An Open Letter to Our Visiting Friends

Dear friends,

We cannot tell you how pleased we are that you decided to visit us in Door County. Whether you’re here for a few days, or come back frequently all season, we are so very glad that you’ve come.

The pessimists among us will say that we value your visit to Door County only insofar as you are the engine that drives our economy. Indeed, our tourist industry is the major force that provides jobs and builds wealth in our community. But as is so often the case, the pessimists are only looking at half of the story.

We are proud to be residents of Door County. This is a very special place to us, and we’re happy to share it when visited by good people like you.

The truth is that those of us who live here are in love with Door County. It’s the place we’ve chosen to raise our families, build our lives, or spend our retirement years. So we’re never surprised when folks start falling in love with this place, too.

When you love a person, you treasure them. The most giving part of your soul springs forth as your love manifests itself in acts of selflessness. Sharing of yourself and your spirit is at the very core of loving someone. So too it should be when you love someplace.

I’m going to make an unusual request of you. If you treasure your time in Door County, ponder a bit about how that affection might be transformed into action.

Consider making a gift to charity during your stay with us in Door County this season.

Now I know you’re probably thinking that when you play in Wisconsin Dells, nobody asks you for a charitable contribution on the way out of town. But as you know, charity has almost nothing to do with ensuring you have a good time during your visit to the Dells.

In Door County, charity is an integral component of your stay with us.

Attending a show at the American Folklore Theatre, Birch Creek Music Performance Center or the Peninsula Players is an essential part of the Door County experience. This month is filled with the performances of the Peninsula Music Festival, and the soundtrack of the last few months for some was provided by the Midsummer’s Music Festival.

Our great arts organizations are charities. I don’t know of a single performing arts venue in the country that can thrive on ticket sales alone. If you want to be sure these venues continue to grow and prosper, consider making a charitable gift to them while you’re here.

The work of countless local artists you enjoy during your stay is made possible because of the Peninsula Arts Association. They will continue to have money to grant to promising artists only if good people like you are willing to give.

Door County celebrates its history like few other communities. The Sister Bay Historical Society, the Gibraltar Historical Association, the Ephraim Historical Foundation and many other groups preserve and maintain historic buildings so that you can explore the past during your visit to Door County. None of this is possible without the generosity of folks like you.

Few of our natural treasures could thrive were it not for contributions from the community. Charities like the Friends of Peninsula State Park, Crossroads at Big Creek, and the Ridges Sanctuary maintain and enhance our recreational places. And the Door County Land Trust has a mission of protecting the scenic beauty, open spaces and ecological integrity of Door County.

A complete listing of the more than 350 charitable and civic organizations like these that are preserving and enhancing Door County’s quality of life can be found online at

I recognize that it’s not normal to be asked to make a charitable gift on your vacation or during your weekend getaway “up north.” But then again, there’s nothing normal about Door County.

We don’t have mile after mile of strip malls. Most of our stores aren’t a part of a big-box chain. And few of our restaurants are franchises. We love Door County because it’s different. It’s unique.

So do something different and unique during your stay with us. Make a gift to charity and help us sustain this community we all love.