What to Expect this Summer at the Chanticleer Guest House

Chnaticleer Guest house summer 2013

Summer is always an exciting season here at the Chanticleer. Not only do we get to meet and greet many new visitors, but we also look forward to seeing old friends returning for a chance to rest, relax, and enjoy the beauty of Door County.

There are so many festivals and events to take part in here over the summer months that sometimes we lose count! For example, the cherry harvest is in full swing during the middle of July. Why not visit the many farmers’ markets across the region and sample fresh cherries, cherry jam, and fresh-baked cherry pie? There are several markets to choose from, including the Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay markets that open up on Saturdays from June to October. During your trip, don’t forget to sample some wine, or some of Wisconsin’s renowned cheeses. There’s also the all-you-can-eat Belgian waffle breakfast happening in Brussels on June 23rd if you like heartier fare.

Delicious food isn’t the only reason to visit Door County in the summer, though. There’s also the natural beauty of our waters, trails, and parks. For example, if you love hiking, then you’ll love taking part in National Trails Day on June 1st or the State Park Open House Day on June 2nd. If you’d like to learn more about our local heritage, you can also attend the Door County Lighthouse Festival, which runs from June 7th to July 9th.

On top of that, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate the arts, like the Birch Creek Concert Series in Egg Harbor. If you’re looking to see live performances of The Bard, Door County has those too – Door Shakespeare is running productions of both Macbeth and Love’s Labour’s Lost throughout July and August at the lovely Bjorklunden estate near Baileys Harbor.

These events don’t even scratch the surface of all the variety that’s available to enjoy in Door County over the summer. The best way to find out all we have to offer is to visit yourselves – we at the Chanticleer Guest House guarantee that we’ll provide everything you need to enjoy your stay in beauty and comfort.

The Baby Sheep Arrival at The Chanticleer Farm

Spring is here, and that means so many things in Door County. The weather is getting warmer and the grass is getting greener. One of the loveliest things about spring, though, is the fact that you’ll get to see lots of baby animals romping around with their mothers on all of the farms.

What better way to celebrate the new season than to see so much new life around you? We here at the Chanticleer have been getting ready to welcome those who want to experience what it’s like to see Door County in full bloom. In particular, we’d love our visitors to visit the welcome this year’s lambs.

Yes! We have sheep at the Chanticleer Guest House! Our lambing season starts on April 10th, just in time for the flowers to bloom. If you stay with us during the spring, you’ll not only get to see Door County at its springtime best, but you’ll also get to experience the pleasures of petting a beautiful young lamb’s wool.

During your stay, there are many other festivals and events you can attend to welcome the return of spring. For example, there’s the Festival of Blossoms, which is celebrated across the entire county from mid-April until June. You can tour our region from one end to the other and take in all of the gardens, woods, and orchards in full bloom.

If you’re up for a guided tour, there’s also the Spring Trolley Blossom Tour, which happens every Saturday morning in April and May, as well as a daily series of Segway eco-tours. During your trip, you’ll have the chance to see all of Door County’s beauty, from cherry orchards to lighthouses to the lakeside bluffs. If you prefer the water, we recommend attending the Sturgeon Bay Shipyard Tours on May 5th.

Whatever you decide to see, you’ll be guaranteed a pleasurable, relaxing stay at the Chanticleer Guest House. Our private cabins will provide you with the perfect setting to rest and rejuvenate after a busy day of farms, flowers, and local color. We look forward to welcoming you this spring!

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.

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.

The Chanticleer Garden A Work in Progress

I caught the gardening bug from my grandmother when I was about 8 years old.  Summer afternoons would find us pulling weeds and cutting fresh flowers that she would sell on her road side stand.  At the time it seemed like a horrible chore, but in reality, she was instilling in me a love of flowers, and gardening, that I still carry today.

When Bryon and I first drove up the driveway of 4072 Cherry Road, the yards were barren.  There wasn’t a flower on the entire property, except for a clump of yellow iris and a couple of variegated hostas.  With our energy focused on renovating the farm house to become a bed and breakfast, the beginnings of a flower garden would have to wait.  The Chanticleer Guest House opened it’s doors for business on October, 2nd 1993 and I promptly started the first garden that fall.  With boxes of perennials from my mother’s, and grandmother’s gardens, I began work on a small garden next to the front of the house.  Bryon and I had already installed a stone walkway, and the perrenials were a nice addition to our front entrance.

The previous owners had used the area inside our pool fence as a dog run.  It was a grassless mudhole that begged to be a flower garden.  After countless wheel barrows of manure, the pool garden took shape and we installed a fish pond behind the pool.  Peonies, day lilies, iris, phlox, perennial geraniums and seveal rhododendrons were planted.  I spent every spare moment either planning my next garden or working on an existing one.  My gardening hobby had slowly become a gardening obsession!  I was 24 years old and my plan was to transform the entire yard into one huge perennial garden!

My attention turned to our front yard.  Our front yard consisted simply of maples and a black walnut tree.  The perfect place for a shade garden!  Out came the tiller and before I knew what happened, I had dug up the front yard and started planting hostas, spring bulbs, dogwood trees, trillium and a variety of other shade plants.  That wasn’t enough!  The idea of having spring time weddings convinced us that we needed to construct a gazebo.  The gazebo was installed in 1995 and weeks later, the gazebo garden began to take shape.  We planted peach trees, which supply us with fresh peaches each August, and thousands of spring bulbs.  The gazebo garden was full in a matter of months.

I took a break from garden constuction in 1996 as we embarked on the project to transform our barn into a bed and breakfast.  The barn was converted to guests suites over the winter of 1996/1997 and we opened the guest barn in February.  I was free that following spring to add another garden, complete with fish pond and creek.  I was in heaven constructing the creek and digging the pond, setting stones and planting plants.  Shrub roses, perennial grasses, butterfly bushes, lavender and a myriad of other plants couldn’t be planted fast enough!

It’s now 2011 and last month I turned 42 years old.  I still enjoy gardening, but I haven’t installed a new garden in over 13 years.  I now garden for a couple of hours, instead of all day long!  Age has slowed me down a bit, but age has also made our gardens at The Chanticleer more beautiful than ever.  We invite you to enjoy our gardens, any time of year, and you’re always welcome to help pull weeds…