Wisconsin’s Door County, for whatever reason, has the vibe of a place that hasn’t changed much over time, and that’s part of its considerable charm. If you expedia or priceline hotels there, you won’t find many recognizable chains. Most accommodations are resorts, inns, and locally operated motels like the Holiday in Sturgeon Bay, Door’s biggest town. I don’t write about many places to stay, but I have to make exceptions when they are outrageously unique, like the Holiday.
Its full name is The Holiday Music Motel, for a reason. One handout claims that by staying there “you are helping to support a blossoming music and art scene”. Among other events, Holiday hosts 3 songwriting collaborations-Steel Bridge, Songfest, and Dark Songs-each year. Upcoming is the last one, which is scheduled for Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1st. Check Holiday’s far-out website, HolidayMusicMotel.com, for both details and a treat. “More than 800 new songs have been recorded in this motel, in these very rooms!!!”, the handout enthuses. These can be heard on Holiday’s very own internet radio station SteelBridgeRadio.com.
The entire place has a 50s feel that is a total surprise and makes it kind of a comfortable, anti-holiday-inn. Built in 1952 and looking it outside and in, HMM is the oldest motel in Door County. It’s also its most giddily offbeat place to sleep. Where else will you find a permanent Christmas tree in the lobby, a period lunch counter used for a complimentary breakfast, and 50s furniture in all the guest rooms? “We sincerely hope,” its owners sincerely state,”that you enjoy your stay with us in our eclectic little 50s motel!!”
The “we” are melaniejane & pat mAcdonald. From nearby Green Bay originally, pat plays a lowbow cigar box guitar. melaniejane sings, loves to talk about their ongoing music careers as a duo called Purgatory Hill, and calls her place Door County’s “best kept secret”. That rather overused expression is probably true; but if you want to stay there (and you should), book early. It’s really popular.