The Chanticleer Guest House is set to celebrate its silver jubilee this year, having provided guests with premier service and a rustic getaway for a quarter of a century.
Located one-half mile north of Sturgeon Bay, the Chanticleer rests atop a combined 70 acres in two parcels. The 30-acre mainstay is home to the main guest house and guest barn, both having the charm and history that dates back to the early 20th century. The 40-acre “Chanticleer Mountain” provides guests with a quiet escape to one of four retreats; two rustic cabins and two luxury cottages.
With a total of 12 accommodations, complete with a heated in-ground swimming pool, a working sheep farm, and more than two miles of hiking trails across a scenic backdrop to the living accommodations, guests are able to release into the serenity of nature and experience the nostalgia of times long ago.
Owners Bryon Groeschl and Darrin Day were a pair of motivated 22-year-olds with a common vision in 1993. Groeschl, originally hailing from Chilton, Wisconsin, and Day, who was raised in Brooklyn, Wisconsin, made it their goal to transform the 30-acre property, with its origins dating back to 1915, into one of Door County’s most unique bed-and-breakfast inns.
Admittedly, both Groeschl and Day were inexperienced “twenty-somethings” with only a dream. Neither had worked in the hotel management field prior to purchasing the property nor had they any experience living in Door County.
Groeschl was a former hoof trimmer for dairy cattle and Day worked as dairy nutritionist for Land O’Lakes after graduating from the University of Wisconsin — Madison in 1991. Regardless, both saw great potential in the property they purchased and worked to make their dream a reality.
“We came up for a weekend, hung out and thought, ‘What a cool idea,’” Day said. “Bryon always wanted to get into hotel management, so we took a tour around some properties and came here. We bought the place and dove in. We thought we were young enough that if it didn’t work out that we would just do something else. Twenty-five years later, we’re still here!”
A “chanticleer” is a name given to a rooster, particularly in medieval fables.
“On our way here to sign papers, we needed a business name and hadn’t decided on one,” Day said. “So we grabbed a dictionary, way back when people used them, and we just started paging through. At the time you were listed in a guide book alphabetically. We both grew up on farms and it seemed like a cool name.”
The original Chanticleer Guest House consisted of the main guest house and barn. In February of 1997, renovation work was completed on the barn to convert it into a four-room accommodation. Two years later, the 40-acre parcel that sat across Cherry Road was purchased and christened “Chanticleer Mountain.”
The two worked diligently and constructed both the Tamarack Cabin and Hemlock Cabin in the early 2000s. The Evergreen and Oak Cottages were added in 2005. All four buildings have provided guests with peaceful and secluded stay options.
Day said he and Groeschl wanted to provide tourists and locals alike the opportunity to experience life outside of the bustle of the city. While it is true that most tourists venture to Door County for the slower-paced lifestyle, The Chanticleer offers it at the highest and most intimate level.
“We are surrounded by orchards,” Day said. “We have the sheep pastures with lambs. All of our suites overlook the sheep pasture, which guests get a kick out of. It’s great for a lot of our guests who come from the city that would otherwise not see this. We have flower gardens and a creek that looks rather pretty. People love it. Our location is key. We can see stars and many visitors from areas like Chicago never see stars like here.”
Inside the main guest house, vacationers will find The Chanticleer’s original four suites that include the Loft Room, Garden Room, Grand Suite and the Rose Room.
The renovated guest barn includes the lobby and four suites — The Granary Room, Meadows Room, Stable Suite, and the Sunflower Suite.
Across Cherry Road, guests have four options of cabins and cottages to choose from. The Tamarack and Hemlock Cabins and the Evergreen and Oak Cottages provide ample room for multiple guest occupancy while still offering each guest the utmost privacy.
Each of the guest rooms are furnished with elegant décor that was hand-selected from local shops and antique stores around Wisconsin. As part of preserving the history, a collection of old photographs and letters are kept on-site.
“A couple years in, we had a gal come by whose father built this place,” Day said. “She supplied us with all of the old photos that we have. Who has a picture of their house being built in 1916? It’s pretty special.”
While attentiveness is a priority for Day and Groeschl, they are likely to leave guests to enjoy their vacation and do not promote the bed-and-breakfast as a social resort but rather a peaceful destination for visitors to rejuvenate. The adults-only policy allows for a quiet and romantic getaway for guests.
“Nobody travels through Door County to get someplace else,” Day said. “It’s the destination. Door County is a wonderful place and is very special. We’ve lived here for 25 years, so this has become home.”
Chanticleer Guest House
4072 Cherry Rd
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin 54235