Jens Jensen's Winding Road
The Top of Wisconsin's Thumb
I am really not sure what is more beautiful...Porte Haven or the view from it's windows. I could sit here all day and soak up every sight. That is true of nearly all of Northern Door. What it lacks in 'local attractions' and store fronts, it makes up ten fold in nature and beauty. The drive to Porte Haven is a beautiful one. To get here, you must first travel through all your favorite towns and pass all your favorite spots as you head north to the top of Wisconsin's thumb. Once you make it to Jens Jensen's 'winding road' you know that you are nearly there.
Jens Jensen was a Danish-born landscape architect, his work and influence can be seen in many parks and natural spaces in Chicago. Jens believed in the power of nature and it's ability to enrich the lives of people of all ages, even in the most urban of areas. Early in his career he created the 'ideal highway', "a thoroughfare that would slow traffic, keep nature always in view, and include a separate pedestrian path". Door County's winding road embodies this belief. With 15 curves and subtle dips and rises, it draws your attention to the journey.
What an incredible invitation to your vacation.
If these walls could talk...I would love the hear all the stories they hold. Porte Haven was built on the property's original boathouse. It has two traditional bedrooms and two less 'traditional' (but oh so comfy) sleeping areas, three full bathrooms, a fully stocked kitchen with high end appliances, a cozy living room with a roaring fireplace and the basement (the original boathouse!) is a two story loft with an entertaining area that feels like it was plucked right out of downtown MKE, with its high exposed ceiling and brick wall.
The MAster and second floor
For me, the master bedroom is nothing short of amazing. The king size bed almost seems small in this space. With two porthole inspired windows and a sliding door to a small private deck, you almost feel as if you are sleeping outdoors. The master is located on the second floor and is accompanied by the master bathroom and the bunk room(the first 'non-traditional' sleeping spaces I mentioned earlier). The bunk room is a cozy room that has a twin size bed and then a triple bunkbed, a great space for the kiddos to call their own. Not a detail was missed in the master bathroom with it's beautifully tiled shower with rainfall shower head and steam sauna.
The Main Floor
The main floor has two full bathrooms, one bedroom, open concept kitchen and comfy living room. The full bathroom off the front hallway is a sight to be seen. As you enter the bathroom you are greeted by a one of a kind sink that mimics the waves that crash on the rocks below the cabin, an impressive Kohler soaking tub that sits next to the open shower and floor to ceiling tile(it must have taken forever to lay each tile and stone), it is truly a one of a kind bathroom. The kitchen is as equally impressive with the unique cabinetry, high end appliances but the real show stopper is the VIEW. The three large windows, much like Jens Jensen's winding road, allow you to slow down just a little and really take in your surroundings. The living room right of the kitchen only extends the invitation to take it all in. The floor to ceiling windows and sliding glass door to the deck allow the view to be the centerpiece. The fireplace warms the space and aides in the cozy comfort. The screened porch is directly off the living room but as you know in Wisconsin that is a bit harder to enjoy in the winter months. I would have loved to be able to sit out there on a summers evening or watch a storm roll in early fall. I am sure that would be something. At the back of the home you will find another bathroom, and not to be out done by the other two, it has a real porthole (it is a ONEWAY mirror of the other side) that gives the user a view of the lighthouse outside, and a guest room with a queen bed. This bathroom also hosts the full washer and dryer....for our family of eight this really is such an amazing feature!
The first level as you walk down the stairs into the Boathouse hosts the other 'less traditional' sleeping areas. This sleeping area is complete with a comfy king bed and an amazing view of the water. To the other side, a game table and sitting area offer a space to play games or sit and relax. Both spaces over look the second and lowest level. The floor to ceiling brick wall, exposed ceiling and floor to ceiling view of the outdoor space give way to the pool table and dartboard. The space is completed with pub tables and swings that hand from the ceiling. The sliding door offers direct access to the outdoor fire pit and entertainment area.
There is not one space that is not thoughtfully used to it's fullest. There are surprises around every corner and despite all the unique features, they only seem to accent the true focal point of this property, its breath taking views. We were not able to use the outdoor spaces to their fullest, as our trip was in February, but one can only image how sitting in the screened porch on a summers evening would feel or listening to the waves crash on the stones along the shore line as you sat around the campfire.
- 3D Matterport Tour coming August 2021! -
Maximize your travel days
When planning a trip to Door County there are SO MANY things to do and see. We suggest you first make a list of the things that you would like to see and do. Then pick what things you might be able to do on your way to your destination and things you might be able to do on your way home. Leaving later in the day we knew the obvious choice for us was to travel HWY 57 there and HWY 47 home based on what we wanted to see. Check out Destination Door County for helpful tools to plan your trip!
Our extended weekend started on a Thursday afternoon after a half day of school. Despite having a Nissan NV, it is amazing how much space six kids, a dog and ALL. THE. STUFF. can take up...we always seem to fill it right up. So with a very full truck we headed north to Door County. Porte Haven is located in Northern Door County and is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Lake County. Once we were north of Sturgeon Bay we decided to take HWY 57 that follows along the east or more commonly referred to as 'the quiet side' of Door County. We knew that with the late start we were not going to be able to stop very many places on the trip north. Our last trip to DC while staying at The Point (read about that stay here) we never made it to Cave Point County Park and it was one place that we all wanted to see. It was a quick stop, no hiking or exploring. We took in the surroundings and load up for the remaining hour or so drive to Porte Haven. It was dark by the time we pulled in the driveway. Once inside were greeted by a full moon over Lake Michigan through the huge kitchen windows. The first of many amazing sights through those windows. Once we were unpacked and bedrooms were decided on by some intense Rock, Paper, Scissor games the kids played an EPIC game of Hide-and-Go Seek while the pizza was made in the oven. Who said Hide-and-Seek is just for little people, I think our Bigs enjoyed it more than the Littles did.
We had THE. BEST. weather for our trip in February! Honestly, it can be a toss up here in Wisconsin when you plan a trip this time of year....you will likely either get 20 below windchill or 40 degrees and sunshine. Well, we got the latter and could not have been happier. I do not know about you but we seem to fall into a routine or pattern even while we are on vacation. I am an earlier riser (thank you years of waking up early with little ones) and I love to take in the sunrise but never have I ever been on vacation with my husband where he voluntarily woke up that early (unless we are hiking and trying to beat the crowds). He was up EVERY morning guys. The sunrises really were worth getting out of bed for, well that or maybe it was the steam sauna in the master bath (ps it is now ESSENTIAL that we install one at home or so I am told).
Mornings started with a cup or two of coffee and hearty breakfast. Then we would pack up the kids and Blue and find a park to explore. Door County boast 19 County Parks, 5 State Parks, 6 Nature Perseveres and 4 Dog Parks, We found Door County to be very dog friendly. SO. MANY. great hiking trails but very few were cleared of snow so we would suggest boots. You could even pack tracks for your shoes/boots as well, like Yaktrax or rent snow shoes form Bay Shore Outfitters. Then it was back to Porte Haven for lunch and time at the cabin. Afternoons were filled with a number of activities. Keagan (just turned 10! and the youngest of our boys) LOVED hanging out with his big brothers downstairs in the Boathouse playing pool and being outside playing football in the street. I SO wish I would have brought the kids scooters, the drive way would have been perfect for them to get laps in to their hearts content! The boys worked together gathering firewood and splitting it so that we could all sitting around the campfire on the deck. One of the perks to it being 40 degrees in February! Sitting on the deck around the campfire while watching the birds and listening to the waves crash in was MY favorite. The girls were able to get into a few pool games and play few board/card games. I will also say that more times than I can count I would catch one or more of the kids just sitting by the window watching...and I am sure there were a few too many forehead smudges to clean.
Most evenings we stayed in and prepared dinner ourselves but we did ventured out for dinner once to The Mink River Basin. Guys, it was THE. BEST. Walking in, it feels like a small town bar and not very impressive compared to many of the restaurants in Door County BUT the service was AMAZING (better than you have had a some steakhouses) and the food was excellent. We suggest the burgers, onion rings and Mink River Stlye Naked Chicken Wings. SO. GOOD. Everyone left with full bellies and full hearts. Evenings were filled with more bonfire time and many laughs were shared while playing Kids Against Maturity, Never Have I Ever - Family Addition and Heads up.
Isn't it crazy how quickly four days can fly right by?! Our four day, three night stay at Porte Haven seemed to have ended just as quickly as it started. This property is one of a kind with so many features that will keep you talking for days. Although Porte Haven is not the rustic cabin stay that we have grown accustom to, it is definitely something we could get used to. This cabin has all the warmth and character of a cabin built in the 1950's and has all the bells and whistles of the modern era. Really this cabin embodies everything about Door County...culture, the finer living, art, history and NATURE in all her beauty.
This is our second Door County Cabin Collective stay and hopefully will not be the last. You can read about our stay at The Point here. The Point was the first cabin the Jeffery's acquired and where the dream of the Door County Cabin Collective started. The following year a modern-eclectic H-frame just 15 driveways down from The Point was added. The light floods in from the 2 story windows that give way to stunning views of Clark Lake in the heart of The Bay. And although I have not had the pleasure of staying at this property, I have had the pleasure of photographing it. (I have been told that morning coffee in the cozy, pine-paneled sun room is nothing short of restoring. It is on my Door County Bucket List for sure!) Porte Haven is the newest member of the DC Cabin Collective family. And we think that it was the PERFECT addition! I am not sure what one will top our favorites list but it is safe to say that no matter the cabin you select for yours, you will surely not be disappointed.
Did I mention that all cabins in the DC Cabin Collective family are dog friendly? We just love it when we are able to bring Blue with us.
A few of our favorite things
-Playing pool in the Boathouse with my big brothers