Sleigh Bells Jingle in Door County, Wisconsin

John Mayberry's sleigh rides depart from the Orchard Country Winery.

John Mayberry's sleigh rides depart from the Orchard Country Winery.

One of the highlights of my trip to Door County, Wisconsin, was going dashing through the snow in a two-horse open sleigh. John Mayberry, owner of Mayberry’s Carriages gives sleigh rides through Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery near Fish Creek—and it’s a not-to-be-missed winter festivity.

The bracing cold air makes you feel alive as the massive Belgian horses whisk you past the red 100-year-old dairy barn, rows of grape vines, cherry and apple orchards, and into the woods. You can delve under lap blankets on the sleigh’s wooden benches to stay warm while John narrates the winery’s history, including the 1950s and ’60s heyday when Door County became known as “Cherryland USA” because it grew 95 percent of the tart cherries in the United States.

Bundled up, we're ready for the ride.

Bundled up, we're ready for the ride.

The beautiful snow and blue sky are accompanied by the ringing of sleigh bells, which just naturally makes you jolly. No wonder Santa laughs so much.

The Fruits of Summer—Enjoyed in Winter

After the sleigh ride, our group browsed in the Orchard Country Winery store, which sells just about every food you can think of that uses cherries: cherry wine, Montmorency cherry juice, cherry salsa, frozen and canned cherries, cherry honey-mustard pretzel dip, cherry jam, cherry vinaigrette, cherry raspberry pie filling, cherry chocolate topping (for ice cream), cherry barbecue sauce, cherry almond scone mix, cherry jalapeño spread—and even cherry popcorn.

Many of Orchard Country Winery's wines are decorated with awards they've won.

Many of Orchard Country Winery's wines are decorated with awards they've won.

I tasted six wines—everything from Cherry Chardonnay (a cherry/ grape blend that’s only faintly cherry flavored) to Cherry Blossom (100 percent cherries) with a rich cherry taste. The Winter Wine—an estate-grown Montmorency cherry wine spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves—was one of my favorites, especially after being outside in the cold.

Because one of the joys of traveling is carrying home some of the local foods or beverages as souvenirs, I brought home a bottle of Winter Wine for my family to celebrate with on Christmas.

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor

Feel free to share your most treasured memories of flavors from your travels.

I love the naked architecture of trees and the quaint barns in Door County. This red one belongs to Orchard County Winery.

2 thoughts on “Sleigh Bells Jingle in Door County, Wisconsin

  1. Laurel, I’m so excited to have your blog to read, after reading your work over a period of time in EnCompass, etc. I especially appreciate this post because it brings back happy memories of Bailey’s Harbor (I think that’s in Door County?) where I used to visit the publishers of my book of poems.

    You write so well, and your photos are spectacular. May I ask what kind of camera you use? I’m about to get one for photos for my own blog. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the compliment! I mostly photograph with my digital Canon Rebel SLR, because it gives me flexibility to zoom in and out, change filters, and more.

    However, when I’m in dicey weather or want to be less conspicuous, I pack along the little Canon Sureshot point-and-shoot camera that fits in my pocket. It takes pretty decent pics (although the ISO 1600 shots come out grainy) and it’s not so big to haul around.

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