Publisher’s Note

A spring may never have meant as much to the people of Door County than the one we’re entering now. After a year hunkered down, months of Zooms and FaceTimes, many nights of anxiety and fear, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Here, it arrives just in time, at the doorstep of the season that has always been the time we all come together. 

As we write this, we don’t yet know exactly what this spring will look like. It won’t be entirely normal, but glimpses of it are already here as vaccinations move at a rapid pace. 

We’ve missed singing along to live music, bellying up to the bar and taking in a show on stage. We’ve missed parades, big table dinners and the bustle of a packed dining room. 

More than anything we missed carefree days with friends, seeing each other’s faces and hugging family. 

As May arrives, some of these things we took for granted are trickling back into our lives, and if all goes well, many more of them will be back soon. In the pages of this Early Summer edition of Door County Living, you’ll meet a few of the people who weave the fabric of our community, who make us yearn to be together again. 

There’s Captain Jim Robinson, the guide to Death’s Door who has been teaching people about our Great Lake for decades. And Dan Eggert, the nomad photographer finally forced to put down roots (well, at least for one year) by COVID-19, exposing his lens to a Door County winter for the first time. 

You’ll meet the father-and-daughter team of Tad and Coburn Dukehart,  who will judge this year’s Hal Prize for photography. The images they’ve captured have helped tell the story of the pandemic year, both here in Door County and around the state, but in this issue they share what makes a photo stick out for the Hal Prize. 

When Claire Erickson was growing up in northern Door County, she questioned whether there was a place here for art that challenged the viewer, but decided she’d learn the answer only by putting her work — and herself — out there. She’s found both a voice and an audience.

Those are just a few of the stories you’ll find in these pages, which we hope will teach you more about this place we all love and care for, and rekindle your passion for discovery. Or maybe more accurately for this summer — rediscovering the many things you’ve missed.