Now in her third year as the committee chair of the Door County House and Garden Walk, Gloria Heck emphasizes local charm when looking for homes to include on the walk. It’s a process that begins in February, when committee members look for homes with “history and character, not just brand-new, big homes,” Heck said. In the past, the walk has even featured a 100-year-old farmhouse!
This year, the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary, which organizes the walk every year, selected five properties (two from Sturgeon Bay, and one each from Egg Harbor, Fish Creek and Sister Bay) and a gallery (Woodwalk Gallery) to showcase Door County’s history and beauty. At each house, there will be demonstrations by local artists.
The auxiliary itself is a local fixture. Members have volunteered at the Door County Medical Center (DCMC) for the past 75 years, performing tasks that help the medical center to run smoothly: staffing the gift shop, serving as ambassadors and lightening the load of nurses and medical staff.
This year, all proceeds of the walk will support DCMC’s new Skilled Nursing Facility and Hospice Care Center. Although funds raised for the DCMC always go to a good cause, this year’s cause is especially close to my heart. After years of witnessing my grandmother struggle with Parkinson’s disease in various skilled-nursing facilities, I know firsthand the positive effect that a well-run, up-to-date nursing and hospice center can have on patients and their loved ones. Once completed, the Pete and Jelaine Horton Center will be one of only three federally certified and Wisconsin-licensed skilled-nursing facilities in Door County.
Last month, I previewed some of the walk’s featured properties. Curiosities, local treasures, familial legend and breathtaking views abounded! The highlights for me were the Board Home in Sturgeon Bay and the Juddville Riviera in Fish Creek. It was also wonderful to get to know some of the auxiliary volunteers, who will be greeting and guiding visitors at each house.
The Board Home comes full circle on this year’s walk, having been in one of the first House and Garden Walks in 1974. Remodeled since then, the 4,300-square-foot, open-concept home overlooks beautiful Sturgeon Bay. Curiosities such as a Swiss alphorn, collection of nutcrackers, menagerie of statues and a “Back the Pack” room in the basement (complete with life-size Aaron Rodgers cardboard cutout) add color and personality to the home.
The Juddville Riviera – as its name implies – has a tangible personality and character. The former owner, a Peninsula Players actress, gave the property its name and often hosted eclectic dinner parties in the beautiful entertainment spaces. Along with local memorabilia and exquisite details, this home will feature a monarch-butterfly way station and make-your-own bouquet table, both set up specially for the walk. Additionally, the home will host a local artist for a plein air demonstration.
The Door County House and Garden Walk will take place Tuesday, July 30, 9 am – 5 pm. Visit doorcountyhouseandgardenwalk.com to purchase tickets ($30 in advance and $35 on the day of the walk) and to learn more about the featured homes. Tickets will also be sold at Door County Coffee and Tea, the Door County Visitor Bureau, Jerry’s Flowers, Main Street Market, Nicolet Bank’s main branch and the DCMC Gift Shop.