The Darkside of Door County, WI…the Trolley Ghost Tour 2020.
They say you believe or you don’t in ghosts…and had I not seen one before me as a child, I probably wouldn’t give two thoughts about them. It’s been a lifelong wonder of mine of what they TRULY are and so I am always down for a Ghost Tour anywhere. While visiting Dad up in Door County, Wisconsin, I came across a flyer that advertised the Trolley Tours, but what caught my eye was the Haunted one. The Trolley idea itself sounded fun, but add some “spookiness” to it and I am game! Located in Egg Harbor in Door County, right off of Hwy 42, it is was easy to find and get too.
Adults are $31.95 (with tax my total was $35.63) for this tour and children (5-16) are $23.95 (as of the date this article was written). I paid online with no problems, got a receipt via my email, and then also got another email letting me know details for the tour. Please note that these tours are NON-REFUNDABLE and tour tickets cannot be rescheduled (Important to know during these interesting times). I went on a SATURDAY evening, June 27th 2020 and during the COVID-19 Season. Well, we hope it’s a season right? At the time of my tour, Wisconsin was starting too decline in cases, and so I felt safe to try this out. They say on their website they are only filling the trolleys to 75% capacity, but every row on mine was filled except for the bench behind me. Could it be that was the 25% less? Maybe. It would have felt better to have every other bench be open for safety but I didn’t know how “full” it would be until everyone was on board and off you go. They did “reserve” the seats with your name taped to them- a simple nicety for those of us who like to meander in the gift shop, have a drink, and get on at the last possible second because there’s no rush to get a seat. I was so excited though that I was the third one on… yeah, always been like that. A side note, if you can REQUEST a seat, ask to be on the RIGHT side of the trolley, as I was on the left and most of the homes spoken about were on the RIGHT side, along with the sunset at the end of the day was on the RIGHT as well. If you like to take pictures, it’s something you’ll want to take advantage of.
Before getting on, the parking was easy and I found it better behind the building where all the trolleys are parked. I checked in with their ticket window, which is across from the drinks and beverage bar, and they gave me a colored ticket which coincides with the color that is on your trolley. Simple. Basic. Easy. They do recommend bug spray for the places you get on and off at on the tour, I bought a handheld bug spray pen for $3 that is for sale at their ticket window. Ironically, forgot I bought it and I now own a brand new bug spray pen (seriously I never needed it). They recommend getting there 30 mins early which I was, but honestly not sure why unless they get crazy busy that the wait time to check in is that. My tour was for 7:00 pm and was to last until 9:15 p.m.. You are allowed to bring drinks purchased at the Gift Shop, its encouraged, and they have an array of delightful spirits to enjoy with the other spirits. I looked in my emails and couldn’t find anything against outside food and drink being brought on, so call ahead and ask on that one.
Our ghost host, Ross, was promptly on the trolley to give us the 411 on what we were about to do and then jumped off to get into character for the rest of the ride. Now, I was there on a summer evening and it was warm all day, in the 90s. But, as the sun set, it obviously got a bit cooler. I wasn’t cold AT ALL until the ride began its 45-50 mph speed on the highway to and from the main destinations. The windows are at your discretion to open or close, and lucky me I was sitting next to the emergency exit which had to stay open. I didn’t bring a jacket or sweatshirt, big mistake only when we were careening down the highway. So take note to just bring something to stay warm on that journey, it can be left on the Trolley as you can get off and on at stops, so its best to just play it safe and bring something.
Our tour began at the home of Samuel Baxter and his story set in an old farmhouse off of the highway in 1897. Yes, I took notes but I will just be giving you the cliff notes version as it is far more exciting to hear them all in person for yourself (or find the attention of Sir Google himself). We then parked inside the city of “Fish Creek” where we heard the sad story of Huey Melvin, a little boy of 5, who learned that tetanus can be deadly. Then across from Huey’s home is the Alexander Noble Home… the most haunted home in Door County. Now due to Covid, we were unable to tour the old home but heard all of the ghost stories and he handed out pictures of the inside and the spirits they have caught on camera. Now, I know that the best way to catch something is to just start taking as many pictures in sucession as you can. That way you have comparable evidence of the before and after of any shots you may get. As Ross spoke, I felt like I was being watched from the doorway. So I just took pic after pic, not really thinking much of it. But as we headed back onto the Trolley, I zoomed into the doorway pic that didn’t look normal, and low and behold I CAUGHT A FACE!!! Below you will see the normal pic I took of some 20 plus feet away, and then the pic enhanced so you can see it better. It’s freaky but I’m still happy I caught something. I was skeptical that maybe it was matrixing and I was just “looking for something to be there” so I went back the next day and took a pic of the same door and there was nothing (bottom pic). Leave in the comments what you see.
The tour then took us down to the waters edge, which was gorgeous at that time of day, the view alone was worth it. He told us of a famous shipwreck and the Captain who would lose his life. Now, Ross, our ghost host, has a Shakespearian background and it shows. I felt this part of the tour was right out of the Renaissance Faire…he is excellent, but it was a bit much for a ghost tour. He needs to work at Bristol. Another family home ghost story with a tragic Christmas, and then onto the State Park for a visit to one of the Cemeteries and the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse (Again not open right now). What I loved about this part was that the sun was just setting and it was just gorgeous high in the hills. They tie the ghost stories well to the real people that lived them who are all buried in the local Cemeteries in the Peninsula State Park. There is a large cemetery and a small one, the small one is where the little boy, Huey, rests. The family didn’t want the tours attending it there anymore, so they only take you to the large cemetery. Keep in mind, on your own, anyone can go see the Pioneer Cemetery which is the small one.
So picture this….the sun is going down, the temps are lovely, and Ross drives up to one of the bluffs that look over the Lake. It was a picture perfect moment…and he tells us another story…I kid you not, bagpipe music starts playing behind the trolley. I wondered “I bet this trolley is messing up someone’s proposal moment” because honestly that’s how perfect that moment was up there. Some random person was playing his bagpipes as the sun set…ok, I just went with it. Odd but beautiful.
The sky was just starting to get dark as we headed back to the Trolley Center, and as we drove the highway we listened to songs of “Monster Mash” and “Thriller.” Cheesy? A tad, but maybe I would’ve enjoyed that part more had I not been freezing from the wind on the highway or had I been drunk.
So here are my thoughts on all of this. There is a HUGE difference between a ghost tour, a paranormal tour, and a haunted history tour albeit the haunted history and ghost are very similar. A paranormal tour is where you can use your ghost box, your ghost equipment that you provide or they do and you talk to them and see what evidence you can come up with. A haunted history tour is called this usually to not associate with the paranormal but add that “haunted” as a spook factor to the tour. A “ghost tour” is a tour that is a good mix of both, having the spook factor involved with a bit of history on where the spookiness was based on. This was more of a mix between the ghost and haunted history. Now, the price was totally worth it- been on more expensive for half the entertainment so you definitely will get your moneys worth no matter what you’re looking for in it. And honestly that’s what this tour was…entertainment. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t feel spooked at all, even at the Cemetery I was more curious about the older headstones and the forest around it than the ghosts that may or may not have been there. I would’ve liked the tour to be later at night in the dark, especially for what the subject matter is. I understand that this would take some creative lighting with flashlights or cell phone lights, but it could be done, but it would’ve been a heck of a lot scarier. I suggest they do a midnight tour (which I think they may do at Halloween) but all year round- maybe just on weekends, but there is enough interest in it these days that I feel they would be very successful at it later. I mean this is for children as well, so that tells you the range of “scariness” of it. 1-10, 10 being fantastic, I would give this tour a 9. Ross did an amazing job of not only telling the stories memorized and with feeling, but he also drove the darn thing! On top of the fact that these tours are perfect for Bridesmaid parties, Birthdays, etc.. that you really could have a wild time with drinks as you are driven around everywhere. They do provide other daytime tours like a Premier Wine Tour, Family Ride, Lighthouse Tour, and other nightime ones such as the Murder and Mayhem Tour and a Haunted Pub Crawl. I hope to try another one when I visit my Dad again next month, so stay tuned to see which one I try. They do sell out, as I was not able to get into the Haunted Pub Crawl at all, but I was able to grab a ticket for the ghost tour. My best advice is to book as soon as possible- even with Covid amongst us.
Now, let me say something on the Covid factor with this because those who are going this summer will want to know. The employees had masks on and our host had his on the entire tour- no one else on the trolley had one on but me. I couldn’t “distance” on the trolley, but when we exited on and off I always made sure to stand 6 feet or more away from the group. I hand sanitized myself after every time I got off and on, and I washed my hands after I got back from the tour to my Bed & Breakfast. I did as much as I could, and now we wait and see, but I am letting you know my experience. I wasn’t scared at all about getting it, as their numbers in Door County have been small, but the reality is still there that anyone can get it and I did my best to protect myself. Just a heads up for those of you thinking about going.
I enjoyed the Ghost Tour and I appreciate Ross and his passion for the love of his job and for being a phenomenal storyteller. Check them out at doorcountytolley.com.
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