The picturesque village of Ephraim is nestled in the heart of the Door County peninsula. Settled in 1853 by Norwegian Moravians on the tranquil shores of Eagle Harbor, Ephraim is one of Door County's finest treasures. Ephraim's rich heritage has been carefully preserved in more than 30 historical sites throughout the village. You can step into the past by taking a Historical Walking Tour or visiting one of the village museums.
Ephraim has the most accessible shoreline of all Door County communities. There is something for everyone along the waterfront. Adventurous types can explore Eagle Harbor from a jet ski, a kayak, or by para-sail high above the Bay. Rent a family-sized pontoon boat or enjoy the panoramic view of Ephraim and nearby Peninsula State Park on a sailboat tour. Spend a day relaxing at the public sand beach. Finish the day with a picture perfect sunset!
Door County was cited in Midwest Living Magazine as "One of the best places to find a gift" and you will find the best selection the county has to offer in Ephraim! Within walking distance of most accommodations are shops and galleries set in century-old barns, rustic log cabins and vintage homes. Visitors will have an unforgettable shopping experience with the wide range of high quality items including clothing, jewelry, home furnishings, garden accessories, fine art and much more. Ephraim is home to more harbor-view dining than anywhere else on the Door peninsula. Your taste buds will surely be delighted by the variety of cuisine offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Be sure to try some of the classics, such as buttermilk pancakes and Belgian waffles smothered in Door County cherries, creative egg wraps, delicious homemade soups and sandwiches, Norwegian meatballs, or a traditional Door County fish boil. Don't forget to save room for a world-famous ice cream cone at Wilson's.
Whether your stay is for a day, a week, a month, or longer, Ephraim offers a full range of accommodations from modestly priced cottages to elegant hospitality inns, and everything else in between. Please check our web site for complete descriptions and details. Spring, summer, fall, and winter - in every season there is a reason to visit Ephraim!
History: Ephraim's Founding Father...
The modern-day village of Ephraim was founded in 1853 by the Moravian minister Reverend Andreas Iverson (pictured at right), and his band of loyal followers. Born in Norway, Iverson felt called to ministry as a young adult and he was trained and ordained as a Lutheran minister at the Norwegian Mission Society. It was here that he learned about the Moravian faith, to which he eventually gravitated and served as a minister for many years. Interestingly, the Norwegian Mission Society served several religious groups, but as Lutheranism was Norway's official religion, only the Lutheran church was approved to ordain students.
Iverson's first view of the area that would become Ephraim came from Eagle Island, now known as Horseshoe Island. The visit to the island, owned by fellow Norwegian immigrant Ole Larsen, was the culmination of a series of events and personal connections coupled with a strong desire to create a home for his budding congregation. On a cold February day in 1853, Iverson, accompanied by congregation members Gabriel Wathne, Abraham Oneson, and Melchior Jacobs, crossed the ice to the mainland and excitedly realized that this was the place for their new home. Iverson nurtured his flock in Ephraim for 11 years, when a disagreement and the loss of support of several leaders of the congregation forced him to leave the area for good.
The Norwegian influence is still strong in Ephraim, as seen in the sturdy stone architecture of the gabled old Village Hall, the Iverson House, and the Svalhus.
The old Village Hall was designed by William Bernhard in the early 1920s. He was approached by village officials to design a building that would honor both the area as well as the Norwegian heritage of the community. Bernhard's original design was more elaborate than they had expected, and the plans were subsequently turned over to Fred Crandall from Sturgeon Bay. Crandall modified the plans, incorporating many of the Norwegian-style features but a bit more subdued. The building today retains that Norwegian feel and inside are a number of panel-murals depicting Scandinavian life. The painted panels are the result of a collaboration between the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa and the Ephraim Historical Foundation.
Things to Do:
Ephraim is filled with activities heavily focused on enjoying the beautiful water surrounding this quaint village. Here are few "to-dos" we feel you might want to explore.
Ephraim Kayak Center: Click Here
Paddle beneath majestic limestone bluffs, past picturesque lighthouses, along Door County's phenomenal shorelines, and maybe into a sea cave! Ephraim's Kayak Center affords paddlers of all abilities the opportunity to enjoy Door County from the quiet and safety of a sea kayak with a fun, professional tour guide. Call 920-854-4336.
Stiletto Sailing Cruises: Click Here
Sail away on a large, comfortable catamaran sailboat. Cruise the shores and bluffs of Ephraim, Peninsula State Park and beyond. See caves, lighthouses, islands and more. Relax aboard one of our smooth, stable 31 foot sailboat as you enjoy the Door Peninsula's stunning beauty and historic folklore. The USCG licensed captains will provide a safe and enjoyable trip for all ages. Call 920- 854-7245
Wisconsin Water Wings: Click Here
You'll never get over the thrill-and-beauty of soaring comfortably hundreds of feet above scenic Eagle Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin. This truly spectacular experience will amaze and delight you. Take a camera along and remember it forever! This dynamic water sport uses a parachute that goes UP. After a smooth lift-off you'll be taken on a breathtaking, enjoyable and thoroughly safe tour of Door County waters. The Para-Sail steers itself; all you have to do is relax and enjoy the view. Your exhilarating ride on the wind ends with a gradual descent and soft touch down right back on our 37 foot custom-built boat. Call 920-854-9000.
Ephraim Village Museums: Click Here
Experience historic Ephraim and visit five lovingly restored museum buildings located throughout the village including: Anderson Barn History Center, Anderson Store, Historic Iverson House, Pioneer Schoolhouse, and the Goodletson Cabin. Costumed guides portray characters and relate tales of early life in old Ephraim. Call 920-854-9688.
For a comprehensive overview of Ephraim including lodging, dining and more visit: www.ephraim-doorcounty.com