Frequently Asked Questions
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Washington Island, located off the northern tip of Door County, WI, is the beautiful, peaceful home to a variety of outdoor activities, dining experiences, accommodations, and opportunities for relaxation and reflection. Home to 700 year-round residents and seasonal home to thousands, the Island is blessed not only with remoteness and natural beauty but with most of the comforts of civilization. We have a grocery store, a hardware store, a post office, gas stations, and several restaurants and shops. The Island can be reached via the Washington Island Ferry, a car and passenger ferry taken by every visitor and island resident across Death’s Door passage.
For information about the Island, directions, and maps, please visit: http://washingtonisland.com/
For information about the ferry, including the ferry schedule and rates, visit: http://www.wisferry.com/
The ferry schedule, rates, and more can be found here: http://www.wisferry.com/
The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes.
During the Fall ferry season, ferries run to and from the Island on the hour during the day. See the ferry website for official departure times to and from the Island.
Be in line at least 15 minutes before the scheduled departure. (Departure times may vary with weather and traffic.)
Ferry charges are per person and per vehicle; see ferry website for rates. The Washington Island Ferry Line accepts cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
There are four ferries: the Arni J. Richter, the Robert Noble, the Washington, and the Eyrarbakki. How did they get those names? Learn more about the fleet at: http://www.wisferry.com/fleet
Wisconsin uses Central Time, but on certain parts of the island or on Rock Island, your cell phone may pick up Eastern Time from Michigan. You may wish to select Central Time rather than auto-select in your phone settings for the duration of your visit. When in doubt, consult a watch, a clock, or a fellow festival-goer.
Cellular Signal Strength
Cellular signal tends to be stronger to the southwest (by the ferry). Depending on your carrier, you may have fairly good coverage, or you may have little to no coverage. Check with your carrier ahead of time if you anticipate needing to make calls.
Free Wi-fi is available 24-7 via the library in the Community Building at 910 Main Road. If the library is closed, signal is still available password-free by standing outside the Southwest corner of the building.
Wi-Fi is available at some, but not all, restaurants and lodgings, so if you think you’ll need Wi-Fi, check ahead of time. (Also note that the speed may not be quite as fast as what you have at home.)
Cash, Check, or Credit Cards
Wondering what forms of payment are acceptable? This varies by location.
The Washington Island Ferry Line accepts cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
Most restaurants, shops, and lodgings accept cash or check, but not all locations accept credit/debit cards. When in doubt, check ahead of time.
Fair Isle Books & Gifts and the Washington Island Literary Festival accept cash, checks, and credit/debit cards.
If you need to withdraw cash, there are two ATMs, one at the Nicolet National Bank and the other at the Middle Bar. If you have a debit card, you can withdraw cash when you make a purchase at Mann’s Store.
For a list of Washington Island restaurants, please visit: http://washingtonisland.com/restaurants/
Restaurant schedules vary by season; more details about current restaurant hours of operation will be provided in the Festival registration packets.
The Island also has a grocery store: Mann’s Store.
For a list of places to eat on the Door County Peninsula, please visit: https://www.doorcounty.com/dine/dining-finder/
Tips for driving on the island:
Speed limits are posted throughout the island. The limit is generally 25mph in the more populated areas, such as on Main Street, but the upper limit is 45mph.
Some roads have curves, hills, and trees that may restrict visibility, so drive carefully.
The island offers many forms of transportation, so be on the lookout for pedestrians, bicycles, scooters, ATVs/UTVs, motorcycles, and the island “train” tours.
The island also has a healthy wildlife population, so watch out for deer, turkeys, pheasants, foxes, and other critters crossing the road (including, yes, the occasional chicken).
Bicycles can be rented on the Island, and some lodgings also offer bicycles for free or for a moderate fee. For more details, please visit: http://washingtonisland.com/
If you plan a longer trip, or you’re traveling with friends or family who are looking for something to do while you’re at the Festival, there are many recreational activities on the Island. Please visit: http://washingtonisland.com/recreation/
Restrooms with running water are available at all Literary Festival locations, but if you’re out exploring the Island, facilities are also available at island parks. Schoolhouse Beach and the launch area for Rock Island State Park have facilities with running water, but other parks do not.