Ring in the New Year in Door County

New Year’s Day is a time of celebration and fresh beginnings. And what better way to do that than spend New Year’s with new friends (and your old favourites) here at our inn? The Chanticleer Guest House has been decorated for the season, and we’ve got both spacious and cozy rooms available – perfect for a party or a more intimate gathering.

However, the stroke of midnight doesn’t have to mean the end of your fun. Several events are happening this coming New Year’s in Door County. Nearby in the town of Egg Harbor, there’s the annual New Year’s parade, which happens rain or shine – a perfect way to enjoy the sights and sounds of our part of Wisconsin, with live music, food vendors, and ice sculptures.

If you’re feeling brave, you can also head down to Lakeside Park to take part in a Polar Bear Swim in Lake Michigan – though you might want to pack some blankets and a thermos of hot tea or coffee to help warm you up after your dip in the lake!

Of course, there are many things to do in Door County at this time of year, New Year’s Day or no. In particular, you can take advantage of the hiking trails close to our inn, or take part in many other winter activities, like sleigh rides, skiing, and snowshoeing.

The winter snow is always a beautiful sight to behold – what better way to take it in than spending time outside, enjoying nature and healthy activity? We feel that Door County has a rare type of beauty, and love more than anything to show it to others. In particular, it always seems fitting to have visitors with us during New Year’s, so that they can experience the beauty we see every day for the first time.

We wish you and your family a holiday season filled with hope and love – and a Happy New Year!


Celebrate Christmas in Door County With Chanticleer

Christmas is just around the corner, and you know what that means – it’s the perfect time to get away and enjoy the holidays with your family in the peace and quiet of Door County. With winter just starting, you can enjoy a time of rest and relaxation in one of our cozy, beautiful suites.

In celebration of the season, the Chanticleer decorates every single room with garlands of fresh plants to give the entire inn a rustic touch. Each fireplace gets its own decoration, and each decoration is unique.

However, we also pay attention to the most important part of decorating for the holidays: the Christmas tree. We choose tall trees that extend to the rafters of each room and festoon them with ornaments of red, silver, and gold to make them look as festive and welcoming as possible.

The Christmas celebrations extend all the way across the county, in fact. From concerts to festivals, Door County will help you celebrate Christmas with your family in style. For example, you can visit the Merry-Time Festival of Trees at the Door County Maritime Museum until December 11th.

The festival is a wonderful way to introduce your family to the delights of the region and to learn more about the Door County Community. You can even take part in a raffle to win your own uniquely decorated Christmas tree to take home with you!

You can also take part in decorating a gingerbread house at other local establishments – what better way to spend time with your family than working together to create something delicious?

Christmas is a time of sharing and togetherness as we buy gifts for each other and appreciate each other’s company. What better way to do that than spend the holiday in comfort with your friends at the Chanticleer Guest House?

Thanksgiving in Door County

Thanksgiving is wonderful in Door County. Forget frantically trying to buy the latest gadgets during a Black Friday sale – why would you want to have all that stress when there are so many other lovely things to do at this time of the year?

With the changing of the seasons and the cool nip of frost in the air, it’s the perfect time to settle down with family, curl up in front of a fire, and celebrate love and togetherness with a fine meal. If you’re looking to take a holiday and celebrate Thanksgiving with your family in Door County, the Chanticleer Guest House is the perfect place to do so. Our comfortable and cozy suites will give you just the touch of home that you’re looking for when you’re away.

There are plenty of other things you can do here during Thanksgiving besides having a feast. Why not consider attending the Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 22nd, which is only a short drive away in Jacksonport?  Even better, you can enjoy the fresh air on one of Door County’s many hiking trails and work up an appetite ahead of Thanksgiving dinner.

While you’re in town, you can spend the days before and after the holiday sampling Door County’s fine local food, including its artisanal cheeses and plentiful local wines. You may enjoy it so much that you won’t want to leave! If you want to inquire about other local attractions or activities, let us know – we’ll be happy to help you make the most of your stay.

Thanksgiving is a time of thoughtfulness and caring for others. With our comfortable suites – which we’re already decorating for the holidays! – Chanticleer Guest House will give you the perfect backdrop to relax, connect, and spend time with the people you love.

Christmas at the B&B in Door County

B&B door county

Before you know it, “‘tis the season” will be here. We love the holiday season when we deck out the Chanticleer in full holiday décor. It all starts in early November, when we begin setting up and decorating our Christmas trees. Each suite, cabin, and common area gets its own Christmas tree.

After Thanksgiving, I hand-make fresh evergreen garlands and install them above each fireplace. Accented with hydrangea flowers, pine cones, boxwood branches, and rosehips, the garland really makes the suites and cabins feel homey! We try to decorate each suite differently, using different types of evergreens for each.

If you are looking for a quiet time to see Door County, the holiday season is perfect. You can enjoy your visit without having to worry about traffic, crowds, or dinner reservations! Sturgeon Bay has its city-wide celebration, “Christmas by the Bay,” from Friday November 16th to Sunday November 18th. There are other activities planned throughout the county all the way up through Christmas, like the “Holly Days” in late November in Egg Harbor.

If you like music, you’re bound to enjoy the annual Christmas concert of the Peninsula Singers, a lovely choir in Door County. They’ll be hosting two concerts, in fact – one in Sturgeon Bay on December 8th, and a second in Sister Bay on the 9th. Don’t forget that with autumn just behind us, you can also enjoy delicious specialties like hot apple cider and other late-harvest goodies.

However, it just wouldn’t be winter without spending a little time outdoors, and there are plenty of opportunities for you to enjoy the snow. Door County offers a variety of winter activities, like skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding, not to mention sleigh rides, sledding, and ice fishing. With so many things to choose from, you may not even want to leave!

The best part is that the Chanticleer bed and breakfast is open throughout the holidays, along with many other businesses in Sturgeon Bay. Treat yourself and spend the holiday season with us!

B&B Door County Autumn Splendor

Autumn would be our favorite season…if only it didn’t lead into winter! All kidding aside, there are few places in Wisconsin more beautiful than Door County during autumn. The colors of the leaves – vivid shades of orange, red, purple and yellow – are spectacular this year.

Autumn at Chanticleer Guest House

Autumn at Chanticleer Guest House

Flocks of migrating geese are a common sight now, as are flocks of robins and bluebirds preparing for their journey south. Here at the Chanticleer Guest House, we have decorated for autumn. Bryon had a bumper crop of pumpkins, which he placed around the inn, along with corn stalks and Indian corn. The gardens are full of late-blooming asters, butterfly bushes, and the last shrub rose blossoms of the year.

Why not grab a hot mug of apple cider and go for a walk on the trails? Door County’s apple harvest is in full swing. The orchards around us are loaded with apples and there are several varieties to choose from. Our favorite is still the Honeycrisp, but Gala, Cortland, and Red Delicious apples are all wonderful choices for the season. Make sure to plan a trip up to Door County soon, since the apples and colorful leaves will not last long.

Apples aren’t the only wonderful thing about Door County in autumn, as the region is full of artisanal cheesemakers. When you visit us, why not attend some cheese tastings in the area and learn more about where Wisconsin’s reputation for making the best cheese in the country comes from?

Of course, the best thing to pair with our wonderful local cheeses is some wine, and there are several nearby wineries to choose from. Whether you want to try some of our amazing Merlots, Rieslings, or even cherry wine – cherries being a specialty crop around here – Door County’s wineries will not disappoint. Once you’ve tasted and sipped to your heart’s content, you can return to the comforts of the Chanticleer – we’ll give you a restful and relaxing experience that will provide the perfect finish to your trip.

Celebrating 18 Years at The Chanticleer Door County


In a few weeks, Bryon and I will have completed 18 years of inn keeping.  It seems like yesterday that guests would arrive and ask us if our parents owned the place!  Ah, the good old days…  Now couples arrive (who look like they could be our children) and call us sir!  The average length of time most people own a bed and breakfast is around 7 years.  Here are a few reasons we still enjoy operating the Chanticleer Guest House after 18 years…

  • Most of our best friends are people who have stayed at the inn.  We have met so many wonderful people over the years, and that is what makes our job so enjoyable.
  • We have our own private living space and respect the privacy of our guests.  In the old days, bed and breakfasts were single family homes in which you would rent a bedroom.  Guests would share a common bathroom and actually use the owner’s living space.  We have our private living area to relax in, and we try to provide the same atmosphere for our guests.  Can you image all of us fighting over the television remote?!?
  •  Treat everyone who walks through the door with respect.  After 18 years, it has made being an innkeeper a fun career and it also makes guests enjoy coming back.
  •  We enjoy that fact that most people are happy when they are on vacation! 

So many wonderful occasions have occurred at the Chanticleer over the years.  Couples have celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, and we’ve hosted weddings and wedding receptions.  Several couples have been engaged here and we suspect one or two children have been conceived here!  We do promote ourselves as a romantic bed and breakfast!

We have so many fun and interesting stories after running the Chanticleer for 18 years.  Guests say we should write a book.  Well, we are starting off with a blog!  Here’s to 18 years of inn keeping and to many more!


The Chanticleer Flock of sheep

Before welcoming our first guests in October of 1993, we welcomed our flock of sheep.  With 30 acres of property, 15 acres of which were pasture land, we thought bringing a flock of sheep from home was a perfect fit for a county inn.  We raise Border Leicester sheep; an ancient wool breed, which originated in the “Border” area of Great Britain.  Border Leicester sheep are know for their long, lustrous wool, which is excellent for hand spinning.

Many guests of the Chanticleer ask, “What does it mean to have a working sheep farm”.  Our answer to that common question is we actually shear our sheep, produce lambs in the spring and sell lambs for breeding, and for market.

We try to shear our sheep in the spring time, before the ewes have their lambs.  Shearing at this time of the year helps motivate the ewes to lamb in our barn, out of the elements, which is both helpful to the lambs and the innkeeper!  Lambs are born in late March, or early April, and lambing time is the most stressful time of the year when dealing with our sheep.  Darrin goes out every couple of hours, day and night, to check on the ewes and to see if any lambs are being born.  While most often there are no complications, sometimes we have to help a ewe give birth, or motivate a lamb to start nursing.

Years ago, we used to ship our wool to a woolen mill and have our wool processed into yarn.  A good friend of ours would knit the wool into sweaters and we would offer them for sale at the inn.  The cost of shipping wool became extremely expensive and our friend married, so we stopped producing wool sweaters.  Now, the wool we shear is either given away, or we toss it into the woods for the animals to use for nesting material.  If any reader knows of someone who could use some raw wool, please send them our way!

Many of our guests come from large cities and rarely see livestock, such as sheep.  Although they are extra work, we thoroughly enjoy raising lambs and our guests seem to appreciate being able to watch them graze around the inn.  Please send us your sheep questions and check out the photos of our sheep on our website.

10 Reasons to Visit Door County

Although there are innumerable reasons to visit Door County, here are our 10 favorite reasons to visit the peninsula…

Natural Beauty.  From farm fields, to orchards, to shoreline and woodlands, we think the natural beauty of Door County is the main reason to visit.

The Arts.  With such a small population, Door County is blessed with such a wonderful variety of performing arts.  Third Avenue Playhouse, in Sturgeon Bay, and Peninsula Players and American Folklore Theater, both in Fish Creek, are among our favorites.

300 miles of Shoreline.  The most of any county in the United States!  You don’t have to travel far to enjoy the shores of Lake Michigan and Green Bay.

Galleries Galore.  Whether you are into ceramics, glass, pottery, painting or fiber arts, Door County has an artist’s gallery for everyone.

Delicious Dining.  From fine dining, fish boils or a burger and beer…if you like to eat, Door County is the place for you.

For the Birds.  Very few places in Wisconsin have more variety of birds to watch.  Summer residents include sandhill cranes, bluebirds, grosbeaks, wrens, hawks, orioles, just name a few.  We even have white pelicans as a summer resident!  Fall and spring migration bring swans and other waterfowl.  Make sure to bring your bird guide and binoculars. 

Cherry and Apple Picking.  Commercial orchards have been established in Door County since the early 1900’s.  They still exist.  However, smaller orchards allow visitors to pick their own cherries and apples. 

Shop ‘til you Drop.  There’s no shortage of shops, stores and boutiques on the peninsula.  Each town in Door County has their own quaint shopping district and what better way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Wine tasting.  There are several excellent wineries in Door County.  All offer wine tasting and several provide guided tours, which show the wine making process up close.  From California style wines to Door County fruit wines, you’ll enjoy sampling and taking a couple of bottles home.

Out on the Water.  Kayaking or canoeing give visitors an intimate view of the shoreline.  If you are not that adventurous, rent a sail boat charter, fishing charter or enjoy the relative luxury of the Harbor Lady dinner cruise ship. 

Whatever you enjoy doing, we know you will have a terrific time visiting Door County!

Recommended Restaurants in Door County

Most guests, of the Chanticleer, ask for dinner recommendations.  They often inquire, “Name the best restaurant in Door County”.  Our answer to that question, “it depends”.  We have two favorite restaurants, and both are excellent.  We enjoy them both so much, we promote them through our dinner packages. 

Donny’s Glidden Lodge Restaurant, in Sturgeon Bay, is a terrific restaurant if you enjoy steaks and seafood.  Located literally on the shore of Lake Michigan, it would be difficult to find a restaurant with a better water view.  Located in an old stone lodge, built in the 1930’s, you can see Lake Michigan from every table in the house.  Serving juicy steaks, fish and the best lobster in Door County, you’d have a hard time not finding something to satisfy your appetite. 

Donny’s also has a stone patio, where you can enjoy a drink before dinner.  Simply take a seat on the patio and Mary will come out and take your drink order.  When your table is ready, she’ll come out and let you know.  With wonderful food, terrific service and a beautiful view, Donny’s is one of the best places, for dinner, in Door County!

The Inn at Kristofer’s, located in Sister Bay, is our favorite fine dining restaurant.  The food is terrific and they offer a spectacular sunset view, looking out over the Sister Bay marina.  My absolute favorite dish isn’t even a dish. It’s a starter!  The Brie with Warm Brandied Fruit is so delicious; I have a hard time sharing it with Bryon.  New this year is an outside dining area, which is a welcome treat, since there are very few restaurants, in Door County, who offer outside dining.  They also offer cooking classes in the winter months.  Contact them quickly, since space is limited and the classes are very popular!

If wonderfully fresh food, paired with a terrific wine selection and a spectacular sunset view is what you’re looking for, then The Inn at Kristofer’s is the restaurant for you.  Please check out their website at www.innatkristofers.com 

There are a lot of excellent restaurants on the peninsula, but for a consistently wonderful dining experience, we highly recommend Donny’s Glidden Lodge Restaurant and The Inn at Kristofer’s!

The Migration of Door County Bluebirds

We remember our first trip to Door County, in the spring of 1993.  Our purpose for that trip was to come up and visit friends, and stop for lunch in Sturgeon Bay.  As we were driving, we saw a flash of blue beside the highway.  A bluebird had flown up from the ditch and perched himself on a wooden fence post.  We were so excited to actually see a bluebird!  Bryon is originally from Chilton, WI and I grew up in Brooklyn, WI.  I had never seen a bluebird, and Bryon had only witnessed one as a child.  That spring day in 1993 would be the beginning of our passion with bluebirds.

After purchasing the property that would eventually become The Chanticleer Guest House, we set out to bring more bluebirds to our little patch of Door County.  We installed 3 bluebird houses and waited for our little blue friends to arrive in flocks.  They didn’t.  Well, not right away.  We were too late in setting our bird houses and they had already found suitable nests.  While nesting, bluebirds are quite scarce, and in reality, we really were too busy renovating our farmhouse to be searching for bluebirds.  Summer came and went and all of a sudden, we noticed bluebirds on our sheep fence posts and in our bird bath.  We were ecstatic!  The bluebird parents had fledged their chicks and were busy flying down from our fence posts, plucking bugs to feed their hungry offspring.

That first autumn the flocks of bluebirds came in groups of 10 to 20 birds.  They would hang out, searching for food and then all of a sudden, vanished.  Without warning, they all had flown south.  We were so excited to have been able to witness not only a single bluebird that spring, but flocks of them migrating to warmer climates!  When, and how many, would return that next spring?

18 years later, and after countless batches of bluebirds popping out of our bluebird houses, we are still excited when we see those beautiful little birds.  While still not as common as robins, we seem to notice more and more pairs coming back to Chanticleer in the spring.  Our winter ritual of cleaning out bluebird houses has surprised us with some bluebirds staying until December, using our nest boxes as a cozy home.  We know spring is here when we hear the unmistakable melody of the bluebird’s song, floating over our barren sheep pastures in March.

For all you avid bird watchers, we would love to have you come in early spring to witness the spring migration of our Door County bluebirds.