Door County Saved My Sanity

2018-09-27T10:37:30+00:00May 8th, 2018|Door County with Kids|

I’d like to share a bit about myself. I’m a single mom of thee best child I know, and I happen to know quite a few really great kids. Mine just happens to be the best; I’m sure I’m biased. He’s currently in 4th 5th grade, which makes him ten years old since he has, luckily, passed and graduated every grade so far. Fingers crossed we keep this up.

I own a little shanty in Door County where we spend a great deal of time in the summer. We stretch our weekends out as far as possible so we can include Thursday’s and Monday’s in our travels. When we’re not living the high life in Door County, we’re in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — not too shabby of a place to be either. Living on the east side of Milwaukee is lovely; we are in a supportive, family-focused community with lots of shops, grocery stores, pubs and of course Lake Michigan, all within walking distance. And if we are not in either of those two places we are traveling, another (albeit neglected) hobby of mine.

But down to the nitty-gritty.

I was married for ten years, and then one day I wasn’t. I’m sure you’ve heard the story before; mine is no different. The best part of my marriage was our son, my only son. You’ll hear me refer to him as Door County Boy, but his name is Oliver. There’s also a great relic from the ol’marriage — the cozy 424 sq foot cottage we bought in Door County, Gill’s Rock to be exact.

My son was not born yet when we purchased an old fisherman’s cottage. I stepped foot in it and thought, No. Way. You can find me at English Inn because I’m pretty sure this shanty will never amount to much. Picture, if you will, a stubborn and insecure woman with her hands on her hips and a look of terror on her face. No offense to people who fish, but the fishermen who spent nights in this once-thriving dockhouse did not have very high standards.

Door County Cottage

Door County Cottage – Originally a Fisherman’s Dockhouse

Door County Cottage

Door County Cottage – Before Renovations

Well, I was wrong.

Door County Cottage

Our cottage, after renovations

We had rolled up our sleeves and spent many weekends up here making this into a sweet, tiny cozy nest. The interior is just as cute. Go here to see the before/after photos.

After my divorce, I continued to come up to Door County with my son, just the two of us. As painful as it was that first summer as a single mom, we made new memories together, and I loved being able to get out of town for the weekend. Our place was small enough that it was easy for me to manage, and I began to get to know our neighbors on a more personal level. They loved having us up in the summer. We had many a coffee on kitchen tables, and I began to feel right at home in the community.

With our home base set up and running, we were able to head out daily for each of our Door County Expeditions. We explored beaches, hiking trails, restaurants. I’m always on the hunt for good coffee and eventually learned where to find the best cups of coffee around. Coffee shops are great for an afternoon pause, and even better places to hang out on rainy days with a game in tow.

Andrea as a newly single mom with Oliver circa 2011; Oliver at Sister Bay Beach

Having come up for the last ten years or so, I watched towns change and grow. Sister Bay, for example, is not what it was ten years ago. A new generation of business owners and restauranteers moved in. The farm-to-table movement hit Door County (it was always here actually), and new owners touted fresh organic produce — right up my alley, as I had become a connoisseur of healthy eating. In Bailey’s Harbor, Door County Brewing Co. popped up, a pleasant diversion from the wineries, offering a music hall that is extremely family-friendly. There’s also a food truck and an excellent coffee shop nearby. Wild Tomato, Door County Creamery, Cloud Nine Juice Bar and several others are our go-to places in Sister Bay. And this is just a glimpse of two towns! There are many others I can’t wait to share with you.

Oliver and I have spent more time in Door County in the summer than at our home in Milwaukee. It’s become a home and at times, our preferred home. I’ve overcome a few challenges along the way. I now know how to install a thermocouple (in the rain no less, they never seem to go out on sunny days). I can light a pilot light in the pouring rain while laying on the ground, how to install screen doors, change locks, and a whole slew of other dirty jobs that the world relegates to men. But being a single mom, I’ve had to learn to wield a power drill and a power sander. I’ve had to learn how to install plumbing pipes and even dimmer switches (to code) and most importantly, I’ve learned when to throw in the towel and call a pro.

Door County Mom

Door County Mom and her son, Door County Boy

All this has made me stronger and even proud to be a single mom. It’s instilled a bit of confidence in me and has helped me to realize that what I know about Door County is a lot. When I’ve shared my cottage with friends, I’d always leave a note with a list of things to do, things not to miss, places to shop and eat. After having friends suggest that I write a guidebook, I gave it some thought. So here you go. This site is for you. DoorCountyMom.com is a guide to my favorite places in the Door County Peninsula that will hopefully enhance your visit — whether with family or friends, or even your sweetheart. After all, aren’t we all kids at heart?

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or if you have any suggestions of places I should check out. I haven’t done it all (yet), so I’m always willing to try something new.  And if my suggestions helped you out, I’d love to hear about that too!

I love Door County and hope you will too.

Have fun!

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