The Door County Experience: A Word From Miss Madison

Mr. Skipah is taking the night off and handing the keys to the car to awesome photo/travel blogger One Teacher’s Journey West for the evening.  Pssst……………..longtime readers may also know her as Miss Madison.

Miss Madison here with my perspective of our recent vacation in Door County. I’d like to fill everyone in on the history of my family vacation spot (since I’m a history teacher after all). My great grandparents, Glenn and Lois Dunmore started building what we have dubbed “the Cottage” in the late 1930s. (They called it Dunmovin’, because that’s where they retired-they were done moving.) My great grandmother actually designed it herself, including an addition that more than doubled its size in 1943 and the screened porch that was not added until the late 1990s. My great grandfather cut the pine trees himself that were used as beams in the bedrooms.

The Cottage has become a special place and a labor of love for many generations of my family. My grandmother visited Door County most years of her life, my mother has visited the Cottage almost every year of her life, I have carried on the tradition, and now my children are the fifth generation to enjoy this family retreat. Let me say, it is nothing fancy, especially compared to many properties in Door County, but it is comfortable enough. And the best part—it is right on the water with a view out the picture window of Green Bay. As my mom says, “Other things change throughout our lives, but the Cottage is the one constant we can depend on.” Needless to say, we have many annual traditions that we look forward to every year like visiting the over-priced candy store, throwing rocks in the water at Aunt Maddie’s (a spot on the water near where my great-great aunt had a house back in the day), playing mini golf, taking the fishing boat out for a spin, and playing board games and card games in the evenings. (My Trivial Pursuit record on this trip stands at 1 win, 1 draw and don’t even get me started on Pictionary. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed so hard! Gary is quite the artist!)

One of the best parts of going to the Cottage is bringing new people to share it with us. I love seeing it all for the first time through someone else’s eyes and sharing all the stories with them. Even better, when those new people are your awesome boyfriend and his adorable daughter. The greatest thing about this most recent visit was all the new places we explored. I was driven down roads I’d never been down, viewed lighthouses I’d never noticed before, and saw new views of Lake Michigan. It made this familiar vacation spot feel like a new adventure.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the week.

Two of my favorite men trying to figure out the motor

Oooh! A lighthouse! (Notice him reaching for his phone to take a picture)

Dinner our first night

Serious fisherwomen

Look closely and you see 3 intrepid stair climbers up there

I love the poses I got when I asked them to look fierce!

Painting rocks

Throwing rocks at sunset at Aunt Maddie’s (a Cottage tradition)

Watching and listening to waves crashing on the rocks in front of the Cottage never gets old!

I told him that sometimes people build these to remember people who have passed on, and he dedicated one he built to his great grandmother and the other to her mother. I was so moved :-)

The water was so blue!

The little treasure Gary found

I love birch trees! I’d have a whole yard full of them if I could.

The car ferry to Washington Island. Next time we go to the Cottage, Gary gets to experience this!

Glamour shot courtesy of my mini-me

Another glamour shot courtesy of my mini-me (My other mini-me didn’t care if he was in the shot. He was doing his best to try and fall in the water!)

A third glamour shot courtesy of my mini-me. Maybe she can make a career of this!

Serene waters at sunset. Gorgeous!

The back of the Cottage. (The front faces the water, and we weren’t about to row that far to get a picture!)

Send Skipah Sailing!


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  4. She might just get her on regular guest spot on here :).

  5. Lovely to finally ‘meet’ you Miss Madison! Looks like a lovely time you all had and beautiful pictures to remember it all with!

    Your daughter looks just like you!

  6. It was an amazing place, and I love lighthouses so that was an added bonus! The view from the top of the Cana Island lighthouse was amazing.

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  8. I did my first sail in Door County! Your images perfectly capture that magical place. Especially love the lighthouse images. Making me homesick!

  9. The first place I ever sailed was Door County! You’ve done wonders here showing just how magical that place is. Home sick. Especially love the lighthouses!

  10. If Wisconsin had a “normal” winter by my standards I could easily retire there :).

  11. Great photos! Thought I’d take a gander at your blog, courtesy of Michael’s Origins blog. I would love to retire to a place like that someday.

  12. Awesome pics! Great writing! Sounds like a wonderful vacation with the new gang. 🙂 (Started following your blog now! So great!)

    I like your guest bloggers, Gary! You lucky dog! Surrounded by wonderful women. 😉

  13. My pleasure thanks for commenting.

  14. I am heading over to check out your sweetie’s blog, Gary. Your combined group looks like a family. ♡ hoping for things to all fall into place, in its own time. 🙂 Peace, Robin

  15. A gorgeous place! I hope to discover a place like that sometime is my lifetime!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

  16. They all played well together in the sandbox for the most part :).

  17. Some of the best things about places you’ve seen plenty of times before is sharing it for the first time with others. Love the pictures and stories you shared here, thank you! And precious kids to all of you, looks like they get along great!

  18. Very true on legacy, sucks that part of Houston sounds like it has become inhospitable now :(.

  19. What a special and amazing place. I wish my family had held onto to any sort of history. I think all that’s left is an abandoned creamery in the Fifth Ward of Houston (where you don’t stop at the stop signs for fear of your life). Everything else was sold before I was born. On my mom’s side all that’s left is a gin that was sold to someone else long long ago.

    Beautiful! Peaceful! I love that your son built the stones for his great grandma, he is a part of it all now. Legacy is a unique beauty.

  20. Check her blog out if you get a chance she details the whole Lewis and Clark trail she had the opportunity to write about this summer.

  21. I loved the guest writer/photographer. Nice to hear you in the first person, Miss Madison.

Tell Skipah all about it!