Repost: Toft Point

Today’s post is a reprint of an article that was published this morning on a local tourism website.  It’s about one of my favorite spots here in Door County.  I know many of my readers of this blog don’t live here, but hopefully you’ll get here some day. If so, this is one place I’ll take you..


On Ridges Road, a long road that turns east outside of Baileys Harbor, there’s a sign near the end that says Toft Point.


Turning onto that barely paved road will take you (eventually) to a few parking spots which feel like they have been carved out of the green, green woods. Here, you won’t find crowds. In fact, if it weren’t for the kiosk assuring you that you’re in the right place, you might wonder if it’s ok to be there. And certainly, if you hike the ½ mile path through unspoiled forest, you won’t find an ice cream shop at the end.   There won’t be docent-led tours or sparkling bathrooms or a gift shop. In fact, you’ll likely see no one as you sit on weathered rocks to take in the music of waves lapping on the Lake Michigan shore.


What you will find is old growth forest. This means, that unlike most Door County trees that were cut down in the 1800’s to supply wood for Chicago and cities to the South, these trees were untouched. Kersten Toft, the original settler, insisted that 40 acres be saved from logging, which means trees here are well over 200 years old.


You’ll see more evidence of this commitment to natural preservation as you walk. The land and the water is prominent; man-made structures are few. One of Kersten’s eight children, Emma Toft, operated a basic vacation resort; her cabins offered few amenities but gave stunning views of the water. She reportedly allowed porcupines in her pantry and chided any guest who picked wildflowers. Her devotion to preservation was legendary; it was she and a small band of like-minded environmentalists who, in 1937, recognized the value of the adjoining Ridges Sanctuary and saved it from development.


Toft Point is now a State Natural Area. This ongoing commitment to preservation means that guests on the land can see what guests have always seen: cormorants and gulls and tundra swans.


There are seventeen species of nesting warblers, and lovely spring flowers:

lake iris

Rare orchids, and the federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly.

The few people who come to Toft Point tend to walk slowly and leisurely. They look up into the trees for birds or down at the forest floor for flowers. Or, they read a book at the water’s edge and munch on a snack. They are mostly happy to be where other people are not.

Henry David Thoreau said that solitude makes a great companion. After a day spent at Toft’s Point, you’ll be likely to agree with him.

To see how this article appeared on Door County Today, click here: Solitude Makes a Great Companion, By Ann Heyse

toft point

2 thoughts on “Repost: Toft Point

  1. Hi Ann,

    Thank you for that lovely piece of writing! I am REALLY enjoying being on your mailing list – finally. 🙂

    I hope that you are doing well despite the cold, snow, and darkness. Have you ever read *Housekeeping* by Marilyn Robinson. It’s her first novel. Very beautifully written, though quite slow paced. Here’s a little excerpt I loved and thought I would share:

    “When we did come home Sylvie would certainly be home, too enjoying the evening, for so she described her habit of sitting in the dark…Sylvie in a house was more or less like a mermaid in a ship’s cabin. She preferred it sunk in the very element it was meant to exclude. We had crickets in the pantry, squirrels in the eaves, sparrows in the attic. Lucille and I stepped through the door from sheer night to sheer night.”

    Would you ever be up for a finding a time to talk on the phone for a bit? If that’s not your thing, though, no worries.

    Have a wonderful friday! Abby


    • Abby,
      Thanks so much for reading my blog. I love knowing that people are actually seeing it.
      You know that I love Marilyne Robinson, but I have to say that “Housekeeping” is my least favorite of her books. I think it’s because I never connected with (or liked) the characters as much as I do in her Gilead series. That being said, the passage you quoted sure is powerful…
      I’m not great on the phone, but I will email you soon and we can set up a time to chat. ( I promise!)


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