Meet the Innkeepers…………..
It’s hard to imagine now,
but in 1981 Dennis was a mechanical engineer in Indianapolis and Bonnie was
a jewelry designer and a batik artist. What they both wanted was to work
together in a business that combined their special and complementary
talents. During a trip through Kentucky, they toured an old mansion and
seeing the possibilities in that old house sparked an idea of creating a bed
and breakfast and becoming innkeepers.
After a search through New England failed to produce the right house or the
perfect town, they returned to the Midwest. They visited Michigan, but
didn’t find anything there either. Finally, some friends from Wisconsin
suggested that they return to their home state of Wisconsin and investigate
Door County. In early 1982, Dennis and Bonnie walked through a dilapidated
Queen Anne Victorian in Sturgeon Bay and knew they had found their dream
house and location.
They closed on what is now the Main House on April 22, 1982. Less than three
months later, on July 1, 1982, the White Lace Inn opened its newly painted
doors to its first guests. Dennis and Bonnie enjoy telling the story of
their opening day. They got their license at 5:00 PM that day and rented
their first room – Room 2 – that night. The next evening they rented Rooms
1, 2, 4 and 5. And the rest, as they say, is history.
On July 22, 1983, Dennis and Bonnie purchased an 1880’s house that was about
to be torn down and moved it to their property – literally parking it in
their backyard where the gazebo now stands. They set the house on its new
foundation in November of that year. In January of 1984 they embarked on a
major renovation. In the ensuing months, they rebuilt the house, filled it
with wonderful antiques and rich wallpapers and fabrics and opened the
Garden House on June 28, 1984. The Washburn House with its three large rooms
and one suite was added on August 15,1986. Finally, the Hadley House was
finished on July 4,1996, adding four large suites and bringing the total
number of rooms to 18.
Much of the mature landscaping which is so much a part of the Inn’s charm
was started in 1988, including the plantings and white picket fence that run
along the front of the Main House. In 1989, the white picket privacy fence
behind the Garden House was constructed. And in 1990, Dennis and Bonnie
added a lovely white gazebo which, amid the backdrop of the lush gardens and
pond, has been the site of hundreds of intimate weddings.
Somewhere in the midst of all the remodeling, maintenance, decorating and
gardening, Dennis and Bonnie have also found time for a full and rewarding
family life. Their children, Zane and Alexa, are 14 years old. Both are
familiar faces at the Inn as they help out during breakfast or delight the
guests with a tune on the antique Steinway piano in the parlour.
Although there are now 18 guest rooms at the White Lace Inn and a staff
of over 20 people, Dennis and Bonnie and their innkeepers strive to
maintain the warm, welcoming ambience that has captured the hearts of many
guests since the beginning.