As I drove to work this crisp fall morning I was amazed at the beauty of the sky as it began to light up in vibrant pinks and purples as the sun started creeping its way above the Moravian church on the hill above Ephraim’s Water Street. Several sailboats floated quietly in the harbor, waiting to be engulfed by the morning’s fog and a small flock of geese flew overhead, heading South for coming winter. I found myself smiling and thinking about what a perfect day it was for the beautiful, young bride awaiting my arrival at the Inn. She was getting married on this majestic fall day and I wondered if she was awake with the sun too. Seventy of her family and closest friends were probably still asleep in their suites, cozied up under their warm, down comforters, dreaming peacefully at this early morning hour. Was she awake? Had she been too excited to sleep? Maybe she too had watched as the colors danced across the morning sky. Gold and burgundy leaves rained down on me as I parked my car and walked down the path to Eagle Harbor Inn’s front entrance and a noisy red-tailed squirrel jumped overhead from tree to tree with a mouthful of cedar seeds in preparation for the long, cold winter ahead. I greeted our chef in the kitchen, always there with a smile on her face wearing a white chef’s hat cock-eyed and nearly covering her eyes, thinking that it was a shame that she arrived here so early today while night was still upon us and missed the morning’s picturesque beauty. As I began walking through the Inn, turning on lights and music, bringing the building to life, I came to a standstill as I glanced out the garden-side window. There, sitting alone in a patio chair with a white coffee cup clutched in both hands, was the bride. She had her back to me but her long auburn hair was spilling down her back and I knew at a moment’s glance that it was her. I watched as the steam poured from her coffee cup as she lifted it to her lips and thought to myself how wonderful it was that she had a quiet moment to enjoy this amazing day. Too often I hear couples say “everything was a blur” on their wedding day. I hoped in that moment that her day would be different and that she would take the time to step back and behold the beauty of every minute. Our journey together had just begun; hers taking her down the aisle and mine spent working side-by-side with an army of staff to ensure that her day was absolutely everything she hoped it would be. I turned my back from the garden and left her alone in the sunlight with her coffee and her thoughts. I knew that if the rest of the day were even half as lovely as the morning had been it would be a perfect day for her new beginning.
Of all the ‘firsts’ of the new spring season, I think we appreciate the frog cacaphony most on our property. Eagle Harbor Inn sits atop 5 acres on Ephraim’s main street, and from what I understand of its history, back when we were pre-cottage, then a cottage resort, back in the 30′s – 70′s, this land was called the Ephraim Swamp. The swampy land ran from here, on the western shore of Ephraim, all the way through the Peninsula to Baileys Harbor. It is an amazing thought and one which is bourne out by taking the hiking trail from the road running behind us, due East. I occasionally walk it about sunset when walking Cleo, but by the time I get a ways into the wide wooded trail and who knows how far along toward Baileys Harbor, I start to get a little twinge of scared, as night falls & I really can’t say where I am. Our neighborhood is good for that: night sky and all, it gets pretty darn dark at different times of the year. Even Cleo will at times, allow the leash to extend all the way back behind me, with her pulling backwards, as even she doesn’t want to tread into the unknown darkness. I take it as a challenge because we feel so safe here; really much of the quiet time of year it is just the wildlife and us. Which takes me back to the frogs, which we call tree frogs. They are our harbinger of spring, surrounding us with joyful mating noise! Some folks think there isn’t much going on in this early spring time, however for those that listen, there is a world outside the door that beckons us to be silent and listen. Come experience this kind of spring ~ it’s a limited engagement!
As July 1st, 2013 approaches, what has most vividly marked our 19 seasons is how that time feels so condensed! When we unloaded our shipping container in the spring of 1994 we could hear the battery operated cry of our daughter Ava’s doll, Olga. We wondered if she had cried all the way across the Pacific Ocean and across the rails of our expansive country, all the way from the Big Island of Hawaii, from where we had moved. Olga’s crying drove us to unpack quickly so we could console both her & Ava. At this juncture, we knew we were on the familiar, homey ground of Wisconsin where one named Olga was commonplace & where Nedd & I had begun our journey at the Madison Club, both in the hospitality industry and as a couple. Returning to Wisconsin, we were a family having bought our own Inn to run & grow. And 19 years later there are so many guests who have become friends, muffins & crumbs, and a history with our staff & their families. And the stories, both funny & sad, to fill chapters, if only there was time to write them!
As this new year unfolds, we are refreshed anew with the improvements of the day ushering in flat screen tvs & gluten free food options. And this excitement at continued improvement and change is what tells me that in our hearts we still love what we do and that just as in the 19 years that have passed, we will be here to welcome you and your family to make more terrific Door County memories of which all of our lives are composed! Happy New Year to all!
As we celebrate May Day each of these beautiful spring days, we especially applaud those individuals who have taken on the personal challenge of running the Door County Half Marathon! I can imagine that many will be achieving this personal goal for the first time and we want you to know that we are with you in spirit, encouraging your every footstep. I too hope to take the challenge, one of these years: Best to take it sooner than later! Here’s to all runners & their families as they support each other in this wonderful personal endeavor! Hats off to you! And if anyone is still in need of some restful accommodation, we have a few rooms left for either one night or two.
We love our home in Door County and we look forward to sharing it with you whether you are visiting in person or you are momentarily an armchair traveller! Check in regularly as we will be posting observations about our natural surroundings, perhaps a short blip on a funny thing that happened, or for updates on the wonderful experiences that await you in Door County.
Let us know what you would like to hear & we’ll do our best to oblige~ Happy Travels!