For Grooms Family, COVID-19 Results in Permanent Move

Elizabeth Grooms and her family are the faces behind one of the many Door County real estate transactions that have taken place during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Grooms and her husband, Troy; son, Mason; and three dogs relocated from the Chicago suburb of Oak Park to Baileys Harbor in September. 

“I had this moment,” Elizabeth said. “I walked outside, and the stars were out, and I got hit with this wall of emotion and thought, ‘We should be here.’”

That moment came when the family was here visiting Elizabeth’s mother after months of lockdown. Grooms is no stranger to Door County. Her mother lives here seasonally in a home that the family has had for decades. Her brother and his family moved here two years ago.

But until now, Grooms had held out on moving herself because she had her own thriving massage and wellness coaching business in Illinois. The coronavirus and its economic fallout changed that. Grooms said she’s now seeing only about one-third of her clients.

“Everything has changed,” she said. “Nothing is ever going to go back to the way it was, whether in my business or in our community. It felt like a good time to move somewhere that was quieter, slower paced and had less COVID-19 cases, for sure.”

The Groomses’ new home sits on 10 acres of property that the previous owners protected through a conservation easement agreement with the Door County Land Trust. Although moving from a densely populated suburb to 10 acres of their own land may seem like a big change, Grooms said that’s exactly the point.

“Having access to so much nature right now feels very good.”

Grooms said that starting over and creating community are her biggest concerns.

“There can be a kind of wariness from the community [about new people], like, ‘Are you really going to stay?’” she said.

But overall, Grooms said she and her family are viewing their move as an unexpected gift from the coronavirus.

“It gave us time to really be with ourselves and get clarity on really what’s important and what we really want our lives to look like,” she said.

The members of the Grooms family have allowed the Peninsula Pulse to follow their lives throughout the next several months while they settle in as full-time Door County residents. We’ll continue to share their story as a way of seeing this peninsula through fresh eyes.