If we learned anything from the recent COVID19 pandemic, it’s to appreciate the small things in life that bring us so much joy. So, when Wisconsin began to reopen and Illinois restrictions eased, my family and I couldn’t wait to escape to open air and all the small-town amenities of Door County.
Remembering the peaceful walks in the woods and s’mores by the bonfire at a home we stayed at last year in Egg Harbor, we returned to that 7,000-square-foot retreat a few weeks ago.
With one acre of private woodland, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 baths, and a large, 1 bedroom, 1 bath coach house, it’s everything our large family of eight children needs to spread out, take off those masks, and soak in the natural beauty of the area. And the good news is, Door County tourism was well prepared to welcome travelers back to this pristine part of Wisconsin with social distancing and other safety precautions in place.
Frozen Custard at Not Licked Yet in Fish Creek was still a hit, as was watching the sunsets from our beautiful terrace. It felt like we had all the luxury of the North Shore right here in the splendor of Door County, and when you know more about the owner, you’ll understand why.
This spectacular property and a neighboring vacation rental (almost identical in size and layout) both have Chicago connections. Bill O’Neil told me that when he and his Winnetka friends Kevin Plunkett and Carter Reuhrdanz bought the three acre parcel in the 7500 block of Mariner Road in 2012, it had been the site of an old hotel with a series of small cottages spread along the waterfront.
“We razed the dilapidated cottages and divided the land into three lots,” O’Neil says. “We sold one lot and built two mansions on the other, enlisting renowned Winnetka architect Doug Reynolds to draw up the plans.”
O’Neil’s wife Cindy Erickson did all the decorating with only highend furniture, linens, and amenities, all which adds to the luxury experience. After being stuck inside our house for months, we felt more pampered than ever.
Every floor had radiant heat, including the garage and coach house. The kitchen was very high end, with Wolf Range and Subzero refrigerator, and the great room with a roaring fireplace and big screen TV continues to be a favorite family gathering place. My kids especially enjoyed the large yard and private access to the waterfront. There’s so much to do right there on the property that we almost didn’t even need to go into the nearby small towns, and given pandemic safety concerns, that makes it even more perfect.
However, I’m glad we did check out our favorite spots—venturing out to Fish Creek and beyond almost every day. We enjoyed all the qualities the area is known for, from the cozy feeling of the people to the quaint shops and restaurants. It’s more important than ever to patronize them and help them rebuild summer business. And once again, by the end of the vacation, my perception of what a Door County getaway can be exceeded my expectations, and that’s exactly what O’Neil and his team had in mind.
“Our goal was to develop the land to provide a luxury rental experience,” explains O’Neil. “We would enjoy seeing more renters from the North Shore, whether it be for family reunions, business retreats, or small, intimate weddings.”
For more information about the rental properties at 7501 and 7505 Mariner Road, visit 7501mariner. com.