Harbor Club Marina, located just before the first lift bridge on the starboard side. (south side of the harbor). It is managed by Skipper Buds-they also own the quarter deck a larger marina further into the bay. We chose this marina by chance, and found it was the best choice for us once we saw the other marinas. Smaller and very centrally located. The dock hands helped secure us in the slip and offered to do a $5 pump out for us right at the slip. We reserved the slip for 3 nights at $1.50 per foot; our bill is $ 171. The view is priceless- the lift bridge is fun to watch; and the tall ships will be docking out our back door.
After a walk around to get our bearings, we opted to eat at the highly recommended Italian restaurant above the marina office. Sonnies restaurant had great flatbread pizza.
The first lift is the Michigan street bridge. It has a bike/ pedestrian path along one side. It is a rolling lift bascule bridge built in 1929. (bascule meaning draw bridge or moveable bridge via counterweights ). It opens at the top and bottom of the hour (every half hour).
The second bridge is a few blocks over and is the Oregon bridge; clearance is 22 feet. It opens every half hour- at quarter past and ¾ . So as you go through one bridge, you just hover and circle til the next bridge opens 15 minutes later. The third bridge is the Bay View it is a “High Bridge”. It has a clearance of 42 feet so mostly opens for sailboats. I believe the same bridge tender operates all three bridges. Sounds like he monitors traffic via a computer camera; so when you hail any of the bridges you will get the same operator. He will say something like “ I see you captain, bridge opens in 10 minutes. I’ll take care of you”.
You can see from the photo how close the bridges are together- just peek under one bridge and you can see the next lift bridge a few blocks ahead.
This marina has a very friendly vibe and is demonstrated by the dock décor. Each pier has its own qrilling deck with weber propane grills and picnic tables decorated in an island theme. Lots of flip flops, fish netting and fun signage. Even a bar made from a boat swim platform.
Each pier has an old deck box converted to an herb garden too. Someone has a green thumb! If you need thyme, basil, mint, chives- this is your marina of choice.
We didn’t take advantage of the pool (next door at the hotel) but it looked pretty inviting. I don’t know where the time goes. Many boats didn’t seem to have a dinghy, others looked as though they weren’t used too often. I will leave with a few more photos as we are get ready to welcome the tall ships tomorrow .
I couldn’t help noticing the variety of methods boaters find to keep their dock lines in order- better then being tripped over- here are a few examples:
The north side shopping was closing when we walked through; and I didn’t have a chance to get back over there. The south side had very interesting more rustic shops (antiques, nautical and used stores). The maritime museum is at the base of the bridge. Too much to see, so little time.